Picture yourself traveling at 60 MPH, not sitting in your 3,000 lb. Chevy, but crouching mere inches above the water, braced in a 125 lb. wooden boat, the wind whistling by your helmet. Your left hand squeezes the throttle; your right hand is glued to the steering wheel. As the boat skims over the surface, your slightest movement affects your ride over the ever-changing contour of the water. Now picture yourself surrounded by 11 other boats, just inches apart. Rough water jolts you and you’re drenched from the competing boat’s spray; you anxiously await the opportunity to shoot to pass your closest opponent, pushing your mind, your will and your body to the limit.
That is what the 80 plus drivers may experience when they take to Angle Lake September 10th and 11th for the Frank Hansen Memorial Race Regatta Presented by Graham Trucking and MasterPark.
Seattle Outboard Association, an organization that has been producing races for over 80 years, will host the two day event with addition support from local SeaTac businesses, Graham Trucking and MasterPark Airport Valet Parking.
The race event will take place at
Angle Lake Park
19408 International Boulevard
SeaTac, WA 98188
Time: 11 AM to 6 PM
Dates: Sept 10 and 11
Spectators are invited to tour the pits, see the boats up close and meet the racers provided a waiver is signed and the guest wears closed toed shoes. The park offers superb ‘amphitheater’ seating on the grassy slope above the sandy beach where the boats will be hand launched and offer prime viewing of all the competitive racing taking place the East-West leg of the lake.
Due to safety concerns and insurance regulations, the surface waters of east-west leg of the lake, including the park shoreline and boat launch will remain a restricted area with no public or residential access permitted from 11 AM until 6 PM. However the Northern portion of the North-South leg of the lake will remain open and unobstructed.
NOTE: Parking in and around Angle Lake Park is EXTREMELY limited. We encourage you to consider parking at locations outside the area (eg: Tukwila International Blvd Link Light Rail Station; SeaTac Airport or MasterPark) and taking the Metro RapidRide 'A Line' to the park.
The race boats will be of three distinct designs—Hydroplane, Runabout and Tunnel Boat. All are constructed with lightweight marine plywood and mahogany, carbon fiber or fiberglass. The two day event will feature multiple classes. Each class mandates specific engines that are compliant and there are requirements for propellers, boat design etc.
The race boats are roughly 9 to 14 feet long and weigh 100 to 250 pounds. Most drivers kneel in the cockpit; some boats are driven in a lay-down position; some have the driver seated. Typically the left hand works the spring-loaded throttle and the right hand handles the steering wheel.
Hydroplanes have a three-point design and ride on a cushion of air —only the two front sponsons and the propeller touch the water. Air is trapped underneath, causing the boat to lift and ride on this cushion of air, skimming across the surface of the water.
Tunnel Boats are a strange 'bird'. While the tunnel derives much of its high performance from air lift, it depends at the same time on its planing interaction with the water to maintain a stable and controlled 'flight'. This interdependence of water and air force dynamics is the key to the approach to tunnel design.
Runabouts slice through the water rather than skim over the surface. Runabouts can vary greatly in design but generally they have a flat riding surface, tapered to a point in front, and do not channel air under the hull. Turning is an art and it can be work just to keep the boat level—similar to driving a motocross dirt bike. While, typically slower than Hydros, the thrills of racing runabouts are unmatched, just watch a runabout round a buoy and you’ll see the difference!
While the concept of a race event held at Angle Lake has been in the works for well over two and a half years, it was only recently (July 27th) that the SeaTac City Council authorized a onetime waiver raising the speed restrictions on the lake from 8 mph for this event. SOA has been working diligently with City Administration and Parks Department leaders to approve plans, secure permits and insurance coverage and seeking approval as an American Power Boat Association sanctioned event.
The official schedule is expected to be posted on Thursday, Sept 8th. However, spectators can anticipate two full days of racing excitement comprised of approximately 40 heats each of the two days. Individual class heats will be spaced at 10 minute intervals consisting of: 3 minute warm up; 5 minutes racing (three laps on a ¾ mile course); 2 minute calming.
If after attending the event you’d like to learn more about outboard racing, please visit the nationally acclaimed Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum located just down the hill on 196th Street in Kent, or consider signing up for the 2017 SOA ‘New Folks in Boats’ novice driver training program!