Let the hydroplanes race | Editorial

The debate over Vashon’s hydroplane race is a classic conflict.

Many longtime Islanders love it; it’s a throwback to another time on Vashon, when the Island was an outpost for rugged individualists and working-class heroes who didn’t much care what anyone thought. But the face of the Island has changed in recent years; we’re a bit more like a suburb, and that, too, brings a certain set of attitudes and expectations.

Then consider the event: The boats are loud. And the race takes place at an ungodly hour, when those Islanders who have to trudge off to jobs in the city all week get a blessed day off. That some are annoyed is understandable.

Even so, our vote here at The Beachcomber is to find a way to let the annual race continue.

It’s only one day. It’s a thrilling event for several Islanders — one that’s been taking place for more than 50 years. And while the buzz of their motors has a certain sleep-disrupting pitch, it’s not nearly as loud as the fusillade that marks the highlight of the Fourth for many Islanders, when fireworks explode over Quartermaster Harbor.

Surely, we can handle one morning a year when a few Islanders circumnavigate Vashon in small, fast boats, challenging themselves and the elements at a time when the water is calm enough to allow such a race.

It’s noteworthy that organizers are willing to get a permit. We hope the King County Sheriff’s Office will work with them to find a way to make this annual tradition comply with county rules. The hydro races are storied part of Vashon, and we’d hate to see them come to an end.


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