SOME HYDROPLANE PRINCIPLES
works on the principle of two raised sponsons which allow the air
between them to
lift the hull up above the water as it gathers speed, till only the
very edge of the sponson touches the water. The propeller is
designed in such a way as to not only to push the Hydroplane
forward, but also to lift the back of the hull out of the water,
till, IF it is all going properly and at full speed, only the very
tips of the two sponsons, and half of the propeller, is touching the
water, which then means LESS drag, MORE speed. Hence the propeller
half out of the water also causes a rooster tail of water thrown up into
the air behind the Hydroplanes. In the early days of Hydroplane
racing they were also known as three pointers, meaning they race
across the water on three points, tip of two sponson edges, and the propeller. (
3 points ).
Hydros were all driven with the driver sitting BEHIND the engine,
but the modern Hydros are called cab-overs, where the driver sat in
FRONT of the engine.
My first Hydro "So Long" shown above, shows me sitting
behind the motor, but "Miss Cindy" was a cab-over as I sat
in front of the motor. (see photos below)
The Thunderboat photos at the bottom of this
page, with these boats
it is said, that there was well over 2 tons of water in the air at
any one time. So you can see that during a race that is something
you have to take into serious consideration, especially IF you are
coming up behind another hydroplane, or, a Hydro passes or starts to cut
across in front of you into a turn. The Hydroplane's rooster tail
could be quite horrific for a novice driver's first time experience.
It is a tremendous feeling when you have hydroplanes racing each
side of you going down the straight flat chat and they are just out in front of you with their huge
rooster tails of water cascading high into the air each side of you,
is an incredible sight to see and experience. But of course, one has to make
sure your hydroplane does not get caught up in one of those huge walls of
water, as it is like you traveling in your car at say 140kph down the
road with no windscreen and someone throws a huge bucket of water at you at that speed. So I'll let you
be the judge of what that would feel like. Good job we had a crash
helmet on with a good strong visor....
of RACING CAREER
my only experiences with boating, my first boat was a 12 foot wooden ply
fishing dingy with a 1hp Ajax motor (very slow) that was used only on
the River Murray on our periodic fishing trips when I was with the railways at
Jamestown SA. Later in 1970 when we shifted to Mount Gambier where I
later traded-in the 1HP Ajax on a nice new 9½HP Evinrude motor, as
the 1hp Ajax was way no match for the South East coastline and the sea
on the South East coast was way, way, way rougher than the River Murray was on an
windy day. I use to get a lot of enjoyment with this 9½HP, as after we been out fishing
we'd remove all the fishing gear, tie down oars and fuel tank inside the boat
and then head-out into surf riding the waves etc, very refreshing
and exciting experience that was. I learnt some good lessons doing that, and fortunately no
late 1971, year after I started at Mt Gambier on 1st June 1970 as an assistant shunter in the South Australian
Railways, I heard a loud roar one weekend in the direction of the
Valley lakes area. My wife and I jumped in the car and on investigating
I was very surprised to see there
was a speedboat race meeting being held on the Valley Lake by the
Mount Gambier Aquatic Club. One of
the race boats was a V8 Hydroplane called "Villian" owner/driver
was Murray Langford. I was
so, so impressed with this hydroplane, that I decided I would like to race a
Hydroplane myself. One hitch was that money being a scarce commodity being in the
railways, I had to start out with as cheap as possible unit. Shoe
Langford) 21 November 1971.
I purchased my first
Hydroplane speedboat called "So-Long", bought it for
$200. I think the original name was "So-Long it's been good to know
you" but ended up just "So-Long". Bob, the fellow I bought it from was only too happy to see it get
back into the water again. This old hydro was in a bad
state of repair, as it had been out in weather under an old canvas
covering for a long time and the old Holden 149ci red motor needed some work done on
it as well.
I bought it on the condition that Bob teach me all about these old Holden
engines, as about the only thing I knew about car engines those days
was, you put
petrol in one end, oil in the motor, change the spark plugs and
adjust the points.
Apart from that my knowledge of car engines was absolutely
"NIL". But with this hydro I DID get a real CRASH course
into learning ALL about the principles of the workings of a worked
over car engine very quickly, as I could not afford to pay a
mechanic to do the work for me. I've always had that ability to just
visually see something done and then I could pick most things up immediately very easy.
Now in 2010 and cracking 70, that quick learning is now not quite so good.
next 4 months re-building this hydro and repainting it and getting
the old red motor going, well, sort of. An interesting point about this hydro
I think it was built back in the 1950's. Was told it held an Australian water speed record
for 155 cubic inch (2,500cc) motors of the amazing speed back then of 61mph. I do not
remember what the engine was in it at that time, but was definitely
in my view not this 149ci red Holden engine that was in it. So-Long
with this old 149ci six
cylinder Holden red motor with some very limited success in
handicap racing, and a
maximum speed of some 45 to 50mph. It was really just a fun boat to
learn with. Most often mixed with some complete utter frustrations, but definitely it
was no speed demon, but with handicap racing, speed was not the main
issue, just being able to actually race in every race was.
test run on Valley Lake December 1973
Filmed with silent super 8 movie camera converted onto Video.
This 4 minute Super 8 Movie
dimensions 320 x 240
WMV Filesize 15megs
The red Holden
motor was not made to rev very hard, around 4,400rpm. With
hydroplanes they needed some really decent revolutions are very important to get
propeller to scream for a good speed on the top of the water. I raced
"So-Long" from 1973 till 1975, and in time became a bit
disillusioned with its limitations and eventually realized after being towed back to
shore at least once or twice at near every race meeting, with
problems either with the hull fittings, but most times with the old
tired near worn out Holden motor, but it was a good hard learning curve
for me of things that were to come.
By the end of the 1974-75 season it was back to the drawing board
and a complete re-think of things in a BIG way. If I was to succeed
at speedboat handicap racing and also possibly achieve the Club's "KLG best Aggregate
for season" top trophy. During those early years with racing
"So-Long" I never won a race. Oh, I did win one race at
Edenhope, but I really think the lads let me win so they could give
traditional driver dunking afterwards, so I not really count that one.
My mind and ideas were
rather working overtime as to what I really needed to do to achieve some sort
of success in speedboat racing, without spending a whopping fortune
on it of course.
First thing was "to learn to do
it ALL yourself".
old Hydro "Miss Cindy"
At the end
of 1974-75 season during the off season (winter) I bought the 18
foot cab-over hydroplane hull (meaning you sit up in front of engine
on behind the engine) from Jack
Newcoombe (the original builder of the hydro) of Goolwa on 14th July 1975, called "Miss Cindy"
as I had my eye
on this Hydro the year before at a Major race day at Lake Leake 10th
March 1974 as I
felt this hydro had some very good potential for me for what I wanted to
do. Miss Cindy just needed some work on her and some more TLC put into
actual structure of the hull itself was in excellent sound
order, the 2.0 litre Prince motor Miss Cindy had in her, though
still going had seen much better days, but this Hydro was overall basically what I was looking for in a
hydroplane without spending the earth and I could work on and do it all
up myself (as I was a carpenter & joiner from age 14 to 18 years
old) to how I wanted it, now that I had some crash course engine knowledge.
One other thing also was the name Miss Cindy as we had a Pekinese dog called
and she was a real little Miss too.
at Lake Leake 10th March 1974, then owned by Jack Newcoombe of
The fellow bending over behind Miss Cindy and the lad putting on
life jacket is Jack and his son Peter Newcoombe who then drove a
displacement skiff called "Linda-K".
this Hydro for $1000, and stripped everything off of the boat,
re-skinned part of the top of the hull, and redid a new engine compartment,
driver's compartment, new top, and added big tail section so my
Hydro would be much easier to be seen by other speedboat drivers in
turns during racing as all the mountains of water these Hydros would
chuck up behind
them during racing. I had witnessed a couple of Hydros literally get
their rear section run over with prop chops in hull and also crashed into in
corners because they were too flat on the rear and were quite hard to see with all
the huge water spray thrown up during a race. Was like driving in a huge
downpour with no windscreen wipers. Just point the boat, hand on and hope
for best. Bit un-nerving at times.
finally finished "Miss Cindy" she looked nothing like it
originally did, she had the best of everything. First test runs in
Valley Lake with the original old Prince engine that came with the
hydro were very disappointing indeed, even after re-sleeving that
Prince engine. I then checked around all the wreckers in South Australia
and eventually found what I was looking for. A Nissan 240K motor that was written off in
a rollover, with only a mere 18,000kms on the Speedo in Adelaide South
Australia. This was perfect as it was almost a brand new engine
bearly run in, and PERFECT for my now near new refitted out Hydroplane. Fitted
brand new triple Webber carburetors to it, later a specially designed
camshaft and lash pads, special valve springs to the engine from the
USA to cope with the high revs that the engine was expected to turn
out. The normal Nissan Datsun 240K engine's valve springs were
limited to 6,000 rpm, as these engines were purposely designed that
way to valve bounce at 6000 rpm so as to protect the
engine from being over revved in normal motoring driving conditions.
Also found that torsional oscillation of the Nissan crankshaft was highly critical
between 8,000rpm to 8,200rpm, so I could safely go up to just under the 8,000
rpm mark before a crankshaft would possibly let go. This was often a major
problem with high revving normal car engines. The oil sump was
marinised with a lot of copper water cooling tubes, oil temperature
gauge installed in the oil sump and two really good water pick-ups
attached to each sponson to cool the engine and the oil in sump
during the high maximum of 7,800 revolutions. It was
interesting to note at this point I found very surprising, that
as soon as the engine started to run into near peak revolutions, the oil
temperature in the sump would absolutely skyrocket incredibly, hence the water
cooling tubes needed in the oil sump and it all worked well for 5 years I
The motor ran
perfectly right from the start, only hiccup was just some Webber
carburetor jetting adjustments with the new triple Webbers for a short
while, but once that was sorted out, it all ran beautifully. Also added a top quality big flow electric
filtered fuel pump and also used the Nissan engines normal manual fuel pump as well, very handy just in case the
electric fuel pump failed during a race. It actually did once at
Lake Leake, and I still went on to win
the race running on just the manual fuel pump but only just as the
normal fuel pump just bearly kept up the fuel going flat chat, so that idea
I was rapt,
so far, so good. It took me 7 months to put the Hydro together. A lot of ideas went into that hull and motor, as the
main aim of all this was because our racing was mostly handicap
racing and to start and finish EVERY race was most important. So
this meant to have the hydro virtually so well put
together, that it would be so reliable, it would be unbeatable in
that respect at least, so then it was up to me as the driver to do
the proper driving with the head, and not with the foot, like a lot
of drivers did seem to do.
The one thing
I noticed during my early days of handicap racing, was most times it
was NOT always the fastest boat that won ALL the races, it was the
one that was the most reliable that raced and finished EVERY race,
as every point from each race counted.
The marine outboard speedboats were so very reliable, so at that
time it was a big
challenge for any inboard car engine in a speedboat to
be as reliable as an outboard speedboat. This was my aim, the hydo had to
start and go everytime and finish every race at least, also be up front into
the first 3 positions.
outboard engines are specially designed for using in a watery
environment. The 8 races during a race day all carried points for
the clubs end of year Best Aggregate Points Trophy, as this
trophy was considered the TOP club trophy and was much prized and
sort after. So,
if I was to have a chance at that trophy, my boat had to be
extremely reliable just for starters, and also to FINISH every race at the
very least. This trophy was mainly won by an outboard
speedboat. So a lot of care and planning went into the inboard
Hydroplane and some were claiming that I was getting far too carried
away with this hydroplane, but it did turn out to be egg on face, for "Miss Cindy" became so darn reliable, just turn
the key on and away she went EVERYTIME.......... never a
"Miss Cindy" can lay claim she was NEVER EVER towed back to shore during my
racing career with her. I once ran out of fuel at Lake Leake during
a practice run just before racing had started that day, I literally refused to be towed
back to shore, so I sat on the front of the hull with my feet in the
water and paddled the Hydro all the way back to shore myself, reason
was this to teach me a lesson to ALWAYS make sure there is enough fuel on
board all the time. I
tell you that
NEVER ever happened again......
with Miss Cindy"
I spent the
1976-77 and 1977-78 seasons slowly getting my act together as a driver of
this now very much quicker and very reliable boat, and in the 1978 - 79
season finally was the big one for me and "Miss Cindy" and
I did not put a foot wrong and that whole season it all came together as
I finally gained the top Mount Gambier Aquatic Club's "Best Aggregate
points trophy" for that season, after 6 hard years of getting there with
a lot of blood, sweat and yes.... even near tears at times.
The 1978 season
was fantastic, gained three South Australian State Championships at the
North Arm in Adelaide. The 155ci class, plus two classes above me,
even gained 3rd place in the Unlimited class of 6 starters, as most Hydros in the Unlimited
class were V8's and could do around the 120mph plus mark in a
straight line, so I was very happy with my little 155ci class
Hydroplane getting a 3rd place amongst that lot, the fast tight
cornering fin was my secret.
Also that year in 1979, being a railwayman, the Australian National
Railways Institute nominated me for the Railway "Sportsman of the
year" award which I gained also. So to me this was the icing
on the cake for a great achievement
after a hard long road from those old "So-Long" days. Much
owed to that on-going learning period.
from the ANR Institute Magazine
This Magazine ALWAYS sported a train on its front cover.
Australian Nation Railways Institute Magazine.
January - February 1979.
MASSON - POWERBOAT ENTHUSIAST
John became interested in boating through
his fishing activities, and was particularly inspired by hydroplane
racing. It was not long before he purchased his own hydroplane named
SO-LONG which could attain a top speed of about 50 miles per
hour. He later sold this boat and acquired another old hull, which
after eight months of restoration and steamlining, ran the original
"Prince" 2000 cc motor, and was capable of speeds up to 60
m.p.h. Serious problems arose in this engine, however, so John
replaced it with a Datsun (Nissan) 2400 cc (146 cu inch). This is a
standard car engine "hotted up and capable of 7,800rpm at
speeds of 85m.p.h.
this boat, which he named MISS CINDY John raced in the South
Australian Championships in Adelaide during March 1978, winning his
own class 155 c.i. as well as the 225 c.i. and the 266 c.i. classes.
He was also placed second in the 300 and 400 c.i. and placed third
in the unrestricted class which had boats capable of speeds up to
120 m.p.h. competing.
John's interests now rest with fostering and
racing 25 h.p. racing boats. He also holds the position of
Rear-Commodore in the Mount Gambier Aquatic Club.
Australian Nation Railways Institute Magazine.
November - December 1979.
from most affiliated metropolitan clubs and five from country areas
were nominated for Sports Personality of the Year.
TITLE TO MOUNT GAMBIER - John Masson
The winner this year was Mr John Masson of the local
Aquatic Club and was nominated by the Mount Gambier Area Conmmittee.
John is a shunter at the Mount and has worked previously at
Jamestown and Peterborough. Taking an interest in water sports John
has two speedboats which he rebuilt himself. One "Miss
Cindy" a 2375cc boat, has gained 52 placings in 64 starts in
competition. The other "Wings" is smaller with a new
designed Wingboat hull and has won four out of the first six starts
and has also topped the aggregate score for all classes of boating
With enthusiasm for the sport John has been instrumental in
building the club to its present esteemed position. John is the
holder of three State Titles and holds the title Past Rear-Commodore
of the club.
Cindy" could attain speeds of 84mph. Just before the State
Speedboat Championships I had fitted a special fin fitted to the outside
of the sponson, instead of the normal inside of the sponson, as that
was the accepted way it was always done in those days to all Hydroplanes.
(see photo and story further down about this fin ) This
turned out that allowed my Hydro to turn the corners extremely
tight and nearly as good as any displacement boat. One had to be
very careful though not to be literally ejected out of the Hydroplane sideways during
these tight turns. The fin being outside the sponson also acted
like a rudder of sorts, whereas the fin on the inside only acted to
stop hydro from sliding sideways too much. BTW, The American
Rolls Royce Merlin Thunderboat hydroplane
"Miss Bud" when it visited Australia at Lake Eppalock, Victoria in the
70's. This actually did give me that outside sponson fin idea which
I filmed with 8mm camera while they craned her from the water onto
its trailer and I then adapted that idea to Miss Cindy. WOW and what a
difference that was, actually incredible, thanks to Miss Bud.
A Hydroplane could travel very fast across the water in a
straight line, but when the Hydro came to turning corners this was
the Hydroplane's main downfall in comparison to any displacement boats.
Being flat like a plank and displacing no or very little water during full flight, hence the
Hydroplane when coming into a corner would find it extremely difficult to turn corners
sharply like a displacement boat, as the Hydro would just tend to slide out sideways across the water
like a flat plank, or worst case scenario even bog in and overturn sideways with the
hull on top of you. Saw this happen to few others. Most times on a
narrow course, the Hydro would go so wide you'd even be clipping reeds or mangroves
etc, (So-Long was much like that, had few anxious moments like
that with her) that was quite often real hair raising stuff, but to the spectators
they use to
love it though.
achieved that "Best Aggregate Points Trophy in the 1978-79
other avenues were starting to happen for me and I then decided to
"Miss Cindy" the Hydroplane to the shed, still in good
order and put her up for
sale. She was later sold back to her original owner for his son
Peter to race at Goolwa in South Australia and that hydro raced another
two years very, very successfully, as I understand it the motor literally never had any
work done to it during all that time, not even an oil change I was
told later. "Miss Cindy" was then sold off to
another chap in Adelaide and he raced her for another season, but
the motor finally dropped a valve during a race and that
finally wrecked the engine completely and I have no idea what happened
to "Miss Cindy" after that. Last saw her race on the
Valley Lake in 1986, after than nothing....
nearly 6 years of a inboard boat and motor that was well thought out and
prepared very carefully when I re-built it, and as I said before the
Hydro was so well carefully put together and so darn reliable, this was
Cindy's strongest point, even if I may say so myself. The Hydro raced five years virtually with no spanners put to
the motor, apart from just
normal maintenance on my own part. For me looking back now, that was
quite an achievement in itself for a novice, especially the engine
as I did most of it by reading Datsun (Nissan) engine books,
and Datsun (Nissan) American Magazines.
Change was now in the air for me".
the Hydro "Miss Cindy" the club started up a small (25hp)
20Kw class of outboard racing boats, so the club agreed to run this
much smaller class of racing boat, providing that 4 boats could line
up for a regular start.
Only 3 could
be found to be starters, so to get the 25Hp class up and running, I
was approached by the other (25hp) 20kw class members to approach on
their behalf a
local Outboard Marine dealer in Mount Gambier, Bob Manser, as he
once had and raced an old (25hp) 20kw "Comet" displacement hull
still hanging up in
his back shed just gathering dust. I myself could not afford to put
a (25hp) 20kw outboard engine on it, so Bob Manser agreed to put an
old secondhand (25hp Evenrude) 20kw outboard engine on this hull on the one condition
that I must do all the driving of this tiny
boat. The 25 was called "Manser's Comet"
At first I
had serious reservations about doing this as the coming season turned out to
be the very year I finally got the TOP aggregate points club trophy
with "Miss Cindy", it seemed like learning to drive a
small canoe with an 25hp outboard motor attached to it, after
driving the bigger faster Hydroplane. But I was very surprised as the power to weight ratio was
quite incredible. Also this meant driving the 2
boats in 2 separate classes at each and every race local meeting,
Whew!.... Looking back now I certainly took on a lot and do not know
how I did it..
So this meant
I had to drive "Miss Cindy" and "Manser's Comet" both
entirely different types of speedboats at the same venues. Boy oh boy,
8 races for inboards, and another 8 races for the (25hp) 20kw
outboards, meaning 16 races at each race meeting, I use to be really
buggered at the end of each race meeting. But at the end of that season
"Miss Cindy" the Hydroplane I finally realised the Club's Best
Aggregate points for the season and the (25hp) 20kw
"Comet" came in 6th overall. I guess that was an
achievement to get these 2 entirely different type of boats out of
30 boats into 1st and 6th position at the end of the racing season, looking
back now that was another small achievement I suppose. By the way the club raced 3
classes of race boats, Inboard, Outboard and 25hp classes of 8 races
each at every
race meeting. Handicapper's nightmare.
At the end of
that successfull 1978 - 79 season with the Inboard Hydroplane
"Miss Cindy" and the Outboard (25hp) 20kw
"Comet", Bob Manser said to me, "seeing you did so
well with the "Comet" would you now be interested in getting a
25hp (20kw) lightweight fiberglass outboard Wing-Boat hull", as
these were the top 25hp high speed hulls around at the time and Bob
said he would sponsor me with the very latest brand NEW (25hp) 20kw Evinrude
Outboard engine for it.
this was far too good a chance to miss as it was always a concern to
I blew the motor in Miss Cindy how could I afford another engine on
just railway shunter's pay. Well I re-thought my
position, as I really did love the Hydroplane racing, nothing like
it and now that I
had finally achieved everything I had set out to do with the Hydro, to be
a TOP club driver in an Inboard hydroplane, and also State
there was not much left to go for, except sit back and enjoy my
But I could not just sit back as I guess one does need something to always strive for.
found I very much enjoyed and was fun driving this (25hp) 20kw outboard racing
hull called "Comet" in as much as to the power to
weight ratio was tremendous which made the boat extremely
flighty and darn challenging just to just keep it upright and not get tossed out. These Comet hulls
went everywhere all over the water, except in a straight line. Driving one of these you
would see sky, water, sky, water, left shoulder in water, then right
shoulder in the water. These Comet hulls were like a real wild
bucking horse. How I never tipped one over still amazes me to this
day, everyone else did. Every other driver in 25hp racing had tipped
theirs over a couple of times, some many, many times, and all gained
their "Yabbie badges". And yes,,, that is one item I never manage to
received in all my 10 years of racing.
So I retired
"Miss Cindy" to the back shed put up for sale, and took up Bob
Manser's offer of getting and driving this very small, ultra-light
25hp "Wing-boat". I called this new Wing-boat
"Wings", and for good reason, it flew across the water
(when water was flat). The motor, hull, and one gallon of fuel all
weighed in at 118kg, which is very light for the speed it could do.
I myself weighed in at 72kg at that time, so it was an all up weight of
190kg with a 25hp outboard. The only thing allowed to be changed was
the propeller, everything else on motor HAD to be left standard.
seemed an appropriate name for the Wing-boat, as this Wing-boat
would near fly over the water (actually much like the Hydro
did in a way so was a little easier to relate to it) as only the
very rear end of the hull and the prop were in the water. Of course that is when the water had a nice good ripple on
it, but a bit of a dog to handle when windy and the water was a bit
on the rough side.
At some major
race meetings we would get up to 17 of these little (25hp) 20kw
boats turn up, it was great fun with that gaggle of boats all
bobbing and bouncing around all over the place, all trying to get to
the front, it was all handicap racing (except in Championship racing)
as normally the fastest boats (me) always started last in
the handicap races, it was really hard, hard work with some fancy
driving and mental thinking to get to the front of that hot shot lot, and not having a
bingle, or getting yourself disqualified in the meantime, or, ejected out of the boat into the water.
explain a bit about Club handicapping racing:- The first race
of the day was usually a scratch race of 3 laps and you were timed
for each 3 laps, but the other 7 races on the day were all
handicapped, so IF you won the scratch race, now in the handicap
races you were last off the rank, and you had to really get your act
together and make literally no mistakes to do any good to get up
front and hopefully get a place or win.
Of course my
20kw Wingboat "Wings" now being the fastest in S.A., I was the last to start. Many drivers use to get very
frustrated and could not understand, nor grasp when I use to say to
them, we are NOT racing each other, we are racing against the clock,
as to break your time by more than 2 seconds a lap, or by 5 seconds
over the 3 laps, you would be disqualified, and the time you broke
the laps by, say for example, (4 seconds), you were put back a
further 4 seconds in the next race, so as you can appreciate, it did
take one awhile to learn the art of Handicap racing, and believe me
it was an ART. Handicap racing is far, far more fun than scratch racing
is, the quicker your boat went, the harder you worked. You had to
use your head all the time, and not the stupid foot. That was many a
speedboat driver's downfall in more ways than one.
racing the fastest boat just has to stay out in front and hope he
does not do anything stupid during the race, not much of a challenge
in that overall, unless another boat running alongside challenging you. Usually in most types of scratch racing, the more
cash (money) puts into the boat, the more chances of winning, and when
money comes into the picture, we ALL then loose sight of the
enjoyment that once was just racing for the enjoyment of it. But with handicap
racing, that is definitely NOT necessary so, as there is too many
things that can go wrong that money cannot buy, one is serious
EXPERIENCE. I guess that is why I liked handicap racing so much more than
scratch racing, as it kept us all basically on a level ground, and
one had to keep up to a good race plan throughout all the races on that
day. Races at State or Australian Championships and some bigger
meetings of course were straight out scratch races. Fastest boat
wins, that is if you did not do something stupid.
Cindy" and Bob Manser's old "Comet" were now both
retired to the sheds.
Now the new partnership with the (25hp) 20kw Evinrude powered
outboard Wing-boat "Wings" and my Sponsor Bob Manser was
the beginning of another three continuous years of very successful
Wing-boat I continued to achieve the "Best Aggregate points Mount Gambier Aquatic
Club" for next three years in a row:- 1979-80, 1980-81, 1981-82.
(25hp) 20kw water speed record of 66.05 km/h to 72.60km/h on 4th May
1980 at Goolwa, then again on October 11th 1981, broke my own record
and raised the water speed record to 76.83 kph, again at
Goolwa and that was having a bi-stander's boat wake cross over my
measured mile run. Was in line for rerun, but the water went off as I
hoping to crack the 80kph but sadly that did not ever happen.
record (25hp) 20kw quarter mile in 19.93 seconds at the Adelaide
Speedboat Club, North Arm.
Won APBA South
Australian 25hp (20kw) Championship at Adelaide Speedboat Club at
North Arm on 27th November 1981.
may not seem fast, but realise as I said before that the Wing-boat "Wings"
weighed in at a total of 190kg with me sitting in it and one gallon
of fuel. So the power to weight ratio was quite a real handful most
of the time, as this boat just skimmed across the water practically
on the rear end of the hull, with just only the propeller basically in
the water, a real balancing act. The (25hp) 20kw Wing-boat was
extremely flighty boat, and a handful especially in any
choppy or rougher water. In the whole
time I raced speedboats I NEVER had a crash, OR was ever tossed out into
the water, so the one thing I never received was the traditional
"YABBIE BADGE", as the yabbie badge was for all driver(s)
who were tossed out of their boats and dunked into the water.
1978-79 season was Rear Commodore, 1979-80 as Secretary and 1981-82
as Treasurer of the Mount Gambier Aquatic Club.
from racing altogether August 1982."
After 10 years of racing, the last four years of being an undefeated
club driver, I then decided to retire from racing altogether in late
1982, as I had now done everything I set out to achieve. Also the
railway home we lived in was later coming up for grabs and there be
a lot refurbishing needed to be done so warranted a retirement from racing.
When I sold "Miss Cindy"
I kept my high
Impact life jacket and crash helmet as a memento of those hectic speedboat
racing days. Meantime took up photography as a hobby till 1992 when I was
offered a retrenchment payout from the AN Railways when the Broad Gauge track was
looked like being closed down between Wolseley (S.A.) and Heywood (Vic), leaving Mount Gambier
completely isolated from the national rail network. That happened in
April 1995. Then went to TAFE for 2 years part time to obtain a computer support
certificate, hence all that did eventually come in handy much later
in life hence
website and in 2001 Microsoft Train Simulator
had been released so I now though retired, had my old job in a way
I'm back shunting
trains around the computer screen. One thing with a simulator this is less physically
demanding on the body in my now old(er) age.
included a number of photos of the Hydroplane "Miss
Also the 25hp (20kw) Outboard Wingboat "Wings"