Ken Warby and son David who will attempt the world water speed record later this year or early 2018.
By Steve Cuff
When Ken Warby set the water speed record at an astonishing 511.10 kilometres per hour in 1978, never in his wildest dreams would he have thought his son David would attempt to break his father’s record some 39 years later.
“I was eight years old, so I never actually seen the boat break the record, I seen test runs,” said David.
“At the time Dad didn’t want his kids around watching it, it was a dangerous business, at the time I didn’t like it (not watching) but it was the right decision he made.”
This July David will start testing his new “boat” on the same Blowering Dam, near Tumut, which Ken refers to as “god’s country.”
“Blowering Dam is as near perfect as you can get,” said Ken.
“You’ve got a beautiful valley and mountain either side, you’ve got a situation where some time during the day the wind pattern will change in this valley and you will have the wind on your nose and your tail. That’s exactly what you want to break a record, you don’t a side wind you want the chop on the water working with you.
“We are looking for a five to six inch ripple on the water and that breaks the surface and aerates under the boat and reduces the drag.”
The new boat resembles more a rocket ship than boat and has been built by David and Ken, who now lives in America.
“He fly’s out every four or five months, we work on the boat and then we go back to work and earn some money and then we go back to the boat,” said David.
They both admit it is a dangerous sport, hence why the record has yet to be broken.
David said, “I think dad’s record has cost a couple of lives,” when referring to how people look at what Ken achieved building his boat for $10,000 in the backyard.
They have spent over $250,000 so far and are looking to secure an Australian backer. So far they have support from a friend in the United States.
Once they start testing they will look ahead to later this year or early next year to attempt the record but are not exactly sure when they will attempt the record.
“It is really hard to pinpoint a day or time we will go for it, and that in itself has killed other drivers as well. We will gradually build the boat up in speed and will analyse how it is going and performing and the team and safety crew have to get used to the boat going that speed as well. It is not just the driver, it is a team sport,” said David.
“We probably need about three or four kilometres to gradually build the boat up to speed, we get measured over a flying kilometre and you probably need about the same to slow down and bring the boat down in speed,” said David on what happens on the actual attempt.
Ken said there are two people around the world right now building boats, but they were not worried about them.
“I first broke the record in 77, so at the end of this year we will have held it 40 years,” said Ken.
“Two people have died in the meantime, so there is no big rush to break it.
“It’s a deadly game and you know I tried to steer him away, I was running jet race cars and race cars and trucks and I wanted him to go into that area, because what we’re doing is dangerous. He has kept at me and in the end I relented and said if you are that hell bent on it we may as well work together.”