One of the most well-known and well-liked individuals in the performance boat community, Roy Schrader, passed away at age 65 in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., at the end of July due to health complications that many of his friends and family members believe could have been avoided with more competent care. The sudden loss of Schrader, the owner and founder of Get Real Performance and Schrader Engineering in Goleta, Calif., and more recently in Lake Havasu City, was heartbreaking to many powerboaters, but even more so for his daughter, Sara, and his 6-year-old granddaughter, Charlie, the absolute apple of his eye.
A true boater, Roy Schrader, middle right in white shirt, was one of the friendliest people in the marine industry. Photos courtesy Roy Schrader, Sara Schrader and Dinarella
his Sunday (Sept. 19), Schrader’s family and friends are planning to gather to celebrate his life and share memories and stories of him from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Shugrue’s banquet room in Lake Havasu City. Anyone interested in attending is asked to RSVP to [email protected].
Schrader—the 1991 IHBA Top Fuel Jet world champion, the 2003 APBA-UIM High Points PX champion and the 2004 APBA-UIM Supercat national champion—has been described by many as “the kindest person you’ll ever meet.” His collection of boats was continually growing and fluctuating, and, according to many of his friends, he seemed to always have a new project in the works. It also didn’t matter to him in which way someone chose to be on the water. Whether it was having fun on a PWC, driving a ski boat or hauling ass in a high-performance boat, Schrader had fondness for all boaters, not to mention a passion for creating better-looking and more-functional marine equipment.
One performance boater who always referred to his friend as “Get Real Roy,” was San Diego’s John Caparell. The owner of a 32-foot Doug Wright poker run edition catamaran that was outfitted with a variety of custom parts created by Schrader, Caparell said he is really going to miss the man who “could machine anything.”
“I’m certain Roy would be with us here today if he had the proper care; in my opinion, and many others, his death was avoidable,” Caparell said. “I am going to miss our conversations and our friendship. He was such a down-to-earth guy and he was a boat guy, a true boater who just loved being on the water with his family and friends.
“I had him engineer some complex hinges for my Doug Wright that pivoted out, up and back—they were extraordinary,” he continued. “And no sooner than he engineered it he found ways to improve it. That was Roy in a nutshell. He was always thinking of ways to make something better. I don’t think there was anything in metal that he couldn’t create. If you can think and draw it, he can make it out of metal.”
Check out the slideshow above for more images of Schrader with family and friends.
Custom boat builders from the likes of DCB, Eliminator, Schiada, Skater and more, surely would agree with Caparell.
“I think I’ve known Roy for like 25 years—it was such a bummer when I heard he was gone,” said Tony Chiaramonte of DCB Performance Boats in El Cajon, Calif. “He made some super-cool one-off pieces for us over the years. I remember this triple-engine jackplate he made for a 30 Daytona when I worked at Eliminator Boats that was like a work of art. He had such a great mind and he was so talented at what he did. And he always wanted to do something a little different so it didn’t look like everything else.”
Lee Spindler of Schiada Boats was devastated when he got the news of his friend’s passing.
“I met Roy back in the Rex Marine days,” Schiada said. “He was one of the most creative guys I’ve ever been around. He had a real eye for artistry in what he did. We often worked together, but Roy didn’t mean anything to my business. That’s because he was one of my best friends—he was such a wonderful man. I miss him so much already.”
There’s no doubt Schrader will be missed by many.
In a touching tribute story about Schrader written in early August, Dinarella described her friend with deep admiration, sincerity and heartache, stating, “He had a talent like no other for his craft. Apart from being a perfectionist, he was a mentor to the younger generation of machinists always eager to recommend a better solution, but more importantly, explain to them how and why it should be that way.”
“I’d say MACHINE or any derivative of it was his favorite word,” she wrote. “If he was not running a machine, he’d be gunning it in one of his big-boy Roy-toy machines. No matter if it was in the water, on land or over sand, he had a thing for anything with an engine. Uhm, let me re-phrase that– anything with a fast engine. He had a knack for making things that already go fast, go just a little faster. His need for speed drew out his sense of humor a lot; he would just shake his head no whenever the slight mention of a center console or pontoon entered our conversations.”
Once again, a memorial service for Schrader is set for Sept. 19 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., at Shugrue’s in Lake Havasu City. And Shrader’s daughter, Sara, welcomes everyone from her father’s boating circle—and beyond—to attend.