The race (weekend) is run over three days with registration, technical scrutineering, the first practice session and driver briefings taking place on day one, usually a Friday.
On day two, (Saturday) an additional practice session is run in the morning with Pole Position, counting as a separate championship, taking place in the afternoon. Pole Position, like the practice sessions, is run over the Grand Prix course giving the crews the opportunity to familiarise themselves with conditions and decide on set up. It also acts as the qualifier for the boats line up on race day with the Pole sitter lining up closest to the official start boat. The pole position race has changed in 2007 and is divided into two rounds. The first round lasts 40 minutes; boats are called out in a pre defined order. Each boat is entitled to run 3 timed laps. This can be done consecutively or in three separate runs. The five boats setting the fastest times fight it out for pole position over one/two consecutively timed laps.but are only allowed a maximum of ten minutes under the crane. Pole Position last for 60 minutes and each team has three laps to achieve their best time.
On Day three (Sunday) there is a practice session in the morning followed in the afternoon by the Grand Prix itself run over multiple laps (including 2 mandatory long laps) . The race is started by an official start boat running at a controlled speed which will call the boats into a line a breast under a yellow flag, with the finishing order of Pole Position dictating the line up. When all the boats are considered by the official starter to be in-line and before crossing the official start line a green flag will be raised and the race is underway.
Although Class 1 has certainly changed and developed over the years, one thing has remained constant and no amount of techno wizardry will ever change it. The sea is still the sea. It remains at its inhospitable best and for all the progress made in the sport Class 1 still enjoys, as its basic element, the battle of man and machine against the sea.
It's a demanding sport - described as a cross between driving a Formula 1 race car and flying an airplane - and its hardy competitors remain a breed apart in professional sport. Talented? Absolutely. Brave? Certainly. But one final thought that might give you a better understanding about these remarkable men and their awesome boats is a saying in Class 1 that perhaps sums it up better than anything. "If you're in control, you're going too slow."