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Hydroplane Museum's News (126)

The hydroplane connection

In the ‘50s, males 18 and older had three choices: Be drafted for two years, enlist three to four years or try to find work. In spite of the impending draft I landed a job that offered excitement like meeting well-known personalities and becoming part of hydroplane racing at Stan Sayres Inc. Stan Sayres Inc. was a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth/Desoto…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on April 3, 2019 at 10:18am — No Comments

Hydro fever blends nostalgia with competition for die-hards

David Williams left his real-world job to live his dream. He occasionally drives hydros and works as executive director of the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Kent.

Seafair's hydroplane races don't hold the same place in Seattle's…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on April 23, 2018 at 6:00pm — No Comments

A Ron Jones Introduction - A Century of Gold Cup Racing

The recently published book, A CENTURY OF GOLD CUP RACING by Fred Farley and Ron Harsin, is dedicated to two extraordinary men: Ted Jones and his son Ron Jones, Sr., whose trend-setting designs defined state-of-the-art in Gold Cup racing in the second half of the 20th Century.

Ron was asked to write the introduction to A CENTURY OF GOLD CUP RACING. It contains a moving tribute to his late father. Due to space limitations, Ron's preface had to be shortened for…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 19, 2017 at 7:00pm — 1 Comment

The Master Speaks - An Interview with Ron Jones Sr.

By Anne McRayde. Reprinted from Skid Fin Magazine, 2003, Vol 1, No. 1

How did you first begin building boats?

You could say I was born with it. My father was Ted Jones, who invented the three-point hydroplane, as we know it today. As a little boy, I was able to go with Dad, and my three sisters, and Mom to the lake and watch Dad test. When he was out testing my three sisters, who are marvelous people, screamed and hollered. I stood there very stoically…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 19, 2017 at 7:00pm — No Comments

The Man Who Builds The Thunderboats

By Bill Ames. Reprinted from Science & Mechanics, August, 1974.

The Unlimited Division of the American Power Boat Association is the smallest active racing class of that group. This elite coterie fields less than two dozen boats each year, to compete in about ten races. Yes these few regattas attract a total of more than two million…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 19, 2017 at 7:00pm — No Comments

The Saga of Ron Jones

By Fred Farley - Unlimited Hydroplane Historian

Unlimited hydroplane racing owes a lot to Ron Jones, the Seattle area boat builder, who has revolutionized the sport so dramatically over the years.

If anyone has any doubts about the contribution of Ron Jones, Sr., to big-time boat racing, the outward appearance of the hydroplanes themselves should suffice. The boats of yesteryear were, for the most part, rather narrow, quite box-shaped, and less streamlined. They had…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 19, 2017 at 6:55pm — No Comments

The Famous Bill Muncey Dunking of 1979

By Don Mock

t was the 1979 Jack-in-the-Box Regatta on San Diego’s Mission Bay where an interesting, yet little known event took place. But it wasn’t until 35 years later that the story became even more interesting thanks to a photo that surfaced from photographer Bill Osborne. Besides a few lousy shots I took with a little cheap camera, this is the only other photo I’ve ever seen of Bill Muncey and the Atlas Van…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on December 8, 2016 at 5:30pm — 1 Comment

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…


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

Battle of the engines: Piston vs. Turbine


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…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on December 3, 2016 at 6:40pm — 2 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 Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Kent.

The exhibit grew from a private…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on August 24, 2016 at 6:30pm — No Comments

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.



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 chance of anybody beating Chip Hanauer’s record-setting seven consecutive Gold…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on May 29, 2016 at 9:00am — No 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 his block, after all, the swampy stretch of 188th Street in…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 3, 2016 at 9:30pm — 2 Comments

Marion Cooper Inducted Into Kentucky Motorsports HOF


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 other honors, Mr. Cooper was the original winner of the Indiana Governor’s Cup…


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


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…


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…


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…


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…


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.

You heard the boats before you saw them. That was part of the…


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

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