Powerboat Races Return Sunday

OCEAN CITY – The grand spectacle of offshore powerboat racing is set to return to the resort this weekend, June 15-17, with the arrival of the OPA Racing and Super-Cat Pro Series.

For years, the annual offshore powerboat races were a staple in the resort each fall before being discontinued for several years. Last fall, however, the fan favorite returned with a new national racing series and the same local sponsor, Bull on the Beach, which has its own boat and racing team. This year, the racing circuit is returning to Ocean City with the OPA Racing and Super Cat Pro Series on Father’s Day weekend.

Size, power and speed are the three words that best describe the powerful racing boats heading to Ocean City next month, and race enthusiasts will be able to view the spectacle from the beach and Boardwalk just 100 yards from the Atlantic Ocean. The series of powerboat races will pit roughly 60-70 world-class boats against each other in six separate categories. The state-of-the-art Pro Racing machines range from 500 horsepower “Production Class” boats to 4,000 horsepower multi-million dollar “superboats” capable of reaching speeds over 150 miles per hour.

The event is attracting race teams from across the country who will compete for prize money, trophies and points, which will count toward being named National Champion Race Team for the 2007 season.

AMF Offshore has registered for the event as well and will be bringing their 44-foot and 39-foot turbine cats. Speeds of these boats exceed the 180 mph mark.

The event begins today, Friday, June 15, starting at noon at Sunset Marina, the powerboat viewing headquarters, where fans can mingle with the racing teams for pictures and autographs. Starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, a welcoming party for the racers and their teams will be held at the Bull on the Beach on Route 50 and Keyser Point Rd.

On Saturday, the boats will be on display again at Sunset Marina from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with fun for the whole family. That night, there will be another welcoming party for the racers at the Commander Hotel on 14th Street and the Boardwalk.

Finally, Sunday, June 17, is race day and the boats on display all weekend will line up in the ocean to show what they can do. Around 11:30 a.m., all race boats will depart in single file to the milling area in the ocean around 50th Street. The first race will begin around 12:30 p.m. with the boats racing in a modified rectangle from 4th Street to 40th Street for 7-10 laps. The start/finish line for the race is set at 14th Street. The second race, set to begin around 2:30 p.m., will follow the same format.