Chip Hanauer

Foundation For A Career (Chip Hanauer)

I cannot remember a time in my life that I did not want to be a racer. I have no clue where these ideas originated; no one in my family had an interest in racing. My first love was actually automobile racing. I wanted to race and it was powerboat racing that offered me they opportunity. While on a camping trip to the Columbia River, I saw my first outboard race. I specifically fell in love with Andy Anderson's equipment; a DeSilva runabout with which he competed in the F runabout class, and a Sid Craft hydro with which he competed in F hydro. I will never forget that equipment; I sat and gazed at it for two days. I had never seen anything so beautiful in all my young life. My family never saw me that weekend! I collected phone numbers of Seattle Outboard Association members to call when I arrived home.

The person everyone told me to talk with was Fred Mackle. His granddaughter raced J hydro and his son raced A hydro. He took me "by the hand" and made getting involved with J hydro possible. There's no doubt, had it not been for Mr. Mackle, my career as a professional boat racer may never have become a reality. After attending my first SOA meeting with my father at the old Capo Club in Lake City, I was on my way. I cannot begin to name all the people within SOA who gave freely of their time and advice to help my father and me get off to a great start. No doubt there are people in SOA today who will do the same for any prospective racer.

I raced J stock, A stock and some B stock hydro during my years in SOA, but I was mostly an A stock competitor. I still consider my years racing in SOA as one of the happiest chapters in my life. A number of friends to this day (including my attorney, Mark Demaray) are people I raced with and against during my tenure as an outboard racer. The years were difficult as well due to the death of my mother. I consider racing and the people of SOA major factors in helping me cope with the loss of my mother at such an early age, as well as helping make my relationship with my father as strong as it remains today.

I raced with SOA until I was 16, when I was given the opportunity to race a 145 cu. in. class limited inboard boat owned by a school teacher named Ernie Lauber. Racing inboards for a number of years in a variety of classes was the continuation of my early boat racing adventure.

Classes I raced in included 98 cu. in., 280 cu. in., E Racing Runabout, 5-litre, 7-litre, and Grand Prix. The lessons I learned in outboard racing are without a doubt the "edge" I had while competing in these classes. The success I've enjoyed in my racing career is a direct result of the exceptional people I worked with and the skills I learned in outboard racing. In general, racing taught me lessons that not only have made my career successful, but also taught me lessons that made my entire life happy, successful, and fun. Working with people, setting goals, working hard, overcoming adversity, persistence, and losing were the curriculum in the school of boat racing and are also the skills needed to live a happy, productive life in all aspects of our existence.

Even though I graduated from Washington State University with honors in 1976, it is in powerboat racing where I have spent the majority of my working life and made my living. Making your living doing something you started doing purely for the fun of it changes many things. A great deal of the pure fun is somehow lost in the pressure to succeed as well as with the added responsibilities that go with being a professional racer. But I would change nothing. It has been a wonderful life, full of interesting people, hard work, travel, teamwork, disappointment, and achievement. Racing a boat is an end unto itself. To this day, it's difficult to find anything as satisfying as working with a group of people you enjoy, doing your best in a piece of racing equipment to reach the potential of yourself, your team, and your boat.