A Willingness to Try Something New

Hydroplane and Runabout racing returns a third time to Angle Lake.

Frank Hansen Memorial Race presented by Master Park 
September 8th and 9th 
10:00 am until no later than 6:00 pm each day

Back as early as 2012, a couple members of the Angle Lake Shore Club pondered event concepts that might increase interest in our area and offer family entertainment to our local community. Included in these discussions were festive events like the Celebrate America; athletic events like a Des Moines Creek/Angle Lake Triathlon; and a consideration of bringing hydroplane racing back to Angle Lake. It was rumored that hydroplane racing events were in the past held on Angle Lake. Crazy as it seemed at the time, a small task force was formed to begin exploring the possibility reintroducing hydroplane racing back to the community again. 
When discussing the idea with individuals outside the group, general first impressions were formed from their own Seafair Unlimited Hydroplane Racing experiences. Where large crowds of often inebriated race fans crowded around the race course featuring some very large and very noisy boats racing in an oval at a very high rate of speed – who would welcome that kind of experience to a small residential community? 

While the design of the overall event is modeled after the Seafair Race format, research revealed that Junior Series Hydroplane and Small Outboard Boat Racing is not comprised of a bunch of old white guys feeding their need for speed – but is truly considered a family sport mainly comprised of youth, both boys and girls, working together with their families, both Moms and Dads, learning the art and skill of boat building; developing mechanical expertise; and experiencing the sport of organized racing. Who wouldn’t want to support that in their community?!

In 2013 a survey to gauge interest in bringing back boat racing was sent out to 177 homes around the lake. Of the 174 responses receive, only 14% were not in favor of the idea. At that time we knew we had  support from the majority of the community, but could we gain the necessary approval from City of SeaTac authorities to stage the races at Angle Lake Park? After several rounds of negotiation with city representatives over the span of a couple years, the City Council finally voted to approve a onetime event to be held on a trial basis in 2016. The event was a tremendous success in reconfirming community interest, calming much of the prior anxiety and fear and recalibrating experience expectations by delivering a high quality family event.  

This year, 2018 will be the third year that Seattle Outboard Association will host the Frank Hansen Memorial Race, presented by local sponsor Master Park. In addition to watching the races, we hope that you’ll visit the race pits at Angle Lake Park, meet the families who make up this event, experience the camaraderie among the racers, witness firsthand the quality educational and social opportunities presented to each of the participating youth. Perhaps even your youngster may be inspired to join!

After experiencing the race side, please consider viewing the boat building side by paying a visit to the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum to view the Junior Hydro Program where kids 9 to 16 years of age learn traditional wooden boat building skills while building and rigging their own J-Hydros. These boats that are built alongside their family members at the Museum facilities are the same boats that compete in the APBA sanctioned events, including Angle Lake. The Museum also offers a “Kit Boat” to assist in making it more affordable for children to learn and participate. 

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