1975 Seafair Trophy
Raised On Speed
At 31, tall, blond and handsome, Jack Schafer looks like a flamboyant, hell-for-leather fighter pilot who just stepped out of his World War II flying machine after battling Messerschmitts over the fields of France.
Schafer is, in fact, a pilot. He buys and sells used twin-engine aircraft from his Newport Beach, Calif., home. He also likes speed, enough to successfully race outboard and inboard motorboats since 1956.
Though Schafer may appear to be the type who tries to win at any cost, he has more important goals in mind.
"I drive defensively," he said with a smile. Schafer h a d just finished taking Miss Vanís P-X for a test run during qualifying trials yesterday for Sundayís Seafair Regatta for unlimited hydroplanes on Lake Washington.
"I drive for the self-satisfaction," Schafer said. "Iíd like to become a very old boat racer.
"I enjoy boat racing. Itís my hobby. I try to drive a boat as fast as I can, as well as I can and as safe as I can."
Schafer hopes to make his debut in unlimited competition Sunday. But he is hardly a newcomer to the big boats.
"I took my first ride with Dan Arena when I was 5," Schafer recalled.
Getting a ride in 1948 or 1949 was a trip for which Jack hardly had to thumb.
In 1948, Arena piloted the Such Crust, owned by Schaferís father, Jack, a Detroit-area baker, to the national championship. The original Such Crust was followed by several hulls as the senior Schafer continued his interest in the sport into the late 50s.
But for young Jack a conflict arose.
"My folks were divorced when I was 10," Jack said. "My mother wanted me to stay out of boat racing, so my dad did not encourage me, to keep peace with her."
Despite his motherís concern, Schafer began competing in the Such Crust Junior in 1956. in 1969, driving the same B stock hydroplane, Jack won the National Outboard Association championship in Rogers, Ark. He also took high-point honors for the championships with a second place in a runabout class.
"My father was there," Jack said. "He was tickled. It was at the bottom of his racing career, but he was in seventh heaven." Less than six months later, the elder Schafer died.
After moving from Texas to Southern California Schafer concentrated on limiteds, dominating the 280-cubic-inch class with his Foxy Lady.
Bob Patterson, who owns Miss Vanís P-X, spotted Jack on that circuit.
"Every time I saw him he won," Patterson said. "He was the best qualified."
As Schafer steered the P-X around the course, the referee, Bill Newton, kept a stop watch on the bright yellow-and-orange craft.
"Heís a very conservative driver," Patterson said to, Newton. "But heíll make it, no sweat."
And to Bill Newton, one of the sportís top officials for many years, the moment, jolted forth memories of the older Schafer.
"Thatís got to be history," Newton said.
"Jack Schafer . . . Isnít that something?" replied a bystander.
(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, August 1, 1975)
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