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For most people, boats are an avenue for a leisurely summer afternoon. But some innovators see the water as a race track. As long as boats have existed, people have been trying to use new technology to make them faster than they were before and as a result, speed records have been reset many times over. Here are the four fastest boats in history.

Mystic Powerboats C5000 Turbine: 250 mph

The Florida-based company Mystic Powerboats created the C5000 Turbine to be historically fast. It is powered by two twin 1,850 horsepower engines for a total power of 3,700 hp. The speedboat has a cruising speed of 150 mph and has a top speed of 250 mph. The C5000 runs on diesel and has a fuel tank capacity of 600 gallons that enables it to reportedly run for 15 hours. 

The catamaran is nearly 50 feet long and Mystic Powerboats used the rest of the space to add more capabilities to the C5000. Some of the equipment onboard includes a log speedometer, plotter, advanced navigation center, cockpit air conditioning, and GPS.

It also has cockpit speakers, a radio, and a CD player for those who want to have an old-fashioned listening party while moving at breakneck speeds. According to TheYachtMarket, the C5000 can host up to six passengers. 

Problem Child: 262 mph

The title of the world’s fastest nitro drag boat goes to the Problem Child. The boat is the creation of drag boat racers “Fast” Eddie Knox and Larry Bless. Thanks to an 8,000 horsepower engine, the Problem Child can reach speeds of 262 mph in an astounding 3.5 seconds, faster than many land vehicles engineered for speed can muster.

Once it hits peak performance, the drag boat has been known to leave behind a wall of water in its wake. Problem Child won multiple international championships in the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series.

Bluebird K7: 276 mph

The Bluebird K7 was a pioneering piece of technology. Launched in January 1955 by Donald Campbell, the K7 was the first successful jet-powered hydroplane ever. Before Campbell and his boat hit the water, the world water speed was 178 mph.

In 1964, he smashed that record by going 276 mph at Dumbleyung Lake in Western Australia. This was the seventh speed record Campbell had set with the K7. The feat also made Campbell the first and currently the only person to set world land and water speed records in the same year. 

That remarkable need for speed sadly has a tragic downside. While trying to record a speed of 300 mph with the K7 in 1967, Campbell died in an accident at Coniston Water in England. His daughter Gina gifted the wreckage to the Ruskin Museum who then restored the boat to the point that the K7 completed a series of test runs on Loch Fad in 2018 at about 150 mph. 

Spirit of Australia: 317 mph

The fastest boat in the world was built in a Sydney backyard. Ken Warby created the Spirit of Australia at his home and ran on Westinghouse J34 jet engines that were commonly used for aircraft and fighter jets. 

The wooden speed boat set the world water record in 1978 after clocking a speed of 317.6 mph on the Tumut River near the Blowering Dam in Australia. The Spirit of Australia is permanently displayed at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

In the early ’90s, Warby built a successor named the Aussie Spirit, but never made a record attempt with the jet boat. He then worked on Spirit of Australia II with his son Dave which was powered by a Bristol Siddeley Orpheus jet engine taken from a Fiat G.91 fighter plane. The boat is currently undergoing design modifications.


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