Boat race organizers gearing for city event

Race World Offshore officials were in Dunkirk last week. From left are Rodrick Cox, Rich Dancisin and Larry Bleil and Hector Rosas, city festivals and special events coordinator.

Less than two months before the first Offshore Powerboat Racing in Dunkirk, organizers were on hand last week to discuss details and logistics for what is expected to be the largest happening in the city this summer.

Larry Bleil, chief executive officer of Race World Offshore, and his team met with city officials and looked over the waterfront in regard to the event that will take place from Aug. 17 to 19. Bleil said he has visited Dunkirk for years and is thrilled to see race plans on Lake Erie become a reality.

“Having an event like this … and make it an annual event … people are going to mark it on their calendar and show up,” he said.

Boats will begin showing up earlier in the race week and staged on the property near the Clarion Hotel Marina and Conference Center on Lake Shore Drive East. The boats will then be transported to the city pier to be placed into the water by crane.

“This is going to be fantastic,” said Rodrick Cox, business development official with Race World Offshore. “When people see us lift the boats and put them in the water it’s going to be a spectacle.”

Sunday’s races will take place with the pier being the starting and finish line. Boaters will then head east about 2 miles before coming back to the pier.

Preliminary races will be at noon and in two classes. The finale is set for 2 p.m.

“What’s really neat is everything is right here, right together,” Cox said. “It’s such a close location. … The people here, the way they’ve received us, has been outstanding.”

One of the concerns regarding the racing is the Lake Erie’s often choppy waves. Cox said the boats are up for the challenge.

“It’s a great race track,” he said.