The opening of a series of National Championship Regattas that will culminate with the T&T Great Race later this year will take place on February 7 at a non-base point out in the Gulf of Paria.
Roger Bell, a member of a committee of the T&T Powerboat Association revealed on Thursday via zoom that a decision was made to take racing to the fans since they cannot bring fans to racing, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
"What we have decided to do is that since we can't bring the fans to the racing, we will bring the racing to the fans. Of course, keeping in mind all COVID-19 protocols and checking with the authorities, we can race out of the water, not at a base per se like the Yacht Club, or some other facility. So circuit will be put out on the water in the gulf and races will take place. Each race will have a service boat and a very limited amount of people," Bell explained to Guardian Media Sports on Thursday.
Race officials have already registered a relatively large field of 20 boats that will spin into action, come next month.
Bell said fans can expect about four to five events on the day, due largely to the need to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols.
The events will be streamed live to audiences around the world, courtesy permission is given to Bell and his committee, to stream the events on different international sites to bodies in the boating community.
According to the long-serving powerboat association official, apart from the actual races on the days, their live stream will also include interviews etc.
"To give you an idea when the live stream was done for our Great Race, last year, we had about 180, 000 views I believe, and we have the potential to possibly triple that, North America, Europe, and the far east, as far down as Australia. So we are positioning Trinidad and Tobago to promote our high caliber, high-quality boat racing and the types of boats we have here. And also for our committee which is led by Chris Skinner, a destination for a possible international event for 2022," Bell said.
The events are being described by Bell as a product that will be of tremendous benefit to the country, saying their only wish though is that the government will assist with boats coming into the country and boats going out.
With the Great Race set tentatively for August 21 this year, the opening event on February 7, will be followed by other equally entertaining events which will be decided on soon.
However, for the Great Race, there are likely to be at least two international boats.
Belle said after he reached out to his international contacts he was able to confirm two boats, with more being dependant on the COVID-19 situation.
He believes organisers have all in place for several safe events, saying while there is an ambulance at the yacht club, they are also strategically positioned not too far from the Westshore Medical Facility, in the event that something goes wrong.