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Formula Boat Story

My Formula boat…
This is the story of my ’82 Thunderbird Formula boat, better kown as Gina II, alias The Pirate’s Ghost. She was 20 feet in length and 8 feet wide with a deep V hull that made her an ideal, rough water, runabout boat. It was, originally, a Miami, FL, boat and according to the old owner, she had been used in 1982 to smuggle drugs and illegal emigrants up the Miami River By the beginning of the nineties, abused and in need of repairs, it had been stored out of circulation for a few years. It was then that we meet, feel in love and took our new boat home.

A yellow Formula boat nicknamed Gina II

We bought the Thunderbird Formula boat in ’91 at Miami, Fl, and in the spring of ’92 she was relocated to Los Angeles, California. She went through a complete and mayor transformation in body and power. She was baptized and named Gina II to honor my daugther Gina. The boat hull was redesigned with a new shape and her original 260 hp engine was replaced with a beef up, custom made, high performance 325 hp engine. This custom transformation took over one year to complete and was done by Papoloko in ’93. Because the new looks and the increase in power, very soon, she earned the respect of other boaters at the local lakes but, because she was now running higher speeds, the lakes authorities noticed it and gave me some speeding warnings. That was the beginning of the end at the local lakes. There was always some hotshot boat wanting to know how fast she really was.

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Formula boat found a new home
We went looking for a new playground for our Formula toy, for a new home with more freedom to play. We enjoyed Lake Mead, Laughlin, Lake Havasu, Blythe and she even expended afew months moored at Marina del Rey in California. Overall, we did caught many great memories out of those temporary homes and at the end, the Parker Strip was the one she would be calling home at The Colorado River. From the year 1994 to about the end of 1999 she enjoyed a lot of action, in the summer months, right around the Empire Landing Campground at the Parker Strip, Colorado River, which was the place where we used to stay on all our camping trips.

Party time, full moons and the Parker Strip
Our Formula boat, the Gina II, usually expended the winter months resting at a near by storage yard called The Right Spot, a very covenient place that was 2 minutes from the launching ramp and another 2 minutes from the Empire Landing Campground. We had many parties at the campsites in this park, every other weekend, drinking and dancing right on the water with the full moon shining in the sky until 3 or 4 am. There is nothing like taking the boat out, on a full moon nite, and just blast down the river, full throtle, with the light of the moon making the whole river alive. That’s one of the beauty of the Parker Strip, you can enjoy your boat 24 hour a day. It’s a shame that full moon only happens once a month. My WARNINGS to new boaters driving the Parker Strip at night time, some drunk boater or whatever, could be driving without the navigation lites on and could create an accident for you even if you follow all the rules… Alcohol and driving don’t mix. Be careful when driving at night.

Formula boat… The thrill was gone!
Since we had her plenty in very rough, deep sea, water around the Catalina Island, out of Los Angeles, and she did uphold herself cruising playing with the fast and very expensive boats of the Parker Strip at the Colorado River too, we feel there was nothing new anymore… The thrill was gone. By the end of ’99 we had grown tired of boating and camping so, we decided to take her back to Los Angeles. We guessed, back then, that we were becoming too old for such activities. Of course, we were wrong. We did went back to the Parker Strip with the New Millennium, but we did not brought the Formula boat to the Parker Strip, instead, it was a jetski, the Lucky Ghost, the one that went back with us to the Parker Strip. But, hey, that is a whole different story.

My Formula boat old home… The Parker Strip
To end the Gina II story I will say that she has just been setting for five years with a lot of memories from the Parker Strip to her credit but with no action at all. Parked outside, in the open, without any maintenance during all these years, her body and interior has deteriorated bad. I forgot to put the canvas cover on her for two year. I’m very sorry, that was my own stupid mistake and it should cost me plenty to restore her if I ever want to ride her again. Maybe one day in the future I will have the need to feel her power, do the whole thing over one more time and race down the river again but, up to today, all that I can do is to give her a web home and show some of her memories to the others boats enthusiasts of the world. If I ever bring her back to the new millennium and have her restored, you can rest assured that the Thunderbird Formula boat, better kown as Gina II, alias The Pirate’s Ghost, will be back at her old home… The Parker Strip in the Colorado River

About the author:
Papoloko has been boating the Parker Strip, Colorado River, since ’92.