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11/19/06- Please follow this link to go to page 3 of this project.

9/30/06- The following pictures illustrate the continuing progress of the turbine Superboat: (Photos courtesy of Rick)

The pictures above show the floor as it has been glassed into the hull atop the stringers in the cabin section. In the fore is the ballast tank, and in the background you can see the cockpit liner which has been modified for the turbine engine. These pictures face the stern of the boat.

The above pictures are facing the bow of the boat. Once again you can see the cockpit liner, as well as the floor and the ballast tank. In the foreground in the picture on the left are the footrests for the driver and front passenger. The space in between the footrests is the access into the cabin. The cabin will be used more as a utility space for electrical panels and relays, and I may keep a small toolbox in there, just in case.

The above pictures show the deck being hoisted into Superboat's garage, and being set in place above the hull. The next step is to join the hull and the deck together.

Above shows the joining of the hull and the deck to form the classic shape of the Superboat Y2K-30 hull. Apart from a few subtle indications, at first glance there will be little to indicate that this isn't an ordinary Superboat, which is the way I like it. Look at the gorgeous lines of the boat as seen in profile...It looks like it is going 100 mph even when it is standing still.

The neat and clean integration of engine into hull was a major design requirement, and one that Superboat has achieved with great success, as you can see in the pictures above. The picture on the left is the view from the cockpit looking rearward. Superboat is in the process of fabricating an airbox assembly and scoop which will fit neatly over the top of the cold end of the engine, completely isolating it from both the cockpit and the engine bay. On the right, a look into the engine compartment. The engine compartment will house the hot end of the engine, (combustor, turbines, exhaust outlet) as well as the speed decreaser gearbox, N2 shaft brake, and crashbox. Everything is coming along great, and we have an outside shot of getting the beast into the water for some preliminary testing before the winter sets in. (next entry)


9/16/06- Work continues at Superboat. As shown in the pictures, the engine and drive have been removed from the hull so that the saddle tanks could be installed. A fiberglass box was built for each saddle tank, and then the aluminum tanks were installed and foamed into place for maximum structural integrity. The same thing was done with the front ballast tank, which will carry fuel and also be used as a ballast tank to fine tune the handling of the boat underway. With the four fuel tanks installed on the boat, the maximum fuel capacity is approximately 245 gallons, which exceeds my design requirements nicely. This added capacity gives me the freedom to keep the ballast tank half full allowing me to play with the fuel levels to balance the hull. All fuel to the turbine will be drawn from the 98 gallon belly tank via an electric fuel boost pump. Additional fuel pumps will transfer fuel from the other tanks to belly tank as needed.

The pitures also show that the deck has been removed to continue the custom glass work. Four NACA type ducts have been incorporated into the deck sides, which will channel cool ambient air to the turbine airbox. These side ducts will act as secondary airflow ducts to the turbine inlet. The primary air inlet will be a large scoop above the intake screen. The scoop will also divert cooling air into the engine compartment to keep things cool in there. (next entry)


8/27/06- With the engine and drive mounted, the hull is now back at Superboat to finalize the rigging of the boat so that we can move into the finishing stages of the project, and possibly have the boat in the water by the end of this season for testing.

As seen in the photos above and below, Superboat has temporarily mounted the deck onto the hull. This required cutting a notch out of the underside of the swim platform to accomodate the housing of the Sage Drive. Rick from Superboat will rework the fiberglass under the swim platform to strengthen and close the cutout into a nice detail. This is just one example of the detailed custom glass work that goes into a project like this.

Installing the deck also required cutting in half the rear cockpit area, where the rear bench and engine bay front bulkhead would normally go. Again, this is an area that will require very careful attention to make it both functional and visually appealing.

Having the deck on the boat allowed us to see exactly where the engine intake sits in relation to the cockpit. In light of our efforts in shortening the engine and transmission package as much as possible, I was a little surprised at how far the engine and engine intake stuck into the cockpit. From the outset, a design objective has been that the boat hold at the very least four occupants, preferably five. It is clear now that we will be able to seat four comfortably. A big advantage we have working for us is how low the engine sits in the hull. This allows for two jump seats to be built over the top of the engine, with the space in between the rear seats to house a fiberglass airbox, which will feed cool air to the engine intake bell. The airbox assembly will incorporate a kevlar shield which will sit over the compressor section of the engine, to protect the rear passengers from an unlikely uncontained compressor event. The whole assembly will be easily removable to allow access to the front half of the engine for service.

The engine compartment itself has limited space, and there are a lot of things that will have to go in there, so now is the time to think about the engine compartment layout. There will be two saddle tanks, two oil tanks, an alternator, a power steering pump, and four trim pumps just to name a few.

The next step for Superboat is to fit the cockpit liner and the air box. In the meantime, Eric will pull the T58 engine out of the hull and have an aviation mechanic do a complete borescope inspection on the engine to assure that everything is in good condition before it goes into the boat permanently. I have to finalize my design for the instrument cluster and switch panel so that we can order the parts and install them when the deck is removed once again from the hull. (next entry)


7/23/06- With the rear mount completed, we shifted our attention to the front mount. The front mount is designed with elastomeric marine mounts which pick up custom fabricated aluminum mounting brackets. The mount carries the T58 engine at the front and allows for growth of the engine due to thermal expansion, as well as absorbing shocks. The whole front mount assembly sits on top of an aluminum tube crossmember. The crossmember will be carried by two aluminum brackets, in turn supported by the stringers on either side. Another aluminum angle iron will cap off the stringer to allow the crossmember to be through bolted into the stringers for maximum support.


With the engine mount completed, the hull is now sent back to Superboat, where Rick will do some filling and grinding of the stringers to smoothly integrate the engine mount into the hull. At that point Superboat can install the cockpit liner and the deck, and we will move into the final phase of the build. (next entry)


6/21/06- Work has now begun on the engine mount and the driveshaft. The pictures below show the rear engine mount. As shown, the mount will consist of two back to back aluminum channels per side, which will be bolted to the aluminum mounting plate to which the crashbox is mounted. The aluminum channels will be through-bolted to the stringers, which will be capped with another section of aluminum angle to prevent the through-bolt holes from egg-shaping. The rear mount is design to rigidly hold the rear of the engine in place, to maintain the precise alignment of the driveshaft, and to resist the massive twisting force of the engine.

The front engine mount is currently in the process of being designed. The front mount will use elastomeric bushes to allow the engine to expand slightly, as it does when it gets hot. The flexible front mount should also absorb some of the impacts of wakes and rough seas.

The pictures below show the heavy duty driveshaft and universal couplings used to connect the output of the crashbox to the input of the outdrive. At full power, this driveshaft will turn at 6,000 rpm, driving a massive propeller.

Now that the driveshaft is installed, we can precisely locate the engine and install the engine mounts into the hull. (next entry)


6/05/06- We have completed the mounting of the surface drive to the transom of the Superboat hull. We consider this the most critical part of the project, and accordingly approached it with care and delicacy. Of course, we won't be sure of the ideal mounting location until we test the boat, but we feel that this is a good start. Also, the adjustable X-Dimension of the Sage Drive will allow us to fine tune the set up of the boat while we are in the water. This is also the lowest that we can mount the outdrive without having to use a drop box to drop the drive axis down. One of the original objectives of the project was to simplify the drivetrain as much as possible, and also to keep it as short as possible, so avoiding the use of a drop box was an important consideration.

With the outdrive mounted, we are working on having a driveshaft fabricated to couple the output flange of the crashbox to the input flange of the surface drive. We are also working on designing a mount system that will support the power unit on the stringers and also isolate the engine from the shocks experienced by a boat in choppy water. (next entry)



5/12/06- With the hull out of the mold, the next step was the critical operation of integrating the engine, transmission, and drive into the hull. To make some room in Superboat's shop, and also to allow us to take as much time as we needed without holding up Superboat's production of other boats, we transported the boat to Eric's place. Eric constructed a tent to shelter the boat and allow work to take place in spite of bad weather.


The pictures above show the approximate location of the engine in the hull, so we can locate the outdrive in the ideal spot. Once the exact mounting location of the drive is established, the template will be used to drill the holes in the transom to mount the outdrive. Once the outdrive is mounted, then we can fabricate the engine mounts, mount the engine, and then get the hull back to Superboat so they can continue rigging the boat. (next entry)


4/23/06- The pictures show the bulkheads and stringers being laid into the boat. The stringers and bulkheads will give the hull strength against flexing as the boat plows across the waves. The stringers and bulkheads are in slightly different locations than they would be on a typical boat. After the stringers and bulkheads are set, they are glassed into place to form one solid unit. The hull will also get a balsa coring in between the fiberglass layers to increase the structural strength of the boat, and a foam core layer in the less critical areas.


The picture below shows the hull right after it is extracted from the mold. Looks awesome, doesn't it?


Moving right along, the next step, after the guys from Superboat clean the mold release agent from the underside of the hull, is for us to mount the outdrive, fabricate the mounts for the engine, and then install the engine. Once we have established where the boundaries of the engine lie, then it can go back to Superboat where the deck will be put on and further rigging can take place.

Now is also the time for us to begin looking at what kind of instruments and switches we will be using on the boat. Stay tuned for more... (next entry)


4/04/06- More good progress on the turbine boat. The other day, Eric headed out to Superboat with the T58 engine to begin test fitting the engine in the hull before the framework of stringers and bulkheads are laid in. The pictures below show the finished deck, the hull in the mold, and the T58 being test fit to determine the location of the stringers and bulkheads.

Now that the engine has been test fitted, the stringers and bulkheads can be laid into the hull, and the hull can then be popped out of the mold, where we can begin the work of rigging the boat. (next entry)

3/22/06- As seen in the photos below, courtesy of Rick, the spraying of the hull has begun. Superboat will be using a newly remade mold for the hull, with a few modifications to the design of the steps which should allow for even more speed and better handling.

The fiberglass hull construction starts with the spraying of the gelcoat into the mold, which forms the outer "skin" of the hull. After the gelcoat cures, the various layers of fiberglass and resin will be added, to form the basic shell of the hull.

Later, the stringers and bulkheads will be added to provide the structural backbone of the hull, before the core material and additional layers of fiberglass are added. The size and placement of the stringers and bulkheads will be critical, and will have to take into consideration the location of the turbine engine. Eric and Rick have have already consulted on how the engine will sit in the hull. It will be a bit of a tight fit, and may require the use of a driveshaft or flexible drive coupling to offset the output of the crashbox so that it lines up correctly with the outdrive. (next entry)


3/19/06- Last weekend I headed out to Superboat's facilities in Long Island. I came to drop off the SCS Gearbox Sage #8 Surface Drive at the shop, and also to begin to talk about the hull design with regard to the location of the stringers and bulkheads. The outdrive caused a bit of a stir with the Superboat guys; it will be the first time they (or I) will be working with this particular type of drive, and they were very impressed by its design and features.

The picture on the right is the deck of what will be the Y2K-30 Turbine Boat. Lookin' good!

As a followup, today, Vito and I headed back out to Long Island to drop off the T58 engine over at Eric from Turbineboat.com's place, which is very close to Superboat's facility. Eric will play a key role here as he will do the final preparations for the engine to be installed into the hull, and will also work closely with Rick from Superboat on the integration of engine and hull.

According to Rick, construction of the lower hull has already been started last week, and the project is moving along nicely. (next entry)

3/06/06- According to Rick from Superboat, they have started the production of my Y2K-30 for this T58 turbine boat project, on schedule and as promised. From here on in, I expect the project to move really quickly. At this point, my goal is to have the boat in the water for testing by the end of the summer.

Apparently, there is already a lot of buzz going around that this may become one of the fastest Superboat Y2K-30s hulls around. Well, I'm certainly not going for any speed records, but it will be nice to know I've got the baddest boat on the bay.

Rick took these photographs below, which show the deck gelcoat being applied, and then the deck is skinned with a 3/4 oz. fiberglass mat.

This weekend I will be heading out to Superboat and I will bring the Sage #8 drive and the cardboard and plywood mockup of the engine that I made way back while I was waiting for the engine work to be completed. Just in time for them to begin the construction of the hull itself. Stay tuned for more pictures of the build! (next entry)


2/05/06- After an unsuccessful attempt two weeks ago, we were back again to try to get the T58-GE-8F engine up and running on the test stand. Despite difficulties, distractions, and a nasty case of the flu, today we were able to get the big kahuna up and running.

After giving the two 12V batteries a good charge, and checking all of the systems, we loaded up the engine onto a trailer, and hauled it out to a remote spot. With a press of the start switch, the big turbine began to spool to life. At 19% N1, I introduced fuel flow, and after a short delay, she lit off and began to accelerate up to a ground idle speed of around 58% N1. Unloaded power turbine speed at engine idle was around 62% or so, which equates to an output shaft speed of around 3,700 rpm. The measured gas temperature seemed to be running a little on the low side, so I'll need to find the reason for that. In general, it doesn't seem to be running perfect and I'll probably have to tweak it a little, but it was great to finally have the engine running, and everything seems to be under control. A video of the run up can be seen here.

Running this engine has particular significance, as it officially becomes the most powerful engine, turbine or otherwise, that I have been at the controls of, replacing a 750 horsepower turbocharged Caterpillar Diesel V12 engine in a piece of heavy machinery that I once ran. Watching the engine running there on the stand made me think about how cool it is going to be purring away in the back of the Superboat.

Production of the hull is slated to begin in approximately one month, so the excitement is really starting to grow. (next entry)

12/18/05- After mounting the two oil tanks and the fuel boost pump, I ran all of the plumbing lines for the oil and fuel systems. Next, I fabricated a control panel out of aluminum plate and mounted it up to the engine. Currently, I have all of the wiring approximately 90% completed, and I am just waiting for one more cannon plug before I can complete the wiring and do a test spool up of the engine. This should occur just after the New Year. (next entry)


11/20/05- Now that we have Superboat lined up to build us a custom vee bottom hull, we have a little time before they start on our boat. We intend to use that time wisely to familiarize ourselves with the operation of the T58-GE-8F engine, and the driveline that we rigged up.

Recently, we pulled the engine out of its shipping can, rotated it to the right side up position, and rigged a simple test stand for the engine out of bolted up angle iron. I decided to bolt up the frame instead of welding it together so I can take the frame apart easily when I am not using it. The frame has two level, flat angles that I can sit on the ground, or I can sit it on a pair of dollies so I can roll the engine around.



With the electric starter mounted to the compressor front frame, an aerodynamic starter bullet is slipped over the starter to smooth airflow into the engine, and then the bellmouth and intake screen clamp neatly onto the front of the compressor frame. The starter bullet and intake screen are courtesy of Mark Nye. The distance from the front of the intake screen to the output flange of the SCS crashbox is exactly 84 inches, making for a very long engine compartment. In order to maintain rear seats on the finished boat, which is a design requirement, we will probably have to sit the engine intake between and/or underneath the rear seat, and figure out a way to duct a whole lot of air to that space.

Next, I will plumb up the two oil tanks and coolers, the fuel boost pump and lines, and then wire up an electrical test panel with some basic instrumentation. Then, I will give the neighbors a special treat as I spool this bad boy up in the backyard... (next entry)


11/16/05- As we are rigging up the engine in the test stand, we have now made arrangements to have a hull built for the project. I wanted to use a local boat builder, and I had a few options to go with. In the end, one particular boat caught my eye as the right boat for the project.

I headed down to Superboat recently in Lindenhurst, Long Island to meet the owner John Coen and to talk about him building a custom hull for my turbine boat project. Superboat is a well established builder of high performance boats for racing, Poker Runs, and for pleasure use. Their 30' hull, the 30-Y2K seemed like the perfect boat for me.

I stopped down at the rigging shop to look at a hull that he is building for another customer and to take some preliminary measurements and get some ideas on how we will tackle certain issues in the latter part of the build. The boat you see in these pictures is similar to the one I will be getting, however, when Superboat builds my hull, they will have to take some special measures to accomodate the turbine engine. Primarily, the engine compartment will have to be much longer to accomodate the 7' long engine and transmission package. Also, the stringers and bulkheads will have to be built in different locations to mount the engine, and the stringers will have to be made of even stronger contruction to handle the tremendous torque of the engine. The boat will be built with a large belly tank which will have to be moved forward, and later on we will incorporate two large saddle tanks to almost double the total fuel capacity.

The boat in the picture is essentially a stock hull. This particular boat will be receiving a 496 H.O. engine with around 425 horsepower, turning a Bravo One X. This boat does around 70 mph; imagine how it will do with over 3 times the horsepower. John thinks that the boat will easily do over 100 mph, he is thinking closer to 115-120 mph. I am starting to get really excited. Superboat will start construction of my hull sometime after the New Year. (next entry)


10/21/05- Recently we headed out to the Akron Turbine Group, home of the legendary Green Monster and Tim Arfons's shop. Arfons has a real nice facility, and being there, for me, was like being a kid in a candy shop. Turbine engines everywhere, big, small, and medium sized. There were J57's, T58's, J69's, T41's, hundreds of JFS-100's, T63's, Boeing T50's, small Williams turbojets, you name it. The walls are literally lined with turbines. Then Tim gave us a real treat and took us into Art Arfons's shop where there were some real big beasts, including some T56's, T64's, a bunch of old V12 and inline WWII era piston engines, a huge Diesel radial engine, and, in the corner, two Pratt and Whitney TF30's, the powerplants out of the Grumman F-14 Tomcat! I don't know what was cooler, seeing the TF30's standing there in the corner, taking the full height of the building, or seeing Tim's Jet Powered Barstool in person.

After I stopped salivating, it was time to get down to business, which was, of course to pick up my completed General Electric T58-GE-8F turboshaft engine with Rolls Royce Gnome Speed Decreaser Gearbox, SCS Gearbox crashbox, and output shaft brake kit. After purchasing the engine over 2 years ago on ebay, it was nice to see it all cleaned up, rigged up, and ready to go for my boat project.

After we loaded the powerplant and also the SCS gearbox Sage #8 drive up into the trailer, we left Akron early in the morning to make our way back home.

Get this guy some coffee


After getting home and unloading the equipment, we got to sit back and have a good look at my new engine and drive.

GE T58-GE-8F


Sage #8 Drive


Nye Starter Bullet and Screen, GE Electric Starter


Now that I have the engine, the next step will be to remove it from the shipping can, turn it right side up, and rig it in a wheeled test stand. Then I will begin to familiarize myself with the manual and engine, and rig up a basic control panel so I can test fire the engine and hear what 1,400 horsepower sounds like. In the meantime, now that they have the major engine dimensions, the hull manufacturer has begun the initial manufacturing stages of the bare hull for my 30' project boat.

I expect the project to pick up pace considerably now that the engine work is completed. Stay tuned for more! (next entry)


To see the first part of this project, click here.


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