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5 Bridges Race Report

beau whitehead
Jan 17 2021 #28432

Rob Casey pulled off a successful “real” race today in Seattle. All Wa State Covid guidelines were followed; Zoom pre-race meeting, 4 heats based on craft, and no post-race gathering. But the on-water racing was legit. Super calm, sunny conditions with just a bit of texture coming out of the south as we crossed Lake Union. Race went from Boat Street (under the I-5 bridge) to Ballard bridge and back, 8 miles. Pretty small turn out, about 38 craft. Rowing sculls and kayaks first, followed by SUP, then ski, then outrigger. All 3 minutes apart. By the Ballard bridge I'd caught all but the fastest 5 skis. At the turn I could see that Cryder was duking it out with Aaron Small, so 19 year old vs 43 year old, chased by 51 year old me lol.
I caught one more ski at Gas Works park, and thats how it ended. Cryder and Aaron finished in about one hour exactly, me about 8 minutes back (they were 1 min/mile faster than me which is about par for the course in the fast ski vs fast OC world.)

A comical aside; at about 1 mile into the race, I noticed I was catching up to a strange floating contraption. As I got closer, said contraption appeared to be transporting several young women in thong bikinis. As I got closer, it turned out to be a motorized, boat/hot tub. (Apparently you can rent them) Naturally I passed as close as I possibly could to investigate. I thought maybe I'd already gone hypoxic. I splashed them with my paddle and they offered me a beer. At 10:30 in the morning. In January.


Michael Lee
Jan 17 #28433

Nice race! Speaking of motorized hot tubs, isn’t there a circa 1987 photo of Paul Clement at the helm of a motorized jacuzzi?

Michael J. Lee

beau whitehead
Jan 17 #28434

Peter mentioned the same thing Mike. But I guarantee these ladies were cuter than Paul.

Kevin Olney
Jan 17 #28435


I’ll just leave this here..

John Rybczyk
Jan 17 #28436

THESE must be the “under 15 HP” operators who are NOT required to have boater safety training.

Michael Lee
Jan 17 #28437

I don’t know – Paul is looking good. But I doubt he has beer on board.


Jan 17 #28438

A floating hot tub on Lk. Samish existed around '87-88, put together by guys in the WWU Plastics Department. It was a one off. I went for a late night sudsy snowy cruise in it only once . From what I recall, A dinghy mold was filled with foam then voids carved out for the propane heater, tub, keg and etc. , then fiber-glassed. If my memory serves me right, the steering wheel swung down so that you could operate the outboard while hunkered down in the hot water. It is a good example of the atmosphere of the WWU Plastics Department in that era. I didn't participate in the building of it, I was too busy perfecting my $10,000 carbon fiber toilet seat for the Air Force, Back then there was a market for them. That was also around when Greg Barton hung out in the composites lab fabricating paddles, if my memory serves me.

Nicholas Cryder
Jan 18 #28439

Good write up Beau. I didn’t notice the hot tub, was doing the tunnel vision pain cave thing. Maybe next time Rob will get enough hot tubs signed up to make it a class…

Fun to be in an “actual” race again, and weave like a bank robber through rower traffic on a glass smooth day in January. Funny how much current there is in the locks this time of year, definitely hurt the pace coming back. Also to paddle in my old stomping grounds again. Even nicer to leave.

“It is the loss of things that teaches the value of things” Arthur Schopenhauer

This is the course for those interested: Very iconic, visually appealing with the Bridges and the city in relief.


bill <newbflat@…>

Jan 18 #28440

For enquiring minds, I live in the water on Lake Union and have a unobstructed view of it. I will fill in the blanks on the floating hot tub fascination. There are 2 floating hot tub company’s on the lake. One is “Hot Tub Boats” over by Lake Union Crew off Eastlake . They are the larger dark blue ones with a good amount of freeboard and fit the most people. The other is “Lake Union Hot Tub Boats”. They are wood fired, much smaller and have very little freeboard. The “Hot Tub Boat” company seams more responsible not letting them out if it’s blowing very hard. The other company with the wood fired ones go out in any weather and I suspect are unpleasant when it’s blowing. I have frequently seen waves wash over the sides dumping a LOT of very cold water in there toasty tub. I’ve seen more that one hurrying back with people looking uncomfortably cold. The company is also a crappy neighbor. They are at Seattle Marina where I live and sit there and smoke all day long bathing about 10 houseboats in smoke 10 hours a day. No one is happy with the Marina for letting them set up shot there, the city for allowing them to smoke out residents and the owners crappy attitude about any of it… but I digress. There are at least three floating saunas that motor around the lake as well. One is super funky of plywood, tar paper and three tab that looks straight out of the Great Depression, or maybe now . The other two are modern architecture wonder of wood, steel and glass compleat with outside lounging areas and showers. You can motor around the lake inside a sauna while watching the city go buy. Have I been in any of them? Nope. Would I? Maybe someday. If anyone has a floating sauna they want to let me borrow, call me.

Bill in Seattle.

paul clement

Jan 18 #28443

That photo is in the December 1989 National Geographic.
Yes, a good friend and I designed and built a floating hot tub and toured all around Lake Washington, Lake Union and Puget Sound. Licensed and legal with propane instant hot water, a gas powered jacuzzi pump and a 15hp that moved it along nicely. It also had a funnelator that could launch water balloons nearly 100 yards. We had a couple epic water fights with Seattle Fire Boats. We were fixtures at opening day on the cut and SeaFair for a few years. Pretty fun!

I don't have any recollection of thong bikinis though…

paul clement

Jan 18 #28444

That was John Kutz. He was the sailor on my Ski to Sea team in the early through late 80's (I'm dating myself here…). My friend and I got our idea from John's rudimentary but very functional wood fired hot tub built on the hull of a dinghy. John was a damn fine person and VERY smart. Some of his research is in a different article in the very same National Geographic that I am in. Happy coincidence. Sadly, he was killed in an accident on the Sea to Sky Highway shortly after all of this.

David Scherrer

Jan 18 #28445

Alas Beau…a lost opportunity. Might want to revisit your priorities. Ha……

five_bridges_2021.txt · Last modified: 2021/04/29 01:58 by preavley