Chip Hanauer slows down


There comes a point in nearly every boater’s career when it’s just time to slow it down a bit.

Few of us, however, will decelerate from 200 MPH to 8 knots.

That’s exactly what local hydroplane racer Chip Hanauer plans to do, however. Hanauer, whose 12 Gold Cup Unlimited Hydroplane wins have made him a legend in the Pacific Northwest (not to mention one-time hoister of the 12th Man flag at CenturyLink Field), has been out of the racing business for 14 years. But he’s still stayed close to the boating business, starting a website where he blogs and posts videos,, and putting on local boating events.

Cruising, however, has not been part of his experience. His new partnership with Ranger Tugs aims to change all that.

For 2014, outfitted with a Ranger Tug 27, Hanauer aims to get himself from the South Sound to Desolation Sound and beyond, filming all the way.

“We live in boating paradise here in the Northwest and I want to go places via a boat and spend the night,” says Hanauer. “I want the satisfaction of getting myself there and back on my own and getting away from the hordes of people that now crowd our beautiful city. I want see and explore places you can only see in your own boat.”

It turns out that charging around in circles at 200 MPH is not the best possible preparation for navigating from Tacoma to Desolation, reading weather reports, picking secure anchorages and anchoring safely, or preparing a truly delectable bean dip for the inevitable cruiser’s potluck.

Hanauer plans to document his experiences as he learns all those subjects, and more, starting from zero.

There’s only one episode out so far, covering Hanauer taking delivery of his shiny new Ranger, a vessel selected for affordability, safety, comfort, and versatility. Although Desolation is the first destination on Hanauer’s list, it’s not the last; Alaska beckons, and Mexico (by trailer!) is not out of the question.

Hanauer plans to spend some time around the Ranger booth on both Friday nights of the show… look for him there!

Correction – 1/22/14: The original version of the story incorrectly stated that Hanauer had been retired from racing for 18 years. In fact, it has only been 14 years since his last race in 1999.

5 Responses to Chip Hanauer slows down

  1. Maize January 22, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

    I love the themes of independence he is expressing here.

  2. Dwight Jones January 22, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    If you saw him race those last 4 years you’d know he should have retired 18 years ago!…just kidding!…the people in his wake wish he’d retired earlier!…See you all at the Winter Rendezvous!

  3. Hilton Hyperlube January 22, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    Chip can get quite grumpy if you suggest that he retired in 1996.

  4. Alan Lagervall January 22, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    Chip has only been out of racing for 14 years…. he last raced in 1999.

    • Scott Wilson January 22, 2014 at 11:43 am #

      So he did… I forgot about that one year he came back. Thanks, I’ll correct it in the story.

Leave a Reply