Mathieu Daoust, 32, died Sunday, June 30 in a hydroplaning race on the St. Lawrence River at Brockville.
Hydroplane Regatta League (HRL)
A Quebec hydroplane racer is dead after two hydroplanes collided in a race on the St.Lawrence River in Brockville on Sunday.The incident is under investigation by Brockville police and the coroner. The man’s name has not been officially released, but bystanders have identified him as Mathieu Daoust, 31, of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec, an experienced racer with a lime green GP 9 hydroplane called “Miss Cleopatre.”“I am in shock,” the boat’s owner and team crew chief, Line Mayer, said in a brief French-language interview with the Brockville Recorder and Times.Mayer confirmed the victim’s identity, adding that next of kin were also at the scene.Mayer said Daoust was an experienced driver, among the best in the league and he died doing what he loved most.“He lived for it,” said Mayer. “It was his passion.”Brockville Police Deputy Chief Mark Noonan said there was only one person in each boat when they collided. The operator of the other boat was not seriously injured. Police are interviewing witnesses and a marine technical investigator will likely to engaged to assist.The 1000 Islands Regatta and Festival is a three-day hydroplane racing and music festival, which began on Saturday and was scheduled to end Monday. The racing events been cancelled, but the music festival will still go ahead.The festival website describes a hydroplane as a “plane without wings” and says hydroplane racing offers “guaranteed thrills.”According to the website, a hydroplane is a single-seat vessel made of fibreglass or carbon fibre, equipped with two sponsons, projections on the side of the boat that provide stability. The boat is thrust through the water by a propeller powered by a motor of up to 1,500 horsepower and can travel at speeds of up to 250 kilometres an hour.“At heart-pounded speeds, air whips through the tunnel — the space between the boat’s sponsons — and lifts the boat up so that practically only the propeller is touching the water,” says the festival’s website.“Visibility is reduced to almost zero in the corners with water turned up by the skid fins that help to turn the boat sharply. Loss of control at high speeds and risk of collision is high. There is no power steering and braking systems such as in your car. Just a front ‘canard’ wing to help keep the boat in the water.”The regatta attracts competitors and fans from all over North America.
Racer Mathieu Daoust’s hydroplane, the Miss Cleopatre.Photo: Hydroplane Regatta League
Marc-Andre Rheaume /
Hydroplane Regatta League (HRL)
In an interview posted online, Daoust said he realized a childhood dream in 2011 when he bought a 2.5 liter boat. “A few years later, my father and I built the hull of a Hydro 350, which I flew for two seasons.”He said the sport has always fascinated him. “I move with my boat. It’s important for me.”Although there is only one person on the hydroplane, Daoust has a nine-person crew. In the interview, Daoust said before each race, he and his team make sure everything is mechanically ready. “I say of course to my girlfriend and my two children that I love them, then I spend a few minutes alone in my truck to concentrate.”Earlier in the day, another crash at the regatta had delayed proceedings when a Hydro 350 boat, piloted by Ghislain Marcoux, flipped in a gust of wind on a turn near the Three Sisters Islands at the course’s eastern boundary.With files form the Brockville Recorder and Times ALSO IN THE NEWS:Shake, rattle and roll: How the NRC puts really big trucks through a torture testDivers search lake in Outaouais region for missing manHacker shuts down uOttawa student newspaper website