PHOTOS: U-1's Steve David enjoys another water sport

PHOTOS: Blue Angels slideshow

View slideshow >>
Michael @ NW Lens

PHOTOS: More Seafair - different viewpoints, Part 2

PHOTOS: Lon Erickson

PHOTOS: More Seafair - different viewpoints, Part 1

PHOTOS: Lon Erickson

ABRA points chase a two-boat duel

"We love it," David, a three-time championship driver in the Unlimited ranks, said. "The pressure's really what motivates me, and we have about a similar points lead to what we had last year coming into Seattle. So I'm hoping this movie will be like Part 2."

ABRA points chase a two-boat duel >>

Thursday Seafair Arrivals--part 2

All Photos by Lon Erickson

Thursday Seafair Arrivals

All Photos by Lon Erickson

Obertos host Blue Angels viewing party for 100 strangers

The first family of Seattle hydroplane racing, Art and Dorothy Oberto have experienced many things over their life-time. They have traveled the world, seen things ordinary people will never get to experience in their life time. But nothing gives Dorothy Oberto more joy than to host her sixth annual "senior's party" at the family house on the shore of Lake Washington.

It all began when a senior bus got lost looking for a place to view the Blue Angels' air show. "Some how this bus full of Seniors ended up in the driveway," Dorothy Oberto recalls.

Oberto's offered up their backyard lawn near the I-90 bridge to the assisted living group from Kent and in traditional Oberto hospitality offered the weary travelers lemonade and cookies.

A half decade later the unexpected gathering has grown to over 100 people and three senior/assisted living homes from all over the Puget Sound. The party is complete with organ music and a fully catered lunch.

The three bus loads come from all over, Oberto said. The three groups who are attending this year's party include Stafford Suites (Kent, Wash.), Providence Mt. St. Vincent (Seattle) and EverActive Multicare (Tacoma).

"I know nothing about these people," Oberto said. "I don't know too much about nothing, but what I know is what little it takes to make these Seniors happy. I guess no one has ever invited them over for a picnic."

The group complete with canes, walkers, and wheel chairs come in all shapes and sizes.

"Last year we had a 100 year-old man that was teaching the ladies how to dance in the dance style that was around in his day," a beaming Oberto said while setting up in 100 degree temperatures.

After all are fed, the Blue Angels are back at Boeing Field, the organist plays God Bless American and "they all just go home", Oberto said.

While the company they founded has a hydroplane in the Chevrolet Cup at Seafair, Oberto's are bringing joy that extends outside the racing community.

This is the last party the Oberto's will host for the Seniors. Oberto's themselves are scheduled to enter their own Senior home by next Seafair.

"We will be in 'Happy Valley old folks home' next year," a joking Oberto said. We can only hope that someone invites us to watch the Blue Angels from their lawn, other wise we will have to settle for the lunch room at our retirement center."

Live Audio Stream From Seafair

Thanks to Seafair Announcer Mark Allen, will be streaming audio from Lake Washington this weekend. Go to and click on Seafair Live PA Stream at the top of the page to listen.

U3 repairs complete

Boat should be in the Seattle pits Friday morning.

Thursday arrivals at Seafair

Boats in the pits: 1,5,9,16,17,22,37,48 and the 787 as of 630pm Thurs.

U-17 new sponsor > USNW Express

U-22 New sponsor >

U-9 All white paintjob > w/no graphics or sponsor

Lon Erckson

HydroInsider on twitter is now updating to twitter regularly. OK, so I'm really updating the Live Blog, but it also posts to twitter and checks for updates every 30 minutes 24/7.

Look for hydroinsider at twitter. If you'd have been following it (and I'd had it set up for the Tri-Cities race), you would have received over 100 "tweets" - or as I call them Breaking News - from the race site.

MORE PHOTOS: U-9 hydro in Seattle

It's the first time the boat's been ready to race in two seasons, since it upended in Seattle in 2007. Right now, it's all white.


PHOTOS: U-9 hydro in the pits in Seattle


VIDEO: Hydroplane Race announcement for Doha, Qatar at Hydro Museum

VIDEO: In Cockpit video from U-37 during Columbia Cup Final

VIDEO: In-cockpit cameras for U-3, U-7, U-17

Jim Simpson has these videos posted on his smugmug page >>

Q&A with Steve David

As you get more and more boats on the log boom you get the wakes resonating off that log boom back on the course. You may have a 600-foot stretch were it's really calm then all of a sudden hit a two-foot roller. Most of the accidents we have are the freak ones that you didn't see until it was too late.

Q&A with Steve David >>

Steve David, Oh Boy! Oberto Hydroplane driver to water ski race course

Steve David, National Champion unlimited hydroplane driver, has the water gene. In addition to being a world class driver of the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto David is an accomplished water skier.

A Florida native David spends nearly 100% of his free time either on a boat or behind one.

"I don't think I have ever water skied on a course that I have raced an unlimited hydroplane on," David said.

David received a water skiing scholarship from Rollins College (Winter Park, Fla.) and has been water skiing since age six. He said it wasn't your typical scholarship, "It just meant that I got my fuel in the boat paid for."

David enjoys water skiing because it is a great way to relax and stay in shape.

Steve David on kissing frogs

“I had to kiss a lot of frogs,” said Steve David, who for drove boats that consistently finished back in the pack. No longer.

David relishes success after career’s slow start >>

Different perspectives, same goal for local hydroplane drivers

Jeff Bernard will be happy to take any spot in the finals – as long as it’s not fifth place.Brian Perkins will be happy to take any spot in the finals – as long as his boat is running.Different perspectives, but the same goal for the two local drivers who gradually are making more waves on the unlimited hydroplane circuit.

Different perspectives, same goal for local hydroplane drivers >>

SLIDE SHOW: Black Diamond resident and unlimited hydroplane driver Brian Perkins gets ready for Seafair

Brian Perkins, 24, a Kenlake High grad who grew up in Black Diamond will be racing a 3,000 horsepower unlimited hydroplane in the Chevrolet Cup this weekend.

SLIDE SHOW: Black Diamond resident and unlimited hydroplane driver Brian Perkins gets ready for Seafair >>

VIDEO: J. Michael Kelly talks about the flip

WATCH IT: Local Hydro Driver Describes Boat's Flip, Crash >>

Steve David - busiest man in hydroplanes!

Steve David, driver of the National Champion U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto is the busiest man in hydroplanes this week. In addition to telecommuting with his offices back in Florida, arranging real estate deals, David begins his morning with a 4 mile brisk walk and a workout in the gym. Instead of having a helmet strapped to his head, David has his iphone --answering calls and emails.

As if a 9 to 5 job on the east coast isn't enough, David is making the rounds at various TV and radio stations in Seattle. Wednesday he is schedule to have a 4:30p interview in studio with KING-TV's Paul Silvi, followed by a 6:00 pm gig with Mike Gastineau on Sports Radio KJR.

And if that isn't enough he is planning on water skiing the Lake Washington race course on Thursday morning and Friday he will be helping Jenni Hogan out at KIRO TV with the traffic reports.

VIDEO: In cockpit video from the U-7 flip

This is what J. Michael Kelly saw in the cockpit of the U-7 Graham Trucking during the flip in Tri-Cities. Thanks to Danny Porter for the video.

Iso Camera tracking the U-7 Graham Trucking from the near shore during the flip. Thanks to Danny Porter for the video.

He said his name was Robert Lee Smith and that he was in town for the hydroplane races...

... turns out he was wanted for murder in Indiana.

CRIME: Indiana murder suspect arrested in Kennewick >>

VIDEO: Iso camera on U-7 during flip (from shore)

VIDEO: Danny Porter

VIDEO: Inside the cockpit of the U-17 during a ride on the Columbia River

Watch video >>

Theoret Update

"God willing, I will be back behind the wheel," U-37's Jean Theoret told the Seattle Times today about Seafair. I was in the pits in the Tri-Cities talking Jimmy King, Theoret walked by. "You going to be driving in Seattle?" Jimmy asked Jean. "Yes I will," Jean replied.

Qatar Unlimited Event update

While some remain skeptical about the race, owner/driver Ken Muscatel, who is heavily involved in organizing the race, said Tuesday that "it looks like it's an absolute go."

"That could inject some fresh capital, which is what we need," said driver Steve David of the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto.

Hydroplane racing rolls forward in tough times >>

VIDEO: A close up view of U-7 flip @ Tri-Cities

Correction on U9

Kirk Duncan pointed out correctly the U9 flip in Seattle was 2 years ago. My bad.... Do the years run together for anyone else?


Any significance to the fact that N2 was my gate at Seatac?

PHOTOS: Steve David, Oberto team gets Columbia Cup trophy

U-9 to race at Seattle

Last time we saw the Jones Racing U-9 hydroplane, it was in pieces after a flip in Seattle last year. The team is planning to run in Seattle with David Williams behind the wheel.

Archive Photo: Chris Denslow

PHOTO SEQUENCE: U-7 Flip by Chris Denslow

PHOTOS: Chris Denslow

All heat, race and interview videos posted

OK, everything should be up on Every heat race, the finals, and interviews with winners. Unlimited lights finals and B-Main and interviews. You can watch video in three places on the site:

1. Top Story Video - these will be there for the week but then cycle out.
2. Right hand column in the Video Player, scroll down a bit. Watch right in the player on the page, although you can pop them up full screen.
3. In the center column farther down the page, there's a list of a bunch of videos.

We've not got more than 200 videos posted on the site going back about 7 years.

U-1 wins all three heats and the finals - first time in 49 year history

This is the first time in its 49 year history that the Miss Madison has won all three preliminary heats and the final. Bob Hughes also made an interesting point after the race in an interview with WORX radio: This is the first time ever that the Miss Madison has gone into the final heat fully expecting to win, and won.

The program has come a long way.Steve David has now won more races (6) for the Miss Madison than every other Miss M driver combined (5).

Read the rest of Aaron's comments >>

Weekend highlights

Some great racing this weekend. Tough for the U16 team and the U-3 team, for sure, but lots of highlights from other teams besides the U-1 and Steve David winning the Columbia Cup:

  • JW Myers picked up heat wins and a great race in the finals in the U-37.
  • Mike Webster in the U-22 kept the boat running all weekend and made the front row on the finals.
  • Jeff Bernard in the U-5 finished in second place and some big points in the finals.
  • Nate Brown ran a 160 in the U-17. Nate and Kip Brown did a great job racing this weekend and the Our Gang Racing has to be very pleased.
  • Brian Perkins in the U-48 also made the front row in the finals as well.

Jeff Bernard updates us on U-7 and J. Michael Kelly

"He bumped his knee and burned his ego. He's pretty bummed out. He and the boat should be ready for Seattle," said U-5 driver Jeff Bernard about his team-mate J. Michael Kelly on the website.

Kayleigh Perkins is engaged

KNDU reporter Scott Reister broke the news that UL-72 driver Kayleigh Perkins is engaged. Not the greatest picture but here's a screen grab off the TV set. The fiancee is the guy in the purple shirt standing on the dock over Kayleigh's shoulder.

Steve David wins Columbia Cup finals

1. U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto
Steve David

2. U-5
Jeff Bernard

3. U-37 Hoss Mortgage Investors
J.W. Myers

4. U-16 Miss Elam Plus (started as trailer)
Dave Villwock

5. U-48 Whirlpool Presents Albert LeeBrian Perkins

6. U-17 West Pasco Family DentalKip Brown

7. U-22 Matrix Systems Automotive Finishes
Mike Webster

Kayleigh Perkins wins ULHRA final

U-72 Kayleigh Perkins held off Greg Hopp UL-1 and Ryan Mallow in the UL-19.

MORE PHOTOS: U-7 back at pits

We'll have some photo sequences of the flip coming later tonight (or tomorrow).

VIDEO: U-7 hoisted out of water back at pits

Right at the end of the video, you hear a camera click and see my thumb. Oops - was taking video with one hand and stills with the other....!

Finals line-up set; U-16 is trailer boat

Finals line-up (in order of points)

U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto ( Steve David )
U-37 Hoss Mortgage Investors ( J.W. Myers )
U-5 ( Jeff Bernard )
U-17 West Pasco Family Dental ( Kip Brown )
U-48 Whirlpool Presents Albert Lee ( Brian Perkins )
U-22 Matrix Systems Automotive Finishes ( Mike Webster )

Trailer: U-16 Miss Elam Plus ( Dave Villwock )

No provisional heat for Unlimiteds

U-100 has broken gearbox. Would have been U-100 vs. U-16. "If we'd have had the Jerry's Tavern (ready to go), we'd have slaughtered Villwock," joked Hopp.

Heat 3B Results

1. U37
2. U48
3. U22
DNF. U100

U100 put in a new engine right before the heat, but it didn't help.

Myers, with the fastest boat in the field, easily outran Hopp in the U100 to grab the lead. The U100 went dead letting Myers take the win.

A great race for second between U48 Brian Perkins and U22 Mike Webster. The boats traded places twice before Perkins put on some speed on the final turn for 2nd.

Myers know 2nd in points behind Steve David.

Porta-potty etiquette

Here's a tip: When using the porta-potty LOCK THE DOOR. I just saw a women get really embarassed.

JMK and U-7 update

Just talked to J. Michael. He's walking around the pits fine, but he still seems shaken up a bit. Who wouldn't be? Said boat just went upa bit and he couldn't get it to come back down.

Damage is too great to continue on, but crews optimistic for Seafair.

Heat 3A results

1. U1
2. U16
3. U5
4. U17

Dave Villwock needed a win to get into the last position in the final. Steve David led the first lap. Villwock was hanging in after starting in lane four and was half a roostertail behind David in lap two.

David hung on for the win.


U100 swapping out an engine, right before the 3B heat.

May have been a fuel flow violation for U16

Either way, no points for Elam in the second set of heats. U16 can still make the final if more boats drop out or by winning provisional heat and then starting in final as trailer boat.

U-25 withdraws

Ken Muscatel done for the day.

Major change in Heat results

1. U37
2. U5
3. U22
DSQ. U16 ... N2 violation or fuel flow

no points for Dave Villwock

PHOTO: U7 upright

PHOTOS: U-7 topside

PHOTOS: Back end of U7 mangled

PHOTO: U7 back at dock

Heat 2B results

1. U16
2. U37
3. U5
4. U22

JW Myers won the race to the start with Jeff Bernard right behind, but Villwock had the lead by the exit pin of the first turn.

Myers running third reeled in the U5 for 2nd.

Heat 2A final results

1. U1
2. U17
3. U25
4. U100
5. U48

JMK talks

"I pretty much walked away unscratched."

"It's a part of racing. It happens."

"Hopefully everything with the boat is OK."

JMK official update

JMK is doing very well. He was talking to the rescue crews. Checked out by medical folks and he's back in the pits and doing OK.

JMK back in pits

He was brought back to shore by the dive rescue team and walked back to the pits on his own..

Brian Perkins on U7 flip

Brian Perkins: "Scary situation in a heat. Any time something like that happens, it rips your heart out."

U-7 is being pulled off course in pieces.

U7 flip, heat 2a official

Early report, JMK appears OK.

Kip Brown: "I heard on the radio he's OK." Said water seemed smooth.

Steve David wins Heat 2A.

U7 goes over

J. Michael Kelly flipped in heat 2A. He is out of the cockpit.

Columbia Cup Stream for Mac Computers

thanks for the info Stephen!

I tried connecting using your website, but for some reason the stream isn't recognized by the Mac...even when I download Internet Explorer 9. So, I searched around and found this site and would recommend it to those Mac people that have found it impossible to get on board.

Great coverage...thank you KNDU. :-)

more helicopter cameras to help officials

ANRA's Sam Cole asked us this morning to put a video camera in both of the helicopters to get good views of what happens on the course. hopefully it can help with any disputes like in Saturday's heat 1a.

UL Heat 2b

UL-72 Kayleigh Perkins nailed the start on the inside and ran to victory in UL Heat 2B. Relatively easy run for Kayleigh - winning by about half a course.

UL Heat 2a

UL-19 Ryan Mallow eked out a win over Greg Hopp in UL Heat 2A. A great race as the two within half a boat length for almost all of the last two laps.

Mallow outran Hopp to the finish for the win.

Video, coverage today and email us!

We're all tied up with live broadcast/stream today but we should have all the heats and inerviews being captured so we'll also be able to post the video later tonight.

Feedback on the live stream? Want to say hi? Want to let us know you're watching and where you are? Email

Theoret's plans for Seattle

U-37's Jean Theoret says he plans to drive in Seattle.

U-3 done for the weekend

Bad luck continues to follow the Go3 Racing Team. The Grand View on the Lake is withdrawing from competition for the rest of the weekend. After an exciting 2nd place finish in Heat 1B of the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup Saturday, the team found a problem with the hull in the area of the skid fin that can't be fixed this weekend. The team will now focus on getting ready for racing next weekend at Seattle Seafair.

PHOTOS: Heats 1A, 1B

Heat 1b

Heat 1a

PHOTOS: Mick Washburn

PHOTOS: Heat 1A, turn 1 lap 1

PHOTOS: Mick Washburn

VIDEO: Kayleigh Perkins interview after UL Heat win

VIDEO: Jean Theoret interview after U-37 ride on Columbia River

Heat 2a, 2b draws

Heat 2A (in order of lane assignments)
1. U-25
2. U-48
3. U-100
4. U-17
5. U-1
6. U-7

Heat 2b (in order of lane assignments)

1. U-16
2. U-37
3. U-3
4. U-5
5. U-22

VIDEO: Steve David interview after Heat 1A win

VIDEO: J. Michael Kelly interview after winning Heat 1B

Steve David docked points from Heat 1A

Heard that Steve David was docked 150 points for also moving out in Heat 1A.

PHOTOS: Kayleigh, Steve David, J. Michael Kelly