Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum

We're racing through history!

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.


We didn't have a lot of response to the original blog, but we did get some thoughtful ones and I hope Steve David and his group at H1 read them. I think Tim's original question still stands though.

So, to my mind, I still think the sport has a lot of challenges to growth. This past season has had some of most competitive racing I've seen in many years. J. Michael Kelly continues to get better and better and has some formidable competition with Jesse Robertson, and the usual suspects - less Steve David.. In addition I was pleased to see Ed Cooper and the U-3 emerge once again, with Allison power and was a viable competitor in some of the races.

On the other hand, the Gold Cup was in Tri-Cities this year (which was great for those of us who live, ahem, nearby) but then it was Detroit's loss, but hopefully not a portent of things to come. Doha is no longer on the schedule, which is unfortunate because it was a small foothold into becoming a truly international sport again.

So, to my mind, there were some positive signs ad a few disappointments (Madison)

Those are my observations and I confess to expending most of my energy working on the old boats at the Museum so let's hear from y'all again on this subject. 

Chime in...

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Comment by Phil Lampman on October 19, 2015 at 1:11pm

Thanks, Rob, great response, though as you note, the definitive answer continues to allude us. Someone noted to me recently that "Our Sport" began many years ago and even into the 50's and 60's was comprised mostly of what some call "Gentlemen Sportsmen". Willard Rhodes, Bill Boeing jr, Horace Dodge and, yes, Bernie Little to mention but a few. Ironically, if you will allow me to say this in light of (perceived) declining events and interest in Unlimited Racing, we are back to "Gentlemen Sportsmen" again. Ted Porter, Art and Larry Oberto, Mike Jones, Ed Cooper and others, including, thankfully,  the Ellstroms

To my mind - and I don't have the facts and data to support this - but it looks a lot to me as though we have $ million dollar boats and teams, racing for $10K purses. Could this be contributing to the problem? Is one team dominating the sport and thereby making the events a one-boat race? Not from what I've seen this year.

So, if for no other reason, I'd like to see this forum continue. The earlier responses Tim and I received seem to suggest we need to build on the personalities, at least so far as attracting more interest in the events. In other words, serious promotion. 

Maybe not, but let's keep the conversation going... Steve David, are you listening???

Comment by Robert Frank on October 19, 2015 at 11:24am

Doha, in my opinion, was a good race for a few years.  But, in the long run, given their political and humanitarian problems, I never felt it was in the best interests of our sport.  If they can "clean up their act", so to speak, then perhaps?  As for Detroit.  I've always been in favor of the "winner picks the sight" concept.  Yes, I know the all mighty dollar speaks here.  But it's once again, not in the best interest of the sport to have the Gold Cup in one location every year.  It should move around the country.  There by instilling the interest of each local community to host the big event.  If the winners city is unable to put it on, financially or logisticaly, then move to the next city in line, and so forth.  Maybe the next time their boat wins, they'll be in better shape to host.  I know, and realize that in this day and age, it takes a lot of bucks to run one of these things on the circuit.  But we must find a way of reducing the amount of the "rent-a-boat" idea.  This name change at every race is totally confusing to us all.  Someone mentioned recently that as a result of this, the towns and communities no longer can get wrapped up in 'the local favorite' like they used to.  Even the Miss Madison is of little consequence any more, what with Oberto all over the hull.  Once again, yes, I know it takes money to finance these things.  But where's the local pride, when the name of "your" local boat has a sponsors name that is almost 2400 miles away?  Back to Detroit;  when they are not hosting the Gold Cup, why not go back to the old Silver Cup, or Detroit Memorial?  Just because they are not hosting the big one doesn't mean they can't have a race!  Just do like Seattle does with the Seafair Trophy when the Gold Cup is not in town.  Or the Columbia Cup when Tri-Cities is not hosting the Gold.  But the single most looming headache is probably the money issue.  Do I have an answer?  Of course not.  At least not yet.  I, like most of you, think about this often.  And there really must be an answer out there somewhere.  Just that no one has put a finger on it yet.  There has got to be a way for the teams to be able to race with out it costing a fortune to do so.  I've always believed that, don't make a big issue if you don't have a solution.  Well, I don't have one here either.  But we've got to come up with something, or our sport will become nothing more than a memory.  I'll certainly speak up if I think of anything.  That's for sure.

Thanks, Rob

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