I've been meaning to give props to Tracy Bravoldt and the crew at Whispering Turbines. They do a lot of work on turbines, including prepping the Elam team's engines for 2007 which won the Gold Cup and the National Championship.

Photo at right: Two of the engines used by Erick Ellstrom's Elam team in 2007.

More photos from Whispering Turbines >>

There's been increasing "buzz" lately about changes to the run-up to start. The talk revolves around making drivers stay on plane longer and also having to maintain higher minimum speeds before the start.

Don't know if it's just talk or if there are changes in store for 2008. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.

Here's what I like about people that read this blog. I asked about a boat that ran ashore at Firebird in the 90's... and this photo showed up in my email. It's the Miss T-Plus in 1995 and it broke a skid fin during a practice run. The boat and driver were OK.

Anybody who was there want to fill in those of us that weren't about what happened here?

UPDATE: Photo credit goes to Stephen Lane. Thanks to Craig Barney for the update.

Blowover highlights from the first ever online Unlimited Hydroplane Regatta from San Diego.

Video from ULHRA: Kayleigh Perkins & Chip Hanauer >>

Former Gold Cup winning hull changes hands. Details >>

FormulaBoats.com plans an Unlimited Hydroplane exhibiton at Celina, OH again in 2008. Thedates are August 22 -24, 2008. Last year, Jimmy Shane took the U-1 out for a spin.


Photo: Jimmy Shane & the U-1 at Celina, OH in 2007 by James Crisp

HydroInsider.com Flashback: Read the newspaper article from the 1937 Gold Cup >>

Vintage Hydroplanes announce racing schedule for 2008 season >>

Found on youtube, a video compilation of Unlimited Hydroplane crashes and flips; author unknown.


This photo was voted as Best Photo of 2007 on HydroInsider.com. It was taken by Dave Mabry when the U-1 FormulaBoats.com flipped in Detroit and received 48% of the votes. See Full List and Results >>

If you haven't seen the ABRA Unlimited Hydroplane promotional video that's making its way around the internet, here it is. Superb job of editing.

WATCH VIDEO >>

The U-22 from Webster Racing is starting to look pretty. The team has its first major sponsor in 2008: AMS Oil.

Mark Weber has a new vintage boat. It's the A-55 Mom's Worry. Looks like it's going to need quite a bit of work. View pictures and follow the progress >>

Ever wonder where some of the old boats - excuse me - vintage boats wound up? Here's an amazingly detailed list of boats and owners from Vintagehydroplanes.com >>

WORX radio plans on more Hydro Shows starting in early February. Tim Torrance will be interviewing guests about the upcoming hydro racing season.

WORX Website >>

On display currently at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park’s Visitor Center is the "Hydroplanes and Racing Boats" exhibit, which showcases 1940's Sacramento Hydroplanes as well as 1930's racing and engines and hydroplanes.



Lately, the idea of night unlimited racing has re- surfaced. The most serious discussion has centered on Firebird Raceway near Phoenix. Click here to WATCH VIDEO of what night racing might look like. This is video of the drag boats via the Dragboats website.



More details... there is good news... starting in the 2010 season, Rick Bowles says there will be TWO RACES scheduled each year in Nashville... and TWO MORE in Phoenix.

PHOTO: J. Percy Priest Dam and Lake in Nashville

Here is the text of the email from Rick Bowles explaining the cancellation of the Nashville race for 2008, but there are tentative dates for both Nashville and Phoenix for 2009. Full text >>

BREAKING NEWS... Nashville unlimited hydroplane races have been postponed... details to follow.

The HydroInsider.com Live Blog has been re-designed to add in new functionality, including the ability to search the blog for specific topics (see the Search box at the upper right). We've also highlighted the comments section so you can see easilyh what others are saying about a variety of topics.

Farther down the page on the right, we've added more video via vodpod. It's an easy way to "collect" video that's out there on the internet, pulling together hydroplane-related videos so you don't have to search google, yahoo, youtube, etc... it's all right here for you. If you find an interesting video clip out there, send me a link and we'll add it. Right now, there are more than 2 dozen videos and they've been viewed on this site alone more than 2,000 times.

We've also added a constantly updating slide show which goes out and grabs recent hydroplane photos from various websites and displays them. Kind of fun to see what's the latest photo to be added.

Also added a couple of features for showing visitor information. Kind of cool to be able to see where people are visiting from... all over the world!

If you've got ideas, comments or suggestions for us, let us know in the comments section.

New videos and interviews posted on ULHRA.org from the Unlimited Lights award ceremony. Watch here >>

Team Shane took part in the ABC-TV Extreme Home Makeover episode that aired this past weekend.

That's the team that features drivers Jimmy Shane, who made his Unlimited debut at Tri-Cities in 2007 and sister Kelly, who finished second in the National High Point Championship in the 1.5 litre stock category in 2007 and 1st in 2006.

Photo Gallery of Team Shane at Extreme Home Makeover >>


You can now buy and print your tickets on-line for the Evansville Freedom Festival.

UPDATE: I've pulled this link for now. It was on the EvansvilleFreedomFestival.org website, but it's not there now. Until we know it's working and up, we don't want to send traffic there...

Listen to the difference between a turbine powered unlimited hydroplane and a piston powered one in the two videos below. Top videos is turbine - second video is piston.

Video is from 2005 Nashville races. Videographer is unknown.

Have we got a deal for you: A home for sale on Mercer Island (near Seattle) with a front row view of the Seafair Unlimited Hydroplane races. It's only $34 million dollars. No kidding - the MONTHLY mortgage payments would be $181,000. Take a look >>

The Tempo VII may need a new home. It's part of the exhibit at the Guy Lombardo Museum in Ontario, Canada along with artifacts from Lombardo's music career. Only 400 visitors stopped by the museum last year and it's been closed since September. City leaders are considering closing it permanently.

Read more >>

On the ERCU website, Nelson Holmberg reports a Formulaboats.com unlimited hydroplane display boat sighting in Portland at the Boat Show. Follow the link and then scroll down to the item dated 1/13.


Photo: Nelson Holmberg via camera phone


New edition of the Detroit Regatta newsletter includes an interesting article on The Miss America VIII lawsuit from 1991.

Also, the Detroit Regatta Association is looking for volunteers to help staff displays at various events.

Info on both items >>

Three Unlimited Lights Hydroplanes are for sale: UL-13, UL-58 and what's left of the UL-929. You can get a turn-key race boat, hull and engines for $35,000. Details >>

Photo: ULHRA.org

After his inaugural appearance on QVC and the Super Bowl closely approaching, Charlie Grooms’ Ladder 51-Flame Broiled Chicken Wings have been asked back for a second appearance on the nationally broadcast TV program.


Ladder 51 has been an associate sponsor on Ed Cooper’s U-3 hydroplane for the past few seasons and "Chicken Wing Charlie" Grooms is the team manager for the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto.

Grooms is scheduled to appear in Philadelphia on the QVC production set for a special segment called Food Fest, easy-to-prepare and ready-to-serve gourmet foods on Friday January 18, 1:00-2:00pm ET.

"Tell the world we are coming back to QVC," an excited Grooms said.

Grooms from Madison, Ind. has been working for several years on perfecting his patented technique for flame broiling chicken wings and nearly cleaned out his warehouse of chicken wings after the first airing on QVC several months ago.

After trying the wings in October a QVC consumer wrote to QVC and said, "These wings are delicious! Served them to company and they disappeared in 2 minutes. Tastes like they just came off the Bar-B-Que. Just defrost, heat and serve - what could be easier!"

The flame broiled process cooks the majority of the greases out of the wings making for a healthy alternative to traditional chicken wings.

The Ladder 51 wings come in three 2-lb bags of flame broiled wings and six packets of Ladder 51 BBQ sauce. Flash frozen, the wings are hand packed with dry ice by the Grooms family and arrive within two days of shipment.

If you miss the show, Grooms said you can still order via QVC.com, product #M16033.

The Seattle Parks and Recreation Dept. along with the Mt. Baker Rowing Club have added grass areas in some parking area of the park, including one that's along the pit area during Seafair.
This will probably mean a slightly smaller footprint for the pits, which are already tight.


As Owen Blauman said: it looks like the pits are going to be smaller for the teams, but might make for some good golf putting areas during down times.

The Richland Regatta is set to take place in the Tri-Cities June 14 & 15, 2008 and will showcase Inboard Hydroplanes, Flatbottoms, and Outboard Performance Crafts.

VIDEO: Inboard Powerboat Circuit



Full schedule of NW racing for Region 10 >>
Season starts April 10th and runs through October in WA, ID & OR

Here's a website you may want to check out on Vintage Hydroplanes. It's got a very active forum section.


VintageHydroplanes.com Website >>

Vintage Hydroplanes Forum/Message Board >>


Thanks Kirk Duncan for the tip.

Kirk Pagel reports that Billy and Jane Schumacher have sold the old U-8 Llumar hull to an undisclosed buyer. More from Kirk in the E-RCU newsletter >>

New U-5/U-7 Team manager Mark Hooton has a pretty cool real job at GM. He's been leading the team that's rolling out the newly designed Corvette. The photos of the ZR-1 look pretty darn good.

HydroInsider.com: Mark Hooton named Team Manager for FormulaBoats.com team >>

Timing this year may be a little tricky, but Spring Training in Tri-Cities for the hydros is still possible. Both the U-37 Beacon Plumbing and U-48 Lakeridge Paving are possible teams to get out on the Columbia River in late March.

Evansville Freedom Festival will feature the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute team. Watch VIDEO of a recent performance.



Updated Freedom Festival website >>

Harvey Liberman has spent thousands of dollars building radio-controlled model boats, reports WBIR-TV. His first model boat was a 1968 vintage hydroplane. Watch Harvey's story >>

New photos of U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison off-season work >>

The Unlimited Lights hull with the third most victories has a new home. The UL-33 is moving from Estes Racing to J. Craig Fletcher and Celtic Racing.


The only hulls with more wins than the UL-33 (12 wins) are the UL-15 Hopp Racing (32 wins) and the UL-72 Miss Boat Electric (22 wins).
The Celtic Racing team's UL-13 is for sale.
PHOTO OF UL-33: Rod Smith

New photos of the off-season work being done on the U-37 Beacon Plumbing. U-37 website >>

Visitors read more than 70,000 pages on HydroInsider.com each month. This month, the LIVE BLOG SECTION also marks a milestone... more than 100,000 visitors have hit the LIVE BLOG section of the website since the launch in mid-2007.

From the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum: the 2008 Museum Lecture Series kicks off with a panel discussion hosted by unlimited hydroplane legends Ron Jones, Dixon Smith and Ken Frankel. February's topic of discussion is Propellers - Past, Present and Future. This highly technical discussion is sure to be of interest not only to our Museum membership but also to anybody currently involved in hydroplane racing. The panel discussion is slated for Friday, February 15th at 7:00 PM at the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum in Kent, Washington.



SOURCE: Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum

Russ's Hydroplane Site is reporting the U-37 Beacon Plumbing team is seriously considering a new boat for 2009.

I wonder if Billy Schumacher (or any team thinking about a new boat) might be thinking about the U-21 hydro that Freedom Racing has up for sale? It's brand new and pretty darn close to the same design as the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto.... Just a thought...
PHOTO: Russ McElroy

Sign at the Bill Cantrell Memorial Race Course at Madison, IN. Cantrell was a 4 time winner at Madison, won the Gold Cup in 1949, two-time national champion hydro racer and also drove in the Indianapolis 500 in 1948, 1949, & 1950

LINK: Madison Came Running's Bill Cantrell Gallery >>

Pat O'Day, long-associated with the Seafair hydroplane races, talks about his recovery from addicition and the unique treatment he received. His son, Jerry O'Day, works at Schick Shadel, the treatment facility.

Excerpt from The Des Moines News >>

Pat O'Day's testimony on the Schick Shadel Website is direct: "I was a major league drinker. I am now a contented, relaxed, busy, successful living testimonial to the complete success of Schick Shadel's treatment."I am not a struggling, recovering alcoholic. I am a very happy 'EX' alcoholic."

Does anyone know what happened to the U-19 that once raced as the Appian Renegade and the Appian Jeronimo? If so, please leave the info in the comments section... thanks!


Unlimiteds.net has a Best of 2007 Photos section up you may want to check out >>

If you're looking for the Disco Steve David Video, here it is! From Dan Walters via the Hydropage Web Forum >>

LINKS:

Video >>

Hydropage Web Forum >>




About a dozen new videos have been added to the HydroInsider.com LIVE BLOG. Click on the VODPOD to the right to view them.

Some new pictures of the work being done on the U-22 have arrived from Mike Webster via Kirk Duncan. More pictures >>

Many new images, including Bud, Winston, Circus Circus, Oberto, 7-11, Tony the Tiger, Pringles, Squire Shop and early turbines and pistons are on Roger Schaaf's website at: http://2005thunderzone.blogspot.com/

Unlimited Lights update from John Lynch: Jerry Hopp is working on an interesting project: A gasoline-fueled, supercharged engine for the Unlimited Lights class that could be retro-fitted into current hulls.


Details at ULHRA.org >>

ULHRA Awards are Janauary 19th and will include presentations of Rookie of the Year and 2007 Driving Champion to Kayleigh Perkins, who co-drove the UL-72 Miss Boat Electric along with Patrick Haworth.

PHOTO: Kayleigh Perkins (with brother Brian Perkins). PHOTO - Jack Lowe
THE ULHRA season opens in April, back at Firebird in the Phoenix, AZ area. Details >>

PHOTO: Steve David protecting the Bill Muncey Cup after winning at San Diego. Is that the Heisman pose?


Photo by Todd Tamayao U-37

Final results for the HydroInsider.com Fantasy Driver Poll. Story >>