Hydros race around Vashon on the Fourth

Karl Olsen nears the finish line. - Rik Forschmiedt photo
Karl Olsen nears the finish line.
— image credit: Rik Forschmiedt photo

The eighth year was the charm for Karl Olsen in the traditional July 4 hydroplane run around the Island.

While preparing his vintage hydroplane Sunday morning, Olsen said he’d practiced seven times but only made it twice. This time, his was the only hydro to finish.

The other starter, Ty Christophersen, in the “Sexy One,” beached his ride at Manzanita when he started to take on water.

Olsen made the run in 51 minutes, according to the official Mickey Mouse clock held by new timer Brian Brenno.

“It wasn’t really that nice out there,” said Olsen as he pulled his boat out of the water at Jensen Point after the race. Olsen said he encountered wind and waves up the east side, but once he rounded Point Vashon the run down Colvos Passage was smooth.

“It didn’t miss a beat,” said Olsen of his motor. The souped-up outboards, built for short races, are often the weakest link on the Island circuit.

Roger Stanley, whose 1977 run is the first one on the perpetual trophy started that year by former Islander Roger Compton, was asked about the history of Olsen’s boat.

“Everybody’s had it,” Stanley said, naming a few of the former owners.

Christophersen bought his boat a few months ago after it had been stored under a tarp on Dockton Road for many years. The “Sexy One” was built in 1986 by Islander Marc Tonkin.

Longtime Islanders may have noticed that the hydros were not as loud this year as in the past. In fact the loudest boat was not a hydroplane, but a large offshore racer-style boat that accompanied the hydros around the Island.

Neither hydro ran with exhaust stacks this year, so they were no louder than some everyday outboards.

Garry Rice, last year’s winner, had trouble with the lower unit of his engine and didn’t attempt the run this time.

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