Madison Regatta jets back to full capacity for 71st anniversary

Published: Jul. 3, 2021 at 4:42 PM EDT
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MADISON, Ind. (WAVE) - More than 50,000 people are attending the Madison Regatta this weekend. This year’s crowd is expected to be the largest in its 71-year history.

“It brings in a lot of people from all over we have had people from Canada, Australia and Italy,” former president of the Madison Regatta Nate Davis said.

Davis said for the small town of Madison this event means a lot to local businesses.

“All of our hotels are sold out, restaurants are always full,” Davis said. “Our bed and breakfast, and once they come once they want to come again.”

The Regatta was canceled last year due to COVID-19 but is back at full strength for this year. Many from Madison and beyond coming out to check the largest hydroplane boat races in the United States.

“Unfortunately, accidents do happen in this sport,” driver Jimmy Shane said. “Once you reach the limit you know how far you can push the boat past it’s limit.”

Shane has been racing boats for 27 years.

“Unlimited Hydroplanes was always a dream of mine growing up,” Shane said. “I wanted to drive the fastest boats in the world.”

The boat Shane is racing is a U-1 Miss HomeStreet Unlimited Hydroplane. The boats can go as fast as 200 miles per hour.

“The whole intent of a hydroplane and why it goes so fast is that you’re trying to control it while keeping it six to 12 inches off the water,” Shane said.

This year’s race got started a little late due to debris in the Ohio River.

“We’ve got activities all around town,” Davis said. “If you don’t really get into boat racing, we got music. If you don’t get into music, we have historic buildings.”

The Regatta goes until Sunday night, with tickets at $50. For more information and the full schedule, visit the Madison Regatta website.

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