Classic Race Boat Association Tavares Fall Thunder – Celebrating The Art Of Classic Boat Racing
One of the best things about Woody Boater is we get to cover every aspect of the classic boating hobby which, as you know, has many different avenues and types of events throughout the year – all celebrating the culture of classic boats.
Our friend and fellow Woody Boater Bill John from the Vintage Race Boat Shop / Classic Raceboat Association would like to remind our viewers that the Annual Tavares Fall Thunder Regatta returns to Lake Dora at Wooten Park in Tavares, Florida for 3 days from November 14-16. So it’s not too late to load up the old race boat and set your GPS for Lake Dora – or just make the trip down to experience the boats from the shore at Wooten Park. It’s an amazing site to see, and the folks from the CRA are a wonderful group of people.
To celebrate the many years of boat racing in North America, today we have also put together a collection of vintage boat racing program covers from 1914 to 1969 – courtesy of the Hydroplane Program Covers Site. Throughout the years, the Art of Boat Racing has always been popular, and the art has evolved with imagination & color as technology improved – all designed back in the day before Photoshop. Check it out below and let us know which program cover is your personal favorite. – Texx
From the CRA – The past will come alive as vintage and classic race boats of bygone eras return to Wooton Park in Tavares, Florida for our next annual Tavares Fall Thunder Regatta. Tavares is now a major stop on the CRA Florida Vintage Race Boat Circuit, and this fall’s regatta expands to 3 full days, with over 60 beautifully restored vintage and classic race boats running demonstration laps on a 1 mile oval course on beautiful Lake Dora. In addition to seeing and hearing these unique and beautiful boats run, spectators are invited to view them close-up in the pit area at Wooton Park on both Saturday and Sunday.
And joining the local fleet of vintage race boats during the winter months when the northern vintage events are in hibernation, the snow birds are increasingly hauling their beautifully restored vintage and classic race boats down to Florida to enjoy the sunny and warm Florida weather and to participate on our Florida Vintage Race Boat Circuit.
With the flat water on the small inland Florida lakes, these regattas are attracting large boat counts with well over 75 vintage and classic race boats at the last several events. The crowds are huge and the Pit passes allow entry into the actual race boat area during the noon lunch break for photos and a chance to talk with the drives and crew.
The regatta participants have fun running their beautifully restored vintage race boats at speed on a race course in the warm Florida sun, and the public gets a chance to see, hear and experience the rich history of powerboat racing. The sights and sounds are just magnificent, come join us for our next event!!! – Bill John / CRA
There was a time in history when thousands of spectators would gather at the different venues around the country to experience the sights, sounds and raw speed of the race boats. It’s amazing how the racers criss-crossed the country to attend the different events, competing for the various boat racing championships over the years. You can still experience the thrill of the race boats at one of the vintage events that the Classic Race Boat Association organizes.
The artwork and creative designs of the program covers over the years is amazing.
In my rush to get this story published for todays 7:00 AM deadline, I forgot to include a credit for the website that provided the wonderful program covers for the story today – known as the Hydroplane Program Covers Site.
According to Malcolm Mitchell and James Pernikoff, founders of the Hydroplane Program Covers Site, “the aim of their project (which began in 2000) has been to gather together scans of official Hydroplane event programme covers and related memorabilia” Thanks to Mitchell and Pernicoff ‘s perseverance “today there are 526 covers listed from 65 hydroplane courses, and counting”…
To donate a poster go to their website http://progcovers.com/hydro/contributors.html
They are preserving history in a very special way, and we sincerely appreciate their efforts.
Texx so many to choose from.
If I had to pick one I think it would have to be the 1957 Memorial Regatta. You can almost feel the action. I hope that photographer got paid well, since it seems as thought that picture is used on many covers (’56 Presidents Cup, ’57 Memorial, ’63 Gold Cup, and ’65 Gold Cup)
Great collection of wonderful posters, but I have to go with the Detroit Gold Cup events. I can still remember sneeking into the pits as a young kid during the time trials and practice through a hole in the fence down at the Roostertail. I would jump in freight and joy as they fired up those wonderful piston powered boats. Fond memories!
Greg – Thanks for chiming in today. I was hoping that a few of these program shots from Detroit would bring back some memories for you.
Nothing quite like the sound of a V-12 powered unlimited hydroplane skimming across the water. Those things were Monsters!
The BIG boats are making a resurgence in popularity …. One of our club members has just purchased Miss TIMEX and will be starting her restoration shortly!
Miss TIMEX in her original configuration.
Thanks Sean. The Timex Unlimited hydro kind of looks like a Ted Jones design (same as Slo-mo-shun IV).
My personal favorite program cover is the one from the 1966 Kelowna Unlimited Hydroplane race – because I was there in person for that race. (Don’t do the math on the age)
I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, but I remember the experience of being at that exciting Hydroplane Race in 1966… Funny how that works.
I would agree on the ’66 Kelowna poster as a favorite just because of the graphics but they could have relocated that 50 cent souvenir program square some place where it wouldn’t spoil that scene.
I think I watched that “Madison” dvd about 6 times in a row. Not only is it great family movie well acted (maybe a little over the top but that’s Hollywood for you) but obviously amazing subject matter and period equipment and the sound track is killer, not only the unlimiteds but one of the best late 60’s songs ever (which is a great boat song) “I’ve got a line on you babe” by Spirit. Its on my ipod playlist for “sprint” intervals – probably only Alex Watson knows what I’m talking about, lol.
Wait a minute…let me catch my breath….coooool.
I remember as a kid when the big boats used to come to Miami in the winter to race at Bakers Haulover…Seems like Miss Atlas Van Lines was a top winner in those days…
And then we had hometown boy Dean Chenowith who drove Miss Buswieser for Bernie Little until the early ’80s when he flipped it at Seattle and almost killed himself after which many local Tallahasseeans tried to convince him a near 50 year old ought to give it up but Bernie asked him to drive one more year and the next year Dean flipped it again in a horrible accident that ended his life. The good news was that like the crash that killed Dale Ernhardt, a lot of safety measures were put in place to protect the drivers when the boats became airborne and flipped.
How about adding a u-tube of Madison, the flick that a lot of our friends, Ike Kieglas, John Freeman, etc. .were in that should have made it into movie theaters but didn’t ?
You are spot on here Wilson — the movie “Madison” just was not distributed widely enough in my estimation. It is a great family flick, a bit ‘Hollywoody’, but fun to pull out the ‘ol DVD every so often and watch again. The DVD is available through the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum Giftshop or on-line at eBay. Well worth the addition to your library!
I have some more vintage race photos posted at http://www.finewoodboats.com/Vintage%20race%20photos1.htm
They were scanned from a local’s scrap book.
When I was researching this story, I also found an interesting shot of a Chris-Craft race boat that I would like to identify. Anybody recognize it?
Here is a little more info, I think:
From pictures I have seen online it looks like this boat still participates some the vintage races.
Also it looks like it will participating in the event mentioned today’s story!
Thanks PhilB – Exactly what I was looking for. It would be fun to see “Sleeper” in person some day.
“Sleeper’ is right! Fins & skegs, maybe even a v-drive?…carb scoop….mid cockpit layout…was it an 18′ Riviera? Can see faint evidence of planks?
Thanks Texx, Great read today. Enjoyed seeing all of these program covers and posters from the past. As for a favorite, it’s too tough to call.
I wore an “I Like Ike” button to school back in the early 50’s, shook hands with President Truman in the late 40’s and remember mom crying when Roosevelt passed away. So I guess those President’s Cup series brought back some good memories for me.
I know; Corney as all get-out, but…
Al – The series on PBS these days by Ken Burns on the Roosevelt family is outstanding. Worth watching if you get a chance.
It’s interesting to me how political boat racing was with Presidents Cup and Governors Cup races.
Great, great shots & spread Texx! -Jon Courtright
Great Posters, I remember going to the Unlimited Hydroplane Regatta maybe in the early 80’s in Evansville Ind. It was a fun time with Miss Budweiser, Atlas Van Lines and more, Circus Circus Casino sponsored 1 boat and had a helicopter flying overhead while the boats were racing, There was also a few of the boats still with the Allison ? 12 cyl. motors although most had switched over to Turbine power by then. There was a lot of beer consumed while there.
The subject came up a few blogs back about Bay City Mi. and it’s boat building history. Looking at some of these posters and How many of these boats came from Bay City is another story in it’s self. Other than Seattle Wa. I would bet that at lease 90% of all hydroplanes were built between the two cities. Racing runabouts I would give to Algonac. How cool these things are to watch run.
Texx, wonderful job, what a great layout!
My favorites would be the 1949 showing Miss Tempo VI, Guy Lombardo’s boat that Joe Fraunheim restored, and let a bunch of us guys co-DRIVE IT!
And of course all the Seattle programs, as kids we would ride our bikes to Seward Park and in the 50’s we could be in the pits during time trials.
If any of you get to Seattle, make sure to visit the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum, and/or watch them run in Lake Chelan at our boat show every October!
Thanks Texx! Love the old typography.
I’ve always had a fascination with things that go fast. As I kid, my idols were Yeager and Breedlove and Chenowith.
These days I’m just happy getting the most out of my 95hp K engine.
I loved going with my dad to watch the President’s Cup Regatta on the Potomac. The sounds of those wonderful Allison and Rolls Royce Merlin powered Unlimiteds, the Jersey Speed skiffs, all of the various classes of hydroplanes and the ski boats. Great times. It’s too bad the Potomac became too small for the races. Of course, the new turbine powered unlimited hydroplanes don’t have the same appeal (at least not to me) as the classic WWII airplane engine versions.
Great pics Jimmy, I found a picture yesterday of Sunshine Baby in 1937 in picton Onario races!
Ah for the days of boat races & Miss Universe contest in the same venue!! Not PC anymore I guess….
Here’s an Arena with a Faegol I found.
Somewhere in there, there must be a part or two.
Nice assortment of programs / flyers Texx. In many ways I find them more exciting than the photos today’s material would probably feature. Am I just being sentimental or have we lost something with “progress?”
Great bit of nostalgia for us ‘old’ folks Texx!!!! I am checking in a bit late today since this is one of my scheduled days for working at the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum. After finishing up and running the ’77 Atlas Van Lines (Bill Muncey’s Blue Blaster) last summer we have now started on the 1973 Pay’n’Pak (U-25, the winged wonder).
Boy, any of those posters bring back a LOT of memories but being able to fulfill my childhood dream of actually working on the old boats and getting them running is just incredible. I feel very fortunate to be living in a place where this kind of fun is just up the road a piece!!!!!
I totally agree Alex, that’s what motivated me to do the story today. The artwork and imagination on many of the vintage programs from the Hydroplane Program Covers site reflects the raw power and speed from back in the day.
Great posters on this website today. I’m kinda partial to the Detroit race posters. I guess cause I live near detroit,. Texx I think I seen you on your hometown poster. 3rd row from the top. 17th person to the left. Just kidding. I also was gonna mention the Madison boat movie. (Good photography, good sound, lots of older boat racing film clips) there’s nothing like the sound of a Allison or rolls Royce at full song (except maybe a Harley or liberty motor) great topic today. No more plastic boats for awhile please..
Great story Texx. Work continues on Miss Canada IV. Will get you an update soon. Lots of good stuff going on. With some luck we’ll have a ” real Raceboat” running next summer.
Thanks Jamie – I have been carefully following your progress / testing on your Facebook page and look forward to any future updates when you and the crew get the bugs worked out. Looks like you are getting close. – Texx
Imagine for a minute what it was like back in the day when the race teams would jump in their trucks (like the Boat Transit Dodge rig in the cover photo) and drive from Michigan to Seattle in the mid-summer heat – hauling a huge Unlimited Hydroplane, spare aircraft engines, parts, etc.
That was dedication.