Bob Walwork drove his first racing boat when he was seven years old. His sister Lillian and husband Charley Mack* thought it would be fun to see their midget hydroplane perform with a lightweight driver behind the wheel. They started the engine and pointed Bob on his way to a lifetime of "sport and pleasure" in all types of boating activities. In 1951 Bob joined the American Power Boat Association and raced in the "JU" class. For three years Bob was Northeastern Divisional Champ in this class and his boat went on to win the National Championship.
During his teenage years Bob worked with his sister and brother-in-law at their marina in Penn Yan, N.Y. Wooden boats were in their glory at this time and Bob developed a real love for the mahogany runabouts.
In 1959 the marina was sold and the family moved to Sarasota, FL. Bob went to work for the Kiekhaefer Corp. (Mercury motors) in the newly created outboard racing division, which was under the personal leadership of Carl Kiekhaefer. In this job he met Marcel Raveau, who taught him the art of building the famed Raveau boats. For the next 15 months they built, tested and raced the latest Mercury powered Raveaus. When Mr. Raveau's contract was finished, Bob continued working between Mercury's Lake X and their saltwater proving ground at Midnight Pass in Sarasota. He was put in charge of the Mercury Boathouse Bulletin program, which involved rigging and testing a wide variety of boat designs, submitted by boat manufacturers from all across the country. This helped him learn what worked and what didn't in new hull designs.
After three years working for Mercury Bob left and again went to work with Marcel Raveau, building, experimenting, and racing. His racing victories include first place finishes in the prestigious Orange Bowl Around Miami Beach race as well as both the grueling Orange Bowl Six Hour and Nine Hour Endurance races.
After Marcel retired and returned to France Bob continued building the boats until 1965 when he stopped producing Raveau boats and became General Manager of Fitchett Sales Co. in Hartsville, S.C. This company distributed several major fiberglass and aluminum boat lines, servicing a five state area. Eventually they built a manufacturing facility and built their own line, "Marquis Boats", employing over 100 workers.
In 1974 Bob went to work for Bill Davis** at Manatee Boat Co. in Palmetto, FL. He spent 10 years as Production Manager and Vice President, supervising production of approximately 1500 boats per year.
In 1984 Bob started W. R. Walwork & Associates, Inc. For the next 10 years he helped design and prototype new models exclusively for Stingray Boat Co. of Hartsville, S. C. During this time the new Z-plane patented bottom was developed. He worked with Stingray on new product development and represented Stingray at dozens of boating magazine performance trials.
Today Bob is developing new products for a variety of boat manufacturers, working on different styles including skiffs, bay boats, runabouts, deck boats, and of course always contemplating the next new Raveau design.
* Charley Mack was the first outboard driver to be inducted into the Gulf Marine Racing Hall of Fame. He was recognized for setting a record in 1939 in the famous Albany to New York Marathon on the Hudson River. This record stood until 1962.
** Bill Davis was one of the founders of Wellcraft Marine and also Manatee Boat Co.