Shanty II, August 1958
Shanty II in its second paint scheme at a Lake Mead test. The time is early August 1958


U-29 Shanty II (USA )

Owner - Bill Waggoner (Texas, Arizona, Nevada )
Designer - Ernest Stout ? Hugh Brooke
Builder - Crew with Howard Gidovlenko
Length - 32ft
Beam - 11ft-6in
Hull - step hydro
Colours - white; later gold with red & white
Power - V12 Allison
Drivers - Russ Schleeh & Howard Gidovlenko (did not race)
Boat wrecked at Lake Mead, Nevada



Owner - ?



Owner - Ken Murphy

Boat was being rebuilt
Power - Automotive

shanty_II_thumb.jpg (7850 bytes)

Boat Has '2 Point Ride'—A radical new design has been used for Shanty II, shown here in a 100 mile an hour speed test on Lake Mead in Nevada. The unlimited hydroplane will get its first racing tryout on Lake Tahoe, CA, tomorrow. The boat rides on a single "ski of its hull and it propeller, instead of the conventional three-point ride. Wing-like stabilizers stabilizers keep it from overturning. Among the entries in the 60-mile Lake Tahoe race are Gale V and VI and Miss U.S. II. They will compete in two 15-mile heats, a 30 mile final. The races will serve as a preview to the Gold Cup races in Seattle on August 10 [1958]. — AP Wirephoto

*  *  *

El Monte, CA, August 4 [1958] — (UPI) — The hydroplane Shanty II may be scrapped because of damage caused when it flipped over Saturday on Lake Mead. A spokesman for the aircraft company which built the unlimited class craft for Bill Waggoner of Phoenix, AZ, said conferences were underway.

Not 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.

The Debutante - Shanty II

The day came when Shanty II arrived. I had expected a more conventional hydroplane, but this machine looked like nothing I had seen before!

Briefly, 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 transported!

As 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, too!

Colonel 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.

At 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.

Wow! 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.

I 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 souvenirs.

Shanty II 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.

(Excerpted from "…And Maverick Was Her Name" A Boy-Boat Memoir by Craig Marshall Herman in the Unlimited NewsJournal, October 2000, pp.5-9)

[Note: Craig Marshall Herman crewed on the Maverick and Shanty II —LF]

Another Cultural Myth

You have always read (elsewhere) that Shanty II rolled over in its first corner. Didn’t Ted Jones say it would? Well, it didn’t. Nor was the unique ski a half-baked idea by some aerodynamicist.

As a glance will tell you, the key to the boat’s concept is hydrodynamic, not aerodynamic. It emerged from the Hydrodynamic Research Laboratory of Convair at San Diego; the guiding expert being Hubert E. Brooke, lab chief. Brooke and Convair built a delta-winged, jet-powered fighter for the U.S. Navy. This XF2Y-1 also was unique: it took off from and landed on the ocean by means of a "hydro ski" — much like that of Shanty II. Convair built five prototypes 1953-57. The project failed for reasons not dependent on the skis, which at least functioned, singly or in pairs, except for some porpoising.

Shanty II porpoised. Its ski (not {"mounted on hydraulics") was modified, deepened. Driver Russ Schleeh’s log book now belongs to the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum. Shanty II ran several times on Lake Mead over a period of weeks. For the first tests, it appeared light colored with a stylized "II" on the tail fin. (Help! We have no reproducible photos.) Later Bill Waggoner had it painted in his traditional gold, red, and white. Shanty II wore this dress when Howard Gidovlenko crashed. (According to Craig Marshall Herman, Gido ran without permission or preparation, and some ballast shifted.) The boat dwelt for years that way in a potato cellar on the Stead ranch north of Reno.

— The Insipid Birdman

(Sidebar from "…And Maverick Was Her Name" A Boy-Boat Memoir by Craig Marshall Herman in the Unlimited NewsJournal, October 2000, pp.5-9)

[In 1980 Ken] Murphy obtained his third Unlimited, the failed experiment named Shanty II. The 32-ft. hull, designed by Ernest Stout, was original owner Bill Waggoner’s replacement for his successful Shanty I, U-29. Driven by Col. Russ Schleeh to the 1956 APBA National High Points Championship, the Shanty I was demolished when it cartwheeled across the Potomac in 1957.

Waggoner spared no cost on the all-metal construction of the experimental boat. The magnesium keel alone cost $14,000. The hull, patterned after the U.S. Navy’s Sea Dart, had no sponsons but was made to ride on a single hydraulic suspension step. The experiment — that could revolutionize raceboat design if successful — proved too much to handle. After initial testing Schleeh walked away from the bouncing, porpoising and diving side-to-side ride. Replacement pilot Guy Gidovlenko rolled her over in the first high-speed turn on Lake Mead. The Shanty II was never raced and was warehoused in obscurity when Ken Murphy came across her.

Now in Murphy’s possession, she is being used as a guide in constructing a one-half scale boat which also incorporates modifications suggested by Ted Jones and Les Staudacher in 1959. A BMW motorcycle engine will power the 16-ft. hull. Cowlings and hull, which resemble an airplane model, are near completion. Murphy, who now resides in Mexico, says finding the proper materials has been a challenge. He would appreciate any leads on locating a BMW m/c engine for his project.
His phone and fax #: 011-52-415-2-84-76. [This number is in Mexico --LF]

(Republished from APBA Propeller, September 2001, article by Tom D'Eath)

Shanty II was built by Howard Gidovlenko. It was never raced.—LF

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