Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat Regatta
Bill John and Hank Why
Co- Chairs, Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat Regatta
September 13-15, 2007
our next Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat Regatta - 2009
past came alive when the vintage race boats of
bygone eras returned to Wolfeboro, NH for our fifth
Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat Regatta. Wolfeboro is
now a major stop on the APBA Vintage Race Boat
Circuit, and this summer's regatta expanded to 3
full days, and included over 60 vintage race boats
running demonstration laps on a 1 mile oval course
on beautiful Wolfeboro Bay, moved a bit this
year, to provide better spectator viewing from the
Wolfeboro docks. This was our
biggest and best Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat Regatta
yet, with 2 cranes this year and well over 60
vintage race boats. And as a special attraction, and
to recreate the history of power boat racing on
Wolfeboro Bay back in the 1920’s and 1930’s, the
opening and closing ceremonies on Friday and
Saturday featured a heat of vintage triple cockpit
runabouts. We ran a tight schedule, with
APBA safely inspections, registration and a
Driver/Rider Clinic on Thursday, followed by running
vintage heats every 20 minutes for 2 full days on
Friday and Saturday, dancing around the wind and
rain. The cranes and constant launching of the
hydros provided for stunning visuals, and the
Wolfeboro public docks were of course open to the
public to view
the vintage race boats, and to watch all the action.
The sights and sounds were just magnificent, it was
an exciting event, and it only happens every two
Like vintage car racing, there are actually people out there who run
their vintage race boats on APBA (American Power Boat Association)
sanctioned race courses, and participate in a very active
APBA Vintage Race
These vintage regattas are run under the rules and regulations of the
Vintage & Historic Division of the American Power Boat Association (APBA)
and Tom Bertolini is our chairman.
This is pretty serious stuff, complete with surveyed race courses,
safety inspections, drivers meetings, crane launching and demonstration
heats usually of 5 or 6 laps. We do have fun, but safety is our main
concern, and our APBA Vintage & Historic Division has a great record of
running safe events.
this year, our Wolfeboro vintage regatta was scheduled for the
weekend after the Buffalo regatta, and as many of you know, our Wolfeboro vintage regatta is held every other year,
alternating with the Clayton regatta, and we are becoming well known for our "flat water"
and lots of water time. In fact, we run vintage heats every 20 minutes for two
full days. So if you wanna see lots of vintage race boats running at speed, you just gotta come to
Wolfeboro 2009 !!!
Because we use the Wolfeboro public docks and parking
areas, our local permit limits the boat count, so this was an invitational
event, open to legal APBA Vintage & Historic race boats. We ran large heats
of all vintage classes, including outboards, small hydros,
mid hydros, large hydros, Jersey speed Skiffs, flatbottoms, gold
cuppers, and large triple cockpit runabouts.
Again this year, on Thursday we hosted a welcoming
at the Wolfetrap for all participants and crews. Thursday was a full
day of APBA safety inspections, registrations, Driver/Rider Clinic, boat rides, R/C model boat
racing, good friends and great food - a vintage gathering. Thursday was
also a major media day, as the press and public were invited to
photograph the beautiful vintage race boats and talk with the owners
and crew. Many thanks to Shaun Berry, Roger Burgess and Donnie
McLean for staging all the boats and to Gerri Prusko for handling
registration. We had a full day on Thursday at the Wolfetrap, to
prepare for two full days of vintage action at the Wolfeboro
docks on Friday and Saturday !!!
On Thursday afternoon, we also held a two hour
APBA Vintage Driver/Rider Clinic. Many thanks to Marv Hart for
developing and presenting this excellent session,
first held at the Clayton regatta in 2006. Marv Hart
repeated the Driver/Rider Clinic at Wolfeboro this
year. The focus of this clinic was on safety, and
included discussions on APBA safety rules,
inspections, drivers meetings, course layout, course
flags, crane launching, how to properly enter, run
and leave the course. The Driver/Rider Clinic stressed perhaps the most
important point - that we are NOT racing, but putting
on a show and recreating history.
or rookie drivers and riders, the Driver/Rider
Clinic is a great way to learn how to run on the
We also had some
true legends of our sport in the audience, including
Ken Warby, Larry Lauterbach, Butch Kropfeld, we had
a lively discussion group and we
packed the room with standing room only. Thanks
again to Marv Hart for leading the way on our APBA
Vintage Driver/Rider Clinics, and we hope that these
clinics will eventually be conducted at all
APBA vintage events.
After the APBA Driver/Rider Clinic, we ran radio
controlled model race boats on Back Bay. Many thanks to Hank Pyrciak,
Ray and Curtis Schmitt,
and Butch Thibodeau for bringing and running
there R/C model race boats. They put on quite a
show, and the R/C models of "Obsession",
Irishman" and "Double Trouble"' ran as good as the real, full size boats
- and at a much lower price point !!!
Then on Thursday evening, we howled at the Wolfetrap
with a free BBQ for all regatta participants. We had
a huge turnout, as this was a great celebration and
gathering of our APBA vintage family at Wolfeboro,
the last major regatta on our beloved APBA Vintage
Race Boat Circuit. The BBQ provided by Barbara
Naramore at the Wolfetrap was superb and the Chili brewed by Brian
Small was good and hot - we all had a great time
On Friday morning we started early, at 5:30
AM to move all the hydros from
the Wolfetrap to the Wolfeboro public docks, and setup for crane
launching. We made the move and setup in record
time, in just over one hour, thanks to the many
hours of planning by our organizing committee.
It was a bit nippy, but all the participants
cooperated nicely, we all had a good time, and all
the beautiful vintage race boats were successfully
moved without a scratch. Many thanks to Rick Kourian,
Shaun Berry, Roger Burgess and Donnie McLean for a job well done.
After our 8 AM drivers meeting on Friday morning,
we ran a heat of magnificent
triple cockpit runabouts
our opening ceremonies. Because we had
9 triples, we sent then out in two waves with a lead
boat for each wave. Most of the kids/drivers behaved
as we recreated the heritage of boat racing on
beautiful Wolfeboro Bay. As a special honor and
attraction, we had "Wild Duck" with us, an original
1934 Chris craft triple cockpit runabout
owned/driven by Ann Marvin. This boat actually raced
on Back Bay in the 1930's, and was driven by Nat
Goodhue who ran the Goodhue Hawkins Navy Yard in
on Friday and Saturday we ran vintage heats all day
long on our 1 mile course, moved a bit this year, to
provide better spectator viewing from the Wolfeboro docks. There was
a large contingent of
vintage outboard racers, along with the many classes of vintage inboard
hydros, Jersey Speed Skiffs, flatbottoms and Gold Cup race boats. We also added a second
crane this year to handle the hydroplanes, which must be
launched and retrieved for each heat. The cranes and constant launching
of the hydros provided for stunning visuals, and we had nine
fire breathing Grand Prix Hydroplanes registered. The Wolfeboro
Public docks were of course open to the public to view the
vintage Gold Cup boats, Jersey Speed Skiffs, Speedsters and
outboards, and to watch all the action close up. The sights and sounds from
the Wolfeboro docks were just magnificent, it was an exciting
event - and it only happens every two years !!!
– debuted at Wolfeboro !!!
thanks and congratulations to Al Craig and Larry
Lauterbach, for a very successful debut of
“Scorpio”, a new/replica Lauterbach Grand Prix
hydroplane built by Larry Lauterbach for Al Craig.
In the words of Al Craig - "It all began at the Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat
Regatta in 2001, when I watched Bill Fisk put on
his driving suit. I turned to my wife and said -
someday that will be me. My first meeting with Mr.
Larry Lauterbach was at the 2005 Wolfeboro Vintage
Race Boat Regatta and we talked about building a GP
hydro. That day and my dreams are now realty. Larry and I call it -
"The Real Thing".
The boat was named after my Mom's sign, Scorpio
and her birth date, GP115."
This hydro is absolutely stunning and ran extremely
well at Wolfeboro on Friday and Saturday. Click
here for the building of
thanks to Eric Sojka for the following action shots taken on Friday
The magnificent triple cockpit runabouts
performed our closing ceremonies on Friday afternoon.
There were also social events open to drivers, crews and the public on Friday and
Saturday evenings, featuring
big screen video of all the action on the course that day, and of
course, lots of food and drink!!! We were at the Lakeview Inn on
Friday evening for a huge celebration, lots of pasta and in a
special presentation, each driver/rider was
recognized and awarded a very nice Participants' Plaque.
We had a grand celebration at the Lakeview Barn
- check out all the happy faces !!!
We were back at it again early on Saturday morning, with
our Drivers Meeting at 8 AM, followed by another
full day of vintage heats on the course. Many thanks
to Hank Why, Stan Fitts, Brian Small and Tom
Bertolini for helping us run a tight ship and
keeping us on schedule. Dick Delsener and Marv Hart
also did a great job on our PA system, keeping the
spectators entertained, providing information on the
different classes of vintage race boats, interviews,
and doing some great "play by play" commentary
during the vintage heats. We again ran the triple
cockpit runabouts first, as part of our opening
ceremonies, and then the wild vintage outboard
racers ran hard and fast - in the rain. Dick
Delsener put a positive spin on the rain, repeatedly
calling it "track resurfacing".
Perhaps the most emotional moment of our Wolfeboro
Regatta was the debut of
the last hydro built by Dick Sooy, for
his daughter Susan to run at APBA vintage regattas.
Sadly, Dick left us way too early and the boat was
Many thanks and congratulations to Forrest and Susan
(Sooy) Elkins, for a very successful debut of
Wolfeboro. The motor was a bit cantankerous, but
Susan finally got it started and ran some very
smooth and safe “break-in” laps, in the last
hydroplane that her father Dick Sooy built - for
her. When Susan returned to the docks after her solo
heat at speed on the course, she received a standing
ovation from the huge crowd – very emotional - there
was not a dry eye on the docks !!!
Click here for lots of project photos on the
restoration of Double Eagle.
the rain stopped, the sun came back out and we ran hot laps all
afternoon long !!!
After the closing ceremonies of triple cockpit
runabouts on Saturday afternoon, all the beautiful
vintage race boats were put back on their trailers,
tucked safely away, and we howled again at the
Wolfetrap on Saturday evening with another huge
celebration, awards, and final Regatta wrap up, with
great food, and good friends. Thanks again to
Barbara Naramore and Cheryl Moniz at the Wolfetrap
for the excellent food and good service. The
margaritas were flowing and because the actual
regatta was over, the participants could finally
relax and celebrate - we all had a great time !!!
And just before dinner, Gerri Prusko did a great
job with a fundraising auction for our beloved NH
Boat Museum. All the action items were donated, the
crowd was "in the mood" and we all had some fun, as
the bidding was fast and furious. Many thanks to all
the participants and the over 100 volunteers for
making our 2007 Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat Regatta
our biggest and best yet. We have already started
the planning process for our next regatta - so mark
your calendars for September 17-19, 2009 !!!
Sunday morning, some goodbyes to Forrest & Susan Elkins and Brian
Small's Safety/Rescue Team.
is the major concern at all APBA Vintage
events, and Brian Small and his APBA
Safety/Rescue Team were at at Wolfeboro
again this year. Many thanks also to Stan
Fitts, our APBA Referee and Tom Bertolini,
our APBA Vintage Rep.
Click on this
thumbnail to display our race course, on
beautiful Wolfeboro Bay.
This year we angled the
course to provide better viewing for spectators.
here for even more Wolfeboro photos -
taken by Joe Brown.
personal thank you - from William Edgar John III
In closing, we want to thank the
participants, the over 100 volunteers and
everyone in Wolfeboro for their support and
cooperation at our 2007 Vintage Race Boat
Over 60 drivers of the American Power
Boat Association’s Vintage and Historic
Division, their crew and families had an
outstanding time in our town. They loved the
weather and water conditions, the friendly
atmosphere, and the efforts put forth by all
of the volunteers, business people and town
folks. We appreciate that they traveled to
Wolfeboro from all over the East Coast and
Midwest. We even had several drivers from as
far as Colorado and Arizona come to this
Our thanks also go out to the Selectmen
who provided the town facilities, the over
100 volunteers and staff, and our corporate
sponsors, who helped underwrite this
fundraiser for the NH Boat Museum.
And a special
thanks to all of the business people,
residents and visitors who accepted the
inconvenience of extra traffic, boat docking
and car parking constraints, and the
We hope everyone enjoyed this spectacular
event in Wolfeboro, NH - the oldest summer
resort town in America!
Bill John and Hank Why
Co- Chairs, Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat
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