Inaugural bathtub race ready to motor

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race will take racers from Summerland to Penticton.

Jim Cavin of the Summerland Yacht Club tests the waters of Okanagan Lake this week in his race tub to prepare for next month's first annual Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race. The club is organizing the fun event to raise money to help outfit the expansion to Penticton Regional Hospital.

Tubbers, start your engines.

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race is fast approaching, but there is still time for those who want to sign up for next month’s inaugural event in support of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation.

The  Aug. 22  day of fun and competition is patterned after the Nanaimo Marine Festival and International World Championship Bathtub Race, which has been running for nearly a half century.

According to treasurer Jim Cavin of the Summerland Yacht Club, the organization putting on the race, hope to raise $15,000 to help accessorize the new addition to Penticton Regional Hospital.

“When it (hospital tower) was announced we at the Summerland Yacht club thought we’ll do our bit to raise some money and the notion of a bathtub race came about because it’s sort of water thing and we’re water people and we’ve got nice lakes, nice beaches, nice parks and we’d give it a whirl,” said Cavin, whose been working on the race plans since last fall. “There’s not a lot of prize money but the main objective is to raise money for the hospital and to have fun, those are the two primary objectives.”

Organizers decided to have two race classes for the first event, a competitive group which will go from Summerland to Penticton and back and a fun division Cavin described as a “floating parade” which will do a circuit just offshore.

“Our target for this year was 20 tubs and right now we’re sitting at 17 or 18, but if we don’t get 20 that’s fine we have enough to have a good race,” he said. “The other is more of a fun thing, there’s a few what I call ‘contraptions’ in it. Initially that one was going to go to Penticton as well but those boats aren’t that fast and we wanted to give the people at Peach Orchard Park something to look at. We’ve got eight or nine boats in that class and we’ll have a couple of races and then a race off between the top float boats.”

Depending on water conditions he expects the competitive event will take about an hour to complete.

He has already built a couple of tubs, adding there is still time for someone to build their own. Construction plans are currently on the event website.

Cavin estimated the cost would be less than a $1,000 not including the engine. Used tubs can also be purchased.

“Most of the people have gone out and arranged for a sponsor or we helped them find a sponsor,” he said. “The community response has been really positive. Don’t know how many people to expect, but we have no illusions about this year, we’ll learn a lot. You have to walk before you run.”

Executive director Janis Perino of the medical foundation was especially pleased when she learned of the yacht club’s decision to hold the event.

“For me, as a former mayor, you love to see events come to the community that are fun and family orientated and this is one of those and of course being with the foundation when we’re so busy trying to raise funds for the hospital that’s just an added bonus, it’s just terrific,” she said. “To see an organization like the yacht club to take this on and say, ‘we’re doing this for Summerland, for Penticton for Keremeos, for Princeton for Oliver’ they’re doing it for the whole region.”

The day begins with breakfast at the yacht club at 7:30 a.m. followed by a pre race meeting.

Activities at Peach Orchard Park begin at 9:45 a.m. with a fleet parade, and introduction of skippers, a blessing of racers and then the first race heat for the fun event.

The main event will start at 10:30 a.m.

A wide variety of dry land events are planned for the park during the day including a beverage garden and many kids’ activities.

For more information go to the race website,


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