The clock is ticking for those wanting to enter this year’s fourth annual Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race.
Started by the Summerland Yacht Club in 2015, with the goal of raising $60,000 for the South Okanagan Medical Foundation’s campaign to provide equipment for the $312 million Penticton Regional Hospital expansion David Kampe Tower, to date it has generated almost $76,000.
“Reaching our goal happened a little faster than we anticipated which is a good thing and we’re hoping this year we’ll top the $100,000 mark,” said Jim Cavin, yacht club director and race organizer.
This year’s competition is Saturday, Aug. 18 in the waters of Okanagan Lake just off Powell Beach in Trout Creek.
As in the past, there will be a wide variety of activities and events in the park during the day for all ages.
Kids’ will have plenty to do with bouncy castles, face painting, fish pond, colouring and bubble blowing.
Over the four years organizers have modified the races to provide the best in entertainment for those on shore as well as the competitors.
To that end there is a different format in the faster division this time around.
“This year in the A class we’re going to have qualifying heats so for example say if we had 12 Class A boats we would have a qualifying heat for six of them and the top four would go into the final race and then we’d have a qualifying heat for the other six and the same thing, the top four so the final race would have eight boats in it,” said Cavin. “So instead of one race you will eventually have three.”
Instead of a single 10-lap competition the A qualifiers and finals will be seven laps for a total of 28 miles on the two-mile circuit, harder on the knees for competitors but more to see for spectators.
With the exception of one minor change, the course is the same as last year heading north from the start for half the distance and back to the beach finish line.
The course is weather dependant meaning there could be changes on race day depending largely on wind conditions.
For the Class B (home built) which usually top out at 18 to 20 miles an hour compared to Class A (20 to 25 mph) there will be one 10-lap race.
As well, again this year there will be a Nanaimo class whose drivers are described by Cavin as: “Absolute hardcore competitors.”
They are tubbers who compete in the grandaddy of tub races, the Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society’s World Championship Bathtub Race, which is in its 52 year in the waters off Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.
They hit speeds in excess of 48 kilometres per hour and will also do 10 laps of the Ogopogo race.
At this point, due to a conflicting race date with another event Cavin is not sure just how many of those will be attending.
It’s anticipated that as many as 25 boats in total will be competing at this year’s event.
First place in last year’s A Class was the Summerland Dental Centre tub with skipper Mike Abougoush, B Class champ was skipper Ken Hardardt in the Summerland Waterfront Resort tub and Brian Stoochnow was the Nanaimo super modified winner.
On race day the schedule kicks off at 8 a.m. with the breakfast in the park, kids’ activities begin at 10 a.m. and the B Class racers take to the water at 11 a.m.
Lunch is at noon along with the start of musical entertainment by Michael David.
The Class A competition goes at 12:30 p.m. followed by the Nanaimo super modified race at 1:30 p.m. which is also the start of the family sand sculpting competition.
The wind up celebrations are at 3 p.m. with the awards dinner at the Summerland Yacht Club starting at 6 p.m.
For more information or to sign up for the race go to ogopogobathtubrace.com.