DONALD CAMPBELL, holder of the world's speedboat record of 225.63 mph, asks
Boat owner and driver
He's right. The drivers in cup races haven't reached this water barrier for two main reasons. First, it requires a straight run of about eight miles to get to top speed. Second, as boats approach this barrier, they vibrate and shudder as an airplane does when it nears the sound barrier.
It's true that the speed of a racing boat is limited, but that's only because the propellers do not work efficiently at very high speeds. The fastest propeller-driven boat went 178 mph, not nearly as fast as Campbell's jet-driven boat. But with redesigned propellers, we perhaps can reach 300 mph.
Driver and owner
I disagree most emphatically. In 1949 the speed record was 141 mph. Today it's much higher. Our best boat designers are presently working on hulls that will cut through the water at much greater speeds. They'll soon succeed in giving us boats that will consistently break 225 mph.
October 28, 1957
GEORGE J. TRIMPER
As of the moment, I agree. But this theoretical barrier can be consistently broken when we design boats that will hold together under the rough poundings at these high speeds. These boats will have to be strong enough to pass the barrier twice, breaking through and slowing down.
JOE VAN BLERCK
Ex 7-Liter champion
He is wrong. There must be a water barrier somewhere, but it is much higher than 225 mph. Campbell is judging by the vibrations he feels at high speeds. However, once a boat breaks through the actual barrier, there should be no vibration at all. The boat would be ahead of the shock waves.
Campbell is right-There is a definite barrier. I've driven about 190 mph, and I'm sure I can go faster. How much faster is questionable. At that speed the boat seems to take off, like a plane. The danger lies in plowing into a wave at that speed. Water is like a brick wall at 200 mph.
Winner, Gold Cup, '56, '57 in Miss Thriftway
Miss Thriftway is capable of speeds approaching Campbell's theoretical speed barrier. We haven't exceeded it because the course is not long enough. However, with a boat properly designed and in proper trim, speeds approaching 300 or 400 are possible.
Driver, Gale VI
I don't think a water barrier exists at all. The size of the power plant and the design and size of the hull will give you the ultimate in speed. However, a large enough body of water and the right weather are essential in order to run a boat 500 or 600 miles per hour.
Inboard Racing Commission, APBA
I disagree. Sure, Cobb and Verga were killed while trying to reach this so-called barrier. but rough water or waves kicked up by other boats caused the accidents. Actually, motorboat racing is like any other speed sport. Each year speeds are higher as designs are improved.