Jack Schafer Jr. driving the beautifully restored Allison aircraft engine powered Miss U.S. IV U-36 unlimited hydroplane to the delight of fans and other participants in the Classic Raceboat Association's Spring Thunder vintage raceboat regatta last weekend (March 21-23) on Lake Dora at Wooton Park, Tavares, FL.
A Californian for the last 44 years, Jack drove unlimited hydroplanes - "thunderbolts" as they were called - for some 18 years, 1975 to 1993 as best I can figure, in at least 15 different boats, and won the 1983 Columbia Cup at Tri-Cities in eastern Washington State.
The "fan" you see on the dock watching Jack pilot U-36 is Ed Cooper, long time unlimited hydroplane team owner of the Allison powered U-3 out of Evansville, a very popular hydro most recently driven by Jimmy King and the winner of the Gold Cup, motorsports' oldest trophy, in the '90's with popular Mitch Evans of Chelan, Washington in the cockpit. Later in the short video owner Jay Armstrong joined Ed on the dock to watch his beautiful boat perform.
A joy for me to talk with Jack at Tavares and hear some stores about his "Thunderboat" days. I'm sorry at this point that I can't give you the names of all involved in the beautiful restoration of U-36 but my kudos go out to owners Jay and Sally Armstrong, Jay's son J.J., the electrical wiring wizard, George Czarnecki and Roger Genshorek and all others who helped restore the big boat and now campaign her. Best of luck on your travels around the circuit this season! There are many wonderful pictures with details on the U-36 on her page at Facebook: