The quest to go faster on water has challenged both man and machine for centuries. Whether for trading, waging war, or simply winning a coveted trophy, the desire for higher speeds has been relentless down the ages …
Modern-day challengers have a clear benchmark against which to measure their skill and ingenuity. The World Water Speed Record is the pinnacle of sporting achievement on water – a compelling contest by man and machine, played out on a backcloth of wind and wave, distance and time.
The World Water Speed Record has a long and colourful history. Previous holders and challengers have included the American inventor Alexander Graham Bell, the fabled British soldier and author “Lawrence of Arabia”, and the legendary English “speed kings” Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell with their iconic Bluebirds.
Quicksilver is a new boat for a new generation, inspired by the past. We are striving to extend the reach of human endeavour and advance Britain’s technological achievements on the world stage.
The Quicksilver World Water Speed Record Challenge is a collaborative venture uniting highly-skilled people and firms from across the broad span of British industry, drawn together by the man who founded the project, author Nigel Macknight. Our ultimate aim is to bring this prestigious international prize back to these shores after its long absence.
It is very sobering to reflect that it is now almost 60 years since the last British boat driven to record success was built …
Do we lazily leave it so that this dismal state of affairs persists, or do we try to prove that Britain can do better than that? Apathy reined to such a degree that the idea of Britain never holding the World Water Speed Record again was being passively accepted before the Quicksilver bid came to the public’s attention. It was easier to bask in the achievements of yesteryear than do something about the future.
Australia has held the World Water Speed Record for 34 years, in spite of competition from America. The record speed is 317.60 mph (511.11 kph). It is 46 years since Britain was the holder, way back in Donald Campbell’s time. The Quicksilver team aims to break Australia’s long stranglehold and return the trophy to our nation, which has made more water-speed history than any other.
The Quicksilver craft is steadily taking shape on a diet of loyal support, some small-scale private funding and irrepressible enthusiasm for the task in hand. Our philosophy is to employ modern technology in design, construction and operation so as to increase safety margins very substantially beyond what has been feasible in the past.
Difficulties that can dog a project of this type have come and gone, and we have had more than our fair share of expected and unexpected setbacks. Delays are the inevitable result, but none of that has blunted the resolve of the team members and supporting companies and individuals to keep up the effort and ensure that a boat is put on the water fit for trials. At that point we will see how all the dedication and hard work has paid off, and no doubt the learning process will continue. The manifold challenges of achieving ultra-high speeds on water are not easily tackled. At the opposite end of the scale, apathy can be easily challenged – as it dissolves with the simple act of doing something.
We hope you enjoy learning more about our quest via these website pages.