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A Pretty Fast Wooden Hydroplane Arrives at Her New Home

April 3, 2012

You know we have a lot of lovely historic boats here at The Center for Wooden Boats. And we see some of the best restorations being done today come through to visit the Historic Ships Wharf, and at the Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival (which, by the way, will open Saturday, June 30th,2012 and run 5 days to the 4th of July). But every now and then a boat comes by that we have to stop and stare at, and say, “wow.”

Today was a day like that.  We were just going about the business of field trip prep, grant writing, boat maintenance, etc.  You know, the usual at CWB. Those are all the little things that get us ready for the really busy season coming up.  At about 10:30am a truck started slowly down the service road to the old Naval Reserve Armory where the new Museum of History and Industry is slowly taking shape.  An on the trailer behind the truck was something any Seattle native over a “certain age” would spot in an instant.

That blue tarp can’t hide fast.


There was no mistaking the outline of Slo-Mo-Shun IV, the hydroplane built by Anchor Jensen of Jensen Motor Boat Company on Portage Bay. Slo-Mo is the boat that taught those Eastern and Mid-Western folks that we know a thing or two about building fast boats here in the Northwest.  She brought the Gold Cup to Seattle in 1950 and with her sister, Slo-Mo V, held it for half a decade. Some of us remember making little wooden models of her and towing the boat behind our bicycles. That, along with playing cards pinned on the bike frame so they clicked in your spokes, was…at one time…the height of kid cool in Seattle.Finally the folks from MOHAI pulled off the cover and used a huge crane to lift her up into position to be wheeled into her new home inside the Armory.

We understand that some folks don’t like the hydros.  They are loud.   But they are also amazing boats. The craft, skill and care at Jensen Motor Boat is still practiced today.  And after all, Slo-Mo is a beautiful wood boat.  And at a time when there were no Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders, or Sonics…these racing boats were pretty big stuff.

If you want to know a little more, check out The Building of Slo-mo-shun IV & V  Maybe you’ll forgive some of us our misty nostalgia.  Of course, come see Slo-Mo in her new home late this year when MOHAI opens her new doors.  If you just can’t wait, they do have a construction-cam and you can see where they have the boat right now

And you can come see us today at The Center for Wooden Boats….become a member…walk over to the historic ship’s wharf to visit the Virginia V, NW Seaport’s historic tugboat Arthur Foss and Lightship Swiftsure, and the Fireboat Duwamish and help us all continue to make this corner of South Lake Union, as Leonard Garfield, MOHAI’s Director calls it, The Seattle Center of History.

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