Edmonds hydro racer to compete in Ecuador

Kyle Bahl with Patrick Gleason. (Photos courtesy Kyle Bahl)

Kyle Bahl, lifetime Edmonds resident and Meadowdale High graduate, left Thursday for a 10-day trip to Ecuador, where he has been invited to race his outboard hydro at the Guayaquil-Vinces Regatta on March 17.

Bahl, 34, has been racing boats for 20 years and is one of two American racers invited to the prestigious event. Bahl is traveling with his uncle, Patrick Gleason. They will arrive in Ecuador and be hosted by race promoter Roger Munoz.

Munoz will provide a boat and motor for Bahl to race. Bahl is bringing his own propellers and some engine spare parts. The boat being provided is the same style and class as what he races here, but is it is easier, logistically, to leave his own boat here in Edmonds. The boat is an 11-foot runabout powered by a 34 horsepower Yamato engine. The boats will travel about 65 mph and the driver kneels, and is on his knees for the entire race.

Kyle Bahl on his boat.

When Bahl first arrives, he will run in a shorter circular lap race to become accustomed to the boat and locations. He will then spend the time until March 17 testing the boat and being out to promote the event. The main race is not a number of laps but rather a city-to-city race on rivers.

Started in 1957, the Guayaquil-Vinces regatta edition #62 is considered the longest in the world in its class involving more than 60 intrepid competitors. The race will begin at 10 a.m. Sunday March 17 in the city of Guayaquil and will continue to Vinces.

According to Bahl, the racers all leave at one time and head up two rivers, the first being about the size of the Columbia River. They finishin a second river that is more like the Sammamish Slough. The race is 65 miles long and the drivers are bouncing in their knees for a little over an hour.

The race in Ecuador.

Other U.S. drivers who have competed in this race are Darrell Sorensen of California, Dustin Pearson of Michigan and Jeff Yungen of Illinois. Last year, Pearson finished 3rd.

This year, in addition to Bahl, the other U.S. drivers will be Mike Akerstrom from Boston and Johnny Wlodarski from New Jersey. Bahl told My Edmonds News: “I look forward to the experience and sharing it with everyone on social media and other publications.”

Locally, Bahl races with the Seattle Outboard Racing Association, and he will race in Everett in June. More details and a complete schedule is on their website,  seattleoutboard.org

We will recap Kyle’s efforts here in My Edmonds News.

— By Harry Gatjens


  1. OB racing in Ecuador near the equator has to be the hottest, muggiest ever. Bring lots of water and expect to lose the pounds. Watch out for live river hazards as well!

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