We're racing through history!
By Fred Farley - Unlimited Hydroplane Historian
I have a question about the MISS BUSCH BAVARIAN, a four-seat hydroplane. Was this boat ever used in competition? Also, did a lot of people go for rides in it? - Chuck Abel
Yes, MISS BUSCH BAVARIAN (U-13) did appear in competition, although only once with that particular name.
It was built in 1962 by Les Staudacher who intended it primarily as a pleasure craft that just happened to meet the minimum requirements for Unlimited racing.
This was the boat that introduced Bernie Little to the sport. He raced it as TEMPO in 1963 and 1964 and as MISS BUDWEISER in 1965.
Little activated the Allison-powered U-13 one last time for the 1966 Tampa Suncoast Cup. That's because Bernie was the race chairman and Tampa was his hometown race.
The boat's highest finish in competition was a fourth-place in the 1963 Seattle Seafair Regatta with Bob Schroeder driving. Chuck Hickling won a consolation race with it at Detroit in 1965.
Yes, a lot of people went for rides in the U-13, including celebrities and media people. Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper was one of these; actor James Drury (of THE VIRGINIAN) was another.