Of all the high-performance powerboat events cancelled last year, few hit go-fast boat enthusiasts harder than the Race World Offshore Key West World Championships. Larry Bleil, the president of the Key West, Fla., organization held out hope into the early summer of 2020, but wisely withdrew the annual weeklong, early November event from consideration just one day before the Key West City Commission could withdraw it for him.
Set for November 7-14, this year’s offshore races hosted in the popular Florida destination are particularly important to Bleil and his team, and not simply because they had to scrub last year’s event. The RWO crew was awarded the five-year contract to produce the Key West happening in the spring of 2019, which didn’t give them much time to plan and execute the event. And though they still walked away with a successful result from their first outing, they needed more time.
Plus, for the catamaran, Stock V, Mod V and Extreme V classes, the RWO Key West races are the official American Power Boat Association world championships The APBA World Championships for the Bracket classes will be held November 18-21 in Englewood Beach, Fla.
So Bleil company have been busy. Most recently, they renewed their partnership with Sunoco and its distributor Southern Racing Fuels for Key West, as well as their Clearwater Hooters Offshore Championships recently rescheduled for September 24-26. They’ve also filed their United States Coast Guard permits for both venues, received approval for Monroe Tourism Development Council funding and secured the far end of the Outer Mole for their VIP experience hospitality package.
“We are selling more and more VIP tickets every day—it’s going really well,” said Bleil. “The only change this year is that we won’t have the Wednesday buffet, but we will blow it out on Friday and Sunday. The Fury catamaran will shuttle people from the Opal resort, the former Margaritaville, to the VIP hospitality area on the Outer Mole.”
“We already have more sponsors this year than we had in 2019,” he said. “Securing local sponsorships has gone really well. I hired a new guy to do nothing but sell sponsorships, and it works.”
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