Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat Regatta - 2007

Bill John and Hank Why

Co- Chairs, Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat Regatta

September 13-15, 2007

Recap & Photos !!!


Click here our next Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat Regatta - 2009 !!!


The APBA Vintage & Historic Division Logo

The 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 years !!!

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 Boat Circuit. 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.


Again 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 reception/tent party 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 improved and 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. For new or rookie drivers and riders, the Driver/Rider Clinic is a great way to learn how to run on the Vintage Circuit. 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", "The 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 for 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 Wolfeboro.





Then 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 !!!











Scorpio – debuted at Wolfeboro !!!


Many 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 Scorpio.




Many 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 Double Eagle", 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 never run. Many thanks and congratulations to Forrest and Susan (Sooy) Elkins, for a very successful debut of  at 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.






Then 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 !!!




Then on Sunday morning, some goodbyes to Forrest & Susan Elkins and Brian Small's Safety/Rescue Team.



Safety 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.

Race Course.jpg (216349 bytes)


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.

Click here for even more Wolfeboro photos - taken by Joe Brown.


A 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 Regatta.


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 event.


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 “occasional” noise. 


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 Regatta



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