RED BANK, NJ: Tony Okupski, Commodore of the Navesink Vintage Race Boat Regatta (NVRA), went before the Special Events Committee on Monday to discuss and coordinate a time line for this early June event.

Called a “Vintage” Raceboat Regatta because the boats are retired and restored boats, many are former national champions that used to race in Red Bank.   

Under the title of the National Sweepstakes Regatta, boats raced for two days annually from the 1930’s to 1996 on the Navesink River off Marine Park.  This regatta was one of the top national racing events in the country and Red Bank was known as the “speed center of the East.”

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The Navesink Vintage Race Boat Regatta is scheduled to take place on June 5 – 7 and two types of race boats will be participating; the Jersey Speed Skiff (VIDEO) and the Vintage Hydroplane (VIDEO).

The videos are courtesy of Race City Marine and Andrew Ritchie, respectively. 

This was a Question and Answer type discussion where Okupski described what was needed to make the event a success.

Gangway Ramp.  A request to use the eastern end of the park to stage the crane and the pits and install a temporary floating 20-foot gangway connected to an 80-foot floating dock to allow access for the boatman.   “This way we generate more of a spectator area on the west side.”  

Environmental Impact.  The NVRA met with Nancy Blackwood of the Red Bank Environmental Commission and others to address their concerns.  Okupski said that they had a good dialogue and that, “They are on board.”

Marine Park Questions.  Discussion on what day and time the NVRA can access the park to bring in the marine contractor for the ramp and fencing for spectator and pit area.  Optimally the NVRA would like to stage their material on Thursday for set up on Friday.  “I think that’s reasonable, and (after) our walk through we’ll decide where it’s going,” said Charlie Hoffmann, Parks and Recreation Director.

Food Vendors and Exhibitors.  Six local food vendors are expected and a number of the committee agreed that the tent sizes, with all vendors requiring a food and fire prevention permit.  For this and any upcoming events, food vendors, “Must attend a class on March 10th at either 3:00pm or 7:00pm at boro hall, said Jennifer Diodato, Committee Secretary.

Parking.  Okupski talked about parking spaces being held for the boat racers, support personnel and parking for RV’s on the old tennis court space.  The (tennis) space was previous denied due to possible construction at the same time as the regatta.  “As part of the visit we’ll look at the site, make a determination and get that all squared away too,” said Tom Welsh, committee chairman.

Marketing.  “The business community is very supportive of this event.  We’re working closely with the Red Bank Business Alliance and the Red Bank RiverCenter.  They would like to see a couple of weeks prior to the event, to make a Red Bank “Regatta Week” theme, decorating their storefronts with memorabilia and photos of past regattas.  And we’re going to have marketing (initiative) so that once our event concludes, the spectators will stay in Red Bank,” said Okupski.

Thunder on the Navesink baby.  Buckle up Buttercup.

Be sure to watch the Jersey Speed Skiff (VIDEO) and the Vintage Hydroplane (VIDEO) to see how exciting this will be.