City To Host Offshore Powerboat Racing Next Weekend

City To Host Offshore Powerboat Racing Next Weekend

OCEAN CITY — The grand spectacle of offshore powerboat racing returns to Ocean City next weekend and this time around, world championships will be on the line for the competitors in various classes.
Offshore powerboat racing has been a staple for the shoulder season in the resort off and on for the last decade or so with the Offshore Powerboat Racing Association (OPA) making stops in the resort during its summer-long racing series.
Because of the timing of the summer season in Ocean City and the need to close off a vast area of open ocean to accommodate the racing, the OPA typically puts its Ocean City stop at or near the front of the schedule.
Last year, for example, Ocean City was the first stop of the OPA racing series and the event arrived in mid-May. Next weekend, however, Ocean City is hosting the OPA world championships after the tour’s final stop last weekend at Solomon’s Island in southern Maryland.
Competitors in several classes accumulated points throughout the summer-long series that began in New Jersey in May and concluded at Solomon’s Island last week. Racers who collected the most points during the national summer series will compete next weekend in Ocean City for the world championships.
“This is a pretty big deal for Ocean City,” said Bull on the Beach and Crab Alley owner Phil Houck, who is coordinating the Ocean City race and associated events next weekend and whose own racing team will be competing. “We’ve had series stops here in the past and typically at or near the beginning, but this will determine the world championships. The biggest and the best will be here for this event next weekend.”
The Quality Inn on 17th Street will be the center of event on race day next Sunday with the start-finish line just off the coast in front of the hotel. The roughly rectangular course will run from 4th Street to 32nd Street with the start-finish line at 17th Street.
Several years ago, the Ocean City course was deemed too far offshore for fans and racing enthusiasts to see and hear the action. As a result, the Ocean City course in recent years has been moved closer to shore, which enhances the fan experience. Because of the close proximity to the shore, the ocean in the course area will be closed for swimming, boating and other activities during the races.
“Moving the course closer to shore really allows the fans to see and hear the action,” said Houck. “Those watching from the beach should be able to feel the boats as they roar past at high speeds.”
The competing offshore powerboats will start arriving in the resort area next Friday at the race village on the parking lot of the public boat ramp at the commercial harbor in West Ocean City. The crane area, wet pits, ramps and wash down areas will be centered at the race village all weekend.
Registration and a “meet the racers” party will be held at nearby Crab Alley next Friday. Similar events are set for the race village and at Crab Alley next Saturday including inspections and practice runs.
On Sunday morning, final preparations will be made including safety briefings at the race village and at the ocean course with the first race set to start at noon. The second race is scheduled for 2 p.m., with a third race planned for 3:30 p.m. if necessary, depending on the number of boats competing.
Houck said this week he expects about 30-40 boats to compete. The event concludes with an awards ceremony at Crab Alley next Sunday night.