A day at the races
I moved the boat into Botany Bay to meet two new crew members and facilitate one of them finishing her dive training at a nearby dive shop. I had contacted the St. George Motor Boat Club to procure moorage. As I was reading their information I learned that they would be holding a speed boat race day while I was there, great!!
As a Seattle native I have a long standing love affair with hydroplanes, that was the sport of Seattle and the drivers were gods. I carried that passion into my adult years and found a home for it at the Raceboat and Hydroplane Museum in Kent. There they have rehabilitated many of the old Thunder Boats. I had the extreme privilege in getting a ride in the 1955 Miss Burien several years ago. A hundred and thirty miles an hour in a fifty year old wood boat!
So the day of the race came and the usual excitement built. Our slip provided a perfect view of the far turn. The St. George Motor Boat Club has a long standing history of boat racing. The first boat to go over 100 miles an hour did so on this course as did the world’s high speed record holder. The races have been held here for decades.
This race event suffered several fatalities in the recent past. This has caused some rule making that has adversely effected the participation. I was told many times that this was the smallest turnout in years. I got the “you should have been here a few years ago” many times. Sadly motor boat racing is suffering here as well as in Seattle. Safety restrictions, insurance needs and the encroachment of development bringing the whining new neighbors are all hurting this gallant sport.
None the less it was a day of great racing. The boats came in three categories; hydroplanes with huge outboards, hydroplanes with inboards and mono hull boats with inboards. They combined the boats is a series of distinctions.
I really like the throaty load sound of the blown V-8 engines and goose bumps went up and down my arm when I heard them fire up.
The club members and boat owners turned the day into a celebration with “Australian BBQ’s” spread about the dock. My neighbor, Collin, introduced himself and told me his friend, Barry, had heard of my voyage and wanted to meet me. Barry had taken his new Pama 65 to a nearby anchorage, his son fetched us in the tender to visit the boat. That night we had a lovely diner aboard the Pama.
The dive course done and the race boats all put away, we left our new friends and headed back to Sydney after a wonderful stay and a great day at the races.