HydroFest 2000 Synopsis
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This message was posted to the IHPVA mailing list on June 21st, 2000


HydroFest Report

I know many of you are anxious for more info on the HydroFest, and I'm workin' hard to get all the pictures scanned as well as format the racing results for the web-site.  I'll also be publishing a video tape with most of the approximately two hours of raw footage shot at the event.  What follows here is a brief write-up of the weekend's events.  If I miss anything you'd like to know, feel free to drop me a line and I'd be happy to fill you in.

We had a great deal of publicity leading up to the event, including mass-mailing and posted flyers, newspaper articles, radio interviews, internet and printed event calendar listings, newsgroups postings, recumbent/bike/kayak/canoe/rowing club announcements, and the like.  "Michigan Sport and Fitness" magazine showed up at the event and will feature us in their August issue, and Michael Eliahson from the MHPVA will write an article for the Rose City Gazette, but AFAIK and despite the invitations, no other media showed up to cover the happenings.  Their loss - we'll get 'em there next year!

HydroFest 2000 began at Waldenwoods Resort in Hartland, Michigan, on the evening of Friday, June 16th when all the out-of-towners began to arrive. Virtually everyone involved was from out of town, including folks from as far away as California, Washington State, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, New Hampshire, Ontario, Ohio, and all over Michigan.  Thanx again to all those who made the trek!  Amazingly enough, just about everyone arrived at dusk, literally within about an hour of each other.  Most of us pitched tents on a grass field graciously allocated gratis by Waldenwoods, the others had rooms at the resort or local hotels.  It was great to finally meet everyone in person and hang by the campfire to talk boats all night.

Here's the list of attendees as I remember it.  If I've left anyone out, please accept my humblest apologies, and let me know so I can include you in the web-site posting.  The lists are alphabetical by boat name.  Almost all the manufactured boats were represented by the principals of the manufacturing company, or their nearest dealer/distributor.  It's this kind of support that will put HPBs on the map!  Unfortunately, Suncatcher was unable to make it at the last minute for personal reasons, and the PowerPaddler being shipped in got bumped by Airborne Express and didn't make it in time.

Manufactured Boats:
Escapade by Nauticraft; Explorer by Hydro-Bikes; Hyper 1 by Ozone; [Hobie] Mirage (solo & tandem) by Hobie; Pedalos by Hydro-Cycles; SeaCycle by Meyers; ShuttleBike Kit by SBK Engineering; Soleau by Velosea; Sprite by Nauticraft; SurfBike by SurfBike; WaterBike by Meyers; WaterSkipper by Prophish; WaveWalker by Hydro-Cycles; WaveBike by NCF.


Hammerhead by Warren Beauchamp (brought by Bob Buerger); Jake's Cat by Jake Free; PropCat V2.2 by Ron Drynan; Paul's Cat by Paul Niederman; Pedal Pack by Jim Schadlick; Torpedo by Ron Drynan (not seaworthy yet); Transducer 5 by Bill Murphy.

There were also a great many kayaks, paddleboats, and a few canoes on hand for demos.  The landlubber WizWheelz guys were demo'ing a TerraTrike, Crank-It was showing off the Mountain Quad, and I saw more than a few recumbenteers riding on shore.

Waldenwoods Resort is an RV campground with approximately 325 sites and a 140 acre lake.  There are no motor boats allowed on the lake with the exception of electric trolling motors, so we felt right at home.  Saturday's
weather was expected to be nasty right up until Friday evening, so we all breathed a sigh of relief when Saturday dawned, the water was calm, and the sun came out.  I don't recall the exact temperature through the day, but I think it was in the upper 70's or low 80's with a light breeze which would have been perfect if that breeze hadn't headed straight down the Sprints course while we were racing.

What we didn't know was how bad the weeds would be.  When I went to set the racing buoys on Thursday afternoon, it looked as though there wouldn't be sufficient weed-free space for a full 100m x 25m course as defined for the HydroBowl events.  I was prepared to limit the course to 50m x 25m, but my wife, Karol (a land surveyor) was able to squeeze at least a 100m lane out of it for the Sprints, and we cut the corner down on one end for the 2K Criterium which meant there was one virtual u-turn to give the long boats and outriggers some pause.  The race course itself was 3'-4' deep throughout and generally weed free (except that corner), however many of the racing boats were being used on the other side of the beach for public demos, and their props got fouled going to and from.  Next year, I'll either rent a lake mower or figure out another way to eliminate the problem.

With 18 boats racing and an inexperienced organizer (yours truly), we only had time to complete four races: the 100m Sprints; Slalom; Drag Races; and 2K Criterium.  We could have done the Static Thrust competition after the main event closed down, but the racers were all too tired from the 2K, and we had BBQ chicken waiting.  The Captain's Surprise event was also skipped, so you'll have to wait 'til next year to figure out what I had in mind for the 24 beach balls the kids were playing with on shore.

Everyone ran the Sprints at least twice, and although the times were limited by the aforementioned weeds and wind, we had a very close competition.  I then separated the boats into four heats of four for the Drag Races (four slowest together on up to the four fastest together).  Each Drag Race heat was run twice and was great fun to watch.  Best time for each boat was used to rank them in the overall standings, so it was still possible for a boat running in a "slower" heat to win the overall race.  The slalom course was run individually by each boat, with a slightly modified track as compared to the one posted on the web-site.  Last was the 2K Criterium.  I split the boats into two heats of about eight boats so as to avoid overcrowding in the turns.  Some boats were dogged by weeds and might have done better to dismount, clear the prop and remount, but chose to slog their way through.  An interesting note here was that David Johnson who was racing the Hobie Mirage solo was not only safe from weed interference (because the Hydro-Sail throws them), but he ran BOTH heats of the 2K, and BESTED his first time by a full 30 seconds when he ran with the relatively faster boats.  He truly qualifies as a "mutant pedalist" (a Christian Meyer term, I believe).

After the racing we cleared the beach, freshened up and headed for the BBQ chicken dinner.  I posted the results, and handed out the trophies.  Because the budget was limited, I went with single small trophies for the individual races, and a slightly larger trophy, the coveted "HydroFest Cup" for the overall event winner.  In retrospect, it would have been better to include certificates for perhaps the top three finishers as well, but no matter what, someone will feel slighted.  As it turned out, only two racers got trophies, so my apologies go out to the other racers for not anticipating that possibility.  Dan Plankenhorn racing the WaveBike took home the coveted "HydroFest Cup", as well as winning first place in the Slalom and 2K Criterium.  John Howard took first place in the 100m Sprints and Drag Races on his Pedalos boat, a 24' proa that will eventually replace the WaveWalker in production.  Stay tuned to the web-site for complete racing results


A side note about the trophies: It seems as though no-one manufactures a trophy icon in the form of a Human-Powered-Boat (who knew?), and I didn't feel it appropriate to be snapping the sail or motor off another type of boat trophy.  As I perused the choices I came across a fisherman's trophy icon which was simply a fish jumping out of the water.  It appeared to be attempting to fly, so it's now the official trophy-topper for the HydroFest, in honour of the "Flying Fish".  A little cheesy, to be sure, but between the Flying Fish, Decavitator, and HydroPed, it's hard not to be inspired about HPBs.

The weather report didn't look good for Sunday and most of the out-of-towners were exhausted, so the majority headed for home shortly after the "awards ceremony", hoping to get at least halfway there before stopping for the night and finishing up Sunday morning.  Those who stayed on enjoyed another campfire chat, but this one didn't last nearly as late as Friday night's.  Even though I was five miles from home, Karol & I & the kids camped out Saturday night, then spent most of Sunday drying out our tents after the overnight rain :-(.  Nancy Sanford and Mike Lampi were awaiting their flights out, so we all took a stroll around the lake at my house once the rain cleared.  We'd planned on some boating that day, but I think everyone was all boated-out for the weekend :-).

I believe a good time was had by all and certainly by me, plus I've got a laundry list of suggestions for improvement next year (which is open for additions if you have any).  I can't thank everyone enough for coming out and bringing their fantastic boats, and don't forget the volunteers who helped make the event a success.  I'll send another message when I've got the web-site updated - probably by Sunday or so.


P.S.  If anyone has photos they'd like included on the web-site, please send 'em along ASAP, either digital or print, and I'll work 'em in.


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