The 7th Annual Wheeling Raceboat Regatta is in full swing this Labor Day Weekend. Many boat drivers traveled from all over the world, just for this weekend's Vintage Regatta.
Regatta Co-Director, Debbie Joseph, tells WTRF.com her committee plans this event year round. Her favorite part is watching the boats on the water.
"They are so beautiful and so incredible," she says. "They are all vintage boats so they were built from the 1920's on through 1986. Most of them are made of wood. These boats do display laps. We don't really race. They'll be doing display laps, but they'll be doing display laps at speed. So you'll see speeds of 60 to 120 mph on the water."
The world's fastest man on the water was in Wheeling Saturday. Ken Warby, from Australia, holds the world record for going 317 mph in a boat with a jet engine 35 years ago. Ken and his wife are both driving in the Regatta on Saturday.
"This is the fifth, sixth, maybe seventh time I've been here, and it's the place to be," Ken says. "This is the biggest, most important vintage event on the circuit."
It's Jonel Roth's third race, and she's one the few women driver's WTRF.com spoke to who says vintage boat racing is all in the family.
"I started racing with my dad when I was real little," she says. "He probably started me off when I was three or four, and he had his own boat that he went racing with."
David Kappel and Jack Wolf are co-owners of their boat named "Sin." They remember races in New Martinsville as they were growing up.
"For us it's nostalgia," David says. "We grew up in New Martinsville, and watched the regatta races every summer. Then about six years ago, I made the mistake of coming down and watching this vintage regatta. I just simply had the fever and stared looking for a boat."
Tim Settle's boat won its world record in New Martinsville in 1951, and is now the oldest boat on the circuit.
"I came to find out it was built by a pretty prestigious boat builder in California, and then I found out the history of it and the competition records. The way the boat was built; the guy built about 12 of them. This is the only one known left to exist, and it's the biggest one of this model he built."
The regatta continues Sunday with more racing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.