Pacific PowerBoat Diesel Speed Record Broken After 21 Years

Barry 2018-06-03

After a 21 year hiatus, the Pacific PowerBoat Magazine New Zealand Diesel Speed Record has finally been broken. Dave Donaldson driving T2, a Nick de Waal designed power cat raised the record to a staggering 45.6 knots.

 This is an increase of 1.7 knots over the previous 43.9 knots set by Volpower, a Genesis 320 powered by a pair of Volvo Penta KAD42DP in May 1995. It is also the first time a power cat has taken the record and may well herald the start of a new era.

The history of the PowerBoat Magazine sponsored diesel speed record started in Sept 1997, when a Max Carter designed Carter 36, running a pair of Volvo Penta AQAD41DP engines set the ball rolling with an average speed of 33.4 knots. Since then it has jumped over the years with different boats and engine combinations. In 1995 Volvo Penta took it back with a speed of 43.9 knots, with a Genesis 320, running a pair of KAD42DPs and until now it has not been challenged for since.

Built in 1997, T2 started life as Tornado a high-speed tourist boat for the Bay of Islands. Nic de Waal designed it for Rex Sellers. Top speed during sea trials was 55 knots, but Rex used to "cruise" around 45 kN with 50 pax on board.

Tornado was launched with a pair of Scania DSI14 69M - (later the model code was amended to DI14 69M), delivering 551 kW / 750 Hp @ 2,200 rpm and Seafury surface drives, the same drivetrain that remains in it today.

When Tornado came up for sale, the current owner had ideas about turning it from a big open tourist boat into more of a cruiser, so the first thing was to take out everything from the cockpit sole up. In fact, there wasn't a lot apart from an aft wheelhouse and 58 seats.

The new design, which looks racy and fast even tied up to the marina, was drawn by Brett Bakewell-White. The composite hull sides were raised, a new deck and superstructure built and a new layout with accommodation, saloon, galley and flybridge. The hulls and foils were left unchanged as was the running gear. This took the displacement up from 12 tonnes to 17 tonnes.

The owners were looking for an exceptionally fast sport fisher and they certainly got that. The pair of 750hp Scania V8 engines now has around 1700 hours on them. According to the owner, the best cruise spot is about 2000 rpm which gives a cruise speed of 36 knots and a fuel usage of 6 lpnm. That's almost double most boats of this size cruise speed!

T2 is one hell of a boat and for the owner, it has done everything they could have wished for and then some. How long will it hold the record…watch this space!

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