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1SlowVW
1SlowVW HalfDork
11/15/20 9:11 a.m.

I think we all have memories from being a very young child that standout with clarity. I can remember being quite young and my uncle setting off fireworks in our front yard. I remember ridding on a snowmobile when I was so young the helmet seemed heavy. I also remember my father stopping on a highway bridge for a few minutes so we could watch the GP hydroplanes throw up 100ft roostertails in Cocagne New Brunswick which was only half an hour from where I grew up. They stopped racing in Cocagne in the late 90's due to insurance costs and other reasons. I remember my father took my brother and I the next year for at least part of the day. My father even pointed out that when a boat called "the rocket" won it's class that he knew the driver. 

I remember thinking those things were just so cool...but there were non around. Fast forward a few years and I ended up going to a larger school as they shut our small country school down. While there I ended up making friends with a great guy who would occasionally make mention that his father used to race hydroplanes. It took me a few years to put it together that his father was the guy I had seen win a few years earlier in Cocagne. 

But alas with Cocagne gone the nearest place to watch hydroplane racing was Valleyfield Quebec, a full 10 hours drive away. So for years me and my group of friends just kind of knew that there were some hydros in old barns around and that it would be cool someday to find one. Fast forward to 3 years ago and my friend invited me to come up to Valleyfield for his bachelor party. I was no prepared for the level of mechanical awesomeness that I was going to see. The modern race boats are really cool, composite hulls with blown big block power taking turns with no banking at insane speeds. But what really got me were the vintage boats. I saw mechanically fuel injected alcohol burning big blocks in wooden boats that would blast around the course like nothing I had ever seen. I was enamored...captivated and of course like many of you could relate to I needed to try one. 

But you don't go to an F1 race and think you can jump right into one of those monsters right? So whats the kart equivalent. Well turns out it's stock outboard hydrplane racing. Like many on this site I have a little experience putting a motor together. So when a friend who has gotten into racing stock outboards a few years ago offered to sell me a blown motor I thought " I can fix that". So I started with that. Tearing down 

Photo by Luc on June 04, 2020.

 

 

Of course a motor itself can be pretty exciting, but like any good drug dealer...er I mean racer my buddy offered me a free hit. He said, come on out and try a couple of my boats. Next thing you know I was doing 66mph in a 108lbs boat. Let me tell you it's the fastest 66mph I have ever felt. 

 

Next thing you know I was hooked. This was the motivation needed to finish my motor, and by the next time I got the call to go and use his spare boat with another 2-3 hydros. As fun as it was with two boats on the water it was even better with a few more. 

At the end of a long day of racing my buddy (the same one from middleschool) said "I bought a motor last week to rebuild and it came with a boat....but its rough" . Of course it's rough can't mean its that bad right? 

 

  • Photo by Luc on August 25, 2020. Image may contain: outdoor.

 

Stay tuned as I tell you the story. It won't finish until spring now but it's going to be one heck of a ride when this thing is complete. 

 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/15/20 9:28 a.m.

Subscribed

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
11/15/20 9:36 a.m.

My defense to the wife has always been "Hey, it's cheaper than a girlfriend".  This one's too close to call ....

1SlowVW
1SlowVW HalfDork
11/15/20 9:41 a.m.

In reply to 914Driver :

Surprisingly reasonable for a race set up actually. 3k cash would buy you a competitive boat and motor combo. Then it's just safety gear. 
Of course I'm trying to do it for budget money.

 

1SlowVW
1SlowVW HalfDork
11/15/20 9:56 a.m.

In the early days of this project we were optimistic. The gentlmen who was going to be doing the woodwork was concinved we could save the wood on the bottom of the boat and that we could replace the decking repair the coaming/fairing that goes around the driver and that we would have me a nice little race boat. This was several months ago. Past me was a fool. 

 

Here's what 20 hours of sanding looks like. 

  •  
  • Photo by Luc on September 08, 2020.

 

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  • Photo by Luc on September 26, 2020. Image may contain: outdoor.

  • Photo by Luc on September 26, 2020.

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
11/15/20 10:53 a.m.
1SlowVW
1SlowVW HalfDork
11/15/20 10:59 a.m.
914Driver said:

  Nice project Slow, Congrats; but I have to go look at something else for a while. 

Just remember there are no tires or brakes to wear out. And they run two strokes so an engine rebuild is only a couple hundred if you race in stock classes. 
 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
11/15/20 2:42 p.m.

Cool, something that makes road racing motorcycles seem sane. I'll be following along because I spent my youth watching these things go by on trailers but have never seen one in the water. Keep being awesome. 

1SlowVW
1SlowVW HalfDork
11/15/20 3:17 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

 

Seth, 

I've kept track of your mini moto thread. I think these are no less crazy...other than the fact that if you try and turn right the boat ejects you. 

1SlowVW
1SlowVW HalfDork
11/15/20 8:00 p.m.

So remember a couple posts ago when I said past me was dumb. After sanding it to bare wood and pulling many staples and nails we were ready for the boat to go to the woodworking specialist. 
 

He promptly deemed the rest of the hull not good enough and ripped into it with a router. 
 

Photo by Luc on September 27, 2020. Image may contain: 1 person, indoor.

 

1SlowVW
1SlowVW HalfDork
11/17/20 6:23 p.m.

Ok, so while my buddy was tackling the boat I was left to find out what happened to the motor. 
It was pretty obvious once the head was pulled that this thing had a bad time. 
Turns out a piston was thrashed and a rod bearing and even one rod. Not sure if the piston stuck and that started it, or the bearing went first causing the top end damage. 
Step one, can the head be salvaged ?

  • Photo by Luc on September 03, 2020.

  • Photo by Luc on September 03, 2020.

Not perfect...but good enough. 

Also ordered a rod, had a friend press the crank apart and install new rod bearings , main crank bearing and a good used conrod that was sourced from a gentlemen half way across the continent.

1SlowVW
1SlowVW HalfDork
11/18/20 7:07 p.m.

So all was going well on the outboard rebuild until I forgot that two strokes have indexing pins for the rings. Went to slide on the cylinders and couldn't...tried a ring compressor like I didn't know what I was doing and couldn't get it to go together smoothly. Finally I took it apart and while removing a ring to clean the ring groves and while re-installing one of the rings snapped. So I then had to order some fresh rings. 

  • Photo by Luc on August 24, 2020.

 

Gave the cylinders a quick hone while waiting for the rings to arrive. 

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  • Photo by Luc on August 24, 2020.

 

Incase anyone is wondering the motor is 327cc and makes about 30hp, it only weighs about 90lbs full of fuel and oil. 

 

1SlowVW
1SlowVW HalfDork
11/19/20 8:10 p.m.

So I'm fighting two stroke learning curve and my buddy is finding that a small hole means a big amount of rot.  Never a better time to address it. 
 

Photo by Luc on October 09, 2020.

 

11GTCS
11GTCS HalfDork
11/20/20 7:37 a.m.

In reply to 1SlowVW :

Oh boy, that escalated a bit.   Following with interest, I have an older but somewhat similar version of a race boat in the rafters of my garage.  

1SlowVW
1SlowVW HalfDork
11/20/20 9:52 a.m.

In reply to 11GTCS :

It really did, but a few days after he sent me a picture and it looked like this .

Photo by Luc on October 11, 2020. Image may contain: indoor.

 

 

 

 

jfryjfry (Forum Supporter)
jfryjfry (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/20/20 8:11 p.m.

It's a piece of art now!

reminds me of the "remodel" of our house.  Leveling the entire house except for only one wall that had every single original 2x4 sandwiched by new wood meant it wasn't new construction. 
I think you nearly have your grandpa's axe - head replaced twice and the handle four times but your grandpa's axe. 

1SlowVW
1SlowVW HalfDork
11/20/20 8:53 p.m.

In reply to jfryjfry (Forum Supporter) :

Sounds about right, the gentlemen doing the wood work did ultimately admit it would have been easier to build a new boat. 
But this is a Bezoat, it would be the equivalent to a Lola or a maybe an Chapman built Lotus. Low production, hand built, multiple national championship wins from this builders hands. If it were a boat built from one of the kits available on the 80s we could have walked away. But this boat was built by a master and it certainly doesn't hurt that he was generally regarded as a super nice guy. So why not save it? This boat will have a great story...and it will be fast. 
 

1SlowVW
1SlowVW HalfDork
11/21/20 5:33 p.m.

So I give the boat builder a week and next thing you know I get this picture. 
While the flat hull sections and sponsons are impressive please pay special attention to the upright "air trap" sections that run the length of the hull. These are key to stability and speed. They are what keep the boat from touching the water. 

Photo by Luc on October 11, 2020. Image may contain: table.

 

rodknock
rodknock Reader
11/21/20 6:08 p.m.

This is so cool! I looked up some footage of stock outboard hydroplane and it somehow looks gnarlier than GP boats. 

What kind of safety gear do you need to run for these kind of boats? From the video I watched it looked like they didn't have much in the way of safety gear other than a helmet. 

1SlowVW
1SlowVW HalfDork
11/21/20 6:36 p.m.
rodknock said:

What kind of safety gear do you need to run for these kind of boats? From the video I watched it looked like they didn't have much in the way of safety gear other than a helmet. 

Looks can be deceiving, at a sanctioned event you need a snell approved helmet, an inspected Motorsports approved life jacket with leg straps. Upper body cut suit with flak, and usually cut proof pants. 
 

As for the gnarlyness, I don't want to overstate how wild these little boats are. But let me put it this way, I grew up and owned multiple 130+hp 2 stroke snowmobiles, I've owned street bikes. I have a turbo ls truck. I have led a very fortunate life that has allowed me to play with motorcross bikes and go karts and all kinds of other vehicles with impressive power to weight ratios. 
I wouldn't say that the hydroplanes are as violently fast. They also don't pull the same kind of sustained g forces you would see in a well set up kart. But the experience was so utterly unlike any other motorized vehicle I have driven/ridden that I am hooked. You really are almost flying when going down the straights.
 

That being said, they really bang you around in the corners especially if you're out there with other boats. Trying to cut a smooth clean line through a corner that was flat last time around the track only to find there's a foot tall wave waiting for you the next time really requires 100% focus. 

All I will say is that when I was finished my first 4 laps on my first day I was asked by two racers what I thought. My only answer was "I need one of these."

johndej
johndej Dork
11/21/20 7:09 p.m.

Haha, that is absolutely wild never thought of if you end up crashing on top of just regularly dealing with that then you gotta keep yourself from drowning. I just bought a kayak today but love that this exists and can't wait to see you get this boat back together and out there racing. Keep up the good work!

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP HalfDork
11/21/20 7:26 p.m.

Great I now found one more thing I need, actually found ads for a few near home, might have to bbuy one before spring, this looks like to much fun.

11GTCS
11GTCS HalfDork
11/21/20 8:03 p.m.
johndej said:

Haha, that is absolutely wild never thought of if you end up crashing on top of just regularly dealing with that then you gotta keep yourself from drowning. I just bought a kayak today but love that this exists and can't wait to see you get this boat back together and out there racing. Keep up the good work!

Don’t forget the knives spinning behind you at a few thousand RPM.   That and hitting water at 60 mph is like hitting concrete.  

1SlowVW
1SlowVW HalfDork
11/21/20 8:32 p.m.

In reply to 11GTCS :

To be fair the spinning props aren't much more dangerous then leaving a dirt bike at 60 and hitting a tree, or being run over by a snowmobile with 196 carbide studs. 
 

I'll give you your point about water being a solid at 60mph, but so is concrete. How many people ride a motorcycle and don't think twice about it. Also at least water isn't abrasive like ashphalt ? Ever left a motorcycle at speed? I have...took a while for the leg hair to grow back despite the fact I was wearing decent gear 

Also like I said when driving it's 100% concentration. Sure accidents happen, but at least you're not surrounded by distracted drivers . 

No doubt there is some danger. But all motor sports have some danger. I'll be buying a proper live vest and cut suit this winter. Is it 100% safe. No. But can the risks be greatly reduced. Yes. At least to the point where I'm comfortable participating in it. 

11GTCS
11GTCS HalfDork
11/21/20 9:05 p.m.

In reply to 1SlowVW :

Good on you for getting the proper gear, it’s important.  I’ve been around boats since I was 6 but I’ll confess I’ve never driven a hydroplane and at my age it’s probably not going to happen.  I’ll have to settle for jumping wakes in the Whaler which is a great way for me to stay in touch with my inner teenager.   I’ll be watching your progress with interest!

 

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