Saturday, May 29, 2010

OPA Kicks off Great Summer of Racing at Ocean City

Summer officially arrives on Memorial Day weekend, and Ocean City MD is the first stop of the Offshore Powerboat Association’s (OPA) 2010 Offshore Racing Series - presented by Geico. This year's race will feature teams from across the country, a team from Qatar, and races by the Jersey skiffs and garveys — flat-bottomed boats that were originally designed for clamming. Over the years, thrill seekers have replaced the wood with fiberglass and now race the small vessels.

PHOTO CREDIT: Delmarva Daily Times

Last year, the racecourse was altered to move the action closer to the shoreline in order for spectators to get a better view. According to OPA president Ed Smith, it was difficult for spectators on the beach to see the races in 2008, so after visiting with the Ocean City representatives, one turn near 14th st. was moved closer to the shore in 2009. Now just 600 yards offshore rather than a mile out, it's much more spectator-friendly. The course is a total of 5.8 miles from 13 to 35th streets.

As usual, spectators will be able to view Sunday’s races from the beach, but for safety reasons, no one will be allowed in the water from Seventh to 22nd Streets from noon-12:45 p.m. and 2-2:45 p.m. Eight classes of boats will fight it out, with about 40 boats competing. Before the races, fans are invited to Sunset Marina in West Ocean City this (Friday) afternoon and all day Saturday to take a closer look at the boats and to meet the crews.

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