Seafair announced Wednesday that much of its events this summer will be virtual as COVID-19 restrictions are still in place.
Included in the virtual events will be the HomeStreet Bank Cup unlimited hydroplane race. This is the second year the pandemic has scuttled the races.
“While encouraged by Governor Inslee’s Phase 3 guidelines that support small and medium size events to return with limitations, Seafair leadership recognizes the guidelines will not support events the scale of a city-wide festival,” the festival said in a statement. “Open-air, large-scale community gatherings without designated access and reserved seating, unlike the Mariners and Sounders, have different challenges with social distancing requirements to follow in order to keep our attendees safe.”
With no races last year, and during the offseason in recent weeks, H1 Unlimited has held virtual races, which are hydroplane simulators racing online.
“We recognize that this was a difficult decision for Seafair and we are looking forward to immediately begin working with Seafair, the Seafair Boat Club and their tremendous network of volunteers to get the unlimiteds back in the water in Seattle of August of 2022,” H1 Unlimited said in a statement.
While there will be no races at Seafair, H1 Unlimited will have racing this season. The Guntersville (Ala.) Hydrofest is set for June 26-27. The Gold Cup will be contested in Madison, Indiana, on July 2-4, the Madison Regatta announced earlier this month.
The race that always precedes Seafair, the Columbia Cup (July 23-25) in the Tri-Cities, would also fall under the same state regulations as Seafair.
The Tri-City Water Follies, which runs the Columbia Cup, said on its Facebook page Wednesday: “Please know that the Tri-City Water Follies Board of Directors are evaluating the very recently released Washington State Guidelines for Special Events and are working with our City partners to determine the feasibility of a HAPO Columbia Cup in July.”
The season wraps up in San Diego in September, but that race is listed as tentative on the H1 Unlimited schedule.
UPDATE: San Diego Bayfair announced Thursday via Twitter it is planning a race Sept. 17-19. It is still waiting for COVID protocols from the state.