By: Don Wollard
don@rumrunnerracing.com 

 

A novel idea. Hold a fast electric boat race and invite the public. Specially young people. The Florida High Voltage F/E Club (formerly the Central Florida High Voltage Club) did just that. Joining with a large Miami suburban community home owners, association, and local private business, the club began its 2000 racing season.

The highlight was that this was the very first time a Fast Electric Boat Race (sanctioned) was held in the Miami (Florida) area. There was no established F/E boat club in the area. The closest club to the race site is in Central Florida, over 250 miles away.

Sunday April 9th, 2000 was race day. A cold front with high winds arrived the evening before and threatened to dampen racing and spirits. No problem! The show went on. The race site was located in the beautiful residential community of The Hammocks. This is a suburb of Miami with over 10,000 residences, 5 lakes and 20 beaches. The race site chosen was a protected cove at the south end of a large lake.

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The Hammocks Community Association and their activities director Suzie Garrahan provided ideal surroundings for an F/E event. The gracious hospitality of The Hammocks provided the club with local promotion, 24 hour security, lake side parking, use of facilities the local police explorer’s club and a very nice newspaper article. The explorer’s teamed with the homeowner’s association to cook food and sell refreshments. Much to the delight of hungry racer’s and public. Their efforts were much appreciated.

So how do you get the public involved in an F/E Boat race? How about a day at the beach featuring entertainment, food and beverage plus a kids race. And.... the people came out.

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The kids race was sponsored by Ray Fuller and Fuller’s Fast Electric’s. A big and Special thanks to Ray Fuller for his generosity and consideration for this event. Ray donated to the club a fleet of boats, motors, batteries and HiTec radio gear. Fuller’s sells top of the line hardware, motors and equipment and a variety of racing class boats. Check out his website. Who knows? You might just find the boat of your dreams, there.

With over 50 youngster’s wanting to be a race driver, race director Donnie Wollard held a raffle and narrowed the field down to a manageable eight. The Kids race was a hoot to watch and a lot of excitement for the young people. 

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On to the racing. 

N-1 Mono  -  Racing began with 6 cell stock classes. N-1 Mono (any mono hull with an 05 stock motor) was first to race. Always a popular and affordable class which always draws many entrants. A driver can be competitive with a $25 scratch built boat or a state of the art carbon fiber wonder. Basic skills and luck are more important in this class than how much you spend for your boat. 

Being small boats and fast for there size, this class does not do well on choppy water or in windy conditions. Don (dad) Wollard raced his newly acquired Raptor. An English boat modeled after the Eco Class of race boats, distributed by ASTEC. If you have not tried one of these boats, you must. Very stable and able to run in any water conditions the hull is self-righting. To every one’s amazement, the boat is actually competitive in N-1 Mono and will run for about 5 minutes. The boat finished first by a mile in the choppy water of heat one. Took third out of six boats in heat two (ran first place all the way but the driver cut two buoys and was penalized, Opps!). And in heat three finished 4th after a poor start. Trey Adams took top honors for the day driving his Maus Micro Bullet powered by the new Trinity P2K stock motor.

N-2 Mono (6 cell modified motor) and P Mono (12 cell modified motor) also battled at the event. N-2 Mono is fast and lots of fun to watch. These hulls are approximately 22 inches long and sport 05 can motors as well as a variety of exotic power. Trey Adams raced the Boat/Motor combination which Dick Crowe used to win the N-2 class at the Nationals. Its a Maus Micro Bullet with Lehner power set-up by Ray Fuller. A very fast combination.

This was Trey’s first NAMBA race and he drove like an experienced champ. Trey traveled to the race from Louisiana along with racing pal’s David Roark and Kevin Barthel.

Joining in for the final heat was Ed Houghton. Ed is from England and was on vacation in Florida. Being a true F/E enthusiast, Ed brought along a 7 cell stepped mono and joined in for a little fun. It was very refreshing  to see Ed’s boat race against very competitively set-up American boats. Ed uses a Trinity 05 motor to power his boat and demonstrated the boat would run for over 5 minutes at its extreme speed.

Ed took first place in his heat when then entire 6 boat fleet stalled, spun-out or flipped. Ed’s boat is a German design which is self righting. An impressive boat which could be ideal for the new (NAMBA) O-Offshore enduro class. Donnie said later, “I have just got to get one of these”. 

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Hey NAMBA! Why was it [again] we don’t allow Stepped Bottomed Mono’s in our oval classes? Hummm!!!!!! We have got to re-think this...soon.

N-2 Hydro (6 cells and modified motor) was the first hydro class to race. This is an affordable and surprisingly fast class to race. These boats typically are around 22 inches long and relatively light for the power they sport. In heat One, Rum Runner team driver Brian Vega managed his first 2000 heat win by keeping his boat right side up in the choppy water. Quite a feat, Brian! In heat 2 Brian met the opposite shore line at full speed, bounced off and still won the heat. In the final heat Brian lost his lead when his ESC over heated and the win was grabbed by Trey Adams. Scott Harris had a consistent second place finish in all three heats which gave him the big ‘wood’ for the class.

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O-Hydro (8 cells with any modified motor - hydro type hull) was the fastest action of the day. Top Guns like Chris Harris, Brian Vega and Rob Michael’s lead the charge for the beautiful trophies. O-Hydro’s boats are slightly larger than N-2’s. Lately, driver’s racing this class seem to favor exotic motors and set there boats up to perform on the edge. 05 can type motors and gear drives powered by 05 motors still remain top contender’s in class, though not as popular.

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Rob Michaels is the owner of Superior Hobbies and an International R/C Car Champion. Rob took the helm of Don Wollard’s personal boat. An Aveox powered Rum Runner rigger. The boat is brand new and designed to handle choppy water at top speed.

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Don Wollard pitted for Rob Michaels in O and P Hydro while Rob drove Don’s boats.

The first heat, the water was very choppy and it was a feat for anyone to complete the race. At less than top speed, Rob promptly broke the standing NAMBA record by 3 seconds. In heat two, Rob hooked a sponson, spun-out and Chris Harris driving a hot Hammer head rigger flew by to take the win. Chris was so fast that he broke Rob’s new record by 1 second raising the bar at this ‘speed fest’. In heat 3, the wind had dropped down to around 10 m.p.h. 4 boats headed for the start line neck and neck. Rob hit the juice and never looked back. He broke the old record by 8 seconds with a new 5 lap mark of 65.91 seconds. Congratulations Rob!

Battling his way through the ranks was Scott Harris who raced a 5 years old BBY rigger. Driving skills and consistent finishes earned him a respectful second place.

P-Mono (12 cells, any modified motor- Single hull Mono) was all Chris Harris and his newly re-designed Bandit Pistolero. This class generally features state of the art equipment. The boat hulls are 24 inches or longer and generally powered by exotic motors.

The newly redesigned Pistolero could easily be a top contender this year. This hull appears stable in both choppy and calm water with little change to its set-up. Brian Vega was close in second with his Maus Bullet followed by Scott Harris and his Black Diamond hull.

P-Hydro (12 cells, any modified motor - any Hydro hull). This hydro class and above generally features custom built boats, specialized running hardware and exotic motors. Definitely not an entry level class. Lots of fun to watch. Straight-a-way speeds for this class can exceed 60 MPH.

Rough water surface and high speed model boats typically don’t mix. They did not for this class either. Heat one was all Rob Michaels. Rob was at the helm of Don Wollard’s P-rigger which is powered by a new e-series Aveox 1412/1.5 motor set-up by Jim Caldwell at Rogel Marine. In heat two, Rob spun twice which gave Brian Vega the win driving his Plettenberg powered Hammer Head rigger. Rob held on and grabbed respectable second place in spite of some bad luck. Heat three was a surprise. Rob’s batteries had false peaked and he lasted all of 1/2 lap. Brian Vega and Chris Harris both suffered spin-outs which opened the way for Scott Harris and his 5 year old Maus rigger to cruise along for the win.

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The P Offshore class which was raced for the first time at the 1999 NAMBA Nationals is now a 4 minute enduro event for 2000 racing season. The boats must all be semi-scale in appearance and be at least 30 inches long, overall. The winner of each heat is the boat with the highest lap count. The racing was great and the enduro challenge really made the difference for the watching crowd. They loved this event and cheered on there favorite boat. Chris Harris’ and his custom built Hammer Head Catt took top honor’s with a total of 20 laps. Race director Donnie Wollard was restricted to only one heat all day and elected to enter the final heat of Offshore. His much improved Rum Runner Catt took second place with a broken steering arm. Good job!

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The raffle at a boat race is always exciting and important. Its raises the funds needed by a club to pay for the cost of holding events, equipment, tents and so forth. The club would like to recognized HiTec and Orange Blossom Hobbies for there generous donations. Other raffle sponsor’s included Southern Wine and Spirits and Rum Runner Racing.

We ask that you patronize these generous folks with your future business.

The club owes a special ‘thank you’ to race director Donnie Wollard. Donnie planned this event from stem to stern. Located the site, coordinated with The Hammocks Community Association and took care of all the other hundred little details involved with a successful race. The huge success of this event was because of his efforts. The club is already planning for next year’s race in Miami.

Donnie received the benefit and assistance of having Miss Lori Meadows at the race. Her help at any club event is priceless and we appreciate her very much. She is great!

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Donnie tracked the race classes and each heat on a lap top computer. This was marvelous and certainly simplified managing a busy event. Results were instant. Hey Donnie! How did you keep the sand out of your laptop?

Also, it must be mentioned the efforts of club member Dan Chong who did a marvel job raising the money for the event trophies, T-Shirts and raffle prizes. Dan recruited Southern Wine and Spirits as a primary sponsor. We all appreciate you, Dan. The trophies were paramount to a National Championship race prize. Race T-Shirts sported a cute graphic developed by Pop Wollard (Don Wollard, Sr.). They became the event memento.

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Chris Harris (NAMBA district director) and club Prez Tony Colarusso are a pair of ‘get it done’ guys. No matter what, they are always there to see the show goes on. Thank you gentlemen for your time developing this club.

What do you think of our new club retrieve boat?  Fits in the bed on Donnie’s pick-up truck and ready on a moments notice.

And finally, I also want to mention my delight to see so many young families involved in FE boat racing. Chris and Lori Harris brought along both of their young son’s. The newest family member is only two months old. Our youngest active club racer is 15 year old Daniel Wollard. 

The Florida High Voltage Club has dedicated the 2000 season to membership drives and fund raiser’s. Getting and keeping entire families involved is the future of this hobby, and our [collective] goal. Affordable, challenging and fun is also what it will take to keep our great hobby alive.

What about the Future for the new Florida R/C boat club? The club has launched a plan to have semi-annual Straight Away trials to supplement the club’s active racing schedule. The first SAW event is scheduled for this fall.

Happy Racing. Stay Tuned.

Team Rum Runner along with members of the F.H.V. Club  will be in Seattle for the Spring Splash, June 10-11, 2000. Another NAMBA family oriented race. In the event you have not registered for the race or paid your entry fee’s, you must do so soon. See you there.  SPRING SPLASH WEBSITE

 

RACE RESULTS AND PICTURES

 

This article was written exclusively for Rum Runner Racing by Don Wollard.  Use of this article is Strictly Prohibited without written permission from Rum Runner Racing and DL3 Web Designs.

 

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