Photo: Hampton Fire & Rescue/Facebook

SLIDESHOW: 95th Hampton Cup Powerboat Regatta Goes on After Wind Delays

A go-fast powerboat regatta in Hampton, Va. has been held since 1926, so high winds certainly weren’t going to stop it from going off this past weekend. The 95th Hampton Cup Regatta was held in Mill Creek, by Fort Monroe on Saturday and Sunday, getting underway later than planned Saturday because of the wind.

The regatta is held each fall.  Boats race on Saturday and Sundays, weather permitting.  There are numerous boat classes participating, from the J-Stock to Jersey Speed Skiffs up to the 150 mile per hour Grand National class.  During the races, Mercury Boulevard is closed to vehicle traffic from North Willard Avenue to Fort Monroe,  providing a safe and perfect waterside viewing area for pedestrians.   

As you’ll see in some of the photos below, the wind delays gave spectators ample opportunity to check out the race boats up close on land, along with other notable vehicles and pirate performers.

The Hampton Cup Regatta, the oldest continuously running hydroplane race in America, started way back in the Roaring ’20s. A group of professional engineers, primarily from Newport News Shipyard and what would become NASA, created the Hampton Yacht Club. Early members raced their powerboats in the Hampton River almost every weekend. Those boats were not too quick by today’s standards, maxing out at perhaps 35 miles per hour. The racing caught on, and became popular enough to be formalized. The Virginia Gold Cup powerboat races began in 1933. Early races were held inside Hampton River. Sadly, it took the death of a racer to move the races from the confines of the river to the larger Mill Creek. The name was changed to the Hampton Cup, and the races continue to this day, and this past weekend.

This year;s Hampton Cup Regatta hosted the American Powerboat Association’s Eastern Divisional Championships, which included some of the fastest watercrafts in the world. With boats as long as 24 feet and some reaching speeds of 150 mph, regatta organizers say these vessels often set both national and world records. The Grand Prix hydroplanes that participated can achieve speeds of 175 miles per hour. The 2022 regatta will play host to the Summer Nationals.

-Kendall Osborne