Andrew Tate doesn’t need an Ancestry DNA or 23andMe genetics test and analysis to know racing boats is in his DNA. His great-grandfather, grandfather, father, and mother all raced boats. Now, as a fourth-generation boat racer, you could say Tate was born to drive hydroplanes because it is in his blood.
He began racing H1 Unlimited hydroplanes in 2016 where as a rookie he won his first winner-take-all final at the Albert Lee Appliance Cup in Seattle driving the U-9 Sound Propeller Service/Les Schwab Tire hydroplane. Three years into his young career, Tate has added three race victories and one non-point exhibition race win to the family’s trophy case. One is the prestigious President’s Cup that he won in 2017 near his home in Walled Lake, Michigan.
With a strong season last year, including two fastest-qualifier poles, eight preliminary-heat wins, and his two winner-take-all finals, he just missed becoming the 2017 H1 Unlimited hydroplane national high points champion by 425 points, instead settling for second.
Tate says his favorite thing about driving an H1 Unlimited hydroplane is “the fans, speed, prestige, the people involved in the sport and the sport’s history.
He knows a little thing about the sport’s history. Andrew’s father, Mark Tate, who drove from 1990 to 2004, has 12 H1 Unlimited hydroplane victories including two American Power Boat Association Gold Cups and four H1 Unlimited national championships, and with son Andrew are one of only six other second-generation father-son combinations to race H1 Unlimited hydroplanes competitively.
The duo join other father-son driver lineage that includes Greg Hopp (son) and Jerry Hopp (father), Mitch and Mark Evans (sons) and Norm Evans (father), Larry (son) and Norm Lauterbach (father), Roger and Tom D’Eath (sons) and Al D’Eath (father), Billy Sterett Jr. and Terry Sterett (sons) and Bill Sterett (father), and Wil Muncey (son) and Bill Muncey (father).
Although Andrew’s grandfather Joe Tate did drive an H1 Unlimited hydroplane in 1996 and drove a 7-litre powered hydroplane until he was 70-years-old, he never qualified as an H1 Unlimited driver.
Like many of his H1 Unlimited hydroplane driving peers, Andrew began racing in the small wooden kneel-down outboard hydroplanes when he was just 9 years old. He graduated into the inboard hydroplane classes in 2006 and has since won nearly 100 races in various APBA hydroplane categories, including nine national championship titles, and has been inducted into the APBA’s Hall of Champions twice (2010 and 2016).