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Three boats finish Fourth of July hydro race
Five vintage outboard hydroplanes were in the water and running as the sun came up over Quartermaster Harbor on July 4. Four of the tiny boats headed out past Jensen Point at 5:25 a.m. for the traditional circumnavigation of the Island. Evan Mattingly, this year’s winner, returned to Jensen Point 40 minutes and 36 seconds later.
Ty Christophersen, the only boat to run the entire length last year, was a few minutes behind Mattingly, and Chris Van Buskirk came in third. Paul Hoffman was almost home when his boat broke down off Dockton Park.
Larry Fuller’s engine ran perfectly, but Fuller hadn’t found a propeller that would move the boat fast enough to get up on a plane, so he returned to shore after the other boats departed.
Mattingly said the water was a little bumpy heading north up the east side, but the west side was “like glass.”
He said the finish was the first for him in three tries. Between him and his brother Ryan, who was in his supporting crew, it was about six tries for the family before a finish.
Christophersen, who ran with borrowed engine parts last year, said this was a better run and a minute quicker.
The annual run, not really a formal race, dates back to the heyday of hydroplane racing in the Northwest when the late Ted Jones, who revolutionized hydroplane design, lived on Vashon and many Islanders were active on the local limited class circuit. Now the few remaining boats are seldom run except in July.