Story and pictures by Lew Dobbins
October 4th, 5th and 6th 2019 was the tenth anniversary of the Pacific Northwest ACBS chapter’s Mahogany & Merlot event. This is a boat show in conjunction with Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum of Kent, WA.
Steam boats to race boats of all sizes were seen and enjoyed at Lake Chelan for this wonderful event. An APBA sanctioned race course was set up for an exhibition (not a race). Several heats for the different classes of boats were run on throughout Saturday and Sunday. The most notable were the 3 lap heats for the nine vintage unlimited hydroplanes that were in attendance.
While this event was in the 10 th year, it was new to some of us from California. Several members of California Speedboat Association (as well as our chapter of ACBS) had planned on attending and running in the race boat event. Some attending chapter boats that you might recognize were Scott Court’s My Sin, Kelly & Steve Wilkie’s Shanty II and Joyce Raney’s Notre Dame (represented by Dan Arena & Danny Foster). I was there to drive a vintage unlimited V-12 powered hydroplane, and to provide the ol’ antique gear-head touch for the Dusenberg in Notre Dame.
An expanded story will be printed in the next Western Wood but here are some photos from the event.
After the successful Sunday afternoon 90 MPH run of Notre Dame on the Lake Chelan APBA race course, as Dan Arena was piloting the boat toward the docs, he shut it down a touch too early. Now most race boats can start the engine in neutral OR in forward gear. But they can’t be shifted while running. Realizing that he cut the engine a little too soon and that the sleek craft was not drifting in quite enough to be caught at the dock, he tried to start the engine again for a brief burst of propulsion. No luck, not enough battery to start her this time. Danny Foster, realizing their plight, bravely stepped out of the cockpit and carefully onto the deck in order to attempt to catch a line being thrown from the dock. Success after a time or two. The boat was heading in now, safely. As it approached the dock, Danny moved once again on the deck to re-position himself to fend off. In the process of sliding toward the side of the deck, still wearing helmet, life vests and all, demonstrated gravity and slid off said deck and into the cold lake. Unknown to Danny, while working on her engine earlier in the day, I asked Dan Arena “who in their right mind waxed this deck?” as I was having difficulty maintaining a strong purchase while working. Dan just smiled and raised his hand. As Danny demonstrated that the vest and helmet were indeed valued flotation devices, he too realized the excellent waxing job perpetrated by Dan Arena, who was still safe and dry in the cockpit with a smile on his face. As many, including our own Mike Johnson, scurried about to extricated Danny from the water, I did the only “right thing of the moment” and grabbed my phone for use of its high resolution camera. See below. by Lew Dobbins