Marian Stewart sits inside her Bathtub race boat. Stewart has been an avid Bathtub racer for more than a decade and will be participating in the upcoming Great International World Championship Bathtub Race.

Marian Stewart sits inside her Bathtub race boat. Stewart has been an avid Bathtub racer for more than a decade and will be participating in the upcoming Great International World Championship Bathtub Race.

Adrenaline carries Bathtub racers

NANAIMO – Nanaimo Marine Festival and World Championship Bathtub Race takes place July 21-24.

When Marian Stewart climbs into a Bathtub race boat and fires up the engine, she gets a feeling like no other.

“You can have a headache, you can be sick, you can be aching, but as soon as you get in that boat, the adrenaline kicks in,” she said.

Stewart, an avid boater, has been a Bathtub racer for more than a decade and will be competing in the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race, which takes place tomorrow (July 24) as part of Nanaimo Marine Festival.

“All you think about is finishing the race,” Stewart said. “The waves can be three feet to five feet; you can be pounding into the waves and all you’re focused on is finishing that race.”

Being a Bathtub racer is something that requires a combination of skill and athletic ability. All participants in the Great Race are required to have their boater’s licence and it’s ideal to have some previous boating experience before getting into the sport.

Jaime Garcia, a veteran Bathtub racer and participant in the upcoming race, said anything can happen out on the water.

“There are a lot of different things that can happen out at sea, especially because it is a 36-mile endurance race out in the open ocean. You’re battling not only Mother Nature, but you’re battling yourself,” Garcia said.

Weather plays a huge factor in any race and a good racer will have the ability to read the water.

“There are a lot of currents out there, especially at Entrance Island where the currents meet and there is water going every which way, so you gotta pick a line and hammer through it,” he said.

Another important skill for any racer is fuel management.

“You gotta know how much gas you have,” Garcia said. “Usually your boat has extra fuel, but if it is gnarly out then it is hard because the boats don’t float very well.”

Garcia said being a Bathtub racer is no walk in the park and requires physical and mental strength.

“It takes a special kind of person to get in one of these. You have to have time and willpower,” he said.

“You have to be a little bit of an athlete, too, because you get thrown around and you get beat up. You’re bouncing around and you’re flying over three- to six-foot chop.”

Getting knocked around is something that Stewart knows all too well as a racer. Five years ago, she participated in a race where only 13 of 54 contestants ended up finishing. Stewart managed to finish, but not without hurting herself.

“I flipped out of my tub three times,” Stewart said. “The air vent was spewing out gas because I was hitting the water so hard and all my leg along my wetsuit was burning. It was like I had ants in my pants. I was on fire. I had chemical gas burns.”

Stewart said ringing the bell at the end of every race is a feeling she’ll never get tired of.

“The best memories are always ringing the bell,” she said.

“That’s really the best feeling … it’s emotional. It’s pure adrenaline. You really feel nothing but static.”

For more information on the marine festival and Bathtub racing, please visit www.bathtubbing.com.

Just Posted

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read