Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum

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All Blog Posts (237)

Steve LaCava passes away

The Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum has learned of the passing in late November of Steve LaCava, the sport’s Rookie of the Year in 1980. An experienced 7-litre driver, LaCava purchased the former Valu-Mart from Bill Wurster early in the 1980 season and entered the boat in three races as the Oh Boy! Oberto. His best performance was a fifth-place finish in the Tri-Cities event. He sold the boat the following year, but drove it at two events as the Miss Kawaguichi Travel Service. The Museum…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on December 5, 2016 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Battle of the engines: Piston vs. Turbine

Piston

Today, there is only one piston-powered unlimited hydroplane — Ed Cooper's U-3. It uses a turbocharged Allison engine developed for World War II fighter planes. The U-3 team builds most of its own engines, but it is estimated an engine like the one in the U-3 would cost $70,000-$80,000 to buy new. Allison engines run on methanol fuel and burn much more than a turbine. The U-3 burns 18 gallons of methanol a minute while the turbine burns 4.3 gallons of kerosene…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on December 3, 2016 at 6:40pm — 2 Comments

We have a lot to be thankful for at the Museum

Its Thanksgiving at the Museum. Great Food, wonderful friends, fantastic volunteers. . .

and a few amazing boats too!…

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Added by David D. Williams on November 22, 2016 at 6:38pm — No Comments

Thunderboats are impressive, even without the thunder

Reprinted from The Seattle Times, August 5, 2016

Sketched Aug. 3, 2016

The thunderous hydros are meant to be watched as they glide over Lake Washington during Seafair. But, for a quieter experience, you may want to see them up close at the…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on August 24, 2016 at 6:30pm — 1 Comment

Bill Wurster - Then and Now

By Fred Farley - Unlimited Hydroplane Historian

As the story goes, Bill Wurster was sitting in his pleasure boat tied to the log boom at Lake Washington in 1967, watching the Seattle Seafair hydroplane race. He made a bet with his brother that one day he would pilot one of those awesome machines--an Unlimited hydroplane.…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on August 5, 2016 at 10:10pm — No Comments

Speed King – Meeting Chip Hanauer

August, 1982 – Hanauer brings home the gold at the Emerald Cup on Lake Washington less than a year after Bill Muncey’s death. Photo by Bob Greenhow.

Words & New Photos: Ozzie Wiese

Reprinted from Northwest Yaching Magazone

The…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on May 29, 2016 at 9:00am — No Comments

Remembering Fred Farley

Fred Farley Remembered.

Unlimited Hydroplane Historian Fred Farley passed away at 3am on April 15 at the Thornton Terrace Health Campus in Hanover, Indiana where he was recovering from open heart surgery that he had had on March…

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Added by David D. Williams on April 15, 2016 at 4:00pm — 3 Comments

Aronow Introducing Unlimited Catamaran

Buck Thornton was the driver of the Aronow Unlimited in this photo published on Aug. 1, 1982.

By Joanne A. Fishman

Reprinted from The New York Times, June 28, 1981

For 17 years, Don Aronow has been the biggest kid on the block. And why not? It's…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 3, 2016 at 9:30pm — 1 Comment

Marion Cooper Inducted Into Kentucky Motorsports HOF

By Fred Farley – APBA UNLIMITED HISTORIAN

The late Marion Cooper of Louisville, Kentucky, was inducted into the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame, on October 24, 2015, in ceremonies at Owensboro, Kentucky.

Marion Cooper

Among…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on November 29, 2015 at 11:30am — No Comments

How's the Sport Doing?

With reference to a blog posted over 3 years ago by Tim Maytn, together with several responses I wanted to bring this up again for discussion, especially since we've acquired a lot of new members.

http://thunderboats.ning.com/profiles/blogs/well-whadda-think-about-unlimited-hydroplane-racing-lately.

We didn't have a lot of response to the original blog, but we…

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Added by Phil Lampman on October 15, 2015 at 3:47pm — 2 Comments

Museum Vintage Exhibition at Seafair

The Hydroplane Museum Celebrates Seattle’s Hydroplane History!

This year’s Seafair hydroplane race will be the 65th year that we have raced Unlimiteds Hydroplanes on Lake Washington. When the first race was run back in 1951, Seattle had a population of 467,591. Harry Truman was President and a postage stamp cost three cents. A gallon of gas cost 20 cents. You could buy a new car for $1,500 and the average household income in the US was $3,515. A lot has changed since…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on July 28, 2015 at 8:53pm — No Comments

Silent Seafair Thunder U-95

Reprinted from The Guide, July 31, 1973.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane! No, it’s, it’s Super-boat! Where? Why where else, on the course for the Seafair Unlimited Hydroplane Trophy Race. You may not see a big red S on its side, but you can tell it by its number. It is, and mark this well, the U-95.

Actually nobody yet really knows what exactly to expect from the worlds newest entry in the field of unlimited hydro racing. But it is expected…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on July 13, 2015 at 10:36pm — No Comments

Madison Has A Hometown Team Like No Other

By Aaron Lynch

Reprinted from h1unlimited.com

The City of Madison’s ownership of a hydroplane is like none other in racing. As a result of the community ownership, their fans are like none other.

This unique ownership draws not only those who enjoy the spectacle of hydroplane racing but also is a source of civic pride for the residents of the Madison area. In its 54 years on the Unlimited hydroplane circuit, the Miss Madison has had many highs and lows but…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on July 1, 2015 at 6:30pm — No Comments

Team Spokane’s Humble Start Stirs Memories Of Hydro Fever

Reprinted from The Spokesman-Review

It was a perfect fit from the start.

The Pacific Northwest, the self-styled boating capital of the world, and unlimited hydroplanes, the world’s fastest fleet.

It’s a union that spawned hydro fever and in the fall of 1957. It spread from Seattle to Spokane, where the Miss Spokane - the U-25 Lilac Lady - rose out of a local fund drive.

The Miss Spokane was campaigned for four seasons of near-misses from 1958 through 1961…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on June 4, 2015 at 9:29pm — No Comments

First Unlimited Hydroplane Race on the Columbia River

On July 24, 1966, the first Unlimited Hydroplane Race occurs on the Columbia River at the Tri-Cities. Bill Brow in the Miss Budweiser wins the race. On this warm and windy day, Miss Budweiser wins both of her qualifying heats and qualifies for the final race. At four o'clock this afternoon, Miss Budweiser rips through the water and beats out her competition with an average speed of 92.402 miles per hour.

Crowds Line the Columbia

This year was the first time the…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on May 26, 2015 at 5:25pm — No Comments

Unpredictable 'Slough Race' A Bygone Rite Of Spring

By Craig Smith

Reprinted from The Seattle Times, April 15, 1994.

Boats crashed into logs, bridge pilings and each other in a wacky annual race on the narrow Sammamish Slough. But when a spectator was hit in 1976, the `Slough Race' was history. This is a look back.…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on April 3, 2015 at 6:00pm — 3 Comments

The New Unlimiteds

By Jack Schmale

Reprinted from MotorBoating, February 1967

Six months ago a miscellany of thoroughly unqualified public speakers was soap-boxing the doom of unlimited hydroplane racing. Lady Luck in 1966 had finally flown the thunderboat coop and four of unlimited hydroplaning’s drivers were lost, their magnificent speed steeds reduced to twisted hulks of metal and splintered wood - all within the swiftness of two short weeks, two successive regattas: 1966 was…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on March 13, 2015 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Video Vault Q&A

What is the Video Vault?

The Video Vault is a private Group, on our web site, that provides Museum members access to hundreds of hours of hydroplane video footage. Some of the footage is very rare, not seen in public for decades.

Why a Video Vault?

The Museum’s mission is to inspire and motivate learning and achievement while honoring, celebrating and preserving the legacy of Unlimited Hydroplane racing. By providing access to our…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on March 9, 2015 at 8:00pm — No Comments

The Legend of Lauterbach Boats

By Rick Franke

Reprinted from http://proptalk.com

If it is accurate to call two generations a dynasty, then Henry and Larry Lauterbach are the dynasty that dominated powerboat racing design and construction for more than 60 years.

Henry, a high school dropout who never went to college, never formally studied engineering or naval architecture, was a self-taught genius who read everything he could about boat design and construction…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on March 1, 2015 at 11:00am — 1 Comment

Good Intentions, Bad Results

Pushing the hydroplane envelope didn't always work.

Reprinted from Hemmings Motor News, February, 2013.

The world of Unlimited hydroplane racing is extremely dangerous stuff under even the best circumstances. The drivers who race hydros make Sprint car jockeys and those souls who strap into Top Fuel projectiles look like geeks. The principle of these wildly overpowered racing boats is to balance them atop planes at full speed, limiting their contact…

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Added by Hydroplane Museum on February 24, 2015 at 6:00pm — No Comments

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