The Eastern Outboard Racing Club of Long Island held its annual race at North Sea Harbor on Sunday, where great weather met great racing.
Jason Pickerell of Southold took first place in both B1 Hydro races and Diane Murray of Aquebogue won the first OSY400 race, and Paul Sumereau of Northport won the second OSY400 race. Vice Commodore of the EORC and Water Mill resident Howie Pickerell, Jason’s father, was delighted with how the day went.
“Perfect weather, it was a good location and it worked out very well,” he said.
Because the area around the harbor is so marshy, racers had to go by a flag start instead of a clock start. This can pose problems because of the potential for false starts. Murray, who has been a part of EORC for about 15 years, said a flag start is tougher than a clock start.
The two classes used at North Sea Harbor on Sunday were the Class A and C Hydroplanes.
The B1 Hydro races used the Class A Hydros while the Class C Hydros, which are known internationally as OSY400’s, were used in the other races.
The differences between the two classes are the size of the boat and the engines used in them. Class A Hydros are 9.5-feet long with a minimum weight of 345 pounds and a 25-horsepower engine. Class C Hydros are 11 feet, 6 inches long and have a minimum weight of 440 pounds and a 30-horsepower engine.
The EORC also uses Runabouts, which are flat-bottomed boats that skim along the water’s surface. The Class A Runabouts must weigh 250 pounds, including the driver, while Class A Runabouts must weight 475 pounds.
The EORC was founded in 1947, which makes it the second oldest outboard racing club in the United States. The Connecticut Outboard Association, which was founded just a year earlier, is the oldest known club. Outboard racing roots, however, stem from New York and Long Island, according to Howie Pickerell.
“The American Power Boat Association started on the western part of the island near Manhassett in the 1930s when they first came out with outboard motors,” he said.
Howie Pickerell added that the East End in particular was a “hotbed” for outboard racing in the 1940s and ’50s.
Pete Voss’s father Herb was founder of the EORC and he can not believe that the club and sport have lasted over 60 years on the East End.
“I thought at 50 years it would be all over,” Voss said. “But last year we hit 60 years and I said, ‘It’s going to quit one of these days, guys’. But we get some new people that come out and are interested and say, ‘Oh, we’re going to come do this.’”
Voss has been racing since 1952 when he was 14 years old. He still races professionally and will be at the World Championship at Lake Alford, Florida.
Howie Pickerell said he is proud that outboard racing is very environmentally safe. In fact, a scientific study was conducted by environmental scientist Isaac Solomon on the quality of the water after an outboard race and it was found that the water is in better condition after the race because the propellers aerate the water, giving it more oxygen, he said. Also, all of the EORC classified boats are required to have all of their exhausts above the water line, so pollutants do not enter the water. Though the club is continuing to race, there has been somewhat of a decline.
Howie Pickerell and Voss both have their thoughts on why this has occurred.
Pickerell, who creates his own propellers, said that a big part of the sport is taking care of the boat mechanically.
“It’s getting harder to find race sites,” Voss said. “You can only do it in the off-season now. Years ago you could do it anytime. Times have changed.”
For information about the EORC, contact Pam Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.