A blustery start to the weekend didn’t prevent the hydroplanes from racing in all their glory for the second year in a row in Oak Harbor.
With speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, Cornet Bay resident and driver Rick Adams has been asked more than once if he has a death wish.
While he says speedboat racing does not seem as dangerous to him as other extreme sports like rock climbing, he admits their appeal is the old cliché “the need for speed.”
“There’s definitely an adrenalin rush,” Adams said.
Despite having to cancel Friday night events due to blustery and rainy weather, event organizer Michelle Curry estimates that the spectator attendance was at least as many as last year — around 15,000 people — and that more racers and boats were included this year. The races were punctuated by a Saturday morning flyover by the nine Blackjacks in formation during the National Anthem.
“Even heard we inspired yet another family to get into racing for next year,” Curry said. “That is why we do what we do, to inspire others and put smiles on people’s faces. Overall, people loved it, brought their families and enjoyed the day. Most have never experienced this type of racing or seen these types of boats, and experiencing it up close and personally is truly an experience. We even had repeat fans from Canada to California come back to hear the noise.”
The event continued to see high winds throughout the weekend, which, when combined with high tide, can make racing difficult.
“Wind is good for boat racing; the issue we had was with the tides and the wind combined,” said Curry, who is already starting to plan next year’s event. “It is only our second year, and we learn a bit more every year to improve upon for the next.”