Regattas have been going on for a very long time. Some date back before the 1800's when row boat races were held to see who had the fastest team of rowers. Clearly the early regattas were held as racing events. Sometime around the beginning of the 20th century the powerboat people got into the game and several powerboat regatta's were held and sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association.
In the modern era, it is hard to find a powerboat manufacturer that has been involved in regattas longer than the 44 years Campbell Boats has been putting them on. The brainchild of Bob and Billy Campbell, the Campbell Regatta was a way to get the owners involved in some type of boating activity, but in the process the Regatta also drove sales and service work at their facility.
Ski, slalom and powder puff races from the beach in Thompson Bay were a tradition in Lake Havasu for years. Bob Whelan took the regatta idea to a whole new level by offering to help boat owners boost the power of their boats so they could compete against the top runners. A boat show and of course the "themed parade" were the highlights of the event which the whole town showed up to witness as the party raged on under the bridge.
Considering that the last production Campbell rolled off the assembly line sometime around 1996, the fact that the Regatta's continue is a testament to the dedication and enthusiasm of the Campbell Boat Owners who took over the event's responsibilities.
The 2016 Campbell Regatta was recently held in Lake Havasu with several activities planned for the September weekend. Friday night was the "Old Time Rock and Roll" themed dinner and dance held at Shugrue's. The event T-shirts and Campbell hats were distributed followed by a Prime Rib buffet. Long time friends caught up and newbies were welcomed by the group. Music and dancing helped get everyone in the Campbell mood for Saturday's events.
Saturday, the boats met in Thompson Bay, paraded through the channel and then ran up to Pirates Cove. When 40 Campbell's hit the beach you know a party is about to breakout. Over 130 hungry boaters filled the group facility at Pirates and you had to move fast if you wanted to eat. Several boats that had not been seen in years were in attendance along with several recently restored boats. Dogs, kids, old boat owners and new ones filled the beach sharing the best boating and Campbell ownership had to offer.
Longtime Campbell owner Tom McEntire made the run with his crew in "BS too" a 1969, twin turbo'd bbc step deck.
Newcomer Chris Propokow drug his pretty 20'er 750 miles from Northern California to join in the action.
Buddy Staude's blown bbc "Darcy K" parked next to me on the beach. Buddy is the original owner of "Darcy K."
Robert Donahue brought the beautiful "Slammer" a 1960 blown bbc Campbell/Caribbean.
The former "Last Dance" a 1965 24ft CC was reworked and renamed "Class of 65" with its beautiful wood trailer. When was the last time you saw a wood trailer?
At least 5 Whalers made it to the beach along with lots of pretty cuddy cabins in every color.
Jim Josephson offered me a ride in his 24ft wood decked rocket ship, which is powered by twin blown sbc's. Jim could drop the hammer at 50 and the boat jumped out of the water trying to avoid the whipping it was about to get. I was shocked that a 24 could move like that! This may not seem fast to some or to those at the top of the performance boat pyramid but remember these are forty-year- old boats that refuse to give up.
Almost everyone struggled leaving Pirate's knowing that the day had to end at some point, or did it? Once back in town, the party continued in the channel, but not before a red 20ft was brought in on the hook, behind a big 28ft, confirming that, No Campbell was left behind!
Sunday was a similar start for most everyone, with a run to The Springs for breakfast followed by a raft up at three dunes, where dogs and kids seemed to rule the beach. Afterwards, many owners met up and continued the celebration in the channel.
Some member's plan all year for this event and then it ends way too quickly. Hugs and handshakes were exchanged and promises made to spend more great time together. Thanks to everyone who made it happen this year and hope to see you all at the Spring Round-Up in May.