Thursday, December 11, 2014

1935 Gold Cup Boat Races Being Recreated

Lake george 1935 speedboat raceIf all goes as planned, in September of 2015 a fleet of vintage race boats will take to the waters of Lake George in a nostalgic tribute to a bygone era in power boating’s classic past. For the first time in over 80 years the shoreline in Bolton Landing will echo the roar of the exhausts from a fleet of Gold Cup replicas and vintage boats.

Norm Dasher, Teri Hoffman, Bob Phillips and Buzz Lamb are the founding members of The Gold Cup Committee of Lake George and they aim to re-create what was then power boating’s most prestigious race.

Participation in the Gold Cup Demonstration Race will be by invitation only and Hoffman, immediate Past President of the Antique and Classic Boat Society (ACBS), will be contacting boat owners and drivers asking if they wish to participate.  “I can think of 30 boat owners right off the top of my head that would love to play a part in an event like this,” Hoffman said.

Initial plans call for the event to start Thursday, September 17 with a cocktail reception at F. R. Smith & Sons Marina in Bolton Landing.  The reception will include guided tours of three-time Gold Cup winner George Reis’ home, which is located next to the marina.  Joe and Patti Silipigno, owners of the Boathouse Bed & Breakfast, will lead groups of four on a private tour of the historic boathouse.

Organizers are planning guided lake tours on Friday, September 18 along with trips to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake where Reis’ G-18 race boat, the El Lagarto is on display.  During the 3-day event several Bolton area restaurants will be asked to participate in a special $19.35 three-course dinner menu to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Gold Cup Race at Bolton Landing.

The actual reenactment of the 1935 race will be held on Saturday, September 19.  A 2 ½ -mile course replicating the 1935 layout will be set up in Bolton Bay.  The “race” format will be three separate heats of approximately 10 boats each.  Each heat will consist of four counter-clockwise laps around the D-shaped course with the straightaway parallel to the Bolton shoreline.

Spectators will be able to view the boats from the pier at the Sagamore Resort or the pier at D. L. Rogers Park.

Scotty Too at Lake George“Announcers will be stationed at the viewing locations so that spectators will be informed of boat positions, course speeds and lap times,” said Buzz Lamb.

Dasher said some of the race boats will be on display on the lawn at the Sagamore and at Rogers Park on Saturday morning.  “We are hoping for the cooperation of the local marinas to launch the boats before race-time,” he said.  Dasher said the public will be able to see the boats in the “pits” and talk to the drivers and crew members.

An awards banquet is planned for Saturday night at the Sagamore Resort.  Dasher spoke with Lori Rehm, Director of Sales at the Sagamore who said she and General Manager Tom Guay are excited to be involved with the event in whatever capacity they are able to.  Rehm suggested using their Morgan cruise boat for the Saturday banquet for a three-hour cruise on the lake.  “It can accommodate 80 people,” she told Dasher.

Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover said he likes the fact that the event will be held in the off-season.  “I can’t speak for the Town Board, who will have to approve this, but I personally think it’s a great idea,” he said.  “We’re always looking for ways to bring people into our community.”  Heidi Hess, Bolton Chamber of Commerce president echoed Conover’s sentiments.  “This sounds awesome,” she said.  “The idea is phenomenal!”  Hess said the chamber would be willing to offer any assistance needed to bring the event to fruition.

Committee member Bob Phillips is leading the quest for sponsorships for the event.  “We have a couple of prominent businesses interested already and we haven’t even started rattling the bushes,” Phillips said.

Lamb said the committee is working on other ideas to make the event an all-encompassing weekend.  “We want to talk with Andy Pratt to see if he can get a few barbershop quartets here for the weekend,” he said.  “Maybe we can get Carol McCarthy and the Lake George Garden Club to come to the event in their Victorian garb.”

“The event is currently in the planning stages and nothing has been ‘carved in stone’”, Lamb said.  “More information will follow as approvals are received from government agencies and town officials.”

Anyone wishing to become a sponsor may contact Bob Phillips at 518-383-0135 or email Buzz Lamb at NOROWAL1@aol.com. Organizers said all proceeds from the event will be divided equally between the Lake George Association, The FUND for Lake George and the Lake George Land Conservancy.

Photos: Above,George Reis and Anderson Bowers in El Lagarto. Reis donated the boat to the Adirondack Museum (Photo by Rosenfeld & Sons.); and below, Scotty Too at George Reis’s boathouse during the 1935 Gold Cup races. The Hacker was later owned by Lake George’s Ted Larter (Lake George Mirror File Photo).


Anthony F. Hall

Anthony F. Hall is the editor and publisher of the Lake George Mirror.

Anthony grew up in Warrensburg and after an education that included studying with beat poet Gregory Corso on an island in the Aegean, crewing a schooner in Hawaii, traveling through Greece and Turkey studying Byzantine art and archeology, and a stint at Lehman Brothers, he returned to the Adirondacks and took a job with legendary state senator Ron Stafford.

In 1998, Anthony and his wife Lisa acquired the Lake George Mirror, once part of a chain of weekly newspapers owned by his father Rob Hall.

Established in the 1880s, the Mirror is America’s oldest resort newspaper.





One Response

  1. Paul says:

    This is great! We used to get to see some of these type of boats come through Keough Marine in Saranac Lake when I was a kid. Charlie Keough restored a number of different types of wooden racing boats (you can see some of his work at the Adirondack Museum). Charlie was also an excellent boat racer himself!