Since humans invented the wheel, we have been obsessed with speed. Thousands of years ago, chariot racing was popular throughout ancient Greece and Rome. Today, the quest for speed has been taken onto the water, with run-of-the-mill speed boats achieving speeds around 100 mph. Here’s a look at a selection of the world’s fastest speed boats, as well as the teams and technologies behind them.
Nor-Tech 5200 Roadster
The 5200 Roadster is a reinvention of the 4000 Roadster, comprising a huge cockpit and no fender. It is capable of sleeping two people, with seating for 10. Incorporating the same seaworthy hull as its predecessors, this incarnation is available with twin or quad engine applications in turbines or gas. Despite a length of 49 feet, Nor-Tech’s new flagship outclasses many of its competitors, clocking speeds of more than 150 mph.
Not only is the 5200 Roadster one of the most powerful boats out there, but it’s also built for comfort, with a swimming platform and boarding ladder, padded sun lounge, and video monitors. It is also equipped with coolers, aft facing seats, and a cutting-edge sound system.
Skater 46 Pleasure
The largest contender from the Skater fleet and one of the most versatile and enduring boats in the Skater lineup, the Skater 46 Pleasure was originally built to supersede the Skater 40 Classic for racing. After winning its inaugural Key West Offshore Championship, the model immediately became a big hit on the APBA Offshore circuit.
Despite its substantial size, the Skater 46 Pleasure is capable of reaching a maximum speed of 175 mph. Fitted with twin Teague Custom engines with a 3,000 hp total power output, the Skater 46 Pleasure has earned a reputation as the Rolls Royce of powerboats.
The Skater 46 Pleasure features dual fuel tanks with a 1,000-gallon capacity, enabling it to cruise at over 100 mph for hours. The boat is designed to land softly in choppy waters. Featuring air conditioning, a fully equipped stereo system, and a spacious design that can accommodate up to five people, the boat is one of the fastest on the market today.
Mystic Powerboats C5000 Turbine
Mystic Powerboats, a Florida-based company, created the C5000 Turbine with a total of 3,700 hp, enabling it to reach a cruising speed of 150 mph with ease. The Mystic Powerboats C5000 Turbine is one of the world’s most powerful speedboats and has recorded top speeds of up to 250 mph.
This impressive boat features a 600-gallon fuel tank, which enables it to run for up to 15 hours. Nearly 50 feet long, the C5000 is equipped with a variety of electronic equipment, including a log-speedometer, advanced navigation center, plotter, and GPS. It also incorporates a CD player, radio, and cockpit speakers.
Problem Child Top Fuel Hydro
The Problem Child is the fastest nitro drag boat on earth. Its incredible 8,000 hp engine helps the boat reach speeds of up to 262 mph in just 3.5 seconds. The ultimate speed machine, the Problem Child is the brainchild of drag boat racers “Fast” Eddie Knox and Larry Bless. With a speed crossing more than 250 mph, this drag boat seems to fly on water, leaving a wall of water in its wake. It won several international championships in the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series.
Between 1955 and 1967, Britain’s Donald Campbell used this jet engine hydroplane to establish seven world water speed records.
The world’s first successful jet-power hydroplane, the Bluebird K7 revolutionized speedboat technology when it was launched in 1955. Campbell used it to boost the world water speed record by nearly 100 mph, pushing it from 178 mph to over 276 mph. Sadly, Campbell died in an accident in a modified Bluebird K7 at Coniston Water, England, in 1967. He was attempting to break the 300 mph barrier and achieve his eighth world water speed record at the time.
One of the world’s oldest and fastest hydroplanes, the Bluebird K7 is considered a pioneer in the speedboat industry. The Bluebird Project is reportedly undertaking trials with the Bluebird K7 with the aim of returning the boat to Scottish waters.
Spirit of Australia
After building the Spirit of Australia in his Sydney backyard, Ken Warby used it to break the world water speed record on October 8, 1978, achieving an official record of just over 317 mph. He fitted the wooden boat with Westinghouse J34 jet engines.
In the early 1990s, Warby constructed a second jet boat called Aussie Spirit, but never used it to make a record attempt. Working with his son, he is reportedly working on a successor, Spirit of Australia II, powering it with a Bristol Siddeley Orpheus jet engine taken from a Fiat G.91 fighter plane.
Though several have tried over the past four decades, no one has succeeded in breaking Warby’s 1978 water speed record. Today, the Spirit of Australia is a permanent exhibit at the Australian National Maritime Museum.