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(From left) Sid Bensalah (Secretary General of the WPPA), Ocke Mannerfelt, Ted Mannerfelt, Arif Al Zaffain (Managing Director of the Victory Team) and Dr. Khalid Al Zahed (Vice President of the WPPA) at the Mannerfelt Design Group facility.

9 May 2013, Dubai – Conditions may be too steamy for powerboat racing in Dubai right now, but there’s been no rest for the UIM XCAT World Series and World Professional Powerboating Association (WPPA) management team. A delegation including Dr. Khalid Al Zahed, Vice President of the WPPA, Sid Bensalah, Secretary General of the WPPA and Arif Al Zafein, Managing Director of the Victory Team travelled to Amsterdam and Stockholm this week to discuss further developments in the sport. Always striving to improve on the already-successful XCAT series, among the topics discussed in Amsterdam during the UIM COMINOFF meeting was the possible introduction of the newly designed 04 Stroke Mercury XCAT Engines which mark a massive step forward in terms of green racing – and consideration of the environment. “It’s time to shift to the 04 stroke engines to replace the existing 02 stroke. In 10 days Mercury Racing together with Victory Team and WPPA will conduct a series of testing and we will most probably use these new engines as part of the test in the remaining XCAT World Series 2013 races. We will hopefully also start the engines homologation with the UIM for implementation starting in 2014,” said Bensalah. Also discussed was the XCAT class of racing’s inclusion in the world governing body of powerboating, UIM’s offshore racing commission, Cominoff.  The Cominoff members at the meeting in Amsterdam endorsed the application and the UIM will defer the proposal to the UIM council meeting in June for ratification. “Today we believe that the UIM Cominoff is a better structured commission with much more activity and more experienced people managing the sport. The Cominoff has shown its ability to review and take decisions in a timely manner and for the benefit of the sport. We also believe that being in a category with many other offshore boats and a number of categories will be to the benefit of the XCAT class and aid in its growth,” said Bensalah, who also presented a report on the 2013 XCAT World Series so far and proposed future submissions for the racing rules for the 2014 season. It was then on to Stockholm, Sweden, where the UAE delegation, visited the Mannerfelt Design Group facility to meet with founder Ocke Mannerfelt and his son, Ted, to discuss improvement in the design and safety of the existing XCAT boats, and also look to potential future opportunities in terms of boat racing designs. Chief designer and Managing Director of the company, Ted Mannerfelt studied at the Royal College of Art in London and has himself won several world championship titles in offshore racing. Another string to his bow is having designed concept cars for Jaguar Advanced Design. Mannerfelt Design Group has claimed numerous design and innovation awards over the years and their boats have picked up an impressive 21 World Championships titles since 1995. “The Mannerfelt Group is a leading boat design company in the world and today we are proud to work with the Mannerfelt establishment. Their incredible innovation and involvement is not only in the boating sector but also in housing design – state of the art stables and much more,” said Bensalah of the meeting in Stockholm. Action in the UIM XCAT World Series is set to resume after the summer, with several international races planned, before racing returns to the UAE in December. Dubai-based Fazza still leads the series standings with 830 points from the three heats so far, with Mouawad 50 second on 671 and Gabon 33 third on 525.

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