San Diego - Southern California's biggest annual sport's convention, the Thunderboat Regatta, has a new corporate partner in Washington Mutual, Inc., the nation's #1 mortgage originator and 7th largest financial institution. The Washington Mutual Thunderboat Regatta will be held in San Diego's Mission Bay Park on September 19-21 and will once again benefit Children's Hospital and Health Center.

"We could not be more thrilled with our new corporate partner," said Chip Hanauer, executive director for the regatta and the second winningest driver in thunderboat racing. "We are also proud that the event will continue to benefit Children's Hospital and Health Center in San Diego." The 2002 event raised more than $150,000 for local charities, including $33,000 for the hospital, the region's only dedicated pediatric facility, which provides care to more than 350,000 children each year.

A fixture in Mission Bay since 1964, the 2003 Washington Mutual Thunderboat Regatta promises to attract more than 150,000 spectators and will feature the biggest legends in unlimited hydroplane racing. Mission Bay Park is considered the world's largest man-made aquatics park and encompasses more than 4600 acres.

"We are excited to lend our name and support to this wonderful, family-oriented event, particularly knowing that it benefits so many sick and injured children throughout the San Diego area," said Joel Calvo, executive vice president at Washington Mutual.

EDITOR'S NOTE: In anticipation of the 2003 regatta, a special ceremony will be held at Children's Hospital in July as well as a Media Day Kickoff Luncheon -- with hydroplane rides -- at the race site in August. More details on both events will be announced shortly.