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Urbanna Cup postponed until June 18


As it was going to press on Wednesday, May 18, the Southside Sentinel was informed by event official Chris Riddick that due to pending bad weather, the Urbanna Cup boat races originally scheduled for this Saturday, May 21, have been re-scheduled to Saturday, June 18.

by Tom Chillemi

When the start horn sounds for the 4th annual Urbanna Cup boat races on Saturday, June 18, there won’t be the explosion of a NASCAR race—but the competition will be every bit as intense.

Although these 8-foot boats are powered by 6 or 8 horsepower engines, the rules strive to keep them all equal. That’s the goal of the Cocktail Class Wooden Boat Racing Association (CCWBRA)—to make the drivers’ skill the winning edge.

A meeting of the skippers and boat inspections will begin at 9 a.m.; races will begin about 10 a.m. and should conclude about 5 p.m; an awards ceremony will follow until about 6 p.m.; and a Music Under the Stars concert featuring the bluegrass band “Nu Fescue” will start at 7 p.m. All events are at the Urbanna Town Marina at the foot of Virginia Street.

Local to international
CCWBRA got its start on the Corrotoman River in nearby Lancaster County at the home of the late Dr. Curt Bluefeld. During a cocktail hour in 2007, the buzz of personal watercraft disturbed the peaceful sunset. Talk turned to the good ol’ days when kids built race boats—a spark ignited into a flame. By 2010 the passion for racing was burning, and the CCWBRA was born. Today, Cocktail Class boats are being raced in 33 states and 7 countries, and all boats carry names of different cocktail drinks.

In 2013 the Urbanna Creek Cocktail Class (UCCC) fleet formed and the first Urbanna Cup was held. It now has 10 boats with over a dozen local racers participating, including “Bulleit.”

Chris Riddick was among those who helped found the UCCC in 2013. “Captain” Riddick was the first to build a boat, and soon a group of more than six got together in a vacant Urbanna business to saw, sand and scheme a way to make their boats faster.

In 2014 Riddick went on to be the national champion in the 8-horsepower class, and won the Governor’s Cup in Florida.

He’s the defending Urbanna Cup champion in the 8-horsepower class. 

Will Riddick repeat? Don’t bet the farm just quite yet. As of Tuesday, May 17, he still had to repair the engine’s water pump on his boat “Urbanna Oyster Shooter (#73). But, he was confident he’d be on the water on June 18.

On your mark
Weeks and months of preparation will come down to the race start. Racers will circle behind the start line. Many will run their boats wide open toward the start line in a practice run. The goal is to be just behind, but not across, the start line when the starting horn sounds.

The flat-out run gives the boats momentum. They must run the turns cleanly, not turning too sharply or the propeller will stop driving and the boat will lose momentum.

For safety reasons, race heats and the race finals are limited to six boats. Each of the three heat races in each class is one lap in distance. The top two finishers from each heat race advance to the finals. The finals in each class also consist of three one-lap races.

Food and drink
Admission to the June 18 races is free. Breakfast and lunch will be served by the Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department of Urbanna. Also, the Urbanna Oyster Festival Foundation will have beer and wine for sale.

Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy a day of competition, food, fun and music.

posted 05.18.2016

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