Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum

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Hydroplane Museum's News (126)


By Fred Farley  -  H1 Unlimited Historian

The 2010 H1 Unlimited tour featured a battle royal for National High Point honors that began over the Fourth of July weekend in Madison (Indiana) and concluded with stopovers in Detroit, Tri-Cities (Washington), Seattle, San Diego, and Doha (Qatar).

A total of twelve teams, thirteen hulls, and sixteen drivers saw competitive action during 2010.

When the roostertails subsided after the last race of the season at Doha, OH BOY!…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on March 11, 2011 at 6:00pm — 1 Comment

Building the Perfect Dragon

By Jon Osterberg

What makes a boat great? Typically, four traits: a committed owner; a smart, talented crew; superb driving; and innovation.

In post-1950 hydroplane racing, dominant teams have raced boats named Slo-mo-shun, Thriftway, Budweiser, Pay 'n Pak, and Atlas Van Lines. Great boats driven by great drivers named Fageol. Taggart. Muncey. Chenoweth. Remund. Henley. Hanauer. Kropfeld. D'Eath.

From 1963…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on February 27, 2011 at 8:10pm — No Comments

One For the Rolls

An all time great among drivers reads into 'Miss Thriftway's' triumph a victory for solid power over 'souped-up, hot rod engines'

By Lou Fageol

Reprinted from Sports Illustrated, August 26, 1957

To most of the people who saw Willard Rhodes's boat Miss Thriftway successfully defend her title in the Gold Cup at Seattle, the victory was one more score for Seattle in the bitter hydroplane rivalry with Detroit. But for me Miss Thriftway's…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on February 22, 2011 at 5:00pm — No Comments

His Future is Unlimiteds

After two decades of racing in thunderboats, it looks as if 1976 National Champion Bill Muncey will continue rewriting the record books forever.

By Coles Phinizy

Reprinted from Sports Illustrated, September 27, 1976

In 1950 Designer Ted Jones of the boat-mad city of Seattle revolutionized unlimited hydroplane racing with a nimble three-point monster named Slo-Mo-Shun IV. Driving her himself, Jones wrested the Gold Cup away from the equally…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on February 12, 2011 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Committee Kicks off Annual Auction Planning

Although August seems a long ways away, the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum's Auction Committee is already hard at work planning this summer's annual event. Hey, putting on a party for over 250 of our closest friends is a big task!

Did you know that it costs over $1,000 per day to keep the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum doors open? That's right, our annual budget is over $350,000 per year.  Last year, over one third of our income came from the…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on February 9, 2011 at 12:30pm — No Comments

A History of Automotive-Powered Unlimiteds

By Fred Farley - H1 Unlimited Historian

As a whole, automotive power in the Unlimited Class has so far failed to achieve competitive results. Only one auto-powered boat (MISS CHRYSLER CREW in 1967) has ever won a race.

There were quite a few attempts at automotive power in the late 1960s and early `70s. But all that were fast enough to qualify eventually took backward steps to proven principles with the traditional Allison or Rolls-Royce Merlin arrangement.

In 1948, Al…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 30, 2011 at 11:00am — No Comments

The new Miss B!

Ron has a new girl this season, a 3-ton rear-engine beauty with sophisticated curves and a 170-mph yen to be '66 champion.

By Ron Musson, world champion driver, unlimited hydroplanes

Reprinted from Popular Mechanics, March 1966

Unlimited Hydroplanes are the world's fastest and largest competition powerboats, and this year I'm driving a  brand-new one of radical design.

Some people think the new Miss Bardahl is too far out,…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 27, 2011 at 7:30pm — 2 Comments

The Aerodynamics of Unlimited Hydroplanes

By Doug Ford

Reprinted from h1unlimited.com.

In the 1930's and 1940's, aerodynamics played little or no role in the performance of the Gold Cup boats and Unlimited Hydroplanes.  But, in 1955 the boat racing fraternity got a rude awakening as Lou Fageol and Slo-mo-shun V performed the first ever 360 degree blow-over while at high speed on the backstretch of his final lap of qualifying for the Gold Cup in…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 12, 2011 at 9:49pm — 4 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 spectators!

The universal appeal of these "thunderboats" is a product of roaring sound, flashing color, and the hovering dangers of…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 10, 2011 at 12:00pm — 2 Comments

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…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 8, 2011 at 9:30pm — No Comments

A Detroit Debacle

A Seattle Hydro Roared Home First In The Gold Cup But Then Officials Stepped In, And The Affair Became A Detroit Debacle.

By Jim Atwater

Reprinted from Sports Illustrated, September 10, 1956

Covered with grime, Bill Muncey bounced out on the orange deck of Miss Thriftway and did a happy jig. "By golly," shouted the husky driver as his big hydroplane swung into its pit, "by golly, it's about time." On shore Owner…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on December 29, 2010 at 6:00pm — No Comments

Slo-Mo-Shun Leads the Pack

By Thomas E. Stimson, Jr.

Reprinted from Popular Mechanics, July, 1951

If some steel-nerved power-boat driver has the courage to hold his throttle wide open for a full 30 seconds this year, there’s a chance that a brand new world record for a speed across the water will be made.

Today, half a dozen of America’s blue chip sportsmen have their eyes fixed on a terrific speed of 200 miles per hour, a figure that was fantastically out of a reach a few years ago. None…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on December 26, 2010 at 9:00pm — 1 Comment

Two Rooster Tails Wash Out A Fifth Gold Cup

In his attempt to win still another racing trophy, defeated Champ Bill Muncey was frustrated by a wall of water and an oilman's boat.

By Hugh Wahll

Reprinted from Sports Illustrated, July 15, 1963

"Washing down" is an old tool in the lockers of most hydroplane racers. A tactical maneuver, now illegal under the racing rules, it consists of deliberately aiming the fierce fire-hose power of the towering rooster tail from the stern of your…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on December 18, 2010 at 10:30am — No Comments

The Dave Villwock Story

By Fred Farley - H1 Unlimited Historian

A boat racer since age 16, Dave Villwock accepted his first Unlimited Class assignment in 1989 as crew chief for Bill Bennett's MISS CIRCUS CIRCUS. Chip Hanauer was its driver. In 1990, Chip and Dave emerged as National High Point Champions with six wins in eleven races.

Following years of success in the flat-bottom inboard category, Villwock was High Point Champion in the 6-Litre Hydroplane Class in 1988 with Jerry Yoder's SUNSET…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on December 4, 2010 at 1:30pm — No Comments

A Tribute to the Griffon Bud

By Fred Farley - H1 Unlimited Historian

The Rolls-Royce Griffon-powered MISS BUDWEISER of 1980 is one of the sport's legendary champions. Nicknamed the "Juggernaut," the Griffon BUD won 22 races and defined the state of the art in Unlimited racing between 1980 and 1984.

There were actually three Griffon MISS BUDWEISERs. The first appeared in 1979 and the last in 1985. But it is the "Juggernaut" that inspires awe.…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on November 28, 2010 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Skid Fins: The loads they carry

A historical look at skid fins and how they help hydroplanes turn left.

By Doug Ford

Reprinted from h1unlimited.com.

Everyone that has watched modern Unlimited Hydroplanes race has seen the so called "second roostertail" of spray that comes off the skid fins in a corner. That spray is very indicative of the tremendous loads these fins carry when the big boats enter a turn. It…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on November 23, 2010 at 9:30am — No Comments

The Dan Arena Story

By Fred Farley - H1 Unlimited Historian

Future Unlimited Class luminary Dan Arena made his first impression in the California Gold Cup Class of the 1930s with a series of boats named MISS GOLDEN GATE. Dan drove the first of these, a step hydroplane, to victory in the Pacific Motorboat Trophy at Newport Harbor in 1936 and 1937.

The three-point hull design of racing hydroplane caught on in a big way in the years just prior to World War II. Most of the early three-pointers were…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on November 22, 2010 at 10:30pm — No Comments

UIM World Championship Has Rich History

By Fred Farley - H1 Unlimited Historian

In a few days and for the second year in a row, the H1 Unlimited hydroplanes will be be competing in the Oryx Cup/UIM World Championship Race in Doha, Qatar.

Sanctioned by the Union of International Motorboating, the 2009 Qatar race marked the first time in their history that the Unlimiteds had ventured beyond the environs of the United States, Canada, or Mexico. Driver J. Michael Kelly and his GRAHAM TRUCKING entry emerged victorious in…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on November 17, 2010 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Hell-Bent Hydroplanes

A tense rivalry between Detroit and Seattle and a challenge for the Harmsworth Trophy have meant a busy year for the man who makes the Hell-Bent hydroplanes.

By Jim Atwater

Reprinted from Sports Illustrated, April 23, 1956

In past summers, the calm of the thumb of water called Saginaw Bay that juts down into the mainland of Michigan has been shattered by the guttural roar of sleek, skittish hydroplanes. At the wheel of these bellowing…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on November 14, 2010 at 7:30pm — No Comments

Dynamo Dean and the Griffon Bud

An ill-starred love affair

By David Tremayne

The date was set for Tuesday, October 23 1979, on Lake Washington. Like Bill Muncey, who had been a lot less than enthusiastic back in 1960 when Miss Thriftway owner Willard Rhodes wanted a shot at the propeller-driven water speed record, Dean Chenoweth didn't really want to have a go. But, like Muncey, he was a pro who was…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on November 10, 2010 at 12:00pm — No Comments

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