In Memoriam: Charles "Rookie" Woodruff


Charles “Rookie” Woodruff, 64, of Jensen Beach, Florida died in a high speed power boat exhibition on the waters of Lake Dora on Sunday, March 18, 2012. He was born in Camden, SC, the son of L. Frank and Henrietta Woodruff. Charles grew up in Miami Florida and completed his education with a bachelor’s degree. Charles “Rookie” Woodruff, the legendary veteran of Hydroplane racing dedicated his life to promote the sport of power boat racing, attract young fans to participate and bring the exciting sport back to Florida and the beautiful Treasure Coast. He died before seeing “his dream” regatta which he actively pursued with the Stuart Sailfish Regatta Board of Directors for two years.

Chuck “Rookie” Woodruff’s racing career spans from 1968 to 1996 when he semi‐retired after his son Tristan was born. Some of his prestigious accomplishments in power boat racing are:   

  • World Record Holder – “Buckeye Kid” – 6 litre hydro – 1986
  • American Power Boat Association Hall of Champions Inductee 1986
  • Winner of numerous World Championships
  • Winner of Florida Governor’s Cup 1984 in “Project 7"
  • Winner of Garwood Perpetual Trophy
  • Winner of Presidents Cup     

A former North American National Champion, and current owner of” Miss Stuart”, a GP‐ 45 Grand Prix Hydroplane, he was to embark on the summer racing series throughout the U.S and Canada this summer. He died driving the 7 litre Vintage Hydroplane the “Buckeye Kid”, owned by Doctor Taggart from Orlando Florida, which was the boat dearest to his heart and the one in which he won the World Record, which he still holds to this day. He was very proud to be able to drive the boat once again at the Tavares Regatta on Sunday, March 18, 2012. His family and friends witnessed the biggest smile on his face and knew that he was incredibly proud and happy to again drive in the “Buckeye Kid”.

Charles "Rookie" Woodruff is survived by his family:

L. Frank Woodruff, father
Alena Woodruff, wife
Tristan Woodruff, son
Kennedy Woodruff, brother
Lynda Patterson, sister-in-law



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