Sketched Aug. 3, 2016
The thunderous hydros are meant to be watched as they glide over Lake Washington during Seafair. But, for a quieter experience, you may want to see them up close at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Kent.
The exhibit grew from a private collection of memorabilia into a warehouse jampacked with hydroplanes that have been restored to sailing condition. Nine were on display when I visited, including the historic 1975 Oh Boy! Oberto, the first one to be sponsored by the local brand.
Years before we had Sounders, Seahawks or Mariners to root for, hydroplane races put Seattle on the map of professional sports. I often hear these words when people talk about them: “Quintessential Seattle.”
Here are more sketches from my visit to the museum:
Modern-era hydroplanes use enclosed cockpits to protect the pilots in case of crashes. The cockpit of this Boeing hydro came from an F-16 aircraft.
Back in the day, it was normal for towns to have their own mascot hydros. The 1960 Miss Burien was sponsored by a group of Burien merchants.
The 1957 Miss Wahoo belonged to Bill Boeing Jr. With its wooden finish, it stands as the most elegant in the collection.