A Study in Power: The Speedboat

A speedboat is a craft that lets you fly on the water.

There are few vehicles that give you as much of a feeling of power quite like a speedboat. Its history is full of those who gloried in the dream of defying gravity on water.


The first time someone thought to strap a motor to a boat started with the steam engine and James Watt in the 18th century. The first time you could really call something a ‘speed’ boat would likely be in the 1900s where there was a competition for motor boating. The winner was Dorothy Levitt in a boat called the Napier. She came in at around 19.3 miles per hour, which was mind-blowing for the time!  This was especially true when she showed up wearing a full, head-to-toe early 20th-century getup, and then blew the competition out of the water. Many of the other boats didn’t even start. There’s nothing like beating your foes while wearing skirts that drop to the ground.

Famous Speedboats You Can Rent: The ‘Shaken Not Stirred’

This boat is a 36-foot long Sunseeker Superhawk, and it was actually used in the opening credits for the James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough, starring Pierce Brosnan. Amazingly, you can rent the boat as a private citizen in London, England. It’s not exactly a cheap rent, however, as prices start at around $850 an hour. Still, many people do it just to say that they were on the James Bond boat, if only for a little while.

Speedboats for Catching Pirates and Terrorists

The usefulness of having a small craft that can turn at 90 degrees in just seconds was not lost on the government. An example of this kind of craft has the official designation of HSIC or “High-Speed Interceptor Craft.” They can get up to speeds of more than 50 knots. Generally, these ships are used by law enforcement agencies or in similar applications to catch criminals defying governments on the high seas. This could include Somali pirates trying to capture and ransom larger cargo ships, for example.

It could also include anyone trying to smuggle drugs or weapons past authorities, or even organized crime and militias. A motorboat is a real boon when you’re fighting pirates, and it’s likely the pirate-hunters of old would be jealous of all that power and speed.

World Record Held by a Wooden Boat

Believe it or not, the world record for fastest boat in the water is held by a boat made of wood. It seems beyond belief at first, but it starts to make sense as you think about it. Ken Warby made his boat, The Spirit of Australia, by buying 3 J-34 engines for under $300 total at a surplus auction. Then, he got up to 317.58 miles per hour on his hydroplane speedboat. All he needed was a drill, a belt sander, a circular saw and a few hand tools.

After all, what you want is the lightest frame possible than can take the biggest engine. This is just about exactly what Ken Warby from Sydney did. The record still holds today.

Overall, motorboats are only growing in popularity. People dream about the fast ride every day. Just recently, Christy Brinkley posted from a speedboat as it cut through some rough waves off the coast of Long Island. Everyone from supermodels to everyday people can get behind being on a ship that can do just about anything it wants in the water. It’s a dream most people have had ever since learning to swim.

Fortunately, this is a dream that can come true.