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Kilo Runs Out for Phenomenon

It’s been a rough day for Scott Barnhart, Al Copeland, Jr., and the rest of the team behind Phenomenon, the 55-foot-long catamaran with 12,000-hp worth of turbine engines that was slated to try to break the 220-mph propeller-driven water-speed record tomorrow in Sarasota, Fla. First, they started today’s tests on Sarasota Bay later than they wanted to because the boat didn’t arrive until early this morning.

Second, they hit a seawall when Barnhart forgot to kill one of the catamaran’s engines—taking off the tip of one of the cat’s sponsons.

Last, one of the turbine engines is, in the words of Barnhart, “all locked up” and cannot—at present—be started.

“The best we saw out there today was 185 mph, and we were in the process of turning up our motors from 2,600 hp to 3,200 hp,” said Barnhart. “But this boat cannot run on three motors.”

What that means is that unless Phenomenon’s engine issue miraculously resolves itself, the catamaran is out for tomorrow’s Super Boat International Kilo Runs.

“I think we were really close, we just needed more time,” said Barnhart. “We’ve boat has only been in the water eight times. It’s discouraging, but we needed more time.

“We went over a long learning curve,” he added. “We had propeller problems, we had shaft problems, we had engine problems. We did our best, but needed more time.”