Three men, including Italian racing icon and fast patrol boat specialist Fabio Buzzi have been killed in a powerboat record attempt.

Fabio Buzzi 1943- 2019

Fabio Buzzi 1943- 2019

The vessel hit an artificial reef outside Venice in the early hours of the 18th September. The accident took place seconds after crossing the finish line of a successful attempt to beat Buzzi's existing powerboat speed record from Monte Carlo to Venice. It has been speculated that extreme tiredness following the eighteen and a half hour passage and the dazzling scatter of bright lights from Venice, behind the dark reef could have led to the pilotage confusion.

It has been estimated that the boat hit the rock armoured breakwater type structure at about 80 knots, suffering a catastrophic impact as it was launched violently upwards finishing the other side, partially sunk. A fourth crewmember was thrown out of the boat and is recovering in hospital.

Fabio Buzzi was best known to readers of MJ for his company, FB Design, and its high performance commercial vessel designs. He was also a great friend and fellow powerboat racing competitor of MJ contributor Dag Pike, who’s words follow below:

Buzzi was the Italian who transformed offshore powerboat racing and then went on to become a major influence in the design and development of fast patrol boats. As the winner of many world championships and establishing long distance records Buzzi did more for fast powerboat development than anybody else over the past 50 years.

I raced with Fabio as his navigator for over 25 years and was also his navigator on many of his record attempts. We even shared the same birthday. He was the ultimate professional, analysing every detail of the boat and the course as well as the opposition. No stone was left unturned in the quest for perfection and it was that same attention to detail that made such a success of FB Design, the company that he founded to exploit the potential of high performance designs for fast patrol boats.

Fabio transformed the world of fast patrol boats with his designs bringing much needed reliability to the concept. When he needed a new fitting or concept he would design and build it in his workshops and he was the brains behind the two speed gearbox, the Trimax surface drive and dedicated high performance seating. His innovations included the anti-stuff bow and Structural Foam construction as well as the Stab concept of rigid inflatable.

Fabio’s death will leave a gaping hole in the high performance sector. I doubt we will ever see his like again. Generous to a fault, Fabio would not tolerate officialdom and he had a constant battle with the UIM, the world governing body of powerboat racing. His constant successes in the racing field was his answer to the rule makers and with Fabio, all the others were often racing for second place. Only last year he set a new diesel record for boats, getting the Guinness Book of Records to record the speed when the UIM deemed that he was not eligible.

Fabio, we will miss you.