The madness of the brave
Outdoor Activities

The madness of the brave

Boat racing on the football field

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In America, Lucas Oil has announced the construction of a new stadium for water sports. The construction will be located in Wheatland, Missouri.

The rectangular platform will be approximately 1.4 km long, 120 m wide and ... 3 m deep. Once built, the resulting ditch of complex shape will be filled with approximately 40 thousand tons of water and will become a racing track for boats.

Lucas Oil top manager Mike Chastain said in a statement: "This is really the first specially built site of its kind in the world. It is being built from scratch and will be perfectly adapted for boat drag racing, with excellent stands for spectators and a high level of safety for pilots".

Here the editorial staff hurries to correct the points and say that "the first specially built platform of this kind in the world" - to put it mildly, exaggeration. Waterboat races, or Jet Sprint races, are officially (!) held in New Zealand since 1981, and sites for this case was "specially built" there a lot. Fortunately, such a "race track" pair of excavators can dig for the weekend.

Leaving the naive American pretensions alone, let's tell a little bit about the most frozen kind of water racing.

As well as many other terribly interesting activities (speed racing on tractors, lawn mower races, summer races on snowmobiles on the water and throwing dwarfs at range*, for example), Jet Sprint gave the world bored rare.

The sport originated in New Zealand, with its abundance of small rivers with very winding beds. Ideal watercraft for such waterways were water-jet boats, with low draft and no propellers sticking down. Actually, thanks to those rivers the water cannon itself was born - other boats could not go there. A unique Australian attraction Shotover Jet from the same opera, by the way. If you're in Queenstown, you can't miss it.

First we raced on what we had to, and then, as in any motor sport, there was a ruthless progress. The hulls became lighter, the engines more powerful, the screws more cunning, and the speeds were beyond the limits. The spectacle, of course, was only winning.

Today small troughs weighing 450-600 kg are equipped with 500-1400 hp engines. The water cannon of such a baby pumps three tons of water per minute. On short straight lines the boats develop speed under 150 km/h and pass narrow "studs" practically without gas discharge, with a hellish roar throwing out water jets for tens of meters. Lateral overloads (5g) are such that the Formula 1 car did not dream.

For comparison, even the most sporty supercar is holding on to the asphalt with four "contact spots" - rubber pads the size of a palm. The boat crashes into the water with all its pointed bottom, which is also equipped with longitudinal ribs, which additionally hold on to the water, preventing the boat from slipping aside during maneuvers.

The result - a distance the size of a football field with 28-30 sharp turns takes less than a minute, and the pilot and navigator need to have a reaction and a vestibular apparatus like a fighter pilot, and a neck like a wrestler - so that the helmet does not come off with his head. «The birdcage» - the power frame to protect the crew during coups - must be equipped with every boat, and pilots, alas, try it out for strength very often. But that's what makes Jetsprint the most crazy, adrenaline-fuelled and spectacular watersport after all.

* There's no jokes here.

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