In Heat 1B for the President’s Cup, disaster nearly struck for Kevin Eacret when his Miss Rock's bow lifted, stayed airborne and the big unlimited hydroplane did a bow-over-stern 360.
It looked like a horrific incident, and the crowd along the north bank of the river let out a great gasp.
But when those watching from their boats in the slips at the Detroit Yacht Club soon got on their horns, the traditional signal that a driver is out of a boat in trouble, applause rang out.
Rescuers gave Eacret high marks for executing the cockpit extrication drill to perfection.
“You know, a lot of wind coming up the river, a lot of funny waves come of that yacht club over there,” he said.
“I knew I wasn’t going to catch the other two boats. I was just trying to survive the heat. I was mellowing the boat out a bit, preparing it for the turn.
“Before I knew it, I hit a roller and started staring towards the sky,” Eacret said. “And then the sky came around, and I was looking at the water.
“And then, I’m coming back around again, and I saw all sky and no more water – and I’m thinking, this isn’t going to be good.”
Eacret did not require hospitalization and stood and talked easily, about an hour after the incident.
The Miss Rock will not race Sunday.