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Friday, April 21, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Seafair Pirates "laying claim" to hydroplane

Seattle Times staff reporter

It's enough to shiver your timbers: the Seafair Pirates are adopting a hydroplane.

No, they won't use it to pillage and plunder, but they do hope it will boost their visibility at one of Seafair's premier events.

Pirates officials today will announce they're "laying claim" to the new U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing, which will race outside the state as the Miss Seattle.

The boat, which won last year's Seafair Chevrolet Cup as the U-8 Llumar Window Film, was recently purchased by Seattle hydro-driving legend Billy Schumacher and his wife, Jane.

The Pirates aren't actually buying the boat, but Pirates spokesman Mark Jensen said they're investing something more valuable than money: their enthusiasm.

"Wherever our logo appears we figure we have a piece of it," Jensen said. "We'll be down there in the pits and supporting it all the way. I grew up in South Seattle, and I remember as a youngster we could hear the thunder on Lake Washington."

The Pirates will present Schumacher with several skull-and-crossbones decals to adorn the boat.

"I couldn't be happier about it," said Schumacher, 63, three-time unlimited hydroplane champion in his driving days. "I think it will add to the fun and be good for Seafair."

Schumacher is redoing the boat in the red-and-yellow color scheme of the original Miss Seattle of the 1950s, of which his father was part-owner.

The boat will retain its driver, Jean Theoret, who won three races in it last year.

Schumacher said the Pirates' interest in the boat came about because its former owner, Bill Wurster, was one of the founding members of the Seafair Pirates.

The connection to the Pirates means the boat, on its trailer, may show up at some community celebrations, provided they don't interfere with the racing schedule, Schumacher said. This year's Seafair Chevrolet Cup is Aug. 4-6.

Jack Broom: 206-464-2222 or jbroom@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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