1974 APBA Gold Cup

Australian Hydro Heads for N.W. Races

MELBOURNE — (Special) — Australia’s challenger for the Gold Cup was shipped from here yesterday, headed for the Pacific Northwest and two unlimited-hydroplane races.

The VS-41, as yet unnamed, is the product of a nine-man syndicate headed by Stan Jones.

The VS-41, 28 feet long, won the 1973 and ‘74 Griffith Cups, symbolic of boating supremacy in Australia and New Zealand.

The boat will compete in the Tri-Cities’ World Championship Regatta (July 21) and Seattle’s Gold Cup (August 4).

Last May, on Lake Eppalock in Australia’s State of Victoria, Bob Saniga piloted the Rolls-powered VS-41 to an Australian straightaway record of 159.6 miles an hour.

A few hours after the record run, Saniga, 34, took the boat out again in an attempt to improve on the mark. He lost control and the boat flipped at 150 m.p.h. Badly damaged, the boat sank to the bottom.

The syndicate, already planning a trip to the United States, rebuilt the VS-41 in a suburban Melbourne garage.

A new rudder was designed in an attempt to rectify the cause of the crash.

The reconstructed boat, worth about $35,000, proved itself in this year’s defense of the Griffith Cup.

Jones, 42, said "we are not millionaires but we have a boat whose design is at least as good as the Americans’ and perhaps better than some."

The syndicate is looking for a sponsor and, hopefully, the VS-41 will have a name when it arrives in the Tri-Cities next month.

(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, May 31, 1974)