A 25 Sportsman Race Boat? HELL YA!

No Windshield and a massive Scripps Engine! On Lake Hopatcong!

Thanks to Fellow Woody Boater Bob Kays for sharing some very cool history of  Irene” a very special hot rod 25 Sportsman on Lake Hopatcong that could hit some high speeds close to 50 mph, and won a bunch of races. Very cool to see that back in the day folks had fun with such stuff. Dare we do it again? HELL YA!

A rare color photo from back in the day!

“IRENE”, headed out, sans windshield for racing rules, Note the engine hatch open and not sure what the cluster is on the dash?

Extra race gauges?

Now, with a little detective work, we may have IRENE’s Hull info? Maybe, maybe not, but out of 38 25′ Sportsman delivered with a SCRIPPS, the only one delivered in New Jersey with a red interior. And yes, by one of the owners sons, its confirmed she had a red leather interior.

Hull Number – S-25-155, Year – 1948    

Model # 48-46    

Engine – Scripps 208 #49090    

Interior – Red Leather, Floor material – Gray Marble Linoleum    

Delivered – 8/4/1948  

Sold by – Brown Yacht Agency, Bay Shore NJ

And here is some reporting on her from back in the 1950’s

Tomorrow (September 3rd), the Lake
Hopatcong Yacht Club will hold its Annual
Power Boat Regatta. The event this year
promises to be as exciting and keenly contested
as a year ago.
There will be races for all classes from
95 horsepower up to the unlimited class, Included
will be-a Ski Race, A Bang and
Go Back Race and a Relay Race.
Most interest is centered on the big
unlimited class. Interest in this year’s race
has been stimulated by two new entries.
Chuck Shipman having put a new Scripps
Motor developing 316 H.P. in his twentysix
fo’oter and Dick Ashton has now
powered the Royal Flush with a similar
power plant. Dick Ashton will be remembered
for his many races during the 1930s,
while Chuck Shipman, a Champion sloop
sailor, will be looking for laurels in a new
These entries are in addition to last
year’s entries. Indications are that Max
Strelsen has his “The Irene” going faster
than ever and will be very tough to beat.
His 25′ Chris Craft powered with a 316
H.P. Scripps is known to all who watch
the activity on Lake Hopactong. Charlie
Pulis, winner of last year’s race, will have
his “Let’s Go”, a twenty-seven foot Chris-
Craft runabout, powered with a 350 H.P.
Chris-Craft motor, ready to defend his
championship. ‘It is also expected that the
“Eight-Ball”, now in the hands of a new
owner, will compete. This 19-footer with a
200 H.P. Lincoln Motor is an exciting boat
to watch.1953
On August 31st, the Annual Motor Boat
Regatta will be held in front of the Lake
Hopatcong Yacht Club. These races -will be
sponsored by the Lake Hopatcong Yacht
Club and the Garden State Yacht Club, as
they were a year ago. The races are sponsored
by the two clubs for all boatmen and
it is hoped that many members of these
clubs and non – members will participate
in the events of the day. Those who participated
in or witnessed last year’s races
will recall their excitement.
The most exciting race was for the Championship
of Lake Hopatcong. “This race, run
in three heats, under the point scoring system
of the American Power Boat Association
was won by Max Strelsen with his
high-powered “Irene.” Max, doing about
fifty miles per hour, had fast competition..Spectators who witnessed the fight for
the first buoy in this race will never forget
it. Congratulations to Max Strelsen and
his “Irene”—a fine sportsman and a wonderful
We also know she was sold and renamed “Bobbie Jo V” was owned one year. Reports are she leaked like a siv and was sold to someone in Brooklyn to be used as a fishing boat. And that’s the end of the line, unless you happen to have this hull number, in which case you just found gold!

There is even a connection to Red Wing (BELOW) which was also later on Lake Hopatcong, the late Craig Bradly, owned Red Wing and knew of IRENE, and Craigs father used to work on IRENE’s Scripps engine. And why he always wanted a 25 Sportsman!  What a rich history on a small lake!

Red Wing at the Clayton boat show. This was the first time I ever saw a 25 Sportsman back in the day, I fell in love at first sight. And that is how a connection is made and why using and showing/racing your boat is so important.

Photos and text courtesy of the Lake Hopatcong Museum

11 replies
    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      You go out to the middle of the lake, have a quickie, and then return to the starting line.

  1. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    “A new feature for power-boat events was application of a “bang-and-go-back” rule to the handicap race. Boats of all classes started together. Then upon a given signal, at an exactly predetermined time known only to the committee, all turned about and retraced their course to the starting-finishing line. To preclude any ‘crafty craftsmanship’, any boat returning in ‘any considerable time less than taken on the outward voyage’ was penalized.”

    From the Buckeye Lake Yacht Club courtesy of google. I think my idea sounds like more fun.

  2. greg wallace
    greg wallace says:

    Sounds like was re-powered with v-12. No substitute for cubic inches…especially when in a hurry to go back from your bang,

  3. Brian Robinson
    Brian Robinson says:

    So… it’s not the boat you think it is – not #155. It is earlier than that. It does not have the padded dash or hatch in the foredeck which started with #147. And it was not an original Scripps boat because the bridge deck is on the starboard side. So that narrows it down to seven possibilities.

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      Good eye, my gut tells me that the dash was removed? WECATCHEM is the second 25 built with a red interior and the older hull of which there were 12? So this wouldneed to be one of the 12, and I think they all had the padded dash. And of those 12. 5 were delivered in the NY area. The deal here is the red interior, which would not have been changed. But whatever it is on the dash there would eplain the removal of the padding??

      • Matt
        Matt says:

        Wait, you are right, that dash is factory w/o padding Which is pre WECATCHEM which was one of the first with red? Now I am confused.

    • Alex
      Alex says:

      Good eye re the bridge deck Brian.

      Btw, my repowered 25 Sportsman with the 496 Crusader will hit about 47. It’s quite a rush.

      Mike Green has repowered another 25, also with a Crusader, though a newer motor than mine. That one exceeds 50. I think he said he saw 54 on the gps. That’s flying in a boat this big.

  4. Andy in Middlwtown
    Andy in Middlwtown says:

    Soooo…. when is Woody Boater gonna sponsor some vintage races on Lake Hopatcong inviting period boats to participate???? We do a similar thing in Central Pennsylvania with Dirt Track racing at the Latimore Valley Fairground’s ‘Jalopy Showdown” seems like it’d be fun to have a similar event on the water as well!

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