The Wildwoods New Jersey Governor's Cup Hydrofest, a two-day powerboat regatta scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, was cancelled Thursday due to a forecast of high winds and bad weather.

Race coordinator Ann Fitzgerald made the decision at 10:30 a.m.

"It was a very difficult decision but it had to be made (Thursday)," said Fitzgerald, a Rio Grande resident and a former champion hydroplane racer.

"We had racers coming in from other parts of the country. It's supposed to be bad weather all weekend. The wind, especially, is not supposed to let up. There are safety issues, and we couldn't hold a quality event with these conditions."

The Wildwoods New Jersey Governor's Cup Hydrofest is always held on the bay area, called Sunset Lake, in Wildwood Crest. It was the final American Power Boat Association hydroplane regatta of the season.

"It's like any other outdoor event. It can be weather-driven," Fitzgerald said. "The planning for this event starts 14 or 15 months out. We have telephone chains going on all over the place to tell people of the cancellation, plus Internet and social network."

Fitzgerald said that she was expecting 70 boats at the event.

"We would have had a lot from Florida, plus Canada and Indiana, and even one fellow from California," she said.

Galloway Township racer Warren Brown, third in the American Powerboat Association national high points in the Jersey Speed Skiffs class, would have been there too with his skiff Kiss (JS65). Finishing third in points is Brown's top finish, but he was hoping for one last chance to move up.

"We had everything all packed," Brown said. "Everything was primed and ready to go. Statistically, we still had a chance (to win national high points), but we would have had to win everything all weekend, and the other two would have had to break down. It would have been a good show for the fans. Now those rankings are final, so we got third.

"I never envisioned in June that we could do that well. I had a good motor and a great team behind me, and we had a great season. We rented a place in Wildwood Crest for the weekend. I'm still going to take my family there, and we'll watch the rain."

Fitzgerald is already planning the event for 2014 and said that it will be on Sept. 13 and 14.

"We schedule the event around the tide," Fitzgerald said. "(The Hydrofest) is about Wildwood Crest tourism in the offseason, so it will always be held in the fall."

Contact Guy Gargan:

609-272-7210