Powerboat racing returns to Patapsco

60 boats in 12 classes to compete next weekend


July 18, 1999|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

Next weekend, top regional and national powerboat racing returns to Baltimore when the field in the Chesapeake Challenge takes the green flag on the Patapsco River near Fort McHenry.

Racing headquarters will be at Baltimore Marine Center on Boston Street, where 60 racing boats in 12 classes will be open for viewing and surrounded by vendors of food, drink, equipment, T-shirts and memorabilia.

The Chesapeake Challenge first came to Baltimore last year after more than a decade of racing at other sites on Chesapeake Bay, and the racing was spectacular.

Average speeds can exceed 80 mph, the top classes can exceed 130 mph on the straightaways, and the level of competition is high, making for congested turns and thunderous drag races on the straight legs.

The course will run from the start line off Fort McHenry, under the Key Bridge past Fort Carroll and back. Racing will start at 1 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday.

On-water spectators will be required to stay within patrolled anchorages marked by the race organizers and approved by the Coast Guard.

The schedule of events:

Thursday: noon to 6 p.m., race registration and boat inspection, Baltimore Marine Center.

Friday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., race registration, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. boat inspection, Baltimore Marine Center. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., concession stands open. Noon to 2 p.m., blessing of the fleet at the Inner Harbor promenade.

Saturday: 11 a.m., concessions stands open and sweep boats depart. 1 p.m., club racing starts. 2 p.m. APBA class racing starts. 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. awards ceremony at Baltimore Marine Center.

Next Sunday: 11 a.m. concession stands open. 11: 30 a.m. sweep boats depart. 1 p.m. APBA class racing starts. 4 p.m., awards ceremony.

MBF Man of the Year

The Maryland BASS Federation has named Gov. Parris N. Glendening its Man of the Year for his efforts to save Chapman's Landing and protect Deep Creek Lake.

MBF president Butch Ward said Friday that the governor "went out on a limb to do what was right to protect the environment and our Potomac River bass fishery."

Chapman's Landing is a massive planned community proposed near Smallwood State Park in Charles County in the watershed of Mattawoman Creek. Anglers feared construction and loss of watershed buffers would have increased sediment and heavily damaged the popular creek.

Glendening said he was honored by the award and "the Potomac River bass fishery, which has been ranked in the top 10 nationally and the best tidal bass fishery on the East Coast, clearly demonstrates that environmental protection and enhancement make good economic sense and improve the quality of life for Maryland residents."

Flounder closure

Delaware's 23-day closure of its summer flounder fishery started Friday and will run through Aug. 7. State officials and anglers decided earlier this year that a temporary closure was the best option for meeting new federal catch guidelines.

The Interstate Fishery Management Plan requires a 40-percent reduction in catch of summer flounder to help rebuild the population of this species along the Atlantic Coast.

The closure does not affect anglers in Maryland waters, where the reduction in catch was met earlier this year by changing size and creel limits.

Pub Date: 7/18/99

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