F1 Superboat Grand finale 2007 Sydney

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Trask F1 Champ Theo Spykers

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Tsaccounis-Cole2nd overall – Theo Spykers

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Cole. No.1 on race day and 3rd overall – Theo Spykers

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Vella – Hammering to 3rd palce – Theo Spykers

All good things must come to an end, as the saying goes, and so it is with the 2007 XLR8 Home Loans Australian Formula 1 Superboats held at the spectacular Sydney International Regatta Centre over the weekend of October 13/14, 2007.

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’21’ World Championship Configuration

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During practice for the World Championship, the fairing ahead of the the engine was providing too much down thrust

When ’21’ entered the water for the first time, it was known that testing would show a need for modification and that there was very little test time available before the World Championship.

The new hydroplane incorporated a number of new ideas which had not been tested before on other hulls.

In the first outings, the hydroplane proved to have a high speed potential but modifications and tuning would be required to exploit that potential.

Initially the weakness was a result of the craft coming too far out of the water which cut the supply of cooling water to the engine, raising the bore temperature to critical levels.

Various settings were tried for the engine in an attempt to resolve the overheating problem but without losing thrust in other sections of the speed range.

It was an advantage that the Stage 2 competition for the British Nationals took place in foul weather with continuous rain and low temperatures. Even so, practice laps saw the engine ‘nip’, requiring a strip down and re-assembly, but it did allow Craig to achieve the fastest practice lap and achieve pole position for the heats.

A combination of some very smart work on rebuilding the engine, and the unusually low temperatures allowed Craig to push the hydroplane and dominate all heats for Stage 2.

It was clear that there was a problem to solve in very little test time. Video of ’21’ showed that the prop was not making adequate contact coming down the straights. Lowering the engine on the transom improved running on the straights but placed the prop too low in the water on the turns.

Finally it was decided to try a fairing ahead of the engine and adjustable aerofoil trim tabs. The fairing seemed to help resolve the problems, although the aerofoils were less successful, the main difficulty being in getting the setting right and locking them in position before the hydroplane raced.

The result of these trials was the configuration used for the World Championship. Unfortunately, the fairing produced too much down thrust in the conditions applying at Oulton Broad. Craig had to struggle to get adequate performance. Adjustment of the engine position between laps took the performance up and, by the final lap, which was terminated early, ’21’ was showing a significant improvement, if too late for Craig in the Championship.

Craig Speller and Bill Giles at the World Hydroplane Championship

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Bill Giles and ‘192’ heading for the weigh-in

The irony was that two of the most experienced drivers, entered for the 2007 Championship, had to struggle to qualify, and had then to battle each other to avoid last place.

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Craig Speller being weighed

For Britain, Craig Speller, 31, is less than half Bill Giles’ 68 years, but has won the World Championships four times already, together with a clutch of European and British National trophies. Both drivers were using brand new hydroplanes built in Britain in 2007.

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Craig takes ’21’ away under power for the first time. No sponsors’ logos yet on the white topsides

Craig Speller took out ’21’ for the first time on April 26. The craft is still in its development cycle and the lack of water in Britain for hydroplane testing is a major problem.

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Oulton Broad has a long narrow course with very tight turns at each end. During races all other traffic on the Broad is suspended. To the right and out of shot is Mutford Lock which connects Oulton Broad with the Port of Lowestoft and the North Sea

For those unfamiliar with this year’s Championship course, Oulton Broad is part of the Broads National Park and the only location, in the park, were hydroplane racing is permitted. This is only possible through the philanthropy of a local lawyer who deeded an area of land along the Broad to the people of Lowestoft and Oulton Broad. In the conditions he placed on the gift, he required that there be a yacht club and a motorboat club, that they be guaranteed full use of the Broad, that a band play in the park to be created on the land and that a range of leisure facilities be included. The Nicholas Everitt Park is named for him and his foresight has ensured the continuation of hydroplane racing on the Broad. Sadly the rest of the United Kingdom has not faired so well and several stretches of inland water have been closed to hydroplanes in recent years. It is all the more to the credit of British hydroplane drivers that they have kept an exciting and affordable sport alive against the indifference of Government and the attempts by ‘conservationists’ to drive them out. By contrast, the Italian Government has lavished considerable funding on hydroplane racing and the result is a very strong national team.

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Crash of ’21’ in early May

’21’ crashed on its second outing in a spectacular corkscrew climb with Craig underneath the craft as it landed upside down, suffering severe bruising but only minor damage to the hydroplane. The crash was due to the right side aft digging in as the craft rounded a tight turn, starting a turning motion as water built up rapidly on the right side decking, the hydroplane climbing steeply out of the water and rotating. This was cured by fitting an up-stand to the right side rear quarter. The other issue to be resolved was the lack of prop in the water at full speed. With only a third of the prop disk in the water, there was poor thrust with the hydroplane flying in ground effect. As seriously, the cooling water intake was also out of the water most of the time. Craig achieved the fastest practice lap and convincingly won all three heats of the Second Stage of the British Nationals in May but overheating was still a problem. The engine was dropped to its lowest position and a fairing fitted over the rear third of the cockpit. This proved very successful in testing, but limited availability of test time meant that only a narrow range of water conditions could be experienced.

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Team 21 taek Craig’s hydroplane for the weigh-in. The white topsides are now covered with sponsors’ logos

On the first day of the World Championship, Craig looked to be in a good position, the issues apparently addressed, although ’21’ is still clearly in its development stage, with several new features being tried.

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A River Inspector’s launch crosses the stern of MTB 102 in hot pursuit of a vintage speedboat that broke the normal speed limit that applies when racing is not in progress

The first practice on Saturday July 14 was in marginal conditions. A strong wind was blowing up the course from the West, backing and returning more than 30 degrees. The Guard Ship MTB 102 dragged her anchor in the conditions and for a time had to hold position on her engines. Craig rounded the buoy at the Eastern end of the course and the wind flipped ’21’ over, stopping practice and leading to the decision that conditions were too dangerous for the OSY 400s to use the course. F4 cats and the mono hulls took advantage of the free time and put in some sparkling racing.

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F4 cats were able to race in the strong gusty wind

The stand down for the OSY 400s allowed Bill Giles and his team to work on their new hydroplane and they were busy planing wood off the undersides. There was similar furious activity in Craig’s marquee as his team checked ’21’ for any damage and stripped the engine down to make sure there was no injury from the immersion when she flipped.

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Mike Pacey with ’14’ failed to qualify

In the qualification races, both Bill and Craig had to work very hard with their new hydroplanes to qualify against stiff competition that saw several drivers eliminated including British driver Mike Pacey, in ’14’, who had enjoyed a very successful start to the 2007 season.

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Very disturbed water was a challenge for those working their way up the field

In the Championship heats, Bill and Craig started from the far end of the line and had the disadvantage of cutting through very disturbed water. This was a greater problem for Craig driving in a prone position with minimum height cockpit sides, leading to a heavy intake of water that in one heat put ’21’ very low in the water, making her difficult to handle. Driving from a kneeling position, Bill had the advantage of higher cockpit sides and windscreen for a dryer ride.

It was pretty clear to Craig’s shore team that ’21’ was not right for the conditions and the engine was raised after the second heat. That showed improvement, and further adjustments were made before the forth and final heat.

Bill and his team continued to work between heats to adjust his hydroplane.

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‘hot-mix’ epoxy and screws repair battle damage

Craig’s team faced the added challenge of repairing battle damage suffered in two laps. The wisdom of building in wood was demonstrated. A composite hydroplane could not have been repaired between heats, but wood can be repaired with ‘hot-mix’ epoxy and screws.

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The start for heat 3 saw Bill and Craig both improving their positions and Craig was working his way rapidly up the field

Both Bill and Craig had been showing improvements through the heats and the final irony was that the forth and final heat was halted prematurely. Bill remarked that it was similar to his first trip to Britain when he was mastering an unfamiliar hydroplane in the final races, seeing his performance yo-yo.

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Sean Barnard in ’52’ brought the silver back to Britain

The forth heat required a restart. Then suffered delays while swans were cleared from the course, finally restarting only to be halted in the second lap after a hydroplane was stopped in a dangerous position at the East end turn buoy. Positions were awarded as at the time of stopping the heat. That resulted in British driver Sean Barnard in ’52’ winning the title and bringing the trophy back to Britain from Italy.

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Tomas Cesnys’ ‘3’ suffered failure of it composite hull

There were some interesting lessons from the races. Wooden construction is not only significantly cheaper than building in composite materials, but it is much easier to reshape in the light of experience and battle damage can be fairly easily and quickly repaired. When composites fail, as they did on ‘3’ Tomas Cesneys’ hydroplane, there is little that can be done to keep it racing. Small details can also be costly as one Swedish contestant discovered. His hydroplane was fitted with foam-filled pickles on the front of his sponsons. Designed to break off in a crash, they did exactly that in Heat 4 and could not be refitted before the restart, removing him from contention.

2007 OSY 400 World Championship Entries & Scrutineering

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MTB 102 Guardship for the course

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The course on Oulton Broad (F4 race in progress) home to the Lowestoft and Oulton Broad Yacht Club

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’21’ Craig Speller being weighed in. Craig, a strict teatotaler, was also one of two drivers to be selected at random for alcohol testing.

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192 Bill Giles Cagey Racing Team USA, (Massachusetts)

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14 Mike Pacey GSC Great Britain (Oulton Broad)

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21 Craig Speller Team 21 Great Britain (Oulton Broad)

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57 Christoffer Soderstedt Team 57 Sweden

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90 Diego Bacchiega – Trombetta Italy

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12 Alberto Bello – GSC Italy

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2 Tommaso Ghisani – – Italy

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9 Ronald Iemmi – GSC Italy

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1 Andrea Ongari – GSC Italy

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2 Miroslav Bazinsky – – Slovakia

6 Julius Beke – – Slovakia
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34 Tony Knights Team Tigers Great Britain (Oulton Broad)

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95 Stephen Smith – Great Britain (Oulton Broad)

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10 Stu Wilkinson Claymore Racing Great Britain (MPRC)

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20 Stefan Probst – Germany

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42 Michal Kosut – – Slovakia

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93 Eva Sacherlova – – Slovakia

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41 Laura Stainyte Team “Politechnika” Lithuania

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52 Sean Barnard Great Britain (Oulton Broad)

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54 Anja Fredrich Udo Mischer Germany

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81 Ricky Gibbs Great Britain (Oulton Broad)

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3 Tomas Cesnys Great Britain (Oulton Broad)

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2007 OSY 400 and F4 World Hydroplane Championship

Hosted by Lowestoft and Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club, Oulton Broad, Lowestoft, Suffolk, United Kingdom

Saturday July 14

Sunday July 15

Full Programme www.lobmbc.co.uk

How to get there:

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From the North Sea: Port of Lowestoft. Moorings at the Yacht Harbour and the Lowestoft Marina in Lake Lothing. For boats of suitable size, continue through Mutford Lock into Oulton Broad. Moorings at the Outlon Broad Yacht Harbour.

By Rail: One Railway via Ipswich or via Norwich. Best station on the Ipswich Lowestoft line is Oulton Broad South.

By road: A12 from Ipswich; or A146 from Norwich; or A12 from Great Yarmouth.

By air: Norwich International Airport

By river: River Waveney, Oulton Dyke to Oulton Broad

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Race viewing: From Nicholas Everitt Park

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OSY 400 Hydroplanes

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Craig Speller in ’21’ attempting to win a fifth OSY 400 World Hydroplane Championship title.

F4 Hydroplanes

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OSY 400 and F4 World Hydroplane Championships 2007

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The 2007 World Hydroplane Championships for OSY400 and F4 Hydroplanes will take place July 14 and 15 at Oulton Broad, Lowestoft, Suffolk, United Kingdom.

This will be a tough challenge, taking place inside the Broads National Park on the outstanding Oulton Broad hydroplane circuit, hosted by Lowestoft and Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club. LOBMBC is one of the oldest motorboat clubs in the world, tracing its history back to 1904. Through the summer, LOBMBC stages events every Thursday evening and a limited number of weekend events. A feature of the Oulton Broad circuit is a long crowd line using the terraced embankment along the Nicholas Everitt Park. The two long straights run close to each other with very tight turns at each end and the southern straight runs along the crowd line only 10 ft (2.5M)

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Keeping Cool

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The last weeks have been hectic for Craig and Team-21. With the World Championship only a few weeks away, the real race is to get as much water time as possible to make the final adjustments, and for Craig to find all of the little quirks of his new craft. In Britain there is a serious shortage of suitable stretches of water for testing hydroplanes and for racing. The situation has been made more difficult this year because the very wet recent weather has also reduced light and, with it, the length of time each day when a hydroplane can operate safely.

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The ’21’ has proved to be exceptionally fast and very robust. Few modifications have had to be made and it is now exactly on the correct weight for craft and driver. The engine has presented some challenges and Craig has had to return to the pits on several occasions for the tuners to strip and check the engine.

The difficulty has been a combination of the Class requirements that the engine be a standard engine, and the high performance of the craft. This has resulted in the engine cooling water intake being out of the water too long, leading to overheating problems.

When this occurred during the British National Championship Stage 2, at the end of May, Craig had turned in the fastest lap during practice and then had to return for engine checks when he felt the engine ‘nip’. A ‘nip’ is usually the precursor of an engine seizing up. It can be a result of fine grit getting inside the cylinders, but it is often an indicator of serious overheating.

His engine tuners had to strip down the engine and polish the cylinder bores. They decided not to fit the spare pistons because, on careful examination, the existing pistons only needed a thorough clean before reassembling the engine. Doing this in the open during a downpour was a challenge but the result was so good that Craig dominated the heats with a clear win for the day.

Further intensive testing and adjustments seem to have solved the problems. The trick is to mount the engine low enough that the cooling water intake is immersed often enough to keep the engine within its temperature tolerances at high speed, but to keep the propeller high enough to maintain the optimum thrust line at lower speeds and particularly at the critical cold start at the beginning of a race.

The OSY 400 Class rules are very strict and traditional. In particular, they prohibit the use of any parts, other than steering, that are able to move during a race. If the rules were to permit moving parts, much greater performance would be possible by introducing variable geometry for the engine and for ram-air intakes in the hull, all under control of a computer. Other hydroplane classes do permit some variable engine geometry because the engine has to be trimmed to suit the speed range.

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In any sport, where technology is directly involved, it is always difficult to steer a course between fairness and design improvements and maintain safety standards. The logical development of the hydroplane is the hovercraft and the design origins of the hovercraft were in attempts to create a layer of bubbles along a boat hull to reduce friction. The first hovercraft simply used a large fan to create a cushion of air under the craft and maintain it through the complete speed range. The next refinement was to add a rubber skirt to reduce the effort required to maintain the air cushion. A hydroplane builds up a cushion of air as it gains speed but loses the cushion when the speed drops and the craft banks into a turn. The air cushion also fails to keep the craft clear of the water at all times during a straight high speed leg of a circuit because there is little boundary control over the air cushion. One method of improving the performance of the air cushion would be to use variable geometry air scoops to inject additional volumes of air, particularly during lower speeds and during turns. To make this passive augmentation function reliably, the intakes would have to be constantly adjusted individually and only a computer would be able to do that fast enough.

Adrian Flanagan Sends Best Wishes

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Adrian Flanagan in Nome, Alaska, fitting a new cutless bearing to Barrabas. Early ice southward movement meant that Barrabas had to be winterized and left in Nome through the 2006/7 winter

Adrian Flanagan is preparing to fly out to Nome to get Barrabas back in the water and fully tested before the final stage of his record breaking vertical circumnavigation. As Craig attempts to win the OSY 400 World Championship, Adrian will be on standby for the final leg of his voyage from Russia, through the Arctic ice and back to the UK.

Adrian wishes Craig all the best in the World Championship.

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Nearly There

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Working up a new hydroplane takes time and one challenge is finding enough water time to get everything set up to optimum and for the driver to fully understand the new craft. A month after first launch of the new ’21’, and its trailer is now supporting the Team-21 colours and carrying the sponsors’ logos.

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’21’ has now collected a selection of company logos but still looks like a new boat.

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Not only have trailer and hydroplane acquired signage and colours, but the team members are now in their new team clothing.

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A smart team and craft don’t make for a winner directly, but a smart team tends to make for a smart start which can be the difference between winning and losing. Team-21 always start the day with a race start even when ’21’ is just heading rom the launching point round to the club pontoons