By Harry Gatjens
The Edmonds-based U-11 Peter’s and May unlimited hydroplane is leaving town this Friday for the first two races of the 2011 season. Stop one is next Sunday, July 5 in Madison, Indiana. The second stop is the following weekend in Detroit for the Gold Cup.
Owners Shannon and Scott Raney and JW Meyers have been working untold hours with their volunteer crew to prepare the boat for the upcoming season. The boat has been totally renovated since its purchase just a few months ago. All of the physical attributes of the boat have been reworked and renovated as well as all the related hardware. The hydroplane is essentially brand new.
The boat is just under 30 feet long and a little over 12 feet wide. JW Meyers, in addition to being part owner, will drive the boat. It travels at up to 200 mph and will average close to 160 mph for a complete lap.
Power comes from a Lycoming helicopter engine that has been specially modified and beefed up for the racing application, and engine guru Bruce Haskin gave an overview of how it all works: The engine is a gas turbine that spins a shaft just like the driveshaft in a car. The driveshaft enters the front of the engine and goes into a gear box that both reduces the rpm of the ultimate shaft — where the propeller is attached –from 70,000 rpm closer to 15,000. There, it turns a 16-inch-diameter propeller that moves the boat along. The boats are not propelled by thrust — a common misconception — but rather by the propeller.
After the two races back East, the boat will return to Washington state for a race in Tri-Cities followed by Seattle Seafair.
The team is proud to be from Edmonds and hopes to promote some inter-city rivalry with Madison, which has a boat of its own.
Sponsorship opportunities still exist, so if you want to sponsor one of the World’s fastest race boats or just want to learn more about Edmonds’ entry into the sport, visit the team’s website.
My Edmonds News will be posting results of the team’s efforts throughout the season.