Creative solution to painting a hydroplane - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Creative solution to painting a hydroplane

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The final phase of painting the UL-929 Unlimited Light Hydroplane is close at hand. The deck and superstructure will get color this weekend. Many nights of sanding outdoors are over. 

"We finally got to stay warm tonight!" said Jim Wilmot.   "We'll be picking up the engine from Ed Trihey this weekend as well."

The team had to come up with a unique solution to painting.  So, they created an "indoor greenhouse" to shelter the boat and keep the paint off the walls.  The pictures at the right show the metal supports of the greenhouse and the plastic sheets that formed the walls.

UPDATE:  See more pictures of the progress >>

That's driver Vince Xaudaro doing the painting in the bottom photo on the right.  Xaudaro has always been a crowd favorite in the Tri-Cities.  He graduated from Kamiakin High School in Kennewick, WA.

Wilmot said the team is now beginning to be confident of making spring training.  "I can't say enough in praise of Vince, Sara, Tim, and Jordan for doing such a great job!" he said.

After Vince's UL-929 was destroyed in at Silverdale, WA last year - the sponsons were literally ripped off the boat - Vince got together with Jim and Karon Wilmot.  The hull they're working on now will be the former UL-21 hull - the first Unlimited Light to race with a supercharged engine.

It will race as the UL-929 for 2008 with Vince at the controls.

PHOTO:  Computer model of the final paint job for the 2008 UL-929. 

Click for larger view >>

"Vince has a great history of knowing how to make a boat fly and get the most out of it," said Jim Wilmot.  "Karon and I couldn't be happier to have Vince and the 929 crew in charge of our hull!"

Read more:  History of the hull >>