Sunnyland Tavares Classic Boat Festival In 70 Days

Cobras_PavillionLet the countdown continue. 70 days away, well, really it starts when you get there. So for some it could be 60 days, for Paul and Karen Harrison, it’s already started since they are down there for the next two months. Registration is now open and we strongly recommend you get your hotel rooms now if you want to stay close to the event. This year is going to be a whopper, with the special 60th anniversary of the Cobra being celebrated, and the low cost of fuel. This could be one of the best events in years.

Cobra Number 001 is planning on being there! This will be one of the largest gathering of Cobras in years if not ever!

So if you have not registered yet, HERE IS THE LINK! If you are new to all this, this is the event of the year for many. Its like the cultures Daytona Race. The start of the classic boat season and for some a way to end the winter blues a little early. Tavares and MT Dora have gone to great lengths to make the area rich in history and fun. If you are deep into the varnish, you can show up a week early and see vintage boat races or go on the St Johns River Cruise. It all good stuff and makes a great week out of it all. 70 days! 2 months and 10 days, or 1/6th of the year. I think that math is right? Regardless its a lot closer than it was in November! Woohooo!

21 replies
  1. Rick
    Rick says:

    One year I’ll eventually get there,I’m working my way south with the shows. This year I’m getting as far as St Michaels MD. But Tavares is on my bucket list.

      • Rick
        Rick says:

        Sorry Greg there are still a couple of shows I need to hit for the 1st time before heading back to Algonac. It’s going to be tough to beat though, great people, cool boats to ride in (when Panther is down), historic setting and good food.

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Did Alex buy the Baby Gar Jr. yet? 70 days is not a lot of time for him to ship it over here, get it restored and bring it to Tavares. Hmmm next year’s show is only 435 days away.

  3. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    It is nice to be here – we just put the boat in the water and on the lift yesterday. I attended a Sunnyland Boat Show Committee meeting last night and as usual, planning is well in hand and registrations are already coming in at a great pace.

    This part of Florida is just a real nice place to be at this time of the year – can’t vouch for its; attractions in July, but right now it is very pleasant and enjoyable.

    For those (all?) interested, the price of gas at the Tavares dock is going down to $2.99 today. Two years ago, I paid something like $5 or $5.50 – cant be sure which. The falling oil prices may not be good for folks in my hometown of Calgary, but they will sure help people get more boating done!

    • Cobourg Kid
      Cobourg Kid says:

      Paul sorry to be a downer but don’t forget that that the falling oil price is not only bad for most of western Canada, it also has done a great job debasing the Canadian Dollar . Which is good and bad.

      The bad part? Unless you swapped loonies for Benjamin’s before November you are going to be paying a lot more this year for everything but gas.

      The good part? Canadian boat restoration shops work in Canadian Dollars, which means that those Americans who need to renew their bottoms or topsides will enjoy some considerable labour savings if they bring there boats north this winter/spring

      • Paul H.
        Paul H. says:

        I am keenly aware of all of this, due both to my current expenditures in USD and my profession – which is plied from Calgary where the oil price collapse is very serious business. However, people do tend to forget that while it is negative for oil producers and people employed in the industry, it is a major economic benefit and consumption catalyst for those who are consumers of anything petroleum related. It is like a tax cut in that respect, because it impacts almost everyone who consumes energy. As bad as this has been for the canuck dollar, who would you like to be dealing in Rubles?

  4. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    It’s an annual event here…I haven’t missed but two since it all started over in Sanford Fl in 1981 and look forward to being there this year….and the River Cruise….Guy Marvin is one of America’s premier river cruise guides for those booking the pre-event Southbound trip and Gerald Dake does the same for those who prefer the after show Northbound run.
    Need a part ?…the flee market there is the place to find it.
    It is just the place to be….see you there…

  5. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    We fly into Orlando on the 21st, so that is only 65 or 66 days depending on how you are counting them.

    May even be able to get a peak at the Hydro’s on Sunday?

  6. Carla Gernhofer
    Carla Gernhofer says:

    Matt, love the header pic!! I remember celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Chris Craft Cobra in Cadillac, MI with Wilbur Miller, Lance Wilson and the rest of the Cobra posse! Looking forward to Tavares and getting the crew together again on the “Pub Cycle”…Jim Staib, I’ll be tracking you down!

    • Wilson
      Wilson says:


      That was a great one…Mary Jo Shepperd called and asked if I would room with her father, Wilbur Miller…You couldn’t say no to that….and we had a blast.
      What ever happened to Scott Callier, who started the organization of that event and then just disappeared ?

  7. Mike K
    Mike K says:

    does anyone have a hotel list, or do i have to bunk up with matt?
    also i’d like to drop the boat in for a few hours before i make it to ft myers. what are the logistics of this. can i just find the launch ramp and head towards the show and park the boat?

    • Al Benton
      Al Benton says:

      Mike, I think that you could do that, but you would still need to register for the show in order to reserved a slip for your boat, and to attend the show. Click on the link that Matt provided. It should have details on hotels and boat provisions.

  8. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    I first attended this show in 2007, the last year that it was located in Mt. Dora. It moved to Wooten Park in Tavares the next year and has expanded tremendously since the move to the larger park.

    I look forward to being there again and will help represent the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club. We will have a booth again this year, so stop by and say “Hey”. Look for an announcement soon about a Club meeting that is in the planning stages as we speak. ALL are invited!

  9. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    As Wilson mentioned, the St. John’s River Cruises both before (south bound) and after (north bound) the Boat Festival are both wonderful experiences. We participated in the South Bound Cruise last year and had a great time. Although it was cool, overcast and a bit breezy, I truly enjoyed the company, the beautiful scenery, the fantastic lunches, and the historic towns that we visited; a worthy addition to anyone’s bucket list.

  10. Cobourg Kid
    Cobourg Kid says:

    Based on this ad from a 1937 issue of MotorBoating it appears that Florida’s fantastic St. John’s river has been a mecca for winter weary woody boaters for at least 80 years!

  11. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Speaking of St Johns River cruise, Canadians (or others for that matter) may be interested in the history of the Maple Leaf. Having been turned into a Union steamboat, it was first launched as a freight and passenger vessel from the Marine Railway Yard in Kingston Ontario, 1851. It was sunk on April 1, 1864 after striking a Confederate torpedo (mine) on a trip from Palatka to Jacksonville near Mandarin Point on the St Johns RIver. This was during the “War of Northern Aggression” as they call it down south. During the kickoff banquet, participants in the St Johns River Cruise, back in the day (20+ yrs ago) would be serenaded by a member of the Florida Yacht Club who wrote a song (I believe) about the event . I have since forgotten his name but Guy Marvin or Dean Guy may remember him, I sure. The FYC is the river cruise departure point and hosts the banquet and cocktail party Sunday night.

  12. briant
    briant says:

    I will apologize up front to the purists. I know these Cobras are a Holy Grail of Chris Craft, but hang on.

    The Cobra reminds me much of the Lamborghini Miura – in the sense that their sole purpose was to look beautiful and to go fast.

    Neither can go fast. The Miura’s front design adds too much lift and has forced more than a few Italians to waste out their cannolis. The Cobra too becomes unstable at higher speeds – so much so that it forced one owner to crash and sink the poor thing.

    The beauty part. The Miura is stunning, except for those stupid eyelash things on the front headlights. When launched, the press went for Ferruccio’s jugular. The Cobra is just a WOW in capitals, except for that bow design. Pray tell, why stick the head of a Beluga whale on the front? I for one cannot stand the bow design.

  13. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    The Beluga bow (or Bull Nose) was the new mark of distinction in the mid 50’s; the new look for Chris-Craft. I guess that it became popular as most Chris-Craft products had them for the next 4 or 5 years. I agree, its not attractive at all, but now days its an accepted distinction of the era.

    The hull was probably an acceptable design for the engines that were offered. Their intent wasn’t to build a competitive race boat, but to offer a stylish, sporty runabout for those inclined to pay the going price.

    Chris Smith tells us that it was a miserable failure in regard to profits and losses, however, did attract a lot of attention in the showrooms, much like the Chevy Corvette did a year earlier and in ’55. Customers came for a closer look and then purchased something else while there; something they could afford.

    So its success was measured by the boost in sales of other models that sold like hotcakes at dealers who had a Cobra on display. They eventually sold all 106 of them (51 at 18′ & 55 of the 21′ version) before production was stopped.

    Success? No & Yes. But I cant wait to see a bunch of them all in the same place in March at the Sunnyland Antique Boat Festival.

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