Despite their understandable disappointment with the gradual, COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of the entire six-race 2020 American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series, all six venue producers are looking forward to returning in 2021. To that end, Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival organizer Lucy Nicandri recently reached out to her fellow organizers to establish several key objectives for the coming season.
APBA Offshore Championship Series producers have bonded together and are preparing for the 2021 season. Photo from Roar Offshore Fort Myers Beach 2019 by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix/speedonthewater.com.
“We continue to openly communicate with each other and work hard as a solid group of promoters,” she said. “Understanding that some things that may change for outdoor events in 2021, as a group we are working to anticipate what modifications we may all have to make as it relates to hand sanitization, masks, and proper social distancing. This would impact crowds on the beach as well as at a parade or block party.
“Our focus and strategy also is on identifying past sponsors who will be able to maintain their support for next year, as well as, soliciting new sponsors who may be experiencing an ‘up-tick’ in business despite the pandemic,” she added.
The inaugural 2019 APBA series was produced by a partnership between the Offshore Powerboat Association and Powerboat P1, as this year’s season was supposed to have been. (An immediate success, the 2019 series attracted record-setting fleets to all six venues.) Ed “Smitty” Smith, the president of the Offshore Powerboat Association, confirmed that two APBA-member organizations will team up again to produce the series in 2021.
Nicandri said that she and her fellow organizers also will be looking to the sanctioning American Power Boat Association member-organizations for assistance and input. For the 2021 season, they would like to see “consistency maintained throughout the series in all areas.” In addition, they are hoping to receive a targeted list of potential series sponsors and understand how those sponsors will “financially benefit all race sites.”
“We also want to continue to focus on regular social media initiatves as they relate to the series as a whole, as well as our individual race sites,” said Nicandri.