His boats swept the unlimited hydroplane national titles from 1967-71.

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Ed Karelsen, who built championship race boats in all classes and in the unlimited hydroplane class in particular, died Saturday in Edmonds, H1 Unlimited said.

He was 86.

Karelsen’s Miss Bardahl and Miss Budweiser dominated the unlimited class, winning every national championship between 1967-71. He also designed the world’s fastest outboard hydroplane, which still holds the world straight away record of 176.556 mph, according to H1 Unlimited.

Karelsen was born in Tacoma and moved to Seattle at a young age, where he became fascinated with boat racing. He studied engineering at Washington, leaving to build boats.

“Ed Karelsen created boats that were simply the perfect tool for the job they were designed for: to win powerboat races.” Hall of Fame driver Chip Hanauer said in a release from H1.

Hanauer called Karelsen’s boats, “Cupcakes. Boats my grandmother could safely win races in.”

In his later years, Karelsen worked with the Seattle Outboard Association and the Hydroplane & Race Boat Museum in Kent working with the Junior Hydro project.

Karelsen was known around the hydroplane pits for his kindness as well. He “was perhaps the most pleasant man in racing. He was much loved and respected,” Hanauer said.

The museum said Karlesen requested his life be celebrated with a “Big Party down at the Hydroplane Museum.” A date for event has not yet been set.


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