The high waters of the Ohio River has kept the hydroplanes on dry land.
Crews of one hydroplane take advantage of the time to work on their boat.
Fans get a close look at one of the hydroplanes.
Kay and Vincent Brown
MADISON, IN (WAVE) - The constant rain lately means a big headache for people in Madison, Indiana.
Organizers at the Madison Regatta say the Ohio River levels are the highest in 40 years in Regatta history and that put everything on hold for now. They canceled all test runs and qualifying races Friday with plans to move them to Saturday if the water levels recede. As of Friday evening, the river was too unpredictable to make that call. Organizers plan to re evaluate Saturday morning before making a decision.
Watching a slow moving barge down the Ohio isn't necessarily a bad way for Kay and Vincent Brown of Maceo, Kentucky to spend the Friday of a holiday weekend, "The coal comes from Kentucky, so we've got to keep that going," said Kay. The problem is the couple came to Madison to see something a faster. "We are rabid hydroplane fans. We came down here to see the races."
On Friday afternoon, the river should have been closed to the barges and the hydroplane drivers should be doing practice runs on the course. "If we had today to do some testing, we would have tried a prop. We would have tried a turn fin setup and a couple of different setups on the boat," said U11 driver for Peter and May Racing Tom Thompson.
"The river's up about 10 feet more than what it normally is," said Tim Torrance, Vice President of Madison Regatta, Inc. "That's 10 feet about 30 feet on the banks."
The levels leave a strong current that makes unsafe conditions for the regularly scheduled regatta events on the water. "If you're out on the water and you drop something in watching, how fast it floats away with this current is a little bit amazing," explained Torrance. "It's a whole lot faster out there than it looks from the shoreline."
The fast current due to the high waters isn't the only reason the boats were not on the water Friday. The pits are also underwater so the boats can't even get in to prep for racing.
"I'm going to stay positive that the water recedes and we get into the pits to start our setup," said Thompson.
As are the Browns, who said they'll stay for the duration even if it means only one or two days of racing.
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