By Donnie McLean
In 1999, while a group of vintage and antique boat friends discussed race boat regattas, the idea was hatched to start an event to be held on Wolfeboro Bay in New Hampshire. The event would be organized and hosted by the New Hampshire Boat Museum and its volunteers. And the Regatta would be under the auspices of the American Power Boat Association’s Vintage and Historic Division whose mission is to preserve vintage and historic race boats and to recreate race boat regattas from the past using these boats.
Having the event on Lake Winnipesaukee was a perfect fit. The lake had been very active with boat racing in the early days with boats of all kinds including big triple cockpit Gar Wood, Hacker Craft and Chris-Craft boats.
A committee was formed including Hank Why, Gerry Davidson, Geoff Magnuson, Shaun Berry, Bill John, and Donnie McLean. Through the years members have come and gone but half of the original group continues to help steer the event with a committee that has grown to double the size of the first one.
The first Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat Regatta was held mid-September 2000, just a month after the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton New York’s event. We held our second Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat Regatta a year later in September 2001 and from then on planned to host our Regatta on Clayton’s “off year.”
The Wolfeboro Regatta was almost immediately recognized as a premier event among many events each year. This is in part due to the great location and also for the event’s careful organization. Since those early years, participation has grown so much that we’ve had to be careful to not overburden the venue with too many boats. We have participants that consistently come from as far away as South Florida, the upper Midwest United States and Canada.