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24 September 2014
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Design of the Quicksilver boat

Fastest boat on water

A boat being built in Newark will be used to try to break the world water speed record.

Quicksilver facts and figures

It's 42 ft long, weighs four tons and has 25,000 horsepower. According to Nigel Macknight that's more than a full grid of Grand Prix cars at full throttle.

A British man is planning to reclaim a world record for the UK.

Nigel Macknight wants to go one better than Donald Campbell.

He was the last Briton to hold the water speed record but died 40 years ago attempting to take his boat Bluebird through the 300 mph (480 km/h) barrier.

Bringing the record home

Nigel Macknight
Wannabe world record breaker Nigel Macknight

Nigel Macknight aims to succeed where Campbell failed. The attempt on the record is expected to be made on Coniston, in the Lake District, during the winter months.

His boat, Quicksilver, has been built in Newark, Nottinghamshire.

It's designed to reach 400 mph (640 km/h). But because the lake only provides a five-mile (8 km) run, it will be difficult to go beyond 325-330 mph (520-530 km/h).

The current record, set in 1978 by Ken Warby of Australia, stands at 317.6 mph (511.1 km/h), leaving only a small margin for success.

audio Listen to our interview with Nigel Macknight >
Audio and Video links on this page require Realplayer

Quicksilver - the boat

To beat the record requires some specialist machinery.

"It does have a space age look doesn't it," says Nigel Macknight about his vessel. "If you're going to do something upwards of 300 / 400 mph on water you need something that doesn't look like a conventional boat."

Quicksilver
Design of destiny - Quciksilver

"It's the biggest and heaviest boat ever to contest the world water speed record but it's by far the most powerful. It has over twice the power of Bluebird."

Ready but scared

Fifty-two-year-old Nigel's spent seven years motor racing and also flies but he admits he's not really into boats.

"There is some apprehension because you need to respect the record and the fact that there can be accidents.

"But we've spent ten years of research before we even started building it. It'll never be completely safe but we think we've worked out a way to do this safely. I'm looking forward to it."

audio Listen to our interview with Nigel Macknight >
Audio and Video links on this page require Realplayer

Go for it

Nigel and his team are hoping to start waterborne trials next year with the world record attempt scheduled for sometime between January and March 2009.

last updated: 01/06/07
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