Circle boat racing champion Julian Pettengill, who turned 79 this year, passed away on Sept. 4. Pettengill was the subject of a “Speedboat Legends” article in our August 2016 print edition. His K boat accomplishments and his work with Rusty Biesemeyer are part of West Coast speedboating history.
Pettengill, a friend of boat painter Bill Berkenheger of Krazy Kolors, recalled his buddy with love in a Facebook post: “Julian was the Dale Earnhardt Sr. of my generation. He put circle racing on the map in the mid ’70s and early ’80s, when he retired from the sport. His hull design—Biesemeyer, with help from Rusty Biesemeyer—is still used today. Could you imagine driving a K boat with a rope around your left arm to keep the down pedal from sucking in at over 120 mph? That’s what he did! He was crazy.”