Celebrating the Life of Charles “Rookie” Woodruff, Dea Wiseley & Mark Van Winkle

Charles “Rookie” Woodruff, 64, of Jensen Beach, FL died in a high speed  power boat exhibition run 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, FL 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 for 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’s Governor’s Cup 1984 in “Project 7”
  • Winner of Garwood Perpetual Trophy
  • Winner of Presidents Cup

A former North American Champion, and current owner of GP-45 Grand Prix Hydroplane “Miss Stuart”, he was to embark on the 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, FL 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


A Celebration of Life will begin at noon on Sunday March 25, 2012

Tuckahoe Mansion Terrace

Indian Riverside Park

1708 NE Indian River Drive

Jensen Beach, FL 34957



In lieu of flowers we all ask all friends to make donations to “Rookie’s Memorial Fund” to benefit his 16 year old son Tristan Woodruff.  Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank throughout the United States.

HydroplaneQuebec would also like to send our deepest condolences to the friends and families of Mark Van Winkle of Stuart, FL and Dea Wiseley of Sun City Center, FL who also lost their lives March 17 & 18, 2012 on Lake Dora.

God Speed