Tavares Fall Thunder Regatta

November 14-16, 2014

A major stop on the Florida Vintage Race Boat Circuit

Tavares Fall Thunder Registration

Participants & Heat Schedule !!!

Click here for winter storage !!!

The past will come alive as vintage and classic race boats of bygone eras return to Wooton Park in Tavares, Florida for our seventh annual 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.


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 !!!

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, flatbottoms, skiffs, speedsters and magnificent Gold Cup racers. The Invitation/Registration Packets were mailed in September to all 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 John1948@metrocast.net

Participants & Heat Schedule !!!


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 second event for will be November 14-16 in Tavares, Florida. This is the weekend after the Key West Offshore Championships. 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. There are also many others coming with their clubs for a Friday morning outing. Please join all the fun Al's Landing on Friday evening for the Opening Reception & OFF Celebration. Hope to see you all there !!!    Rich Luhrs

OFF - Old Friends Forever

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Wooton Park, Tavares

Friday - setup & celebration !!!

Friday will be a full day of safety inspections, registration, boat rides, good friends and great food - a vintage gathering. The launch ramp and docks will also be available for boat rides and test sessions on Lake Dora. 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 the Al's  Landing on Friday evening for the Opening Reception & OFF Celebration and again at Al's Landing on Saturday evening for another huge feast, celebration, awards and more boisterous conversations. Please join us, reservations are required and tickets may be purchased by contacting our Regatta Registrar, Gerri Prusko at 352-297-6060 or Vintageboat@comcast.net


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 Gold Cup race boats. One huge 90 ton crane will be setup 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 six fire breathing grand prix hydroplanes registered. The sights and sounds from Wooton Park will be just magnificent, don't miss this exciting event.

Recap & Photos - Tavares Spring Thunder Regatta


Field of Dreams - vintage & classic race boats for sale !!!

We encourage spectators to spend some time strolling through the Field of Dreams for vintage and classic race boats for sale. This is a great opportunity to look at vintage race  boats, talk with the owners and possibly buy a boat. And with the huge crowds at our Fall Thunder Regatta, this is also a great opportunity to sell a vintage race boat. Here is the link for some vintage race boats currently for sale.

Our Trading Dock

Come join us for all the fun !!!

So mark your calendars and come join all the excitement and fun at our Fall Thunder Regatta on November 8-10, 2013. 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 !!!

Please be considerate and register early:

Tavares Fall Thunder Registration

Click here for winter storage !!!

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

    Chairman:                          Registration:
    Bill John                            Gerri Prusko

352-729-6060                        352-729-6060

      John1948@metrocast.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.

Click here for event map !!!


Regatta Schedule of Events


November 14


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

Noon - Setup crane and course

2--5pm Testing for drivers and boats  

6---9PM Opening Reception & OFF Celebration at Al's Landing

             No charge for participants - BBQ, hot dogs, burgers, soft drinks

             Cash bar also provided


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



November 15


7AM        Setup Admission/Registration Tent

7:30AM Patrol/Picket Boat Meeting at the docks

8AM      Mandatory driver/crew meeting at the pavilion

8:30     Opening flag ceremonies

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

6PM        Cocktail party, celebration, dinner and awards at Al's landing

              Cash bar also provided


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





7:30AM    Patrol/Picket Boat Meeting at the docks

8AM         Mandatory driver/crew meeting at the pavilion

8:30        Opening flag ceremonies

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

5:30PM    Crane and boats removed from parking area


For reservations/tickets to social events, contact Registrar:

Gerri Prusko at 352-729-6060 or Vintageboat@comcast.net  

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:


Holiday Inn Express

Host hotel, close to regatta, call for special rates....


Lakeview Inn - Tavares

Across from the docks.....closest to the regatta....


Mission Inn - Resort & Club

A complete resort.....just minutes away....



Hampton Inn

A few miles away.....


Grandview Exterior

Grandview Bed &Breakfast

The best bed & breakfast in Mount Dora.......

Tavares Chamber of Commerce

For more Tavares information and more lodging options.....

Check out these links !!!

CRA Video by Tom D'Eath

Tavares Spring Thunder Regatta - 2013

Tavares Spring Thunder Photos by F. Peirce Williams - 2013

Some related vintage race boat links:

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