WHEN Jaime Garcia first stepped into a Bathtub race boat and hit the open waters more than a decade ago, he instantly fell in love with the sport.
“That was it,” Garcia said. “I was hooked. It’s the only thing where I get that adrenaline rush.”
Since then, Garcia, a journeymen mechanic and instructor at Vancouver Island University, has been racing and building Bathtub boats. He just finished constructing his newest boat, worth more than $5,000.
“This boat has been in my head for five years and I finally laid it down and it actually turned out pretty good. I’m pretty impressed.”
The newly constructed boat is made of carbon fibre kevlar-infused materials, resulting in it being lighter than previous boats that Garcia has built.
“I haven’t really tested it much. I’ve had it in the water twice and this one right off the bat does 37 miles per hour. That’s pretty good for an eight-horsepower motor,” he said.
Garcia, who has built four boats, said the boat was designed to be able to float better and handle all types of weather.
“If it is smooth or rough out, this boat will take it,” he said. “It’s built for rough and good weather.”
Some of the earliest Bathtub racing boats were constructed with a mostly wood hull and a moulded fiberglass tub attached. Other designs have included the use of aluminum and various other types of metals.
Today, Bathtub boats are typically constructed using mainly fiberglass as it’s lighter and cheaper than other materials.
According to Garcia, the first, and most important step, in building any bathtub racer is to create moulds of a bathtub and hull.
“You have to have moulds,” Garcia said. “You get your moulds and then you wax everything.”
Once moulds are created, waxed and dried, they are eventually glued together to create a Bathtub race boat. Other components such as the fuel tank, navigation equipment and motor are all added afterwards.
“You gotta be mechanically inclined and have a pretty good idea of what you are doing,” Garcia said.
He said Bathtub racing and building Bathtub boats is a relatively inexpensive hobby compared to other motorsports.
“The cost for a basic tub, just to build is about $2,500. That’s pretty cheap,” he said. “If you’re racing a car it’s $10,000 to $15,000. If you’re racing a dirt bike it is the same thing. This is a pretty inexpensive hobby.”
Garcia said he is looking forward to racing his new boat and hopes this year will finally be the year he wins the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race, which will take place tomorrow (July 24) as part of Nanaimo Marine Festival. For more, please visit www.bathtubbing.com.