From Out of the Past : Recalling Shanty I
By David Greene - Associate Unlimited Historian
Shanty I, owned by Bill Waggoner, proved to be an immediate sensation when she won her first three races. This was enough of an advantage to enable the Ted Jones- designed craft to defeat the rest of the fleet for the High Point Championship for 1956.
Her three wins were the Lake Tahoe Mapes Trophy, the Seafair Trophy at Seattle, and the Harmsworth Trophy at Detroit.
Shanty I's winning of the Seafair Trophy was one of the most devastating performances in the long history of boat racing. The Allison-powered U-29 raised the competition lap record by 9 m.p.h., the heat record by 6 m.p.h., and the race record by 6 m.p.h.. Driver Russ Schleeh also exceeded the lap time of the next fastest entry (Miss Thriftway) by 5 m.p.h..
This race signaled the end of Slo-mo-shun IV as a major contender. Shanty I steadily pulled away on the first backstretch of the final heat and went on to beat Slo-mo's best lap time by 7 m.p.h..
Jones stated that the Shanty was a design generation ahead of Slo-mo-shun IV and was his best boat. Schleeh revealed that he purposely lost to the Slo-mo in a preliminary heat in order to make driver Joe Taggart overconfident for the final heat.
Slo-mo crew chief Mike Welsch said that he still thought Slo-mo-shun IV was the faster boat, but he was probably mistaken.
The 1956 Seafair Trophy was high tide for boat racing in Seattle. This was the last year for the Slo-mo and also the last year for the 3-3/4-mile course, which provided much unblocked viewing of the entire race course for the spectators.