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Heine wins Nanaimo's big bathtub race

Clint Heine of Errington won the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race on Sunday in Nanaimo.
Clint Heine reaches the beach at Departure Bay on Sunday at the finish line of the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race. Heine won for the second time in three years.

To see a slideshow of photos from Sunday's bathtub race, please click here.

The great race was a little wetter than most years, but that didn't slow down dozens of high-performance bathtubs.

Clint Heine of Errington won the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race on Sunday in Nanaimo for the second time in three years.

Heine was able to catch up and pass Brandon Leigh in Departure Bay and made it to the finish-line bell 15 seconds ahead of the runner-up. Defending champion Nathan Barlow finished in third place just as a downpour came and increased the degree of difficulty for the remaining tubs.

Heine and Leigh were neck and neck around the Winchelsea Islands. Leigh was able to pull away a little at that point, but then ran out of fuel. As he sloshed it all over himself trying to hastily refill his tank, the veteran Heine sped right by.

"I guess he did get a bit of fuel in there and get going, but not quick enough," said Heine.

He said his tub was set up well for the conditions, with his motor running a little deeper in the water.

"[It] seems to work a little better in rough conditions but it's not quite as fast," he said. "You've got to take the gamble whether to go for the rougher or go for a higher speed … I'm kind of in between."

The choppiest seas on Sunday were around the Neck Point area. Leigh said it was hard to judge the waves there.

"It's basically just trying to stay afloat, stay up, because it's very easy to hook the nose in the wave and you're done," he said.

He met that challenge, but then simply ran out of gas at the crucial moment.

"It's an inconvenience, but it happens," Leigh said. "It eats up a lot of fuel out there when you're climbing up the front side of a five-foot wave every two seconds."

Heine's official time was one hour, 19 minutes, 52 seconds, about 10 minutes off record pace. Bill McGuire, commodore of the Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society, said the finishing times were impressive considering the weather.

"We're not too far off the world record," he said. "That augurs well for today's tubs."

Leigh, who raced a tub that formerly belonged to multiple-time champion Aaron Froats, said he'll keep trying to finish one place higher.

"It's probably one of the better boats and engines out there. It should be a possibility," he said.

As for the winner, Heine's victory was an emotional one. At the finish line he got a bit choked up remembering Angus Ross, a sponsor and friend who built Heine's tub and died of cancer in January.

"So it means a lot for me and him and his wife…" said Heine. "The first overall trophy is in his name. He was a longtime tubber; he's built a lot of tubs for the tubbers."

Including a real good one for this year's champion.

Top finishers at the great race include:

1. Clint Heine, Errington, super-modified, 1:19:52.2. Brandon Leigh, Nanaimo, super-mod, 1:20:06.3. Nathan Barlow, Nanoose Bay, super-mod, 1:25:36.4. Angie Gignac, Nanaimo, super-mod, 1:29:05.5. David McHardy, Surrey, modified, 1:29:40.6. Teryl Jeffrey, Victoria, stock, 1:29:46.7. Rob Saywell, Nanaimo, stock, 1:31:23.8. Jaime Garcia, Nanaimo, super-mod, 1:34:46.9. Cooper Rey, Nanaimo, stock, 1:35:32.10. Max Mielke, Nanaimo, stock, 1:40:01.

For a list of award winners and a photo gallery, please click here.

About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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