In anticipation of attracting their largest fleet in recent history, the organizers of the 35th annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix set for Sunday, July 7 in Southwest Florida are lenghtening their racecourse. Formerly 4.9 miles, this year’s course will be 6.17 miles and will extend slightly north of New Pass and south to the Sandcastle Resort.
Organizers of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix are expecting the best turnout in years for the upcoming 35th annual event. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill.
Based on the success of the Cocoa Beach, Fla., and the Lake Race in Lake Ozark, Mo., contests—each of which attracted more than 50 raceboats—Lucy Nicandri, the executive director of the week-long Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival, said she is expecting more than 50 domestic and international teams. Races will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The third stop in the six-race American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series, which is being produced by the Offshore Powerboat Association and the Powerboat P1 organization, the race will be broadcast live on the Powerboat P1 Facebook page. According to a press release from the organizers, CBS Sports and Fox Sports will broadcast one-hour post-race programs of the race. CBS will air on Sunday, August 4, at 3 p.m. (Fox Sports has not yet announced its air date but reportedly has confirmed that the show will air sometime in August.)
“We want to stage events that excite and entertain, ensuring enjoyment for spectators and TV audiences with great sponsor value and a real economic impact for host venues,” said Azam Rangoonwala, the chief executive officer of Powerboat P1, in the release.”
To raise money for Suncoast Charities for Children, the event’s primary benefactor, the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix organizers have scheduled a number of activities for the week. They include a “golf classic,” a powerboat boat and personal watercraft fun run on Sarasota Bay, a kickoff celebration called the “Boats On The Block” Downtown Block Party, a meet-and-greet with race teams, a car and motorcycle show and the traditional July 4 Bayfront Fireworks display. (Cick here for the full roster of activities.)
The charity remains the driving force behind all the events associated with the Festival and is the only race site run entirely by a local non-profit charity, according to Nicandri.
“With all the fun and excitement surrounding the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival it is sometimes easy to lose sight of this and many times the general public is not aware of this aspect. Sponsorships and donations are critical to sustain the event,” she said. “Every year we hope to ensure that a significant amount of net proceeds are generated to continue to fulfill our mission of supporting five local non-profit agencies which provide programs and services every year to over 5,000 local children, teens, and adults with special needs.”