1969 Pride of Pay 'n Pak Speed Attempt

It's Speed

Can new designing solve the problem of the big hydroplane racing boats becoming unduly airborne at high speeds? In what Dave Heerensperger calls "the flying problem," he does think he has the answer. APBA officials say that his new Miss Eagle Electric out of Spokane, Wash., is a definite threat to the field this year. They call his design "a dramatic departure." It will be recalled that driver Warner Gardner lost his life at Detroit last December when the aging Miss Eagle Electric crashed.

The owner and Spokane businessman Heerensperger, who has nearly twice as many "e's" in his name as there is in his boat's name, says this, "It was before the fatal accident that Warner and I had decided to build this new boat. She has outrigger sponsons and other design changes. Now it is a memorial to my good friend, the late Warner Gardner.

"She is shorter than 30 feet and a foot wider than most of the others. She is made up of three structural members in one.

"The hull itself is about four feet wide. Extending from each side are struts which connect to outrigger sponsons upon which the boat rides at competitive speeds. These outriggers are about two feet across and are built to withstand high speed stress and load.

"When we first tested the boat, Tommy experienced so much torque that it actually ran lopsided. Since that time, the crew changed the angle of attack to correct that problem," Heerensperger said.

He cited as another riddle, having water spray into the engine well from the left outrigger when the boat was turned. A deflection device ended that worry.

"It's hard to tell how you're doing without competition, but the new boat has tremendous straightaway speeds. It turns tighter than any boat I've owned, and I've had three. Tommy Fults takes the boat into the turns and just walks it around. The engine doesn't have that overworked, `boring out' sound, but boat speed stays up. On straightaways, the negative lift factors resulting from the lack of trapped air cause the hull to run flat and with no kiting. Of course, we have a lot of testing to do before the start of the season, but right now we are happily anticipating the first race at Guntersville, Ala., June 8," Heerensperger concluded.

They are calling the new one Spreadwing Eagle and attempts were being made in late February, amid ice floes, to test her out on the Columbia River, near Pasco.

(Reprinted from Sea and Pacific Motor Boat, April 1969, pp.121-125)