Auto-boat racing, as it was first known, traces its history back to the late 19th century and for a brief period was even an Olympic sport. And with great sadness, the dominating, long-inhabited sport has lost a true champion.
The first lady of offshore — the pioneering off-shore boat racing champion — Lady Violet Aitken, has passed away at the age of 94. And in her 94 years, and throughout her lifelong love of Canada — there was not much the revolutionary Aitken hadn't dreamed of, experienced or achieved.
Lady Violet Aitken was the daughter-in-law of Miramichi-raised Sir William Maxwell Aitken, better known as Lord Beaverbrook — a benefactor of the University of New Brunswick and founder and sponsor of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.
She was the first female chancellor of the University of New Brunswick, a post she held for 10 years. She also served on the board of the Beaverbrook Foundation and was the driving force behind key projects.
Denoted as New Brunswick's most ardent ambassadors, the mother of two — was a mighty favorite and champion Powerboat Racer, a fiercely competitive powerboat racer. While perhaps some thought Lady Violet Aitken arrived on the powerboat racing scene to try something new — others simply admired her strength, courage, and female-stance after winning her first world championship in 1977 at Key West, Fla.
What is Offshore Powerboat Racing?
Go fast or go home. Powerboat racing comprises of high-speed boats racing on water. It is essentially the aquatic version of off-road automobile racing. In offshore powerboat racing, you’ll find the quickest accelerating boats on the planet. Roaring 200+ mph down the course. Powerboat racing takes more than just showing up and dropping a boat in the water.
Offshore powerboats have a crew of two in an enclosed cockpit, one person controls the steering the other controls the throttles. Battling with high-powered engines — it takes major racing skills and nerves of steel.
For the best in offshore racing action, the Super Boat International World Championships in Key West, Fla., are the place to be.
The Matriarch — Lady Violet Aitken
Lady Violet Aitken was the first powerboat female racer. She found her way to the winner’s circle — winning the Ladies’ Trophy on several occasions. The death of Lady Violet Aitken means we have lost a true legend.
Lady Aitken had a zest for life as she traveled far and wide — and was successful in not only powerboat racing but had a keen enthusiasm for horse racing.
She is survived by their children, Maxwell, the third Lord Beaverbrook, who retired as commandant general of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force in 2019 — and Laura, a writer whose daughter Lucci also shares her grandmother’s passion for powerboat racing.
Lady Aitken, powerboat racer, was born on June 17, 1926. She died on February 18, 2021, at the age of 94,