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Stage set for Powerboat World championship

MUMBAI, MARCH 6. The Arabian Sea off the 4-km long Marine Drive stretch will roar for 45 minutes from noon on Sunday when the signature event of the F1 UIM World Powerboat World championship will be held for the first time in India.

The Mumbai leg will mark the beginning of the 2004 season.

Twenty-four colourful catamarans fitted with 63 accessories and powered by 2.5 litre Mercury engines will form an impressive line-up at the starting pontoon. Once the yellow button is pressed inside the cockpit, the boats, known as `cruising cats' reach a speed of 100 kmph in approximately 3.5 seconds and thereafter skim the water at speeds in excess of 225 kmph.

The F1 World powerboat championship was launched in 1981. Italian Guido Cappellini has been crowned eight times between 1990 and 2003. The 44-year-old Cappellini was once nicknamed `Crashalini' because of the number of times he rolled his boat in the first five years of his career.

The success of the event might encourage the Government of Maharashtra to make the Grand Prix an annual event in the city. The event will be telecast live by ESPN-Star Sports from noon. — Our Special Correspondent

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