Oak Harbor Hydroplane Races cancelled for 2016


Just two years into reviving the Oak Harbor Hydroplane races organizers are having to take a break in 2016 because of scheduling.

The only two summer dates with tides appropriate for racing in the Oak Harbor City Marina fall on two other events. The first conflicts with Pigfest in August and Curry said that the city simply can’t support the road closures and safety measures required for both events. The second collides with another longstanding hydroplane race.

“It’s not over,” said event organizer Michelle Curry. “We’re taking a break and will come back bigger and better. We’ll see what 2017 brings.”

In the meantime, Curry said she’ll keep busy by organizing another water-based event in the summer and starting an Octoberfest in the fall.

Rhonda Severns, who has volunteered for the event the last two years, said event has grown into a point of pride for the community.

“I’m really sad about the event going away next year,” Severns said.

While door-knocking for her husband’s campaign for mayor in recent months she said they have gotten great feedback about the hydroplane racing event.

One family said “don’t you ever let that go,” Severns said. “Everyone has been really supportive of the hydros.”





  1. This is certainly an event I wish I could have attended last summer, but another attraction that helped my aviation photography had their #1 fundraiser that same weekend. The fact Island Transit has no weekend service due to factors well OUT of the hydroplane event staff’s control was also a tragic factor.

    I wish the races could be run in early May or something. I could use the pre-Seafair photography practice… and this is a great photo Steve.

    Hopefully in 2017 the races return and Island Transit provides weekend bus service. I mean that.

  2. This is really unfortunate. I understand the difficulty a smaller community like Oak Harbor may have in accomodating two such large events simultaneously (Hydros and Pigfest) but I do not understand the apparent inability (unwillingness) of the regional racing organization to move another race’s date.

    As I understand it, no other regional races are tidal-dependent, while Oak Harbor’s is. Given these unique conditions, which allow the racers the novelty of salt-water racing, why should it be such a challenge to re-schedule another race which does not offer such an interesting and unique venue?

    In any case, Ms. Curry has worked very hard to make the Oak Harbor race an excellent public event. As such, the race will surely survive this unfortunate -and entirely avoidable- pause and we’ll all be able to “hear the noise” again in 2017!

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