The current design is version 17 of an original concept by highly experienced marine architect Lorne Campbell. The only hard point for the design was the use of one of the 25,000lb thrust Spey jet engines still in storage from the ThrustSSC supersonic land speed record car.
ThrustWSH is a four point hydroplane with the two front planing shoes positioned far enough apart to provide maximum stability while at the same time minimising aerodynamic lift.
The boat transitions from riding on the hull to the four sponsons and then on to the dagger like skegs and rudders fitted to the rear of each sponson.
The engine is positioned as low to the waterline as possible and far enough back to enable the required centre of gravity to be achieved.
To improve directional control, twin fins as used on Thrust2 are mounted directly to the structure.
The challenge with this layout is that ideally the pilot also needs to be positioned close to the centre of gravity.
Since the pilot cannot sit in the engine, the solution is to move the cockpit to one side with a matching structure the other side. This is a concept pioneered by Art Arfons for his jet car and followed by Thrust2.
This design gives a clean air flow to the jet intake while also enabling the pilot to use the fuselage as a point of reference for directional control.
There are many other innovations being researched and while some will make through to the final design, others may not.
A model boat programme is underway – a 1/7 scale jet model built by Len Newton and pictured here is currently being tested and is capable of 160mph. This will be followed by a 1/4 scale 240mph second stage model.
So what you see here is the result of two years of research with more to come.
It will be fascinating to see how the design evolves still further until we are ready to test the results and sign it off.
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