Warby returns for next dam run

David Warby with Spirit of Australia II and team members during their last visit to Blowering in 2019.

David Warby and his jet-powered boat Spirit of Australia II are more ready than ever to resume their world water speed record campaign on Blowering Dam on the weekend of November 7th-8th.   

“We are the best prepared we have ever been to have a run at the dam,” Mr Warby said.

He is pleased that the recent rainfall has Blowering just as ready as he is.

“The dam is looking the best it ever has for us,” he said.

Mr Warby, his boat and his team were last at Blowering on the weekend of August 31-September 1 last year, and factors such as bushfires, an injury to his hand that required surgery and Covid-19 have prevented their return ever since.

However, this time has also provided him and his team with plenty of opportunity to fine-tune and aerodynamically improve the boat, after learning plenty from the last run at the dam.

“The new aerodynamics on the boat should help it go from 400km/h to 500,” he said.

“We got a lot of the answers we wanted last time.”

However, this doesn’t mean he will pound the throttle as soon as the boat hits the water – he’ll make best use of both days.

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“We will still start slow on Saturday, and get feedback from the boat. I’m confident that all will be good, but we will start with slower speed, to ensure it is  behaving itself and feels alright, and then gradually get to where we left off,” he said.

He says accelerating is the easy part.

“Getting to where you want is not the problem; it’s holding your speed then slowing down; although what we have done will solve a lot of our problems,” he said.

The boat has a whole new vertical stabiliser (tailfin) and now has a T-tail on top of the fin, similar to the one his father Ken had on Spirit of Australia when it set the world record speed of 511.11km/h on Blowering in 1978.

The fitting of such a tail was inevitable, more evolutionary than revolutionary.

“Dad only went to 300km/h without the tailfin,” Mr Warby said.

The tailfin work cost about $50,000; a lot for a team on a relatively tight budget.

“It’s not just money; research is important as well,” he said.

The Warby team has Newcastle University helping with this, analysing feedback from the boat and undertaking computer wind tunnelling, helping the team get to the point where they are.

Mr Warby and the team are looking forward to catching up with their many supporters in the Tumut region and elsewhere.

“There is a lot of interest; a lot of people wanting to come down,” he said.