Home Making Waves Making Waves – June 2024

Making Waves – June 2024

by Randy Woods
Photo Courtesy of MOHAI Seattle Post Intelligencer Collection 1986.5.14174

[ happy birthday, dear seafair ]

Seafair at 75: Still Cruisin’ After All These Years

Before Amazon, Microsoft, grunge, and Starbucks—even before the Space Needle—Seattle had Seafair. Next month, 75 years after it started in 1950, the weeks-long summer celebration of fast boats, faster jet planes, and good times roars back again as the Emerald City’s premier traveling block party, with something fun for everyone.

This year, Seafair returns with the revival of its original jaunty logo from 1950, only updated as ‘Seafair75” in this iteration. All the festival favorites will be back, including the July 4 fireworks show at Gas Works Park; the Alaska Airlines flight attendant drill team performance at the Torchlight Parade (July 27); U.S. and Canadian military vessel tours at Seattle Fleet Week (July 29-Aug. 4); and, of course, the big weekend (August 2-4), featuring the Gold Cup H1 Unlimited hydroplane races and the jaw-dropping U.S. Navy Blue Angels air show.

Continuing an almost unbroken string of summer festival parties in Seattle (minus the 2020-2021 Covid hiatus), Seafair75 will include 30 community events and neighborhood parades over the next two months, reaching more than 2 million people throughout the Puget Sound region. To help put on this mammoth event, nearly 3,000 volunteers will help out, including members of the Seafair Boat Club, the Seafair Clowns, the Seafair Commodores, and the Alki-invading Seafair Pirates (yes, they ARRR! coming).

During Seafair weekend, the viewing areas on Lake Washington, as well as Genessee Park, will feature live music, beer gardens, an array of food truck options, and dozens of family-friendly activities. One popular maritime event that began in 2019 is the J-Hydro race, where junior boaters (between ages 9 and 16) are allowed to race miniature versions of the hydro boats, measuring about 9’ long and having a top speed of about 40 miles per hour, using 13.2-cubic-inch OMC or Mercury outboards.

Boating enthusiasts will be able to hear the roar, once again, of the classic thunderboats, originally made with post-war military surplus aircraft engines, as they race in exhibition heats. Fans can see the legendary boats in action, like the Slo-Mo-Shun IV hydro that set a then-record straightaway speed of 160 mph at the 1950 Seafair. Today’s unlimited H1 hydros, like the Miss HomeStreet, now regularly top 220 mph in Gold Cup races.

Today’s Seafair is a large and sprawling event, but the very first ones were, in some ways, even larger, with a wider variety of events scheduled throughout the region. In the 1950s and ’60s, the summer festival highlighted not only the rooster-tailing thunderboats, but also lifeboat races, steamboat races, tugboat tugs-of-war, and a 25-mile bicycle race around Lake Sammamish. At the then-new 5,200-seat Green Lake Aqua Theater, the Aqua Follies presented waterskiing, high diving, and underwater dancing competitions. Other activities held 75 years ago included a Mardi Gras parade in the Central District, a Chinese dragon parade in the International District, Scottish Highland Games in West Seattle, a husband-calling contest at Seward Park, an operetta performance of “The Desert Song” in Volunteer Park, and even a ritual burning of a ship in Elliott Bay.

Initially planned as a celebration of Seattle’s centennial anniversary for 1951, Seafair was an expanded form of the city’s early summer Potlatch celebrations that had been held, off-and-on, since 1911. The organizing team, known as the Seattle Salts, finished their initial Seafair arrangements more quickly than expected, so they were able to kick off the first 10-day festival a year early, in 1950. The name Seafair was determined after a suggestion was made by the 11-year-old son of early planner Guy Williams.  

This year’s Seafair75 may not have high-diving, husband-calling, or burning steamships, but the list of events is still literally too long to enumerate here. For more information on the massive schedule, viewing areas, admission-based events, and Log Boom tie-ups on Lake Washington, visit: seafair.org.

Rendering Courtesy of Maritimo
Rendering Courtesy of Maritimo

[ updates from down under ]

Maritimo Hires Local Staff for North American Sales, Releases ‘Black Edition’ Updates

Aussie motoryacht builder Maritimo is further cementing its hold on the domestic luxury market with the addition of two highly respected new sales associates from the Pacific Northwest, Mark Mansfield and Tom Jagucki, to represent the entire North American market. In addition, Maritimo is debuting a Black Edition of its popular cruiser lines.

Both Mansfield and Jagucki are veteran boaters who have decades of experience in the marine industry. Their Northwest location indicates a renewed emphasis on Seattle as a key beachhead for further expansion of the Australian company into North America. Seattle-based Mansfield joins Maritimo Americas as a factory sales specialist. Beginning his boating industry career in the late 1980s, he has held senior sales and management positions at several major yacht manufacturers.

“Maritimo’s boats are ideal for the Pacific Northwest,” Mansfield said. “We do a lot of destination cruising out here, going up to Canada, cruising through the Islands, even making the journey up to Alaska, and the boats are really well designed for this type of cruising. There are a lot of deadheads, so the upper helm on the M-Series provides a perfect perch for spotting potential hazards in the water, and the protection from the weather provided by the enclosed flybridge is great for late-season cruising.”

Meanwhile, Jagucki, a long-time Maritimo customer service rep and company captain, is now customer service manager for Maritimo Americas. In fact, he was responsible for the first-ever sale of a Maritimo yacht in the U.S. “Our owners are real boaters,” he said. “They do a lot of their own maintenance, so making sure they’re super comfortable with everything is key. And they know that if they ever have an issue, they can give me a call and we’ll work through it together.”

“I’ve known Mark and Tom for a long time, and I can say with confidence they’re the best of the best in their respective fields,” said Keith Teynor, managing partner for Maritimo Americas. “As we continue to expand our footprint in the Americas, their intimate knowledge of our boats and our customers will be invaluable.”

Maritimo celebrated its 20th anniversary last year and founder Bill Barry-Cotter, who also founded Mariner and Riviera boat lines, has spent close to 60 years in the luxury boat-building business down under. Maritimo currently offers three distinct long-range yacht series: the M-Series Flybridge, the S-Series Sedan, and the Offshore Series.

The Black Edition updates were first seen in the M75 model that was released last month at the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show in Queensland, Australia. Improvements of the S50, S60, M55, M60, M600, and Offshore models include a low-profile dash in the enclosed flybridge helms, which have been redesigned with three multifunction engine screens.

Other new features include fully electric helm seats, greater galley storage space, an enlarged transom island separating the aft swim platform from the cockpit, a lazarette access door, a redesigned sink and barbecue station for the cockpit wet bar, and more luxurious lounge seating options. 

The new Black Editions will debut is the U.S. at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) in October. For more details, go to: maritimoamericas.com.

RBAW Image
Photo by Jessie Chou

[ pump out the jam ]

RBAW to Provide Free Mobile Pump-Out Stations Under New Three-Year Program

The Recreational Boating Association of Washington (RBAW) is celebrating the award of two Clean Vessel Act (CVA) grants that will help pay for free mobile boat sewage pump-out services in three locations across Puget Sound and pay for the construction of a fourth pump-out vessel.

The federal CVA grants, issued through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and administered by Washington State Parks, will help fund the operation of three West Sound pump-out sites on Liberty Bay in Poulsbo, Eagle Harbor in Bainbridge Island, and Blake Island State Marine Park. The program will run over the course of three years, covering about 48 weekend days of operation from Memorial Day through the end of October. 

RBAW said it will use a third-party, mobile pump-out provider to provide the service. This grant will pay for 75 percent of the costs of the pump-outs, leaving RBAW to secure the 25 percent match funds. “We are actively seeking support from West Sound municipalities, foundations, and others to help us raise these match dollars,” RBAW said. 

In addition, the CVA money will be used to build a new pump-out vessel that will be used in a Puget Sound location that has yet to be determined. RBAW estimated that the new vessel will take about a year to construct. The groups said it will pursue a 2025 CVA grant to provide free pump-outs with this new vessel once it is completed. No RBAW match funds, however, will be required for the building of the new mobile pump-out vessel.

RBAW said it has long supported augmentations to the CVA program, setting up lobbying efforts to promote it and prevent pollution from entering Puget Sound waters. In the 2022-23 legislative session, RBAW formed a coalition with the State Parks Boating Program to carve out $1.8 million from the state’s 2023-25 Capital Budget for increased recreational and commercial pump-out capabilities in the Sound.

Any public, private, or tribal entity that owns or operates a recreational boating facility, such as a marina, floating barge, or dock, may be eligible for grant funding under CVA to build, renovate, operate, and/or maintain a sewage disposal system, RBAW added. CVA-funded facilities must be open to the public with full and reasonable access during normal business hours, and boating facilities may not charge more than $5 per pump-out.

The CVA grants can reimburse up to 75 percent of the costs of managing stationary and portable pump-outs, portable toilet dump stations, floating restrooms and pump-out boats that are used solely by recreational boaters. These costs include the purchase of new equipment or the renovation of existing equipment, including pumps, fittings, lift stations, on-site holding tanks, pier or dock modifications, signs, permits and other miscellaneous equipment.

A separate five-year operation and maintenance grant is available to sustain a pump-out facility, providing an annual reimbursement for up to 75 percent of the cost of replacement parts, repairs, sewage disposal and documented hours for staff labor. For more details on RBAW’s plans for implementing these CVA grants, go to: rbaw.org; or become a member for a small yearly fee to receive insider info ahead of the general public.

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