1949 Kaiser Speed Record Boat

A second early-season event of import to the power boat racing clan is a full-dress attempt to crack the world’s unlimited mile record of the late Sir Malcolm Campbell. This effort is being financed by Henry Kaiser, prominent industrialist, and will bring together a big-name team with Ventnor doing the designing and building, Allison supplying the power and Guy Lombardo slated to steer the behemoth.

It is impossible to state whether the official runs will actually be made in June because of the likelihood of an infestation of bugs in such an outfit. The engine—a 24-cylinder Allison—is an experimental model, and it is understood that the particular power plant to be installed had not been test run when it was received at the Ventnor plant. The novel drive system which employs two vee drives whirling twin screws, requires some tricky universal joint operation—an act that has been known to cause grief when such high horsepower and revolution speeds are present.

Certainly more time and money have gone into the Kaiser contender than into any aspirant for the world mark since Campbell ran that 141.74 ten years ago with his Bluebird II.

The following comparison of the principal specifications of record holder and challenger may prove interesting.


Bluebird II

Kaiser boat

Hull type

3 point

3 point







Number of propellers






Approximate weight

5,000 lbs.

8,500 lbs.

Weight/power ratio

2.14 lbs./hp.

2.83 lbs./hp.

(Reprinted from Yachting, 1949)

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