First, let me say, I’m very excited to see the 43rd Annual Seafair Milk Carton Derby race on Green Lake on Saturday morning, July 13, 2013. I think I’ve experienced almost everything Seafair has to offer, but I have not been to the Seattle Milk Carton Derby. I’ll be there this year, for sure. I think the video infers that I’ll be racing. Well, I’m not. We just want to get the word out about the Derby. Plus, I’m pretty confident they wouldn’t allow a Pratt and Whitney turbine engine in the competition.
The turbine engines that we use in the video belong to Chuck and Pam Lyford, and are installed on an amazing yacht called the “Nothing More.” Chuck Lyford is, in my opinion, The Godfather of turbine engines in unlimited hydroplane racing. It was his vision to develop a boat, simply referred to as the “U-95,” that was the very first truly competitive unlimited hydroplane. It had twin helicopter engines and was an engineering marvel at the time. The U-95 never dominated, but it did have a degree of success and if you were paying attention, you could see that turbines were going to be the engine to have in the years ahead. The next turbine that came along was the “Pay N Pak.” It was blinding fast, but had some handling issues that affected it’s competitiveness. The Pay N Pak won one race, in Syracuse, NY in 1981, and confirmed that turbines were fast and reliable.
The third turbine engine racing boat was our own “Atlas Van Lines,” and it was hugely successful, winning the Gold Cup and the National Championship in its very first year! Chuck Lyford’s son, Charlie, was closely involved in making that boat so successful for a number of years.
Chuck Lyford actually gave me my first job in unlimited hydroplane racing, as a young high school kid who just wanted to be around hydroplane racing. My very first job? Janitor.
Chuck and Charlie have played huge roles in my career and, more importantly, they have been wonderful friends of mine for decades. I’m very grateful for the experiences we shared together and I remain close to the entire Lyford family many years later.