Savin Rock Beach Brawl’ coming to West Haven
WEST HAVEN, Sept. 2, 2014 — No, it’s not a prizefight.
But on Sept. 6-7, the “Savin Rock Beach Brawl” is expected to bring out the competitive fight in personal watercraft operators participating in the first racing event of its kind in West Haven, just offshore Oak Street Beach in Long Island Sound.
Race director and promoter Wayne Ordon said the event is open to male and female operators of all sit-down and stand-up watercraft, including boys and girls at least 10 years old.
Ordon said he expects several dozen watercraft operators of various skill levels to compete in between 16 and 20 five-minute races each day.
The weekend-long event is being presented by the Northeast Watercraft Alliance and sponsored by WetWerX Water & Snow, SBT, BlackTip Jetsports and the International Jet Sports Boating Association.
“This is a highly anticipated race,” said Ordon, who owns the Troy, New York-based Northeast Watercraft Alliance and WetWerX, which sells personal watercraft and snow equipment. “It’s been over a decade since the last race was held in the state, which was in Bridgeport. We’re looking forward to the triumphant return of watercraft racing in Connecticut. Hopefully, it’s an event to remember.”
So far, Ordon said, the response has been positive leading up to the event.
Even Mayor Edward M. O’Brien is getting in on the action, challenging Milford Mayor Benjamin G. Blake to “a fast but friendly competition.”
Blake accepted O’Brien’s goodwill gesture late last week.
O’Brien said he welcomed the water sports event, noting that West Haven’s 3 1/2-mile shoreline, which comprises 25 percent of Connecticut’s public beaches, is a natural fit to host such an event.
“I’m looking forward to this exciting watercraft racing event, both as a participant and as a spectator,” O’Brien said. “I’m also looking forward to seeing it generate revenue for our local businesses.”
O’Brien then joked, “I can’t wait to dust Ben Blake.”
According to Ordon, the “serpentine-shaped,” 1/3-mile race course consists of about 10 red buoys, which mark a left turn, and 10 yellow buoys, which mark a right turn.
Watercraft operators are required to navigate 10 laps around the closed buoy course, Ordon said.
Each race can accommodate up to 12 participants, he said, with the winners receiving a trophy.
To race, participants must bring a helmet and have an IJSBA card. Cards, which cost $45, are available the day of the event or in advance at www.ijsba.com.
Registration, which costs $60, is from 7-9 a.m. both days. To preregister, go towww.newa.us.
Participants may enroll in either day or both and should arrive early, Ordon said.
On Sept. 6, practice starts at 9 a.m., which includes a structured run-through of the course, followed by racing at 9:30.
On Sept. 7, an abbreviated practice starts at 9 a.m., followed by racing at 9:30.
Ordon said the city’s police boat unit and the Coast Guard Auxiliary are responsible for maintaining a safety perimeter during the five-hour event. Emergency medical technicians are also being staffed.
The event has been sanctioned by the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Harbor Commission and the Police Department.
Parking is available for participants and spectators in the municipal lots on Oak Street, which is off Captain Thomas Boulevard.