Just spoke with Brad Schoenwald, the organizer for the Bimini Ocean Challenge, a three-day festival that kicked off today in Sunny Isle Beach, Miami. Schoenwald said the race village—the event includes an Offshore Powerboat Association race this Sunday—is already packed.
“The village is just swollen,” said Schoenwald. “There are so many OPA boats and teams here.”
Schoenwald, who headed to a Make-A-Wish’ event that’s part of the weekend festivities 30 minutes after I caught up with him, said he expects tonight’s party to attract more than 5,000 people.
“The party celebrates Miami,” he said. “It really doesn’t have anything to do with boats. They’re just the circus that attracts people. We’ll have live music—Betty Bang and the Evil Monkeys are playing—and a barbecue.”
While Schoenwald was pleased with the turnout for the race and the party, he said he was somewhat disappointed at the turnout for tomorrow’s roundtrip race to Bimini, which starts at 11 a.m. (EST). At present, only 14 boats are registered for the event.
“We’ll need six or seven boats to match last year’s number, and I’m not optimistic that we’ll get them,” he said. “We had some unfortunate casualties with broken boats. So some of it is unforeseen circumstances, some of it is economics. But even if we only had one boat, we’d still be going.”
Editor’s Note: Look for an update on the running of the Bimini Ocean Challenge tomorrow.