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Regatta/Hurricane Irma Update - 9/27/2017

Our Tavares Fall Thunder Regatta, scheduled from November 17 to 19, 2017 was cancelled as result of Hurricane Irma. The docks in Wooton Park were completely destroyed, and the City of Tavares said it will take 18 months to replace the docks.

The good news is that the City of Tavares has budgeted money for temporary docks to be installed while the new Category 5 hurricane docks are designed, bid and installed. Gary Sherb of the Sunnyland Chapter of ACBS and Bill John of the Class Race Boat Association have been assigned to design the temporary docks to best fit the needs of both the Sunnyland Boat Show and the CRA Regatta. So, we will have new custom designed docks for our Tavares Spring Thunder Regatta in March !!!   

Tavares Spring Thunder Regatta

March 16-18, 2018

Heat Schedule & Participants

Woody Boater Article


And the following weekend !!!

Tavares/Sunnyland Antique & Classic Boat Show

The past will come alive as vintage and classic race boats of bygone eras return to Wooton Park in Tavares, Florida for our twelve annual Tavares Spring Thunder Regatta. Tavares is now a major stop on the CRA Florida Vintage Race Boat Circuit, and this Spring's regatta features three days of action 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 powerboat racing. The sights and sounds are just magnificent, come join us for our next event - admission is free !!!

WoodyBoater Article


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

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 some pretty hot laps, you gotta come to Tavares !!!

Triangle News Article


We will be running large heats of all the APBA vintage classes, including outboards, classic glass, small hydros, mid-hydros, large hydros, runabouts, flatbottoms, skiffs, speedsters and magnificent Gold Cup racers. The Invitation/Registration Packets were mailed to 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


Fall Thunder Regatta Video  - Pete Boden

Spring Thunder Regatta Video - Pete Boden

Recap & Photos - Tavares Spring Thunder Regatta

As a treat for spectators and participants, we will be running vintage unlimited hydroplanes on the course. These are the biggest and fastest vintage race boats on the circuit, running fire breathing Allison V-12 aircraft engines. The excitement and noise these huge engines create are spectacular. This is gonna be awesome, don't miss this special show !!!


Thursday evening - BBQ at our new CRA Clubhouse !!

On Thursday afternoon/evening, all the hard core/early arrivers are invited to a BBQ at our new CRA Clubhouse. Plan on lots of fun with boat rides, plenty of cold beer, all you can eat BBQ and of course, lots of vintage boat banter.

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 and drink and tall stories. We will be at Puddle Jumpers on Friday evening for the Opening Reception and again on Saturday evening for another huge feast, celebration, awards and more boisterous conversations. Admission is free for Friday evening, but advance reservations are required for the Saturday evening Awards Banquet.

Puddle Jumpers   

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 all the APBA vintage classes, including outboard racers and classic glass, along with the many classes of vintage inboard runabouts, hydroplanes and Gold Cup 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 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


Come join us for all the fun !!!

So mark your calendars and come join all the excitement and fun at our Tavares Spring Thunder Regatta on March 16-18, 2018. 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 !!!


A reminder !!!

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.

Wooton Park Layout

Wooton Park - Current Development Plan

Please be considerate and register early !!!


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

               Chairman:                                 Registration:                     
                         Bill John                                 Gerri Prusko                              

            352-729-6060                              352-729-6060                  

     BillJohn48@Comcast.net       Vintageboat@Comcast.net

Volunteers Needed !!!

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


Regatta Schedule of Events


March 15

9----5PM  Early arrivals drop off boats in the Hot Pits with full security

5PM      Early Arrivals BBQ at our new CRA Clubhouse - Lake Winds


March 16

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

3--5PM   Crane & tractor launch boat testing

6PM        Opening Reception & Celebration at Puddle Jumpers

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


March 17

8AM       Mandatory driver/crew meeting at the pavilion

8:30AM  Patrol/Picket Boat Meeting at the docks

8:55      National Anthem

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

6PM        Cocktail party, celebration, dinner, awards at  Puddle Jumpers

The crane and vintage race boats remain in place overnight, with full security


March 18

8AM         Mandatory driver/crew meeting at the pavilion

8:30AM    Patrol/Picket Boat Meeting at the docks

8:55        National Anthem

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

2:30PM    The crane and boats removed from parking area

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 Bvd

 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

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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