Story: Jason Miller (Constant840)
Photos: Jason Miller (Constant840)
The 7th Annual Billy B River Rockets Regatta took place on August 15, 2017. If you love V Drives, Pirates Cove in Needles California was the place to be! For lovers of V-Drives, and all things truly custom this year surely did not disappoint! Originating in Needles at the Jack Smith Park, this is the 4th year at Pirates Cove for this annual get together and the turn out this year did not disappoint.
I've said it before. These V-drive guys start early! As I made my way to the lagoon that morning I was confident I'd gotten the drop on a lot of guys. I arrived to find over a dozen boats already floating there, with more in the channel. I'd missed the start of the parade.
Engines could be heard firing and idling in the distance as the cavalcade of boats continued. Within 15 minutes the group had doubled. By the time the sun came up just after 6:30 almost 40 boats had gathered for the event.
The stream of boats continued after the sun came up. I love the smell of methanol and race fuel in the morning. There is some debate over the wake these guys create with high idling engines and tall gears in the case. Most of the boats with this issue idled in and out of gear for short distances to keep disturbance to a minimum.
The Sherriff boated through without incident. Stopping in the cove for a minute to admire the lineup, one of them yelled to shore "We're just going to float here all day!" The crowd on the beach took this in good nature and a few threw out invites to come ashore for a beer.
I enjoy seeing both familiar boats and new to me boats. I know there is always something that has upgraded, or modified even on the familiar boats that I get to see at various events and on the river. It's a never ending progression and evolution on these boats both heading in the direction of nostalgia, and modern in some cases. On the new to me boats there is always some new ingenious rigging I hadn't seen before. Sure boats are boats, but details can set some apart from the pack.
This Rayson Craft was one of the cleanest boats at the gathering. Without really knowing anything about the boat aside from the make, I can say the rigging is top notch. Obvious fore thought went into this boat before anything was drilled and placed. The gauge cluster being nice and tidy. A few things making it unique are simple but effective. Note the jacketed OT headers. Possibly the first set I've ever seen in person. The grey hammer tone finish on the tanks and bell housing fit the theme of the boat really well. The wooden carb spacers are a nice touch that helped me remember this beauty is a classic.
The what?s what of the V-drive world, in a word... "Schiada!" Only three attended this years event.
The jet boat guys were out in force with some nice floats. It had been said in the past that jet boats weren't welcome. I'm not so sure that is the case. I think it is more like a 1972 Tahiti with split upholstery and mismatched bimini top wasn't welcome to pull in between two restored Sangers. In any case I didn't see a single Tahiti in attendance. There were at least 10 jet boats though.
So if you weren't able to make it this year that?s just some of what you missed. A lot of V-drives. A lot of horse power. A lot of good people. A ton of fun.
Stay tuned for a boat spotlight from this event as well as a few minutes with Billy B himself.