Lightning to strike electric record?

A UK group is aiming to push the electric world water speed record over 100mph

A group of UK power boating enthusiasts is set to launch a bid at the end of March for the world electric water speed record. The Lightning Strike! project, formed by four members of the Speed Record Club based at Coniston Water in England’s Lake District, is aiming to push this record over 100mph (161km/hr).

Malcolm Pittwood, Phil Evans, Paul Hannaford and Novie Dzinora are hoping that Lightning Strike!, an electrically driven 20ft hydroplane, can take the honours from current record holder Fiona, Countess of Arran, whose 1989 mark in An Stradag stands at 50.825mph (81.793kph). American team Cloud Electric are the APBA (American Power Boat Association) record holders with 70.597mph (113.61kph) in 1995. Lightning Strike’s! ultimate goal is to break the 100mph (161 kph) mark.

Built mainly of marine ply, the craft is a conventional three-point planing hull with outrigged forward sponsons. She will have twin tail fins bridged by a carefully shaped tailplane. The pilot will sit in an open cockpit, which has been positioned towards the rear of the craft. For weight saving there will be no roll cage or capsule. The pilot will sit in front of the motor bay and behind the long foredeck, which will house the batteries delivering drive through a single prop shaft to a surface-piercing prop.

Construction of the main hull is well under way at boat builders Farrow and Chambers, with marine ply for the craft donated by Goldbergs, while Gravitron will be providing the new technology motors and drive. Once the hull is built the project will be ready for a full press launch targeted towards the end of March. The project, funded largely so far by Phil Evans’s domestic appliance business in Grimsby, still needs GBP25,000 to ensure that this record attempt can go ahead. Ways of raising this are currently being sought.