Fred Leland – He lived the Dream

24 Jul

The unlimited hydroplanes will spend the next two weeks right here in our backyard. This weekend is the 47th race on the Columbia River (Tri-Cities) and the following weekend on Lake Washington for the 62nd Seafair race – The Albert Lee Cup.

We’ll miss with heavy hearts Fred Leland, who passed away earlier this year.

I met Mr. Leland a few times, the last was in the pits in 2011 at the Madison Regatta.

He didn’t know me, but we struck up a short conversation that morning. I thanked him for all the years racing hydros and how much it meant to so many of us that grew up listening to that ROAR.

Thank you Fred for always having a boat or two, or three in the pits.

I first went to Seafair in the early, early 1980s and it was hook, line and sinker. We hooted and hollered for the Miss Rock on the shore near the start-finish line. She was towed back to the pits many times, but it was OK – we just cranked up KISW on the radio dial. He laughed when I mentioned the old Rock boats before his PICO Turbines.

Mr. Leland was so gracious that day. It was an honor to meet him because he made our summers better as we couldn’t wait for the boats to race in the Northwest.

The extended hydroplane family will miss his generosity and of course – beating the Bud back in the mid 90s!

Live on Leland Unlimited!



1978 – Miss B&L Plumbing, did not qualify

1979 – Miss Burien Hobby, did not qualify

1980 – Miss Burien Hobby, did not qualify

1983 – Miss Rock/KISW, finally made the show qualifying at 109 mph; finished 3rd in 1B (slow-heat) at 95.6 mph; DNF (gearbox failure) in 2B (slow-heat); finished 2nd in the consolation



1984 – Miss Rock/KISW, did not qualify

AS AN OWNER (Top 3 finishes)

1ST – 1996 – PICO AMERICAN DREAM (Dave Villwock)

1ST – 1997 – PICO AMERICAN DREAM (Mark Evans)

1ST – 2001 – ZNETIX II (Terry Troxell)

2ND – 1999 – MISS PICO (Mike Weber)

3RD – 1995 – MISS ROCK/KISW (Mark Evans)

3RD – 1997 – TEAM STIHL (Mark Weber)

3rd – 2001 – ZNETIX (Greg Hopp)

Fred Leland participated in every Lamb Weston Columbia Cup dating back to 1978.

I’ll take a look at Mr. Leland’s results at Seafair next week.


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