Owner/Driver: Harry E. Holst
Designer: Vance Whiteman
Location: Ontario, Canada
The “Heatwave” is a 280 cubic inch, 164HP Ford SB powered, “E” class cabover hydroplane designed and hand-crafted using Sitka Spruce and marine plywood by Vance Whiteman of (North West Indiana Inboard Racing). It has an Overall length of 17’8” with an 8’ beam.
We know that this hydroplane participated in a lot of races, in the Portsmouth & Hillsboro, Ohio area. Originally it raced as the “Heatwave” E-160 by Lynn Weddel from Decatur, Illinois in the 80’s, and later by Steve Lancaster from Burlington, KY as “The River Rat” E-69, in the early 90’s. It was also owned by Doug Hale, Bill McTague of Batavia, OH, and Joe Marshall of Knoxville, TN. We purchased it in October of 2005 from Joe Marshall.
Hull restoration completed b the original designer and builder Vance Whitman involved complete disassembly, inspection and replacement of all required structural components including bottom and top sheeting, salvaging an assortment of original wood, cowlings and hardware, rebuilding the boat back to its initial status as the “Heatwave.”
Vance Whitman by Elizabeth Wolfe-“Vance has been around boat racing longer than most of us have been alive! Vance is located in Lafayette, IN and used to work or Rodi Yatchts rebuilding wood boats (before fiberglass). He has worked on some Unlimited and countless inboard hulls. In fact, if you walk around the pits with him…he can point out every other boat and the work he has done on it. Vance is one of the special people that really make boat racing a wonderful sport to participate in. Thank you Vance for all of your hard work for me and everyone else!”
Vance worked for Rodi Boats in Chicago; they also had marinas in Florida. Rodi was a boat dealer for Chris Craft in the Chicago area, they would purchase bare/unfinished boats and complete them including installing various options. Eventually Vance, a Naval Architect, went to work for Chris Craft in Pompano, Florida designing and building prototypes.
Over the years Vance did several jobs repairing boats including for Jim McCormack, legendary driver of the MISS MADISON, featured in the Madison hydroplane movie. “Jim had torn up the starboard side of his boat, an “E” class Farmer in a race at the Miami Stadium and asked me if I could fix it for a race being held in 3 months at Tampa.”
Vance repaired many boats, all types and makes; he saw design flaws and weak characteristics. With all the knowledge and experience he obtained from repairing damaged boats he decided he could build a better boat of his own design.