Owners of high-performance catamarans and V-bottoms 23 feet and longer will get a chance to air out their rides at the Chain-O-Lakes Shootout on August 5. Organized by the Northern Illinois Offshore Club, the event is in its second year on Grass Lake.
The liquid-mile top-speed competition is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and finish at 3 p.m. Radar will be used to capture the speeds of the boats on the lake, which according to a press release/flyer from the organizers will be “no wake” during the competition.
A favorite haunt for Northern Illinois powerboat enthusiasts, Blarney Island will be event headquarters for the 2017 Chain-O-Lakes Shootout.
Blarney Island, a well-known location in the local and national performance-boating communities, will be the pit area for competitors and primary viewing location for spectators. There also will be a designated spectator fleet area for viewing along the course.
The Northern Illinois Offshore Club’s Brad Zastrow, the event’s chief organizer, said he expects the shootout to attract up 45 boats and several thousand on-site viewers from casual observers to hardcore go-fast boating fans. Last year, the event saw 25 boats compete in front an estimated 2,000 spectators.
“Last year, we were learning and we had so many governmental agencies to get permits from that less than 30 days before the event we weren’t even sure it was going to be held,” said Zastrow. “We were not allowed to use Blarney Island as a base of operation last year and we really didn’t get enough time to advertise it, but we still had 2,000 spectators. For a first-year event, it was a great success.
“We have Blarney Island this year and we’ve been working with a couple of radio stations for a live broadcast,” he continued. “We’ve also been working with our ‘sister club,’ West Michigan Offshore, and they said they have eight to ten members who would be interested in running the event.”
A helmet, racing vest and lanyard are required equipment. Per requirements of local permitting agencies, complete safety assets including dive/rescue teams have been secured for the event. Safety inspections will be required for all boats competing. Participants can register through the NIOC website or at the Blarney Island venue on the day of the speed contest.