The Ken Muscatel Story
Unlimited hydroplane racing’s only forensic psychologist, Dr. Ken Muscatel grew up on the shores of Lake Washington during Seattle’s golden age of hydroplane racing. He witnessed Slo-mo-shun V’s spectacular flip during qualification for the 1955 APBA Gold Cup with Lou Fageol driving. 39 years later, Ken drove that same restored Slo-mo-shun V in an exhibition performance at the 1994 Seattle Seafair Regatta.
Dr. Muscatel was a successful 5-Litre and 6-Litre Class hydroplane pilot when he stepped up to the Unlimited ranks in 1991. As driver of Bob Fendler’s Jackpot Food Mart (U-19), Ken earned Rookie of the Year honors.
Ken started his own team in 1993. His best Unlimited year is 1998 when his boat finished sixth in a field of sixteen teams in the National High Point Standings. Prior to a season-ending crash at San Diego, Dr. Muscatel finished second in the Indiana Governor’s Cup at Madison with Miss Northwest Unlimited (U-14). He and the U-14 also took fourth-place in the Detroit Gold Cup, the Tri-Cities Columbia Cup, and the Seattle Texaco Cup in 1998.
During 1999, Dr. Muscatel worked closely with the producers of the Madison motion picture, which has an Unlimited hydroplane racing theme.
Ken owns a good-sized fleet of vintage hydroplanes. At one time or another, he has owned (or co-owned) the 1971 Miss Madison, Hawaii Kai III (alias Breathless II), Hurricane IV, Miss America VIII, and Ollie’s Folly. For many years, he served as president of the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum in Seattle.
Dr. Muscatel has contributed to the sport that he loves in many ways. Perhaps his most invaluable contribution occurred in 1998. Administratively, the Unlimited Class was in dire straits due to serious mismanagement issues. Ken stepped in as Unlimited Commissioner and--over the next two years--guided the sport to better times. He did this without a salary.
As a forensic psychologist, Dr. Muscatel has evaluated and testified in literally hundreds of criminal cases. After a tough week at the office in his all-too-real-life occupation, Ken enjoys the escape of hydroplane competition and considers it to be the perfect outlet for his emotions.
“(Boat racing) is clear-cut.” He says. “Racing a boat is all about focus. Racing a boat is all about excitement. It’s about being on the high wire at the circus.”