The Adrenalist

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World’s Fastest Boats



There are two kinds of boat lovers: those who see their crafts as mere floating lounge chairs and those who like to pretend they’re at the helm of an aquatic rocket ship. With all do respect to the former, this feature’s for the speed freaks.

It’s said that hitting the water starts to feel like concrete at about 40 mph. We’re not sure of the exact speed at which falling into the deep blue would be deadly, but we’re sure that the captains of the five fastest boats in the world are subjecting themselves to quite a bit of risk, considering many of their toys’ engines aren’t even close to topping out at two times the rumored threshold for life ending velocity. More interested in blowing your hair back than enjoying a sunset? You just might be in the market for one of these bad boys.

118 Wallypower

How many boats undergo water tank and wind tunnel testing, at a Ferrari facility in Maranello, Italy no less? The answer: not many. Motored by three premier Vericor TF50 gas turbines and Rolls-Royce Kamewa water jets (it sounds esoteric but, trust us, this is some of the best stuff money can buy), the 118 Wallypower, 16, 800 horespower, 118-foot luxury motor yacht is truly something to behold. And if you ever get sick of ripping through swells, its cabin is outfitted with many fine accouterments, incuding a saloon and dining area, each of which boasts multiple plasma TVs. So what will it take for you to get yourself a pair of keys to this stunning vehicle? Just a desire to flirt with death and extreme luxury all at once. Oh, and about $33 million.

Problem Child

You’re not going to find a lot of luxury here. What will you will find, however, is eyeball-popping speed. The Problem Child, debuted at a LucasOil drag racing competition shown in our video selection, is reportedly the world’s fastest driven propeller boat. How fast is “fast”? Try nearly four times the speed of the 118 Wallypower. The Problem Child tops out at a troublesome 261.33 mph. The takeaway here is: make sure you have some serious open water in which to drive this puppy, lest an unfortunate run in with a lesser craft (kayakers beware) gives unwanted credence to the vessel’s daunting name.


What’s orange, purple, green all over, and named Phenomenon? No, not a WWE wrestler in a leotard; the boat debuted at the 2010 Miami International Boat Show was built up as the the world’s fastest speedboat, but failed to break The speed record set by Ken Warby’s Spirit of Australia, still the fastest propeller watercraft in the world. Not quite as speedy as the technologically baffling Problem Child, the Phenom can certainly hold its own among the most righteous of wave slicers. With 12,000 horsepower and the capacity to ramp up to 250 mph, the 56-foot craft was the product of NASA and Boeing engineer’s brainpower, harnessed with the goal of breaking the world’s prop speedboat record. Millions of dollars later, the carbon fiber and fiberglass ode to scientific power belongs to Al Copeland, Jr., owner of the Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits chain.

The World Is Not Enough

Every boat enthusiast wants different things. Some may prefer a more modestly luxurious ode to mechanical splendor, something like the problem child. Others, an even mix of respectable speed and subtle ostentation, something akin to 118 Wallypower, perhaps. But, for others still “The World Is Not Enough”. Those high-maintenance Adrenalists among us who are a bit harder to please (and who have the means to be as picky as they want), we recommend The World Is Not Enough 140-foot superyacht, reported to be the fastest of its type. Its 10, 870 horsepower and top speeds of 40 mph don’t seem overly impressive until we consider comparable vessels start rattling at less than half that clip. The World Is Not Enough’s lightweight alloy frame and aerodynamic design allow riders to enjoy daiquiris by the in-deck pool while their captain whisks them back to their island dinner reservation right on time.

The Spirit of Australia

We’d be woefully remiss if we didn’t end by mentioning Ken Warby, the Australian motorboat racer who, in 1977, broke the water speed world record, achieving top speeds of 288.6 mph and 317.6 mph with his personally hand-crafted wood and fiberglass boat, The Spirit of Australia. The real secret to the Spirit’s success was a jet engine Warby procured from a military salvage yard for only $69. His stunning record still stands.

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