SeaFair

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SeaFair
Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:58 pm
  • I am a Pacific Northwest Native.

    More specifically, I am a Western Washington Pacific Northwest Native.

    I was born into the Seahawks, the Kingdome, the Space Needle, the rain, the trees, the mountains, the water, and oh yes, the hydros.

    When I was a small boy growing up in Kent, Washington (approximately 20 miles Southeast of Seattle), I could hear those "Thunderboats" off of Lake Washington from my backyard. It was a thrilling sound, and the TV only peeked my interest more. Nothing beats the sound of pistons. The same engines that won World War II could be found in these boats.

    Today, I watched SeaFair for the, I don't know, 38th year out of the 44 years I've been on this planet?

    To my delight, it was almost more of an air show than a hydroplane race, but I was really struck by the lack of attendance this year. My view is that the number one reason is the new BUI laws (Police can pull you over if they have probable cause, and if you blow past .08 it's a Gross Misdemeanor meaning up to $5,000 penalty and/or up to 1 year in jail) and number two was the lack of the Blue Angels.

    I know hydroplanes are not high on most people's radar but I was curious how many of you like to watch hydroplanes, or even care that they race at all?
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:00 am
  • Personally, I don't find entertainment in watching any sports at all outside of football; but I played, and loved playing, pretty much all sports growing up. Don't ask me why.
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:26 am
  • I'm with you Todd, Hydroplanes like airplanes & cars make my blood go faster. I've only attended a couple of races live because in those days in Kennewick you were packed to the gills.

    Spending nights a month in Tri-Cities gave me a chance to see them practice a lot on the Columbia. As they got better and faster they also got quieter, those turbines are way quieter than the old "Thunder Boats".

    It was a hoot tho to be walking on the north side of the river in the evening and have one of them practicing come up from behind you at 200 mph.

    This year they are appearing again in Coeur d Alene. Interesting to see how that works out.

    :les:
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:28 am
  • I love racing of every kind. We used to go over to the Tri-cities race prior to Seattle. Back in the day, cops looked the other way.

    Don't forget, the NHRA was in town yesterday as well.
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:39 am
  • I too grew up with the hydros and have spent time in the pits on numerous occasions, most notably when the Miss Bud was kicking everyone's ass. As a kid it took the longest time to figure out all the rules as it was very confusing, but once I understood it made it more fun. For a good while in the 90's it was all about the people-watching and the drunkenness that had us going to Seafair. Unless you have one of the perfect spots you can't really see enough of the action. Better to watch on TV to pay attention to the racing action.

    I like to watch drag boats and those jet boats that navigate the skinny tracks with all the turns...
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:14 am
  • I grew up in the Tri Cities and became spoiled by the Atomic/Columbia Cup.

    I had friends who would spend the week leading up to the boat races over on the Kennewick side, down in the pits. On race weekend, we
    could walk down to the river, stretch out a blanket, see the boats run (or not, in the piston days).

    So relaxed. So casual.

    My wife went to Seafair one year when her company was a corporate sponsor and the main description I got was 'congested and crazy'.
    I still don't even get how you are able to watch the races from land. In the Tri Cities, you can sit on one of the turns, the straightaways,
    where ever you want, and the action is right in front of you. The weather is warm, the river is cool and the cops, as far as I know, still look the other way.
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:51 am
  • I was born in 1967 and grew up with the hydros. We'd go to my grandparent's place in West Seattle (35th Ave) and you could hear the boats even from there...back when they had pistons, anyway LOL.

    I have missed Seafair a lot since I moved out here in 2003, but honestly the evolution to turbines has really sacked a lot of excitement from it for me. I miss the Thunder and the great duels in the 70's and 1980's. The 90's were still cool too.

    Again, though...especially in my younger years, I LIVED for Seafair, the Angels, the races, going to the time trials to buy pins and programs, betting a whole QUARTER on each heat in a drawing-style contest while we watched on tv and ate fried chicken, baked beans, potato salad, and homemade apple pie. Man...great times.
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:22 am
  • Yeh. They need to ban the turbines and let those boats roar. You go to races in person not only to watch but to feel, hear, and smell the event.

    When growing up in Renton I strongly remember hearing the roar of the boats from my house ad they practiced during the week leading up to the race. Of course we heard and saw the blue angels practice as well which was awesome.

    I miss it all.
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:44 am
  • Taking away the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds is our politicians way of punishing us for not giving them all the money they want all the time.

    :roll:
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:12 am
  • Another big difference about boat races in the Tri Cities is the air show.

    The hydroplanes were far, far and away the reason for the festivities. When you have all kinds of aircraft creating sonic booms
    over your head all year long, it takes the shine off of seeing a couple of planes doing stunts for an hour or so.
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:44 am
  • Pat O'Day - the guy who introduced turbines and the first female driver to the sport - said yesterday that he wants to re-introduce piston engines back to the sport. "Imagine a rock concert without amplifiers!"

    Good point.

    Well, of course I am biased with the sounds of a P-51 Mustang on a full throttle low pass (see: piston hydro at full bore)...Nothing, NOTHING compares to a piston-driven motor at full throttle. It adds to the sport.

    I just wish this sport had more money behind it.
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:24 am
  • Aros wrote:Pat O'Day - the guy who introduced turbines and the first female driver to the sport - said yesterday that he wants to re-introduce piston engines back to the sport. "Imagine a rock concert without amplifiers!"

    Good point.

    Well, of course I am biased with the sounds of a P-51 Mustang on a full throttle low pass (see: piston hydro at full bore)...Nothing, NOTHING compares to a piston-driven motor at full throttle. It adds to the sport.

    I just wish this sport had more money behind it.



    And reintroducing the engines of the past is going to be very difficult as it takes 2 engines to make the parts for one race boat ready engine and I'm not sure but don't think Allison is making those engines anymore.

    It was getting to expensive before, that's why they went to turbines that last lots longer. So even tho more expensive to purchase they are way cheaper to run. And consider they will run on about any fuel.

    I would personally love it but doubt returning to piston engines will ever happen.

    How about they install those same noise systems you put in your RC planes?

    :les:
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:09 pm
  • The Radish wrote:How about they install those same noise systems you put in your RC planes?

    :les:



    What, this?? :)

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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:05 pm
  • Aros wrote:
    The Radish wrote:How about they install those same noise systems you put in your RC planes?

    :les:



    What, this?? :)




    Yeah, what the hell,,,,,its the same engine. I'm guessing you'd need a larger speaker.

    :les:
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:11 pm
  • Always young man! Always!
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:24 pm
  • Love the hydros - caught them a couple years ago at SeaFair. This year it just ain't the same without the Blue Angels. I'm not the only one who thinks that; attendance was way down this year because of it.
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:49 pm
  • Yeah. No Blue Angels. Then KIRO decides not to bring Pat O'Day back. Just not the same this year. :thumbdown:
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:13 pm
  • Pistons are the way Hydros became "thunderboats"

    However. All the available parts in the world became used up in the late 80's.

    For them to return to pistons would require someone developing the same blocks, heads and other related parts made from aluminum casts.

    This happened in NHRA with Art Donavon and his aluminum version of the famous Chrysler Hemi.
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Re: SeaFair
Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:24 pm
  • I forgot what was happening for awhile and came to during the news, and they were discussing this issue. They sort of came to the conclusion that because the Blue Angels were not there that attendance was down 33%. I think that may have been one of the larger factors, as people will come out in droves at any opportunity to drink, enjoy the weather, and yell at stuff (attend a fireworks show for further evidence). They didn't take into account or mention how expensive it is to do anything like that these days, and people are being more cautious with their income. Granted heir trying to sell you on a product, so it's understandable. But at the same time, they were trying to figure out why attendance was down and I feel like this may have been important, haha. Came off as a fluff piece but the topic wasn't ridiculous (ala ferret talent shows or chimps that compete in F1).

    They were really pumping up the group that took their place this year, and slipped in how they intend to have them back next year. I didn't see or hear anything about the performance outside of that coverage. They also said next year they are bringing in some new acts to help increase the draw.
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Re: SeaFair
Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:22 pm
  • The Radish wrote:Taking away the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds is our politicians way of punishing us for not giving them all the money they want all the time.

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Re: SeaFair
Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:50 pm
  • Used to love Seafair when I was a kid. Would go down and watch the hydros qualify and the blue angels practice. The Blues are still cool, but the Hydros have lost their luster, as you don't have the big name national sponsors and the drivers that had those big egos and personalities to match. I used to hate the Bud and Bernie Little, but since both are gone the sport has gone down hill. The "almost parked starts" were horrible this year. The telecast was horrible as they are trying to focus too much on the non hydro stuff, like wake boarding, WTF was that?
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Re: SeaFair
Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:24 pm
  • I would have to say the biggest reason for the decline in attendance is the cops running everyone off. They find ANY reason to pull you over. I saw two cop boats sporting three 300 HP engines a piece chase down a boat a mile away from everyone for making a wake (Or more appropriately, barely making a wake.) Of course both cop boats were making massive wakes, for a mile, completely defeating the purpose of the no wake zone.

    I don't go there for the hydroplanes, Lake Washington is usually too packed full of boats to even see the races. This is the first year I could actually see the boats, and I still paid no attention.
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