For most of my life I have attended the hydroplane races in the Tri-Cities, WA and one thing that I (along with many other fans) complain about is the lack of interesting paint schemes on the boats, especially in recent years. One of the teams started a contest to design the paint scheme for their boat which was a dream come true for me. Unfortunately the team wasn't able to get the contest started soon enough to get my winning design approved by the sponsor and then actually applied to the boat and made a reality but even knowing that, I still had a lot of fun on this project.

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First drafts

There were a few things I wanted to keep in mind and incorporate in my design; one, the cowling and the fins are pretty much all you can see as a spectator from the shoreline so I wanted to focus mainly on those areas. Two, this team's boat has become known for having the checkered pattern on the fins so I wanted to keep that same basic pattern. Three, the sponsors logo has a compass rose that I really like so I wanted to draw inspiration from that for the overall design.

Second drafts

After weeks of showing friends and family and asking for their input, making some minor tweaks, and also me spending hours just looking at all four drafts separately, I narrowed it down to the two that were primarily blue.

Final design (Winning design)

More hours of staring at the two design I finally decided on what design I wanted to be my official contest entry. It turned out to be a good choice as I won the contest and was given a pit pass and lunch with the crew of the team.

One of the reasons that boats in recent years have had less interesting paint schemes is because the cost of racing has steadily risen and popularity has declined, meaning that it's harder to get a sponsor that will commit to entire season. Because of that, sponsors for a team will generally change between race sites so it's easier to just have a very simple paint scheme (usually just white) and change the sponsor logos instead of repainting the whole boat several times over the coarse of the season. Also, the cost of painting a boat like this is extremely expensive. My design would cost around $7,500 just to apply it as a vinyl wrap, if it were actually painted it would cost closer to $10,000. So it's easy to see why many teams like to save the money on paint and use that money on something that will actually help the boat run and be competitive such as engine parts or propellers

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