We are Live-ish from the 2nd Annual Mahogany & Merlot Classic Wooden Boat Show and Exhibition hosted by the nice folks from the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum. At the banquet on Saturday night, museum President David Williams noted that they have been coming to Lake Chelan, Washington with the hydroplanes for 19 years, and what started out as few dedicated racers with only a couple of hydroplanes has grown to what is now one of the most unique boating events in the country.

The opportunity to see these Vintage Unlimited and Limited Hydroplanes doing what they do best on the water is simply amazing, and the Lake Chelan area is a perfect venue for an event like this. And with the addition last year of the antique & classic boats to the event, it just keeps getting better.

Early Saturday morning started out with a boat parade on Lake Chelan, and the weather cooperated providing flat water and warm temperatures. Fellow Woody Boaters Mike Mayer and his son Porter brought their new (old) 1971 Century Arabian to the lake, which worked great as a photo boat.

Wes Yandt and his family joined us for a short cruise as the hydroplanes prepared for the exhibition runs and traditional museum boats rides for the dedicated volunteers.

Before the crane lifts the hydroplanes into the water, the folks from the museum conduct a brief mandatory drivers meeting to review the course rules, safety procedures, etc with the officials.

Then the hydroplanes are carefully lowered into the drink, and the real fun starts…

Here’s a gal preparing for a ride with Dixon Smith aboard Miss Bardahl.

Then – when everyone is ready, the crew pushes the boat away from the dock, points it in the right direction and Dixon brings the engine to life with the starter… Notice the smoke ring from the front cylinder. (by the way, don’t forget that you can click on the images to enlarge them)

And when the engine fires, away you go… and the sound of the supercharged engine is absolutely fantastic!

And before you know it, your up to speed at over 100 MPH.

This event is unique in so many ways, you can get so close to action as the vintage hydroplanes lap the race course, and the action is almost non-stop between the Unlimited and Limited Hydroplanes taking their turns on the lake.

This year there is 6 Vintage Unlimited Hydroplanes on hand, some of which are from the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum near Seattle. Here’s Miss Wahoo and OH Boy! Oberto with their crews preparing to make some laps. As you can imagine, it takes a huge crew to operate one of these monsters.

This year, thanks to David Williams from the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum, I had the rare opportunity to go for a ride in a vinatge unlimited hydroplane – OH Boy! Oberto. It was like nothing I have ever experienced before… Stay tuned Monday for that story and a wrap up of the Mahogany & Merlot event from historic Lake Chelan.

Fellow Woody Boater “Hutch” Hutcheson was at the Mahogany & Merlot event with “Plum Crazy” his cool (and wild) V-8 powered Jersey Skiff. Earlier in the day we met and Hutch mentioned that his wife was unable to make it to Lake Chelan with him this year. Hutch said he spoke to her by phone and she said “Honey, thanks for calling but… If I want to see how things are going at Lake Chelan, I’ll just tune in to Woody Boater… We had a good laugh.

So for fellow Woody Boater “Hutch’s Wife” Hutch did have a minor beakdown on the course late Saturday afternoon… eveyone is safe and OK – But Hutch had to get a tow back to the pits for repairs. It was some type of electrical gremlin that Hutch thinks he has resolved, and he will be back on the water on Sunday with “Plum Crazy” – A perfect name by the way (for the boat)…

I'm OK Dear... Hutch

To learn more about the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum, including how to become a member and the benefits of membership, you can click here to go directly to their cool website.


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9 Responses to “Live-ish From The 2011 Mahogany & Merlot, Unlimited Hydroplanes Saturday – Wahoo!”
  1. RiverRat

    Can’t stand those electrical gremlins. Disconnent the battery and start over. Or get a row boat.

  2. Tom

    If you come to next years event be sure to stay at the Campbell’s Resort. Great place.

  3. Steve Compton

    Our team had a great time! I can’t agree with Texx more about how this event just keeps getting better and better. AND incorporating the beautiful wooden boats from the ACBS has only made it a spectacular event with a high level WOW factor!

  4. John Baas

    Thanks for the photos and the story. Just wish I was there to hear and smell them.

    • Texx

      Thanks for your comments everyone… I had a great time at Lake Chelan this weekend.

      Tonight I am trying to figure out how to put this experience into words for my Unlimited Hydroplane Boat Ride story on Monday morning.

      The sound and smell is hard to describe, and describing the speed – well that’s my other challenge! Stay tuned…