August 2017

World Speed Record Challenge

by 77 Lucas Oil SilverHook

LUCAS OIL OCEAN CUP
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Key West ••• to ••• Cuba

LUCAS OIL OCEAN CUP  ••• Key West to Cuba round-trip

Nigel Hook and the SilverHook Powerboats team are having a two-for-one world speed record attempt on August 17. That's the day that Captain Hook has chosen to try to set two speed records in what is considered the most technically-advanced offshore monohull race boat in the world. The first objective is a one-way speed record from a point just off the Florida Keys in the southern United States to Havana, Cuba. If that record is established, then part two will be an equally-fast or faster return trip and a two-way record. Should SilverHook fail to break the one-way record and any mechanical or technical problems are fixable in the water, then the return trip record attempt will still be mounted.  On the morning of August 17, the Lucas Oil Speed Record attempt will begin at 6:30 a.m. EDT in Mallory Square (Key West). The timer starting the record attempt will be triggered just south of Sunset Key and will stop when SilverHook reaches the channel marker in front of El Morro Castle in Havana, Cuba (Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro). Following a brief celebration hosted by the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba, the return leg will start with a quick fly by the US Embassy along the Malecón coast before crossing the starting line, then straight back to Key West, hopefully producing the reverse, round-trip world record. The sanctioned record of 6 hours was set in 1922 by a boat piloted by motor racing Hall of Fame member Gar Wood. Wood was an American inventor, entrepreneur, motor boat builder and racer who held the world water speed record on several occasions. He was the first man to travel over 100 miles per hour on water. In 2015 the ocean racer Apache set an unsanctioned time of 1 hour and 51 minutes. This USA-Cuba record attempt is a tremendous challenge for the SilverHook, which given the expected wave conditions should exceed 125mph. The boat is 48 feet long, weighs over 13,000 pounds, and is powered by two Mercury Racing engines producing a combined 3,100 horsepower with a top speed of nearly 168 miles per hour in calm conditions. The powerboat telemetry has been radically updated from its normal Superboat unlimited configuration. SilverHook's course will take it 102 miles across the Florida current that flows between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Since the current is at its strongest in July and August, that resistance will force SilverHook to travel about 110 miles on its record attempt. The Florida current also is a treacherous body of water that has been the graveyard of many ships through the ages. Depending on wave height, visibility can be poor at high speeds, with the monohull diving down and through waves rather than skipping over the surface. Waves can run from 3 to 30 feet high, requiring constant vigilance by the helicopter spotters to avoid other ships or floating debris such as tree trunks and oil barrels. For this record attempt, some of SilverHook's main sponsors are Lucas Oil, IBM Watson IoT, Globecomm, Ingram Micro, and Inmarsat. This attempt will be conducted under the sanction of the UIM (Union International Motonautique), the APBA (American Power Boat Association), Powerboat P1-USA, and the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba. SilverHook is owned and captained by transplanted Englishman Nigel Hook, who will be controlling the throttles and telemetry on the record attempt. Hook is a 30-year veteran of international powerboat racing who has won three World Championships, set three World Speed Records (including the 500-mile 2013 record “Golden Gate to Queen Mary”), and earned membership in the APBA Hall of Champions. He currently races the 77 Lucas Oil SilverHook 48GP in the Superboat International unlimited class. His co- pilot and driver is fellow APBA inductee and powerboat veteran Jay Johnson.
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