long after the remains of Shanty I arrived [it had been badly
damaged - the month of July, as I recall - I learned that Howard
Gidovlenko would be delivering a replacement craft, Shanty II,
to Las Vegas for testing. My instructions were to have the shop open
and ready for the crew.
Debutante - Shanty
day came when Shanty II arrived. I had expected a more
conventional hydroplane, but this machine looked like nothing I had
Shanty II was long, skinny, and shaped like a guided missile.
She sported small stubby wings attached to the stern area and had
only a single skilike step that ran down the bottom center of the
hull. She was definitely a two-point hydroplane. In her strange,
peculiar way, she was rather striking. From the side, she looked
fairly conventional, but from the front, Shanty II was a
whole different breed. There was one major advantage to this slim
design -she didn't have to be tilted on her trailer when she was
I understand the story, an aircraft engineer from southern
California designed Shanty II based solely upon engineering
theory and principles. This gentleman had never attended an
unlimited race, nor had he been physically close to this class of
hydroplane. My guess is that he must have been a brilliant marketer,
Russ Schleeh arrived. He was a very pleasant man with an equally
pleasant sense of humor. I had only seen him from a distance and on
TV, so it was a memorable experience for me.
the lake, with little pomp and circumstance, Shanty II gently
was lifted off her trailer and placed into the water. Schleeh
enthusiastically jumped in, cranked her up, and out they went. We
all held our collective breath.
It actually got up on plane! And, double wow! It didn't rollover!
I'm not sure how fast the colonel went, but Shanty II had a
tendency to buck and porpoise on these initial runs and those that
followed. Its roostertail spewed a series of halfheight, equally
spaced, delta-shaped plumes of water. Even more strange was its
maneuverability, as Schleeh performed some interesting tight,
hairpin-like turns. Considering the radical single step and prop on
which it rode, I must say Shanty II was an unusual sight as
she shot around the lake.
didn't attend any further tests after the first day, because I had
other duties to attend to. A couple of weeks later, following more
testing on Lake Mead, I discovered Shanty II tucked inside
the shop, heavily battered. Howard had been driving, and he had
rolled the boat. In the process, he managed to do a number on
himself as well, with face bandages and an arm sling as his
was sent back to Los Angeles, and I never heard much about her
again. In fact, the hydroplane world didn't hear much either. The
hull later "surfaced" in the Sacramento area after years
of obscurity. Howard Gidovlenko, I heard, died in 1998.
And Maverick Was Her Name" A Boy-Boat Memoir by
Craig Marshall Herman in the Unlimited NewsJournal, October
Craig Marshall Herman crewed on the Maverick and Shanty II