When retired offshore powerboat racer Charlie McCarthy and other veterans from the sport founded the Historic Offshore Race Boat Association 10 years ago, they had two primary goals for the Tampa, Fla.-based organization: Locate and restore vintage raceboats to running condition and present them—primarily in racing venues—to current fans of the sport. While those objectives haven’t changed, according to McCarthy, HORBA will launch a new strategy for reaching them in 2016.
“As with the latest restoration of White Tornado (showcased in the September/October issue of Speed On The Water digital magazine), we are finding some success in the first goal,” he said. “The venues, especially on the racing side, have not been as good. We tried the Miami to Bimini and back and then the Around Long Island a few times with mixed results.
“So for next year we are going as simple as possible with four events that will be called “HORBA Thunderboat Rallies,’” he continued. “The events will be in Florida, Michigan and New York, and are open to anyone who has a high performance boat that is 25 years old or older and wants to join in a 50-mile Saturday cruise.”
McCarthy and his fellow HORBA members hope to create greater exposure for vintage raceboats such as the White Tornado above.
Tentative dates and locations for the 2016 rallies are:
•January 30: Miami or Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
•March 19: Sarasota or Clearwater, Fla.
•July 16 or 23: Lake St. Clair, Mich.
•August 20 or 27: Long Island, New York
All HORBA Thunderboat Rallies will run on Saturdays and will include a 50-mile cruise beginning at 10 a.m. Each rally will include a lunch stop and an awards show. The cost will be $25 per boat—lunch for the boat owners and their guests is not included in the entry fee.
On HORBA’s racing side, McCarthy said the organization will continue to run the 271-mile Don Aronow Memorial Around Long Island Race. Thanks to “positive feedback from owners of the older boats,” he added, HORBA organizers are planning a couple of 100-mile events exclusively for vintage boats next year.
“We are going to try it at the last two events, Michigan and New York,” he explained. “Classes would follow American Power Boat Association rules of 1979. Small-blocks run in the Production classes of Production, Modified and Sport. Big-Blocks run in the Open classes of Open I and Open II for single- and twin- engine boats. All Step bottom boats run together in a single Step class, regardless of engine size. Entry fees are to be determined.”
“This will give everyone a chance to have their old boat seen and appreciated,” he added “And if they want to try actually racing it, the 100-mile distance should make it a nice easy way to start.”
Editor’s Note: To enjoy a comprehensive feature on the restoration of the White Tornado vintage Bertram offshore raceboat, download the September/October issue of Speed On The Water digital magazine now at no charge by clicking here.