The Aggressive Salmon raceboats, both Tub #668 (pictured) and Tub #659, have been on display in Nanaimo's cruiseship terminal for Crystal Serenity, Celebrity Infinity and Star Princess cruise ships that arrived this summer and fall. Lots of photos featuring our boat on the Nanaimo Port Authority's website.
On a warm morning in July 1967, Nanaimo's harbour was the scene of quite a marine spectacle. Over two-hundred 'bathtub boats' in every imaginable configuration were poised to race across the Straight of Georgia and onto Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver for the first time.
Things have changed since then, but many remain the same. The spirit of a bathtub race pilot and support team still forge a path through mechanical, financial and emotional obstacles. The excitement still builds for, and the preparation still takes months for just a few hours of racing adventure. The risks are still great to life and limb of the pilot (We thank Nepture for no losses of life with this sport in our history).
The Aggressive Salmon team had confirmed sponsors and are getting ready to produce this year's shirt, with a commemorate logo for the 50th race. See our Tshirts page for ordering form.
It was a beautiful day in Nanaimo yesterday for the 49th annual Bathtub Race. Our day started with no shortage of challenges, but finished really well. The race boat was in great shape in the morning and ready to hit the seas. Unfortunately, around Snake Island (1/4rd way through the race) our raceboat was dead in the water with water in the fuel system. After 20 min we had it started back up but didn't want to risk going further in the race so we radioed in and headed to the finish line without completing the course. Axl was honest about not completing the course but was still met with huge accolades for the enormous success of our raceboat that pushed the envelope in a myriad of ways.
The best part of the day came when, nearing the tail end of the awards ceremony, Bill McGuire (head of the bathtub society) made a heartwarming presentation and presented Dan with a gigantic Sportmanship trophy for our innovative work. We did 95% of the work building a inboard race boat from scratch this year and will finish the other 5% easily next year. Out of the dozen new technologies we've brought to bathtub racing, two or three of them still need some fine tuning.
After a huge push by Axl and Mr. Steel, the boat is in fighting shape and ready to brave the seas for the 49th annual World Championship Bathtub Race. It's been painted, tuned, rebuilt, tuned, and then tuned again. With such a innovative and novel design there are a ton of details that needed working out but we're confident that we can race and hopefully complete the course. Being on the podium is a different matter entirely.
With the drive and steering systems sorted out, the team moves into the water to test props and tune the engine to achieve it's full 8hp at the prop shaft. First impressions were excellent and Axl has been communing with the engine heavily since.
The team decided on a steel cable and pulley system for the steering. It's very tight and works like a charm. The pilot rides the boat just like a jetski or motorcycle. Throttle via a brake lever on the handlebars, safety disconnect tethered to lifevest.
We have five different props to choose from and will be experimenting heavily up until the morning of the race trying to obtain our ideal speed and acceleration.
With the construction of the vessel safely licked, our attention has moved to the major task of the project : developing a custom inboard drive system. We thank the bathtub racing gods for the help of Mr. Steel when it comes to all of the custom fabrication work and ingenuity. We're hoping to have a drive-able concept by Friday, the 19th of June. That's our first filming date with Shaw TV.
We've ordered some specialty racing props that are unlike what is currently used in the race, so there's another parallel experiment to add to the awesome-ness of our project.
In a fast a furious layup in the middle of the night last weekend, we went from piles of pre-cut fabric and jugs of epoxy to a complete hull with firmly attached bathtub cockpit. By the next afternoon we were dissolving the PVA release with water and freeing a beautiful sculpture from it's mold. There's many more photos of the boat in the gallery.
We've played with and debated different inboard configurations extensively and have decided to place the engine in the bow for a couple of reasons.
- The keel in the mid of the boat gives some space for driveshaft sprocket and chain, to keep the angle of the driveshaft low.
- It's dryer than the stern (as long as it's shrouded). The ass of a bathtub boat is usually lower in the water than the bow. This wouldn't be comfortable for a GX engine.
- The engine can be oriented level. Because of the allowance in the keel, the engine need not be titled or require universal joints. Can't tip these engines too much and our bow is already going to be in the air.
We feel that this is a good enough reasoning to move forward with the design and contruction of a engine mounting scheme below the front rim of the cockpit.
Today we pumped and mixed our first few liters of epoxy and created the cockpit of the new boat. Four 100" x 20" strips of 6oz E-glass cloth, laid bow to stern. Introduced some 17oz biaxial fabric into a few places for extra strength.
Our bow-mounted inboard engine design requires a big cutout in the front of the cockpit, you can see it masked off in the photo. The green tinge to the mold is the PVA we sprayed generously, in many coats, onto the mold before brushing the first epoxy on.