Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum
We're racing through history!
As Don Mock and the rest of the 1977 Atlas Crew move ahead with their great restoration, I can’t help but think back to that cold grey day 33 years ago when the Blue Blaster Atlas Van Lines hit the water for the very first time.
It was Tuesday March 15th. I took the day off work to make sure I was at the lake when Jim Lucero’s newest creation was unveiled. The rumor mill said the boat would launch at noon. I got to Sayres Pits about 9:00 just to be safe. There were a few other fans there. We stood in small groups, sheltering against the cold and drizzle. All morning long reporters and spectators trickled into the park, until by 11:30 it was full of cars, fans and photographers. About Noon Muncey showed up. He tried to make casual conversation with the reporters and dignitaries, but kept nervously looking over his shoulder toward Lake Washington Boulevard. You could almost read his thoughts “Where is my boat?”
Finally about 2:30 the boat swung into view. A wave of excitement rolled through the crowd. The boat was BLUE! We had all been expecting a white boat with the familiar two tone blue strips that had been Atlas’ trademark for years. I heard someone exclaim “Its baby blue!” Then another, more knowledgeable fan correct him saying “No it’s not baby blue, it’s “Breathless Blue.
The boat was towed in with the faring and wings on and upright. She was quickly laid flat and lifting slings were attached while news crews documented every move.
The boat was swung over the water and paused just
long enough for Terri Lucero to christen it with bottle
The Atlas was set gently in the water. A helicopter hovered overhead as Muncey and Lucero exchanged a
few last minutes thoughts. The boost pumps whined,
the started groaned, the motor fired and the boat pulled out on to the couse.
She made one slow lap barely reaching 100 mph and came back into the pits. Muncey and Lucero talked.
The crew made some adjustments and the boat roared away again.
This time Muncey opened her up a bit more. but probably didn’t reach 120
mph. He came back to the dock; the boat was put back on the trailer, the
trailer tilted and the team pulled out. Just like that the day was over. We
stayed and talked, trying to stretch the day into something longer, bigger,
and more important. We all knew that we had seen the start of a whole new
era in the sport, but the actual event felt small and normal, almost
Photos by D.D.Williams
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