Waterways Being Skimmed to Clear Paths for Powerboats in Regatta
1 July 2014
By Bobby Kerlik and Megan Henney
Vendors at Point State Park were busy on Tuesday, July 1, 2014,
finalizing preparations for the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta,
which begins on Wednesday.
All events are in Point State Park.
Heavy rain the past week washed trees and branches into Western
Pennsylvania rivers, so workers are skimming the waterways trying
to keep them out of the path of powerboats going 130 mph during
the 2014 EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta.
3-7 p.m.: Xpogo Free Family Jump Area
3-9 p.m.: History Channel Cross Country Cookout
3-9 p.m.: Y-108 Battle of the Bands, OneMain Financial Main
4-6: 30 p.m.: Xpogo World Championships Show
5 and 7: 30 p.m.: K-9 Crew Frisbee Dog Show, city-side lawn
5: 30 and 7 p.m.: BMX Bike Stunt Show, city-side lawn
“Last year was the worst year for damage to the boats during the
race, with busted and bent propellers,” said Michael Dongilli,
senior vice-president of ISM-USA, the event's manager. “It's all
about driver safety.”
The three-day water festival begins on Wednesday afternoon. The
powerboat championships are Friday, and the event concludes that
night with fireworks.
The first intercollegiate sailing regatta in Pittsburgh will debut
“There's definitely always the potential for river conditions to
affect what we do. We're taking a hard look at the rivers and it
looks like the currents have subsided, but the debris is a little
more concerning — particularly with the powerboats,” Dongilli
Pittsburgh River Rescue will assist with clearing trees, logs and
trash — the by-products of flooding, said Richard Linn, river
rescue operations chief.
“If it's large enough, we steer it to the side,” Linn said. “The
stuff that floats just below the surface can give you trouble.”
Currents are less of a concern, officials said. The National
Weather Service in Moon said the Allegheny was the only river
flowing noticeably above normal, at 1.2 to 1.4 mph expected
through the weekend. The river typically flows about 0.9 mph.
The Monongahela and Ohio rivers were flowing at 0.5 and 0.9 mph,
“Over the last month, there's been a lot of rain in the Allegheny
River Basin in Clarion and Venango counties,” said Joe Palko, a
weather service hydrologist. “A flow of over 2 mph would trigger a
recreational boater advisory. If you're in a small boat or canoe,
1 mph is pretty strong.”
The current kept Kayak Pittsburgh from renting kayaks at its North
Shore location on Tuesday.
“We hope it's not (typical) because, obviously, if we can't
operate, it's not good for business,” said Mike Adams, site
The weather service said Western Pennsylvania received 4.05 inches
of rain in June — slightly more than the average of 3.8 inches.
The rain swept sediment into the river, said Werner Loehlein,
chief of water management with the Army Corps of Engineers.
“Every day it doesn't rain, (the river) clears up. We've had this
pattern for eight weeks, where we've had a burst of rain every two
to three days,” Loehlein said. “If the debris builds up at the
locks and dams, they pass it. Just like with the ice, they fill up
the lock with debris and pass it down. Or, they open the gate and
Army Corps spokesman Jeff Hawk said the rain and high water
shifted warning buoys meant to mark hazardous areas upstream and
downstream of dams. The corps is resetting the buoys, but all may
not be reset by the weekend, he said.
Vendors began setting up for the regatta despite a predicted
chance of rain on Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Cecelia Biggerstaff, 61, of Belle Vernon said it was her second
year selling old-fashioned soda and ice cream floats.
“We had a fun time here. There was a big crowd. We enjoyed the
fireworks; they were gorgeous. The weather is holding out, and it
looks like it's going to all weekend,” Biggerstaff said. “We do
this as a side business. For us, it's a little additional thing
that my husband got interested in.”
Regatta patrons such as Molly Jesso, 39, of Mt. Lebanon said she
and her family come every year.
“We like to dip our feet in (at) the Point, and that'll be our big
plans for the weekend,” Jesso said. “We don't have a lot of boats
or do a lot of boating, but we do a lot of biking and walking as a
Bobby Kerlik and Megan Henney are Trib Total Media staff writers.
Reach Kerlik at 412-320-7886 or email@example.com and Henney at
Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6377326-74/regatta-river-pittsburgh#ixzz36IEKUyvQ