Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tales from Detroit's "Hydro Compound"

When one is a regular attendee of hydroplane regattas, through the years one comes to realize that what happens along the shore line is just as important as what happens on the water.  Unlimited Hydroplane races serve as a reunion, a fair, and a weekend long party where new and old friends meet.  Michigan native and hydroplane enthusiast Roger Schaaf shared his thoughts on this year's Gold Cup as well as memories of the Hydro Compound in Detroit:

This year was my 29th race in Detroit. It should have been my 30th, but I got married and missed the 2002 race. The things we do for love!
Gold Cup Weekend is an obsession, a passion, a rite of Summer, a reunion of sorts, and one of those events that one doesn’t fully understand until they experience it for themselves. Each year the crew from St. Clair, hometown of Chuck Thompson, gathers along the Detroit River to reunite and tell lies. We come from as close as the Grosse Pointe area and as far away as Grand Rapids. No major travels involved.
Most of the weekend is spent at the Hydro Compound! If there aren’t any boats on the water, we are at the HC having a beverage or 2, but more importantly getting out of the sun. You can’t miss us! Combined hydro experience has to be around 300+ years…no kidding! With a former Gale V Crew Member and friend/brother as our honorary Commodore! The stunning conversation is a thing of beauty…or was it B.S. Regardless; we know how to have fun. It is often said that if any of us became famous, 2 minutes with this group and you will get “knocked” back to reality.
The hydro stories get repeated every year. Some are good, some are ok, and some are “oh brother, not again”! They range from Bill Cantrell’s dog peeing on a leg to making a printed ad and radio spot (an actual recording) promoting “a match race” between Chip Hanauer and Bill S. The stories from the 1984 Evansville trip are usually a good source of humor.  The bus trip in ’84 to Detroit provides many laughs, too! Regardless we all share a passion for the unlimited. This could go on for pages, but I prefer to keep it simple. Maybe another time!

Hydroplane racing is a passion for a number of fans who have similar stories.  Feel free to share you own.  Thanks to Roger for being Thunder The Bridge's Detroit correspondent!  On to Tri-Cities.

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