Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum

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1950 U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV

In the years before the Mariners and other local big league sports teams, Seattle had the Slo-mo-shun IV hydroplane - “Slo-mo” for short. This speedy vessel’s designers, builders and racers, Anchor Jensen, Ted Jones, Stan Sayers and Lou Fageol became household names when they set the world water speed record on Lake Washington and won the coveteded Gold Cup in Detroit in 1950.

As the centerpiece of Seafair – Seattle’s annual civic celebration begun in 1950 – the “hydro” races on Lake Washington were the high point of every summer for more than 30 years. The races continue to draw huge crowds every August.

Slo-mo’s radical “flying” three-point hull design and unmatched speed refined boat racing, and inspired the design of every hydro that followed. After a devastating wreck in Detroit in 1956, Slo-mo was cosmetically restored for display at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) beginning in 1959. In 1990, she left MOHAI for a complete structural and mechanical restoration, by the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum, and was ultimately put through her paces on Lake Washington one last time. Slo-mo returned to MOHAI in 2001.

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