With its world championships set for Englewood Beach, Fla., the Offshore Powerboat Association will close out its 2019 season. In addition to three OPA-specific races of its own, this year’s OPA season included a collaboration with the Powerboat P1 organization and producers at six venues to produce the inaugural American Power Boat Association Championship Series, which concluded last month in Fort Myers Beach, Fla.
Back-to-back days of competition in Englewood Beach this weekend will produce plenty of action—and 2019 season OPA world champions. Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
While all of the APBA series races—plus the OPA-specific events— contributed to the point standing used by OPA to crown its national champions in all classes, all teams head to the Saturday and Sunday races in Englewood Besach with a clean slate. Englewood Beach organizer Ray LaBadie said he’s expecting more than 60 teams to participate in the event, which the Southwest Florida city will be hosting for the fifth consecutive year.
What follows is a quick look at what to expect from three of the most competitive classes—one catamaran and two V-bottom—with solid fleets this weekend. (Fans who aren’t on scene can watch the action, which is scheduled to start each day at 10 a.m., on either the OPA’s Facebook page or its YouTube channel.)
Running under the Cape Haze Marina banner this weekend, Ryan Beckley’s S-111 Skater catamaran will take on at least five other Super Stock teams.
Though the APBA championship-winning Performance Boat Center team won’t compete in Englewood Beach, no less than six teams will take to the Gulf of Mexico waters. They include Cape Haze Marina, FJ Propeller, Hulk, Phase 05/Killer Bee, Shadow Pirate and Wicked Powerboats. Said Cape Haze Marina throttleman Ryan Beckley, “We may even have a couple more.”
Pro Stock V
LSB’s Brit Lilly and Kevin Smith will be looking for yet another championship in Englewood Beach.
Already in Englewood Beach, APBA series champions Brit Lilly and Kevin Smith of the LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness team will mix it up with up to 10 teams including Done Deal and the new Nobody’s Business cockpit duo. According to Lilly, half of the class already has arrived at the venue. “It’s going to be one hell of a showdown,” he said.
Super Vee Extreme
The Boatfloater.com team is hoping to back up their APBA series title with an OPA world championship.
Steve and Stephen Kildahl, the Sarasota, Fla., based father-and-son team that claimed the APBA championship series title in their Boatfloater.com raceboat, will be looking to add another title to their formidable resume this weekend. But to do that, they’ll have get past Sun Print, JRA Boat Sales, Mr. Technology, Punisher, Sheriff Lobo and Raven. Said Sun Print owner and throttleman Steve Miklos, “Those are the teams we know for sure will be here.”
Editor’s Note: Veteran high-performance marine writer Eric Colby will cover the OPA World Championships for speedonthewater.com. Look for his reports on Saturday and Sunday.