Tomorrow morning on Lake Townsend—a 1,500-plus-acre reservoir in Greensboro, N.C.—the Princeton Electric Speedboating team of undergraduate and graduate students from Princeton University in New Jersey are hoping to break the American Power Boat Association kilo record for an electric-powered boat.
Want to see if the Princeton Electric Speedboating team has what it takes to break the kilo record for an electric-powered boat in North Carolina on Thursday? Check out the team’s livestream on YouTube. Photo courtesy Andrew Robbins
With assistance from several partners, including Princeton University, Cigarette Racing Team, Flux Marine and Danecca, the team’s inaugural Gold Technologies Inc. and Iowa Dental Group Electric Records Event is scheduled to take place at Lake Townsend Watershed Park at 8 a.m. on October 26. And, with a livestream planned for the attempt, the team—and Big Bird, its 14-foot Pro-Outboard hydroplane featuring a three-phase AC permanent magnet motor that weighs just 65 pounds coupled with a 400-volt battery pack with an energy capacity of 24 kWh—appears to be as prepared as possible for the APBA-sanctioned event.
On Tuesday, as the team worked on fine-tuning the boat, pictured below, in North Carolina, speedonthewater.com caught up with several members to see how they were feeling heading into the event they’ve been focused on for more than a year.
“We’re feeling loose and we’re ready—we can’t wait for Thursday and for things to come together,” said Nathan Yates, the team founder and head graduate advisor. “The team has worked so hard for the past year and a half; we’re excited and thankful for the opportunity to showcase (the boat).”
For the record attempt, Big Bird is going to be driven by John Peeters, a 60-time world and national record-holder hydroplane driver from Arlington, Wash. And clearly the APBA Hall of Champions inductee is honored to be in this position.
“We have a chance to redefine our reality: our today, which not only affects today, but tomorrow,” Peeters said. “It’s rare in one’s life we get to participate in a ‘first’ or ‘fastest’ or ‘greatest’ or a ‘top of one’s field.’ It’s an honor, and a responsibility, for PES to have an opportunity to be the fastest—keeping our respect for those who have come before us, and who will wonderfully come after us.”
Another veteran racer grateful to be a part of PES is J.W. Myers, who has helped the team with setup, awareness and inspiration.
“I think these kids are actually beginning to realize the significance and notoriety within the powerboating community of this project,” Myers said. “I am absolutely honored to play a small part of it.”
Last but not least, team captain Andrew Robbins, a Class of 2025 Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering undergraduate, said PES has been hard at work getting ready.
“The team is feeling excited and prepared for Thursday,” Robbins said. “We have been fine-tuning the boat down in North Carolina this week and it is looking great. We have done our homework with this boat and it’s time to showcase what PES is capable of accomplishing.”
As reported in a previous story, the team’s goal is to break marks that were set officially and unofficially.
The official electric-boat kilo record is from 2018 when the Jaguar Vector Racing team’s single-engine V20E recorded an average speed of 88.61 mph across the two legs of England’s famous 1-kilometer course on Coniston Water. That record was presumably shattered by the Vision Marine Technologies-powered, twin-engine S2 Power Boats catamaran driven by Shaun Torrente at the end of August during the inaugural APBA kilo record event at the 35th annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Central Missouri. The run data, which was initially disqualified due to a failure recording the team’s first run, is still being collected and analyzed to determine if the 32-footer, which reached 116 mph the previous day on the Shootout’s one-way, three-quarter-mile course, pushed the record into the triple digits.
To watch the PES attempt, head over to the team’s livestream on YouTube, starting at 8 a.m. EST.
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