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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Seafair 2008 features a preview of the greener future of hydroplane racing

Today's the big finale for Seafair, Seattle's annual summer celebration, with the Unlimited Hydroplane finale and the awarding of the Chevrolet Cup, plus the Blue Angels Performance and the KeyBank Airshow.

If you're not on your way to the shores of Lake Washington, you can tune in to KIRO TV for Seafair coverage. NPI hero and Unlimited Hydroplane legend Chip Hanauer (one of the speakers at our amazing Spring Fundraising Gala last May) will be coanchoring the broadcast with KIRO's Steve Raible.

Incidentally, on Friday, Chip was back on the water (nearly ten years after his retirement!) in a prototype boat jointly sponsored by Boeing and the Ellstrom Elam Plus team. The prototype was built to test the feasibility of a boat running on biofuels specially engineered by Imperium Renewables.
[W]hen final testing took place last month, it was the biojet-burning turbine that had the attention of many, including Scott Carson, the chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and Bill Boeing Jr., whose father started the company.

After Hanauer brought the U-787 back to the pits, several computer readouts gave results that had crewmembers and Boeing officials high-fiving. The mixture of biojet and regular jet fuel had nearly identical power, performance and reliability as regular jet fuel.
Since the initial tests were very promising, the boat was made ready for the Chevrolet Cup qualifying run.

So how did the qualifying run, which brought the boat close to top speed, go? From the Seattle Times sports notebook this morning:
Chip Hanauer bumped up his qualifying speed to 147.631 mph during an early run in the 787 Boeing boat that runs on biofuels.

Hanauer, who said he would qualify the boat but not race it, would have been the seventh-fastest qualifier of the 13 boats that made it over the 130 mph standard.

Hanauer, retired after winning 61 times, only one short of the all-time mark of the late Bill Muncey. Villwock is third on the list with 55 wins.
Congratulations to Chip, Boeing, the Ellstrom family, and Imperium on their success.


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