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Current record for the San Francisco to Los Angeles Endurance Run was set on

October 26, 2003  — TIME: 6 hours 43 minutes.

San Francisco to Los Angeles record broken

Motor Boat and Yachting Magazine  by Ray Bulban October 26, 2003 - Rique Ford, Dan MacNamara, (driver/throttles), Johnny Lindstrom, (navigator), and Captain Nigel Hook have set a new world record of six hours 43 minutes for the 425 mile course between San Francisco and Los Angeles aboard the Cummins powered 48ft (14.6m) Team Scarab. In doing so, they shattered the existing diesel record by 58 minutes, 38 seconds held by Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris, well known actor and karate star, held many endurance records and the San Francisco Los Angeles time, also set in a Scarab, had stood since 1988. Owner of the record breaking boat and founder of Scarab Marine, Larry Smith, has created a legacy of endurance records which have included the Round Britain (Drambuie), Chicago to Detroit, Venice to Monte Carlo, Tampa to Miami and New Orleans to St. Louis. "We are seeing the emergence of new high performance production diesels, radically changing the offshore performance market and endurance runs like this are ideal proving grounds", said Smith. "This is a new era in marine propulsion providing economy, reliability and performance, that is environmentally friendly", he added. He went on, "Our record boat is a prototype for a new line of 50 foot (15.5m) plus high performance diesel express cruisers." "We used just 261 gallons, which included our 7.00am start from Sausalito before passing under the Golden Gate Bridge to our final stopping point at the California Yacht Club inside the Marina del Rey harbor." said driver, Dan MacNamara. MacNamara rigged the boat from start to finish and was at the helm for more than 60 hours of testing prior to the run. Apart from two short respites, he steered the boat throughout. The team had clearly done their homework on the weather, and experienced good visibility for the whole trip. In fact, the predicted fog out of the San Francisco bay and breakers soon cleared. The smoke from the Southern California forest fires didnմ hamper their path either. "We thought we had it in the bag. Everything was running like clockwork. The diesels were humming never having missed a beat until we came upon Point Dume said MacNamara. "We had been lulled into complacency when one engine stopped. We jumped into the engine compartment to investigate. Rique called up Thad Finley, transportation chief and diesel mechanic, on the mobile. Hook took the wheel and kept us heading on the right course. It seemed like forever and our chances seemed to be seeping away. Based on Thad's expert instructions we diagnosed the problem with the fuel system. A rap on the solenoid, the starboard engine roared back to life and we were ready to go again." Nigel described the conditions during the challenge. "They call the water under the Golden Gate Bridge the Potato Patch and it was certainly peculating on the day. Rounding the point we were pleasantly surprised at the calm seas and lack of wind, just a seven foot rolling ground swell. Things changed almost on the hour. Winds picked up, waves built and then dropped off again. On average I would estimate we were running across three footers, until we hit Point Conception and were met with stiff winds, white caps and fours and five foot waves". "We also encountered major pods of dolphins along the way that charged to intersect us and surf our wake", Hook also added. "The whole experience was uplifting especially realizing we've just raised the bar which will get recorded in the history annals of the APBA - in their 100th anniversary year". The history of this endurance event dates back to 1929, and this year to commemorate one of the most colorful record breakers, inductee to the Detroit Motorsports Hall of Fame, and founder of Powerboat Magazine, a perpetual trophy was initiated as the "Robert A. Nordskog Powerboat Magazine Trophy". On the board of the Deed of Gift are Jerry Nordskog, Publisher Powerboat Magazine, Lawrence C. Smith, Howard Arneson, legend in the sport and current holder of the New Orleans to St. Louis record, Gary Rumburgh, APBA (American Power Boat Association) Special Events and Charlie Strang, UIM representative, NASCAR National Commissioner and inventor of the sterndrive. Team Scarab has invited other builders to join in a match race for the event next year.

Making Their Mark

POWERBOAT Magazine   by Gregg Mansfield IN A TRUE TEST OF SPEED AND ENDURANCE, A FOURSOME IN A 48' SCARAB BREAKS THE DIESEL RECORD FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO LOS ANGELES. October 26, 2003 - When scarab founder Larry Smith set out to revive interest in the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles run, he knew that technology would have a major impact on the endurance contest. Charts and compasses have been replaced by chart plotters and GPS, and in the engine compartment are efficient diesel motors instead of gasoline guzzlers. One thing is certain, this is no longer your daddy's endurance run. Smith recruited four experienced offshore racers, Dan MacNamara, Johnny Lindstrom, Rique Ford and Nigel Hook to make the 425-mile run in late October in a new 48' Scarab. The group broke the diesel record set by actor Chuck Norris, which had stood for more than 15 years. The crew made the trip down the California coast in 6 hours, 43 minutes nearly an hour better than Norris' mark set in 1988. the overall record is still held by a Bob Nordskog-led team, which completed the journey in 5 hour, 57 minutes. "This is the greatest proving ground in the world," Smith said of the endurance run. "You can never be prepared enough for the Pacific Ocean." For the record attempt, the 48' boar was equipped with twin stock 480 CumminsMerCruiser diesel engines with ZF shaft drives. The Scarab carried about 340 gallons of fuel, which was less than half the amount Bob Nordskog's boat carried during his run in 1988. The Scarab carried the latest in electronics, which were installed by the navigator, Johnny Lindstrom. On board were a Furuno chart plotter (with two screens), two GPS systems and radar. Crew members also carried two handheld GPS systems, a cell phone and some old-school technology a chart. Redundancy was key in case any of the systems failed during the run. "The equipment is pretty robust," said Lindstrom, who navigated the endurance run for Chuck Norris and twice for Michael Reagan. "I did nothing special other than make sure it was fastened down, and I supported the connections." Weather would be the biggest factor for the foursome on their journey. Northern California was enjoying record-breaking temperatures, while fierce Santa Ana winds were fanning several brush fires in Southern California. MacNamara planned to keep the boat running about 60 mph, with the engines turning around 2,400 rpm. At that pace, the engines would burn about 250 gallons of fuel (they ended up using 261 gallons). The record-seekers sped under a glowing Golden Gate Bridge at 7:01 a.m. to start the run. They quickly encountered some large swells but the water smoothed out as they moved farther offshore. "We hit three good rollers and I thought this could be bad," said MacNamara, the driver and throttleman who also rigged the boat. "After that it laid down." The endurance run would take the team at some points more than 20 miles from the California shoreline. Lindstrom had entered a course into the chart plotter and because of favorable weather conditions, they were able to shorten the route. Although the adventurers faced large swells for the first few hours, it eventually was calm enough that Hook lay down between the bolsters to take a brief nap. But the festive atmosphere became more sedate when they reached Point Conception the oceanic dividing line for the north and south. Fog forced the team to keep a close watch on the radar and sea conditions got a little rougher. Everything was going well for the group until they motored toward Santa Monica. The starboard engine unexpectedly quit and Ford, using the cell phone, put a call into diesel mechanic Thadius Finley to figure out the problem. They diagnosed the problem with a fuel system, and within 15 minutes the engine was up and running. By this time thanks to the Santa Ana winds the ocean was confused and bounced the men around in the 48' boat. The water was rough enough to dislodge a life raft that was stored in the stern of the boat. "Somewhere in the Pacific there is a six-man life raft floating around," MacNamara said. Nearly seven hours after they started the journey in San Francisco, the adventurers reached the mouth of the harbor at Marina del Rey, Calif. They exchanged high-fives, but were subdued as they docked the boat at the California Yacht Club. The run will go into the record books, since it was sanctioned by APBA in Detroit. Smith has led the effort to revive the run, which was a favorite of the late Bob Nordskog. A trophy was named after POWERBOAT magazine's founder and will be given yearly to the team that completes the run in the fastest time. To be eligible for the perpetual award, the boat must be a monohull under 50' in length and come from production molds. The boat has to be powered by production marine diesel engines and there are no restrictions on the drives or propellers, provided they are available to the general public and backed by a warranty. Smith said he wants to showcase the performance capabilities of diesel engines and plans to go after other endurance records. "There is no way to show the viability of diesels on the race circuit," Smith said, later adding, "We're trying to incite the excitement of man against the seas, the old days, rather than 5-mile laps with eight turns." Records are made to be broken and Smith says he knows of two other manufacturers who are considering an assault on the San Francisco-to- Los Angeles record. Lindstrom welcomes challengers to take a shot at their record. He believes they can better their time by at least 15 minutes because of engine trouble and having to slow down to meet up with a spotter plane. "To me it would be a question of weather," Lindstrom said. MacNamara hopes the record will stand for at least a couple of years. "If somebody breaks it, we'll be back up there to take it back," he said. "That's what it's all about."

San Francisco to Los Angeles Diesel

Powerboat Record Falls

Boats.com   by Staff Team Scarab earns Nordskog/Powerboat magazine trophy It took less than seven hours for Team Scarab, shown after their arrival in Marina Del Rey, to make the run from San Francisco to Los Angeles. October 26, 2003 - MARINA DEL REY, Calif. Four veteran mariners battled the seas against the clock to set a new APBA/UIM World record. Dan MacNamara, Driver/Throttles, Johnny Lindstrom, Navigator, Rique Ford, and Captain Nigel Hook completed the 425 mile course from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 6 hours and 43 minutes, in the new prototype 48′ Team Scarab powered by Cummins-MerCruiser diesels. The team shattered existing diesel record for the run, which was set by martial arts great and action-film star Chuck Norris in 1988, by 58 minutes and 38 seconds. Norris set the record in a Scarab powered by 3208 Caterpillar diesels. Owner of the Team Scarab and founder of the Scarab name in boating, Larry Smith, has created a legacy of diesel-powered endurance records — all in Scarab powerboats that have included the Round Britaiin (50 Scarab), Chicago to Detroit (Scarab, drivers Chuck Norris, Walter Peyton), Venice to Monte Carlo (Scarab, driver Michael Reagan), Tampa to Maimi (Scarab, driver Kyle Petty), New Orleans to St. Louis (Scarab, driver Don Johnson) and San Francisco to Los Angeles (Scarab, driver Chuck Norris). “We are seeing the emergence of new high performance production diesels, radically changing the offshore performance market, and endurance runs like this one are the proving grounds”, said Smith referring to the ZF shaft-driven, twin stock 480 Cummins diesels that powered the 48 Team SCARAB. “This is a new era in marine propulsion deemonstrating economy, reliability and performance, that is quiet and clean for the environment. This new boat is our prototype for a new line of 50-plus-foot diesel performance express cruisers.” “We burned just 261 gallons all day, which included our 7 a.m. start from Sausalito, a fly by Fisherman’s Wharf before the official clock triggered as we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge and onto our final stopping point at the California Yacht Club inside the Marina del Rey harbor.” said Driver, Dan MacNamara. Owner of Team Archer Marine, MacNamara rigged the boat from start to finish and was at the helm during all of the 60-plus hours of testing prior to the run. Apart from two brief times, he steered the boat the entire way under the expert direction of Johhny Lindstrom. Lindstrom, a veteran of many endurance runs, is also president of Baytronics South, specialists in marine electronics and whose clients run the gamut from high performance boaters to owners of pristine yachts such as Johnny Carson. The team had clearly done its homework on the weather, and had great visibility for the whole trip. In fact, the predicted fog out of the San Francisco bay and breakers vaporized. Also the raging smoke from the Southern California fires did little to hamper their path. Always prepared, the team was outfitted with the latest array of electronics from Furuno. “As we burst under the Golden Gate Bridge looking back we could see the rising sun illuminating the backdrop like it was on fire,” said Rique Ford, the alternate driver on the team. “At times we were 20 miles off the coast, mainly we could view quite well the sights of Big Sur, Pebble Beach, the mystique of Monterey, San Simeon. We passed familiar Oil Derricks close to Santa Barbara and Ventura that we race around in the Pacific Offshore races.” The history of this endurance event dates back to 1929. In fact, it was the final race in the 1966 APBA National Championship Series. The entrants competing in this event read like the Who’s Who of Offshore Legends: Don Aronow, Dick Bertram, Bill Wishnick, Del Louis, Bobby Ratboard of Magnum, Ritchie Powers, Bob Nordskog and Larry Smith. Fittingly, Larry “Scarab” Smith won that race. To commemorate the record and honor inductee to the Detroit Motorsports Hall of Fame, and founder of Powerboat Magazine, a perpetual trophy was initiated as the “Robert A. Nordskog Powerboat Magazine Trophy”. Bob Nordskog, as he was known to the racing community, competed in these endurance challenges over three decades and still holds the petrol record on the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles course at 5 hours, 57 minutes, 22 seconds set on September 12, 1988. .

1966 Long Beach to San Francisco Race

Sports Illustrated Article

November 07, 1966

Wet Run To Painsville Fog, seaweed, treacherous rocks and murderous seas were the enticements offered drivers in the 440-mile Long Beach-to-San Francisco ocean race. Bumps, bruises and lacerations were their reward.
History