’21’ Craig Speller’s OSY400 Hydroplane


’21’ taking shape. The aerofoil shape of the hull is clearly visible before the plywood skin is applied. The craft is built to fit the driver and the combined weight of driver and craft has to meet a minimum figure for World Championships.

During his career in hydroplane racing, Craig has used a number of hydroplanes. ’21’ has been built by Newsons Boatbuilders specifically for the 2007 OSY400 World Hydroplane Championship.


’21’ arriving at Oulton Broad for its first trial on water. This was a short trip from Newsons Boatbuilders, using a temporary trailer.

Once the construction was complete, ’21’ had to be trialled and the first launching was at Oulton Broad on April 26, the second evening meeting of 2007 for the LOBMBC at Oulton Broad. Hydroplanes have changed little over the years and trace their ancestory back to the early aviation industry, before 1907, when the first craft were built to test the hydrodynamic performance of the early seaplane designs. ’21’ is a major advance that is unique and includes the use of nanotechnology.


Setting the engine up is a very important task. A new craft will have some unforeseen characteristics and trials show how the engine position must be fined tuned. Once the position has been fixed, the engine itself is adjusted for maximum safe power output. Although a driver can lose a race, engineering can allow him or her to win.

During the weeks leading up to the 2007 OSY400 World Hydroplane Championship, Team-21 will have to work very hard setting the craft up. For the first launching, the main attention was to the engine. The challenge is that time is limited. Every opportunity has to be taken to ensure that the behaviour of the craft is fully understood, any necessary modifications are made and re-tested, and both craft and engine are fully tuned for the World Championship.


A racing start for the first trip of ’21’, close to the conditions for a Championship start.

During this frantic period of testing, Craig will mostly be racing under club rules which allow the mixing of Koenig 500 and OSY400 craft together and employ a handicap system with the most experienced drivers starting from the back of the field. That means that Craig will have to fight his way up through the disturbed water from less experienced drivers. For the World Championship, only OSY400 craft will race each other and the start includes engine start to the command of a traffic light system with the fastest away attempting to hold pole position in the clear water ahead of the following competitors.




Leave a Reply