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2006 ULHRA Graham Trucking Cup at Seafair

by Walt Ottenad on Aug.06, 2006, under Boat Racing, Lake Washington, Unlimited Hydroplanes

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2006 Graham Trucking Cup at Seafair: ULHRA G-Boats

by Walt Ottenad on Aug.06, 2006, under Boat Racing, Lake Washington, Unlimited Lights Hydroplanes

Walt Ottenad's gallery of ULHRA G-Boats at Seafair on Aug. 5-6, 2006 in Seattle, WAWalt Ottenad’s gallery of ULHRA G-Boats at Seafair on Aug. 5-6, 2006 in Seattle, WA

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2006 Seafair Airshow

by Walt Ottenad on Aug.06, 2006, under Airshows, Lake Washington

Walt Ottenad’s gallery of the 2006 Seafair Airshow.  Airshow included:
U.S. Navy Blue Angels FA/18 Hornets & C-130 “Fat Albert”
Fry’s Electronics Patriot Jet team
P-51 Mustang, P-47 Thunderbolt & P-40 Warhawk
U.S. Air Force C-17 & F15’s
Coast Guard Helicopters

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Wild Bill Strain flips the UL56 at Seafair 2006

by Walt Ottenad on Aug.04, 2006, under Boat Racing, Lake Washington, Unlimited Lights Hydroplanes

Wild Bill Strain flips the UL56 at Seafair 2006It was a beautiful day as we left the dock at Coulon Park about 8:15am on Friday, headed for the Seafair race course for the first day of qualifying. We were the very last boat allowed to pass the end of Seward Park and arrived on the log boom right at 9:00. (How close I came to not getting this shot!…)

I set up on the deck of another boat tied to the boom and listened to the first engines fire. Al Carstensen, Paul Becker and J. Craig Fletcher did short practice runs, then Bill came on the course. He did one warm-up lap, then nailed it to start a flying lap. As Bill came up to the pits, he ran the headwind that comes from the “Genesee Gap” – a break in the hills that allows a breeze to flow from the south, through the Genesee park area, through the pits at Stan Sayres and onto the course. I followed him all the way through the front straight with my camera, and as he approached the pits, I saw the front of the boat lift a little, heard him feather the gas, and while I was thinking “OH S**T!”, he lifted off, and I kept the button down to grab a total of 24 frames covering the flip from start to finish.

That Bill was not injured at all in this blowover, the first of his career, is a testament to the strength of the boat that Bill extensively modified and reinforced himself. The left sponson was torn up and the boat sat on the trailer the rest of the year, but he definitely has a story to tell and the pictures to prove it!

After the race was over and I got a chance to examine what I had shot, it was apparent that this series could be turned into a pretty amazing panorama that would show all the stages of the flip, superimposed on the backdrop of the hills behind the course. I massaged the frames in Photoshop and added the titling (which is wrong, I know – oh well…) and with the help of some friends in Oregon, was able to blow the panorama up to a print that is 8 feet long by 18 inches tall! VERY impressive.

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2006 ULHRA Pre-Season Test at Coulon Park

by Walt Ottenad on Apr.18, 2006, under Boat Racing, Lake Washington, Unlimited Lights Hydroplanes

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2005 ABRA Chevrolet Cup at Seafair

by Walt Ottenad on Aug.06, 2005, under Boat Racing, Lake Washington, Unlimited Hydroplanes

Walt Ottenad's gallery of the 2005 ABRA Chevrolet Cup at SeafairWalt Ottenad’s gallery of the 2005 ABRA Chevrolet Cup at Seafair

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2005 ULHRA Graham Trucking Cup at Seafair

by Walt Ottenad on Aug.06, 2005, under Boat Racing, Lake Washington, Unlimited Lights Hydroplanes

Walt Ottenad’s gallery of the 2005 ULHRA Graham Trucking Cup at Seafair held on August 4-6, 2005 in Seattle, WA
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2000 Chevrolet Cup at Seafair

by Walt Ottenad on Aug.06, 2000, under Boat Racing, Lake Washington, Unlimited Hydroplanes

Walt Ottenad's gallery of the 2000 Chevrolet Cup at Seafair - shot with Minolta digital cameraWalt Ottenad’s gallery of the 2000 Chevrolet Cup at Seafair – shot with Minolta digital camera

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1987 Miss Bugweiser

by Walt Ottenad on Aug.02, 1987, under Boat Racing, Lake Washington, Unlimited Hydroplane Onboard, Video

The 1987 Seafair race was special for close friend John Gotschall and I as we spent about three weeks building the “Miss Bugweiser” to finally get out on the Log Boom to see the race close-up and party our asses off as well. We started with an old Bug body and built a pickle-fork platform with styrofoam floats underneath and a plywood deck to bolt it to. See the video

The “Bugweiser” ended up with a paint job and stickers to exactly match the then current Miss Bud, a wing in back and tailpipe to match the turbine’s, two seats bolted to the floor, a working stereo and electrical system, a 25hp Evinrude bolted to the back underneath the tailpipe, with a working steering system and 10 gallon stock VW fuel tank. See the video

We towed it from John’s house above Rainier Ave. to the boat launch at S. Ferdinand St., launched it on Saturday morning (it floated PERFECTLY) and immediately started toward the Log Boom, where we “accidentally” steered onto the race course side of the boom and proceeded all the way along the length of the it, partying and laughing the entire way! See the video

After cruising along the shore and into Lake Union where we left the “Bug” for the night, we were incredibly bummed to find that upon starting the motor on race day, the shear pin on the prop broke, leaving the motor running, but the prop wasn’t spinning! Well, being top-notch radio installers, we did the best with what we had – we made a new shear pin by cutting our antenna off at the right point in its diameter to fit the hole in the prop shaft, and off we went – WAY LATE for the races! But, once out on Lake Washington at the Montlake Cut, we hitched a ride toward the racecourse with what had to be the biggest tugboat on the lake, which threw up the BIGGEST wake on the lake, almost destroying the Bugweiser. But after an hour of motoring, we arrived at the Log Boom, buzzed as we could be by noon, and ended up partying the rest of the day with friends (and who’s not a friend on the log boom at Seafair?).See the video

Once the race was over, in an alcohol induced flash of brilliance, I decided that it would be a GREAT idea to motor the “Miss Bug” over to the pits so we could get a shot of Jim Kropfeld (the winner of Seafair) on the deck of our boat! And amazingly, I did just that – completely disregarding every verbal instruction from every course boat on the way, we motored over to Stan Sayres pits, drove up to the dock outside the Budweiser’s pit, and I’ll be damned if Jim didn’t come over and pose for a shot on the Miss Bug!

After that, it was back to the boat launch to load up and go home, which didn’t occur till well after nightfall (have you ever thought about exactly HOW you get an Unlimited Volkswagen back ONTO the trailer again???)

John and I had all intentions to make this an annual affair, but sadly our company went out of business and we had nowhere to store the Bug, so it was left outside, and over the course of the next year was destroyed by people who just didn’t realize how special she was…

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