Sproat Lake back in spotlight as annual regatta kicks off July 17–19

Check out some of the boats at the show n' shine Friday, then watch them race Saturday and Sunday at the lake.

Mike Nass of Haulin' Nass Racing runs the course at Sproat Lake—where he grew up—in the 2014 regatta.

Mike Nass of Haulin' Nass Racing runs the course at Sproat Lake—where he grew up—in the 2014 regatta.

This weekend, Sproat Lake will be in the spotlight again—but this time not because of a fire or historic Martin Mars flights.

The annual Sproat Lake Regatta runs July 18–19 at the lake and kicks off with a boat show n’ shine Friday at Pacific Chevrolet from 4–9 p.m.

So many events make up the regatta, says organizer Stan Kujala, from the smallest human-powered water craft to a 200-mile-an-hour drag boat.

“We’ve got three Formula 1 boats coming. They’re closed-cockpit boats that…race in a circle. They can reach speeds of 100 miles per hour. They are just exhibition boats—they’ll be racing against each other,” Kujala said.

Mike McLellan will be back with his F1 “tunnel” boat; he competes on the US Prop Formula 1 tour.

Another regatta feature will be a top fuel hydro race boat that Mo Davidson from the Lower Mainland races.

“It’s capable of speeds up to 200 mph,” Kujala said.

“It’s a drag boat so it will run on the same course we’re racing on but…will race by itself.”

The boats will be at the show n’ shine as well as in the pits at Sproat Lake Provincial Park on the weekend.

The drag boat events kick off Saturday at 9 a.m. with a test and tune; bathtubbers will race both days. Starting time is approximately the same for Sunday.

How to watch the water events

Races can be seen from the beach at the provincial park. Boaters are welcome to watch from the lake, however, this year there will be a boom preventing them from straying onto the race course.

“The reason for the boom is to try and keep rough water to a minimum,” Kujala said.

Boaters are asked to approach the boom at trolling speed and to keep wake to a minimum as many of the drag boats are sensitive.

World’s biggest bathtub?

Nanaimo is known for its annual bathtub race, as well as its rather large bathtub. The 40-footer will be at the show n’ shine on Friday night at Pacific Chevrolet.

Outrigger canoes

On Saturday, July 18 the Sproat Lake Canoe Club outrigger canoes will paddle to the provincial park and take people out for canoe rides, member Laurie Morphet said.

The outriggers will host a multi-paddle small sport boat endurance race at the lake on Monday, Aug. 3 so their appearance at the regatta is a preview for the public.

Parking available

Parking for the event is available at the Sproat Lake Provincial Park, with overflow at the Sproat Lake Community Hall, 9346 Bomber Base Rd., a 10-minute walk away.

(Organizers are trying to arrange a shuttle bus for this location.)

For more information, look up Alberni Valley Regatta Association on Facebook or pick up an event program at the show n’ shine on Friday night.