Restorations in Progress

We receive many e-mails from people who want to find an old race boat and restore it. Often the first question is ... "Where do I start?"

We provide many useful resources for you as a member. If you read over the names of the Board members, you will see that this group as a whole either had something to do with the building of the actual boat you might be interested in, or actually raced against it. They will know more about the boat than any other source you could find.

We usually advise you to start by having a good marine survey done of the boat. Surveys will show whether the boat is worth restoring or is too far gone to be of any value.

Next, select one of the members who do restorations in their own shops. If you find an Apache, banana, Cigarette, Magnum, Pantera, Bertram, Sonic, Powerplay, Donzi or any of the older wooden boats, they can all be handled by these people.

Parts for restoration and knowing how the old boats were rigged correctly can be found from our supplier links .. Brownie for sure can lead you in the right direction.

For example, the old Bertram race boat pictured below was found by the present owner. He was interested in a restoration of the boat and also wanted some history. Some of us recognized it immediately as the old Needle Nose. This boat was owned and raced by the Lewis brothers out of New Jersey...

Dry Martini

BERTRAM Needle Nose

We contacted Phil Lewis and sent him some of these photos. He was able to give the owner some clues as to what to look for to make sure it was his boat. If you look on the deck in the photo that shows the transom, you will notice two patches that don't match the color of the deck. Phil told us that on his boat, he drilled holes for exhaust vents in the shape of the letter N on both sides ... Needle Nose.


Phil Lewis even provided photos of the model he had made of the boat showing the two letter N's he described. Phil's boat was also set up with staggered engines using TRS sterndrives, which this boat has.





These photos show the boat as it is being cleaned up. Here you can see the bilge before clean-up.


... The bilge during clean-up.


... The bilge after clean-up and fresh paint.


The engine is set in place.

CIGARETTE Spirit - Benihana

This is the state of the famous Spirit / Benihana race boat at the beginning of the restoration. Notice the wonderful condition of the bolster.


The entire boat has been painted black, bottom, hull, sides and deck. All of this black paint will have to come off for the restoration. The trailer is the original trailer.


The Cigarette logo was left untouched.


The original gelcoat colors can be seen under the space covered by the sterndrives.


Engine room has been kept in the original color scheme, orange with white tanks.


Another shot of the engine room with the original color scheme.


Here is a photo of the original gauges on the dash.


Another view of the dash gauges and forward on the deck.


Original fuel fill on the deck in front of the windshield.


So why are these men smiling? HORBA Managing Director Charlie McCarthy Sr., on the left, and banana boat co executive Charley McCarthy Jr., on the right, are thinking what a great boat this will be once again after the restoration is finished.

Why save this boat?

Why is it so important to the history of offshore?

It was originally built for Don Aronow who registered it under his lucky number 4.

It was sold and raced under two names over the next two years, Spirit and Benihana. During that time, it won 5 of its first 6 races. Won the Bahamas 500 twice, won Bushmills twice, and Miami to Nassau once. It also won the Stroh's race, the Hurricane Classic race, the San Francisco race and the Marina del Rey race while setting 5 new world speed records.

Yes, it is worth saving.

BERTRAM Natural Light - Bertram Special

Here is an example of a recently completed restoration. This 38 foot Bertram was owned and raced by Preston Henn as Natural Light. The boat has been restored to the livery of the Bertram Racing team colors and number, as raced by Sammy James and Jack Stuteville.


The owner completed a beautiful restoration to the boat in this well done red and white color scheme.


This is how the bolsters were redone from full racing to semi passenger type.




Here is the actual boat driven by Sammy James.


Another 38 foot Bertram has been found and is in the process of restoration.





The famous MICHELOB LIGHT has recently been purchased by a new owner and is being completely restored back to its original livery.


The engine room of MICHELO LIGHT being readied for a new set of powerful engines. The neat rigging is an original of Richie Powers, HORBA Board member. Nnotice how the wiring is hidden from view under the tanks and engine placement ... he kept it clean.


The exhaust exited out through the deck rather than the transom. This enabled the drives to be set much higher.


The dash area shows the gold anodized aluminum of the original MICHELOLB LIGHT color scheme.


Under the deck, the bulkheads can be seen as a testament to the quality that Larry Smith used when buildng his famous Scarab race boats.


The entire hull has been sanded to prepare it for the MICHELOB LIGHT paint scheme.


Historic Offshore Race Boat Association

Home | About Us | Stories | Links | Contact Us
HORBA Ocean Racing, LLC:
Past Races | Future Races
MEMBERS ONLY© Copyright 2006-2013 Historic Offshore Race Boat Association. All rights reserved.
PO Box 812702 Boca Raton, FL 33481-2702 USA