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Madison Regatta

Capt. Eric Grubb


The Spring of 2011 started off with an invitation for my wife and me to become members of Madison Regatta, Inc.'s Water and Safety Rescue Team. Being our first time to attend the July 4th event, we thought this would be a great way to jump in feet first.

The Lucas Oil Indiana Governor's Cup Madison Regatta was had it's 61st anniversary in 2011, and featured Miss Madison's "O Boy! Oberto," the 2008, 2009 and 2010 High Point Champions. While the pictures captured turned out pretty nice, it is almost impossible to put into words the sensation of watching a 200 mph H-1 Unlimited Hydroplane zip past. Some things you just have to see for yourself!

A picture of the #96 "Spirit of Qatar" racing Madison's U-1 "O Boy! Oberto" from the Picket Line south of Madison from a 300mm lens. Photo by Capt. Eric

We came back from the trip with some great memories and new friends. If you're among the normal people who would prefer not to get up at 6 a.m. every morning of the weekend to "work" the event, there are several other ways to catch the action.

One suggestion would be to catch a day at the event watching from behind the "picket line" on the river. You'll have a front row seat of the race course, similar to the one we had when these pictures were taken. Madison is located at Mile 559, only an hour and a half ride from Prospect in a day-boat such as a run-about or small express cruiser.

Another idea would be to stay at the Lighthouse Marina on the water. Upon arrival, you will be docked in a line of boats with your bow facing the shore and your stern facing the dock with a great view of the course. I was told that 2011 pricing ran about $400 for such a parking spot, and that you need to get your reservations in early. From there, you'll have easy access within walking distance to town. The first boat to get there early in the week was also the last one to leave, so plan accordingly. Water and electric are available.

Above, a view of the southern end of the Madison waterfront, featuring the Lighthouse Marina.

Another way to see the race is to go by boat and stay at the Rivercrest Marina. From there, you can take your boat out to the picket line then cruise the river after the race. You can also get a ride or have friends take you into town to catch the other festivities like the parade, band competitions and carnival fare.

Yet another suggestion would be to time your arrival to a day of the event as part of a larger trip. You could be heading south from Cincinnati, for example, and catch the race from the North picket line. When the river opens at 6 p.m., you can catch a view of the pit area then be on your way home or to your next adventure.

Following is a collection of pictures from our trip up there this year. There are a bunch, so please allow them a little time to load.

Above, the scenic cruise up the Ohio River from Louisville to Madison.

The view upon our arrival Thursday afternoon into the pit area. They ran these things late into the night then again starting at sunrise to prep the hydroplanes for the race.

The work boat "Chill'n" tied up at sunset.

Continue to Pictures Part II >















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