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Powerboat race canned 2nd year in row

Two boats in CLASS VI, the entry level

Two boats in CLASS VI, the entry level for speed racing, go head to head during the 2009 Battle on the Bay in Patchogue, a series of races for off-shore powerboats in which the boats reach speeds of up to 150 miles per hour. Credit: Sharkey-Images.com

Suffolk County officials have nixed next month's Battle on the Bay powerboat race, the second year in a row the event has been canned.

Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider said the organizer, Great South Bay Racing, had so many problems with its plans that several agencies, from police to parks, decided it would be safer to deny event permits. Its plans kept changing over the months, including location, number of days for the event and special features, he said.

"Things just kept changing, and when you're dealing with . . . a race where people have literally died, you get to a point in time where emergency services personnel say things aren't going to work," Schneider said Friday night. "Things that were more aspirational were presented as a little more concrete."

In 2008, the second year the race was run, a high-speed catamaran flipped, killing two aboard. Last year, the race was canceled when the Coast Guard and Islip Town denied permits, citing "question marks" on safety and other aspects of the organizer's plan.

Louis Giancontieri, of Brentwood, president of Great South Bay Racing, said he had hopes of smoothing out any problems in time for the Aug. 24-26 race in the Atlantic Ocean, off Smithpoint Park.

"We supplied everything they needed," he said.

But on Monday, after a meeting with officials of various county agencies, he said, "They pulled the plug."

Though he addressed their request for more information, he said, officials did not change their minds.

"They had no intention of doing this from the beginning," Giancontieri said. "Ultimately, the people who worked on this for a year and addressed every whim that was thrown at us got hurt the most."

He said he has been seeking a meeting with County Executive Steve Bellone to ask him to clear up problems and to see if the county executive wants the event held.

But Schneider called it a "final decision."

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