For the past 36 years, the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix benefitted Southwest Florida-based Suncoast Charities For Children, which a couple of years ago rebranded its summer fundraising activities as Suncoast Summer Fest. That tradition will end this year as the Powerboat P1-produced race, which is set for July 2-3 and is third of eight races in the 2022 American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series, is no longer part of Summer Fest.
Though the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix will return this year, it is no longer part of Suncoast Summer Fest, which benefits Suncoast Charities for Children. Photo from the 2021 event by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
According to Lucy Nicandri, the executive director of Suncoast Charities for Children, the change became official last month.
“Our Blast On The Bay Boat Charity Fun Run (July 8-9) along with four or five other fundraisers are still part of Suncoast Summer Fest, but the race is not,” she said. “This was a mutual decision between Suncoast Charities for Children and Powerboat P1.”
Race-delay issues—and one entire race cancelation that affected the Super Cat and Class 1 teams—marred last year’s Sarasota Powerboat Grand. Those problems reportedly contributed to Suncoast Charities for Children’s decision to permanently step away from the event, but its board of directors had been leaning that way for the past few years.
The transition started last year.
“After 36 years, on April 1, 2021, the board of directors for Suncoast Charities for Children decided to step away from organizing the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Race and assist Powerboat P1 for one year in making a smooth transition as the race organizer,” said Nicandri. “This decision was based on the fact that while the races generated a significant economic impact for Sarasota and the surrounding area, they could no longer be considered a strong fundraising event for Suncoast Charities for Children.”
Several less-complicated fundraising events such as the aforementioned Blast On The Bay Charity Fun Run remain on the Suncoast Summer Fest Roster.
“The decision made by the Suncoast Charities for Children board is a win-win for everyone involved,” Nicandri explained. “It will allows the charity—operating multiple events with only two staff members—to focus solely on expanding Suncoast Summer Fest events and explore new events that will align with our fundraising mission.
“At the same time, it will allow more flexibility for Powerboat P1 to work with sponsors, expand their events surrounding the races, and negotiate a multi-year contract,” she added.
The P1 group issued the following statement this morning: “The Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix would not be the event it is today without Suncoast Charities for Children. We applaud their years of work, especially that of Lucy Nicandri, to organize and operate this race. We’re grateful for their partnership in transitioning the race to Powerboat P1, and placing their confidence in us to produce this event. This venue holds heritage and tradition that we will honor and build upon.
“With rising team entries, the 2022 P1 Offshore Sarasota Grand Prix is set to be another great event, and with the addition of Class 1, we expect this year to be a standout.”
Editor’s Note: Powerboat P1’s statement was added to this after it went live this morning.