About the Hydroplane History Website
The Hydroplane History website first appeared in early 1996 as a single page on Lance Gleich's pre-UHRA.com site at Stanford. I avidly followed hydroplane racing in the '50's and '60's when I lived in Seattle but I had drifted away from the sport. One day in 1995 while cleaning out my mother's attic in Bellevue, Washington I ran across a copy of Paul Lowney's 1959 book, This is Hydroplaning. I had long forgotten I owned a copy of the book but when I flipped through the pages the delicious memories of the thunderboats of my childhood came rushing back to me. I scanned several of the images from the book and uploaded them along with their descriptions to Lance's website. There they lived for several months. Eventually Lance left Stanford and his old site was shut down. I transferred the files to my personal site at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada (I work in the University Archives there). For a year or so that small site (a single page and a few dozen images) attracted a few hits per month and some emails of appreciation. In May 1998 there was suddenly a major increase in traffic: many hits per day, much email traffic, requests for information and other pictures. I decided to make use of what few talents I have and try to give something back to the sport which had given me so much pleasure in my youth.
In the summer of 1998 I acquired my own domain name and went about setting up a new website. Starting with the Lowney material I reorganized and redesigned the site so that it would support both frames and non-frames approaches. With the purchase of additional material, correspondence with several other enthusiasts and access to old publications and microfilms in both Vancouver and Seattle, I began to develop an information base that could begin to describe the history of our sport.
After a few tentative steps in August 1998, the site appeared for real in late September. The feedback I've gotten from those who've seen the site has encouraged me to attempt to make it broader and even more comprehensive.
The site started off describing a few boats from the '50's; the scope was later expanded to attempt to document through text and images the history of all of the 200 or so hulls in the Modern Era (1946 onward) in their various incarnations as well as descriptions and statistics on the hundreds of races run during this time. Plans included special sections devoted to the Gold Cup and Harmsworth races and a tributes section which acknowledges those who lost their lives racing or in pursuit of the water speed record, broadening to include other individuals who have contributed to the sport. Also, the world straightaway speed record has also held a fascination for me and I seek to document that history as well.
The website is constantly evolving and I've decided to extend the coverage back to the beginning of the 20th Century so as to make for a more complete historical record.
I'm planning to add a searchable photo database so as to allow for faster location of images.
This is a work in progress. Material is added when I can. There are gaps and omissions, for which I apologize. I hope to correct these shortcomings in the future. Although there are more than 2000 pages (and nearly as many photos) on the website there is still a huge amount yet to be added.
Any additions, corrections or contributions from website visitors are most welcome.
Hardware and Software:
I have attempted to make the site accessible for users with a wide variety of modems, browsers and displays. Most versions of Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera and Netscape should have no problem here. I have not tested the site with other browsers. The miniumum display is 800x600 pixels with a at least of 16 bit colour (thousands of colours). Visitors that use 640x480 displays will see an adjusted, but still usable image. Those who have monitors with a maximum of 256 colours will see some pretty ugly images (sorry). Personally, I use a 1680 x 1050 32-bit colour LCD display.
The web pages are authored with Microsoft FrontPage 2003 on a Media Centre PC using a Pentium 4 a dual-core chipset and 2 2.8 Ghz chips, 2 GB ram and a 200 GB internal hard drive and auxiliary 250 GB and 400 GB external drives. The ISP that hosts the site supports Microsoft FrontPage extensions which allows for some nifty functions, the most useful of which is the search tool. It allows Boolean searching of all text on the site. [Yes, that could have been done through a CGI script or some such other device but I'm happy with the tool FrontPage provides (for now)]. Images are scanned on a Epson Perfection V700 Photo flatbed scanner and edited using Adobe Photoshop CS3, Microsoft Image Composer 1.5 (included with FrontPage 98 and no longer available but a very useful image editor), Microsoft PhotoDraw [part of Office 2000 Premium (no longer distributed)], JASC Paint Shop Pro 6, or Corel Photo-Paint 8, as appropriate. Video clips and vidcaps were acquired using a Sony SLV-N750 VCR and and ATI TV Wonder Elite video card using VirtualDub. The clips were then edited with VideoMach, TMPGEnc 3.0 Express, VideoWave and other software.
Navigating the site:
At the opening page the default entry point will open the frames-based website. This is appropriate for visitors who using modern browsers (Firefox, Netscape Navigator 2.x or newer; Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.x or newer).
Those who are using very old browsers (or who choose not to use frames) should use the non-frames version (the non-frames version is not as easy to navigate and will sometimes open new windows). To get around, just click on a link. To return to where you were use you browser's "back" button (for current versions of Netscape or Internet Explorer that would also include the Ctrl+LeftArrow or right-clicking on the frame and selecting back from the dialogue box).
Nearly all small images are hyperlinked to larger versions. Just click on the thumbnail and the larger image will appear.
Searching the site:
The search tool allows for full Boolean searches of the entire site. It defaults to "OR" (if you enter BILL MUNCEY it will list and pages with BILL or MUNCEY on them). You can also use "AND" and "NOT" operators (if you enter BILL AND MUNCEY it will list pages where BILL and MUNCEY both appear; BILL NOT MUNCEY it will list pages where BILL appears but it will exclude any that contain MUNCEY). "BILL MUNCEY" (in quotes) will search for that exact phrase.
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This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010.
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© Leslie Field, 2008