View Full Version : World Speed Record

Shin-Ken 1074
18-10-18, 02:24 PM
O.K. it isn't for a Kat or even a motorcyle - it's for a boat, a very special Australian boat! This month is the 40th anniversary of Ken Warby setting the Unlimited Water Speed Record on Blowering Dam in a boat he designed, built and drove, setting a record that still stands. I watched it on a grainy TV with pretty dodgy commentary and cheering him on. Ken's record is now the longest standing World Speed Record on the books and many feel it may not be broken for a long time yet.

Ken is also the first and only person in history to design, build and drive a boat to an unlimited water speed record, the first Australian to hold an unlimited speed record, and today the only man alive to ever hold an unlimited water speed record.

Video of Ken's Record.


Unlimited Water Speed Record attempts have the highest fatality rate of any motor sport - 85% die trying.

This quote from John Casey - The Ken Warby Story.

Quote "Breaking the water speed record isn't for the faint of heart. It's not one of those records you see that have no consequences for failed attempts; if you try unsuccessfully to break the record for balancing spoons on your face (it's 31 for those who want to give it a nudge) nothing bad will come of it. The same can't be said for the water speed record - attempts to break it have an 85 per cent fatality rate, 1233 ABC reports". Unquote.

Thank you Ken Warby, you Champion and Man of Steel!


Here is a bit of background for some that may not be aware of our home grown World Record Holder.


18-10-18, 08:58 PM
Thanks Glen.
Never heard of this or Ken before.
We have the boat races in Kogarah Bay near us at times and it is quite scary/thrilling watching them. Always seem to be on the brink of destructing on every run the way they " float " out of the water. And that is from a distance.
The boat looked really grounded in the vid.


18-10-18, 11:16 PM
Cheers Glen

I recall a few months ago a news article where by his son was looking to match / beat his dad's record.
Thought they were going to be attempting around this time.

Wonder if it's still on the cards


Shin-Ken 1074
18-10-18, 11:35 PM
Yeah, Ken's story is pretty amazing when you get into it. And there is plenty of humour as well as genius. Like when he was discussing the tail plane with the boffins and he told them the tail had to be no more than a certain width. They thought it must be performance based and Ken's set width was critical for the boat. "Nar, that's the maximum width I can tow on my trailer." was his reply.

Not only was Ken a genius boat designer he had balls of steel to run Spirit of Australia that hard, and live!

Ken may not be well known these days but he is certainly deserving of admiration for his vision, drive, world record and all the while remaining a very down to earth bloke that never lost his way.

Thanks Ken.

19-10-18, 08:28 AM
Kens son is going to have a crack at the record next year i think. Spirit of Australia has been built and testing is on going Cheers Murf

19-10-18, 05:29 PM
You gotta be half a nutter to do this sort of stuff so I'm raising a glass to all the nutters out there. There was some story year's and year's ago about him straightening a panel or something or maybe it was testing the engine mounts so he chained it to a wharf and fired up the jet and just let rip! LOL.

19-10-18, 09:46 PM
In one of Kens runs he thought it wasn't fast enough so he borrowed a farmers oxy gear and cut 65mm off the fin or rudder and that was it no smoothing shaping or anything like that. Now what sort of speed record could you set now days with a $65 engine it was meant to be a spares engine but it turned out to be the best one for the aussie speed record. Cheers Murf