The waters off Nanaimo are the place to be for all the world’s fastest bathtub racers.
The Great International World Championship Bathtub Race, the Harbour City’s signature summer event, happens this Sunday, July 23.
“Everything’s coming along great,” said Greg Peacock, commodore of the Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society, which organizes the Nanaimo Marine Festival every year.
The weekend starts with a concert at Maffeo Sutton Park on Saturday, July 21, headlined by rock band Trooper, a recently announced addition to Canada’s Walk of Fame.
“The guys from Trooper are excited and we’re excited to have those guys back,” said Peacock.
On Saturday, July 22, the Sailpast on Wheels parade happens along Nanaimo’s usual parade route on Commercial, Church and Front streets, starting at 10:30 a.m.
“The parade’s looking really cool,” said Peacock, noting that organizers were thrilled with last year’s participation and expecting similar enthusiasm this time around.
While the previous night’s concert is a ticketed event, Saturday’s concerts at the park are all free, with the music going from 1-10 p.m., headlined by the Joe Cocker Experience starting at 8 p.m.
Sunday’s great race starts in Nanaimo harbour off Maffeo Sutton Park at 11 a.m. and the winner could arrive back at the beach anytime after noon. This year’s field will again be a competitive mix of super-modified, modified and stock tubs, and tubbers have been getting tuned up and ready to be fast on race day.
“A lot of these guys, they’ve been playing around quite a bit over the winter and into the spring and more recently they’re going out quite a bit, you’ll see them around town out at the lakes and out in Departure Bay ripping it up,” Peacock said.
There’s a bit of uncertainty around the weather for race day, but the tubbers will be ready for smooth sailing or stormy seas.
“Most of these guys have done it enough times now that they have different set-ups for if it’s flat, a different prop for if it’s rough, those kind of things,” Peacock said. “They’ve done enough testing and trials and everything and have a good understanding of what they need to do to get from point A to point B.”
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