Bathtub racers are bracing for challenges that will be thrown their way Sunday (July 26), at the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race.
This year sees a new course. Starting at Maffeo Sutton Park, tubbers will head northwest around Maude Island, back towards Five Fingers Island, down around Protection Island, into the harbour and ending by the statue of Frank Ney.
Long-time bathtubber Jaime Garcia, who finished eighth last year, navigated the course by boat and said it will be a challenge around Protection and Newcastle islands.
“I’ve been out there when it gets blowing and it’s a southeasterly and it’s pretty gnarly [with] three to four-foot chops. You don’t have the protection of Jesse Island when you go in, so it’s going to be harder to run,” said Garcia.
Marian Stewart, veteran bathtubber and 2014 seventh-place finisher, did a dry run Monday and said it seemed similar to last year’s, although the waters were calm. She is concerned about winds and conditions come race day.
The rule of thumb is tubbers making it to Entrance Island have a good chance of finishing, she said.
“Because of all the escort boats and the people that are starting off in really the first 10 [racers], that’s a lot of wake and swell and everything else that’s going around Entrance, so a lot of the boats do go down going around Entrance and coming up to Entrance,” said Stewart.
The 2015 race will also be a family affair for Garcia, as 14-year-old daughter Deisy is entered as well.
This is Deisy’s first year racing and Jaime Garcia has been offering advice on the challenges. He has told his daughter how to drive the bathtub, tackle waves and deal with the physical toll and fatigue bathtub racing can cause on the body.
“I’ve gone through it already with the first race and I’m not looking forward to the pain of the next one,” said Deisy Garcia.
She finished second in a race on Father’s Day, but for Jaime Garcia, it’s not so much about placing Sunday.
“My biggest hope is that she finishes because it’s an accomplishment on its own. Because even if you don’t finish in the top, it’s such a gruelling and enduring race. When you’re out there, that’s all that matters is finishing the race, because it’s so rough,” he said.
The Great International World Championship Bathtub Race starts at 11 a.m. For more information on events during Marine Festival, go here.