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Regatta/Hurricane Irma Update - 9/27/2017


The CRA Board of Directors decided on January 20, 2018 for a number of reasons, to cancel the planned 2018 Tavares Spring and Fall Regattas.


But CRA will be back in 2019 when the Wooton Pack docks are rebuilt, we strengthen our volunteer force and if APBA will grant us another sanction. Please be aware that our large Tavares Regattas, running all the vintage and classic classes with well over 60 boats requires an army of volunteers. So please consider volunteering and come join all the fun at our grand celebrations of vintage and classic race boats !!!

A CRA Update - 2018 !!!

Tavares Fall Thunder Regatta

November 17-19, 2019

Regatta Registration Form

Heat Schedule & Participants

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 75 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 -admission is free !!!

CRA Video by Tom D'Eath


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 Florida powerboat racing. The sights and sounds are just magnificent, come join us for our next event - admission is free !!!


Admission to Wooton Park is free, and there are three options to

get into the Hot Pits all day long on both Saturday and Sunday.

              1. Be a crew member on a participating vintage boat team.

              2. Be a volunteer.

              3. Be a CRA Member.

                       CRA Membership Form

With the local CRA group providing the support and volunteer base, Tavares is well known for running on a tight, published regatta heat schedule, running vintage heats every half hour for two full days. All the vintage race boats are run at least twice a day. So if you want to see lots of vintage race boats running hot laps, you gotta come to Tavares!!!


We will be running large heats of all vintage classes, including outboards, small hydros, mid-hydros, large hydros, runabouts, Donzi's, flatbottoms, skiffs, speedsters and offshore race boats. Well over 200 Invitation/Registration Packets were mailed in August to all CRA Members and past Tavares participants and we are posting each registered entry as received and assigned to a vintage heat. If you have not participated at Tavares but want to join all the fun, please contact Bill John at BillJohn48@Comcast.net

Heat Schedule & Participants !!!

Great News - OFF & CRA !!!

Rich Luhrs has made the connection with the Classic Race Boat Association (CRA) President Bill John to bring Old Friends Forever (OFF) into the CRA fold. The next event will be November 17-19 in Tavares, Florida. Please register for the socials parties using this Website. You will also find contacts for running vintage boats and hotel information as well. I will be in touch with Bill John to see how enrollment is going. Bert Serra tells me that Bill Seebold will be coming again and plans to play in Jackie's golf outing on Thursday. There are also many others coming with their clubs for our Thursday morning outing. Please join all the fun on Friday evening for the Opening Reception & OFF Celebration. Hope to see you all there !!!

Rich Luhrs

OFF - Old Friends Forever

Thursday - OFF Golf Tournament & Early Arrival BBQ !!!

The OFF Golf Tournament will be held on Thursday morning at 10am. Entry fee of $50 per person includes cart and afternoon barbeque at Bill and Betty Bakers house in Apopka.


Also on Thursday evening, all the hard core/early arrivers are invited to a BBQ at our new CRA Clubhouse. Plan on lots of boat rides, plenty of cold beer, all you can eat BBQ and wild stories !!!

Lake Winds

Friday - setup & celebration !!!

Friday will be a full day of safety inspections, registration, good friends and great food - a vintage gathering. Friday will also be a major media day, as the press and public are invited to photograph the beautifully restored vintage race boats and talk the the owners, drivers and crew. Plan on a full day on Friday to prepare for two full days of vintage action at Wooton Park in Tavares on Saturday and Sunday.


Friday & Saturday evening - social events !!!

There are also social events open to drivers, crews and the public on Friday and Saturday evenings with lots of food, drink and tall stories. We will be at Puddle Jumpers on Friday evening for the Opening Reception & OFF Celebration and again on Saturday evening for another huge celebration, feast, awards and more boisterous conversations. A limited number of dinner tickets will be for sale at the Registration Tent all day on Friday until they run out. Tickets are on a first come, first served basis.


Saturday & Sunday - vintage heats all day long !!!

Then on Saturday and Sunday we will be running vintage heats all day long on our one mile course, moved a bit this year, to provide better spectator viewing from the Wooton Park grandstands. There will be a large contingent of vintage outboard racers, along with the many classes of vintage inboard runabouts, hydroplanes and offshore race boats. One huge 90 ton crane and two tractors will be in the hot pit area to handle the vintage and classic race boats, which must be launched and retrieved for each heat. The constant launching and retrieving of the vintage race boats high up in the air by the crane provides for stunning visuals, and we already have several fire breathing grand prix hydroplanes registered. The sights and sounds from Wooton Park will be just magnificent, don't miss this exciting event - admission is free !!!

Recap & Photos - Tavares Spring Thunder Regatta

Radio controlled model race boats !!!

The Villages model race boat club will also be running their radio controlled model race boats all day Saturday and Sunday in the lagoon. The speeds these model race boats run is amazing as they zip around a large course set right along the lake shore. The sights and sound are magnificent, come join all the fun !!!


Vintage race boats on display and for sale !!!

We encourage spectators to spend some time walking around Wooton Park to see all the vintage race boats in the Hot Pits and also check out the vintage and classic race boats on display and for sale. This is a great way to talk with the owners and possibly buy a vintage race boat. And with the huge crowds, this is also a great opportunity to sell a vintage race boat. Here is the link for a sample:  Our Trading Dock


Corvette Car Show !!!

The members of the local Touch of Glass Corvette Club will also putting on a Corvette Car Show, displaying both current and vintage Corvettes. They will be setup on the large concrete pad in Wooton Park near the water front and by the Radio Controlled model race boats. Admission is free, so stop by to see these magnificent cars and talk with the owners.  


Come join us for all the fun !!!

So mark your calendars and come join all the excitement and fun at our Tavares Fall Thunder Regatta. We will be running heats of beautifully restored vintage and classic race boats on beautiful Lake Dora all day long on Saturday and Sunday. The sights and sounds will be just magnificent, don't miss this exciting event !!!

Wooton Park Layout

Volunteers Needed !!!

Please be aware that an event of this size requires an army of volunteers, so please consider volunteering and come join all the fun at this grand celebration of vintage and classic race boats.


For more information or if you want to volunteer, please contact:

Bill John



Many thanks to our newest volunteers, the Clermont Battalion of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps under the leadership of Gary Schindele, Commanding Officer. These outstanding young men and women will be in uniform and will be helping us with regatta security, by patrolling and manning the Hot Pit Security Gates.

Clermont Battalion - US Navel Sea Scouts


Regatta Schedule of Events


The OFF Golf Tournament will be held on Thursday morning at 10am. Entry fee of $50 per person includes cart and afternoon barbeque at Bill and Betty Bakers house in Apopka. For more details contact Jackie Wilson jackraymondwilson0132@gmail.com

6PM     Early Arrivals/Hardcore BBQ at our new CRA Clubhouse - Lake Winds


9----5PM Registration, safety inspections, hot pit setup, media day, social gathering

Noon - Setup crane and race course

6PM      Opening Reception & OFF Celebration at Lago Dora Ristorante 

The crane and all vintage race boats will remain in place overnight, with security.


8AM      Mandatory driver/crew meeting at the pavilion

9am-5pm Vintage Race Boat heats on the race course (heats every 30 minutes!!!)

6PM       Celebration, dinner and awards at Lago Dora Ristorante             

The crane and all vintage race boats will remain in place overnight, with security.


8AM         Mandatory driver/crew meeting at the pavilion

9am-2pm   Vintage Race Boat heats on the race course (heats every 30 minutes!!!)

2:30PM    Crane and boats removed from parking area

It is important to remember that these vintage events are really social events, and every event is actually a reunion and gathering of good friends with our beautiful vintage boats in the background, pulling us together. All are welcome to come join the fun, with or without a boat. We hope you will consider joining us, and please be considerate and register early. This lets the volunteer organizers know you are planning to attend, enabling them to properly plan for the boat count for the regatta and the head count for the socials.

Lodging Suggestions:

 Key West Resort (on site)    Holiday Inn Express              Hampton Inn              Best Western 

 123 S. Joanna St.                3601 West Burleigh Blvd.      9630 US Hwy 441      1380 E Burleigh Boulevard

 Tavares, FL 32778              Tavares, FL 32778                 Leesburg, FL 34788   Tavares, Fl  32778

 352-508-5344                       352-742-1600                          352-315-1053              352/253-2378 

 keywestlakedora.com           holidayinnexpress/.com         hamptoninn.com        BestWestern.Com                 


For more Tavares lodging options.....

 Trip Advisor.Com

Tavares Chamber of Commerce

Sponsors & Donations

The cost to run our APBA sanctioned regattas has become significant as the cost of insurance, crane rental, ambulance services, safety team, and many other important facets to make the events safe and enjoyable continue to increase. In fulfilling our mission, we operate as efficiently as possible and work very hard to break even at our events. The help of sponsors like the Lake County Economic Development Commission, the City of Tavares and various private donors aid significantly to make our efforts successful. Please check out this link and consider helping us !!!

Help Support Our CRA Regattas

Many thanks to the following CRA Sponsors/Donors for their help and support in funding our Tavares Fall Thunder Regatta !!!

Jim Aid

Mark Alkire

Jon Bartell

Jean Batronie

Richard Beatty

Michel Beaudoin

William Black

Rayner Blair

Ted Boyd

William Click

Morgan Crook

Ken Gallup

Al Gammon

Chris Hall

Lee Hildreth

Roger Hinsdale

Jim Houle

Bill John

John Kirschner

Richard Knarich

Steve Koenke

Thomas Kropfeld

Steve Larkin

Jimmy Lewis

Rich Luhrs

Geoffrey Magnuson

Brent McLean

Richard Megee

Bobby Moore

Marty Olsen

Herb Payne

Bill Pearson

Michael Sadlon

Russ Sedlack

Kenneth Shaw

John Taggart

John Tiger

Beale Tilton

Jed Wolcott

Fall Thunder Regatta Video  - Pete Boden

Spring Thunder Regatta Video - Pete Boden

Recap & Photos - Tavares Spring Thunder Regatta

For locals, please join our:

Saturday Morning Gatherings

Monthly Fun Run & Gathering

Florida Vintage Race Boat Circuit

Some related vintage race boat links:

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