Gary Breistig, Crew Chief

Crew Chief
I was asked once, how long have you been interested in boats? My reply… all of my life!

Boats have been part of my life as long as I can remember.

A few years before I was born, my father built his first boat in our garage. It was constructed out of plywood and fiberglass using only hand tools of the day, no electric drill or power saws just hand tools!
It was a 16-foot cabin cruiser powered by a 35 horsepower Johnson outboard and that was the biggest power available at that time. So as a boy, I grew up the son of a boat owner and learned how to drive it at a very young age. We would go fishing in the ocean and would take trips to Lake Havasu. It was there at Lake Havasu sometime in the 60s that I saw my first performance boat. It made a big impression on me.

A few years ago my mother shared with me a crayon picture drawing that she saved from when I was in the 3rd grade. The picture was of a flat bottom, complete with over the transom headers and cav plates. The steering skag was half in half out of the water because this thing was hauling the mail! So I guess I have always been addicted to fast boats.

My first boat:

The year was 1979. I was 20 years old and bought a 1970 LS6 454 from my father-in-law with the intention of building my own jet boat and using that 454 to power it.

Remember the days before the Internet, when all we had was the Penny Saver, Recycler, and local newspaper classified ads? Those were the hunting grounds for my project. I found a 19-foot Hawaiian mini day cruiser hull in the local Penny Saver that I purchased for $700.00 dollars. It was game on!

I towed it home on my dune buggy trailer and built a boat dolly and went to work sanding it down. Needing a trailer and rigging, I went on the hunt for the parts that I needed to finish my project and slowly gathered my parts. With the help of my best friend, Cary Hays, we began the painting process. Cary’s father owned a body & paint shop where he grew up learning how to paint. As a teenager, Cary was already a good painter. I remember masking it with newspaper because that’s all I could afford at that time. It was painted in my garage with a white base and red, yellow, orange graphics. It came out great.

It took two years for me to complete. I remember taking it to the lake for the first time. Now 22 years old and a father… yes I said father… in 1980 I was blessed to have my first son, Garrett. We took it to Lake Elsinore for the maiden voyage. I was proud and excited to finally get this thing wet with lake water instead of the garden hose! A few quick words and thank you to all my friends that had a hand in the build and off the trailer it went… With a turn of the key it fired right up! I idled out of the marina, cleared the 5mph zone, and now it was show time. A rap of the throttle and I’m off. All was good, or so I thought at the time, until I turn right and the boat goes left. I had bolted the rack upside down on the pinion! Total rookie move! I managed to get it back on the trailer and fix my rookie mistake. I owned that boat for 27 years making lots of good memories and teaching my son to drive when he was very young like my father did for me. That Hawaiian is still in the family and is now owned by my brother Mitch, and we still have fun in it to this day.