An upcoming world speed record attempt by Nigel Hook and the crew of SilverHook will be a two-for-one as they set out to achieve the fastest crossing from the U.S. to Cuba, and then back.
Captain Hook has chosen August 17 to try to set two speed records in what is considered the most technically-advanced offshore monohull race boat in the world. The first objective is a one-way speed record from a point just off the Florida Keys to Havana.
If that record is established, then part two will be an equally-fast or faster return trip and a two-way record. Should SilverHook fail to break the one-way record and the mechanical/technical problems are fixable in the water then the return trip record attempt will still be mounted.
On the morning of August 17, the Lucas Oil Speed Record attempt will begin at 6:30 a.m. EDT in Mallory Square, Key West. The timer starting the record attempt will be triggered just south of Sunset Key and will stop when SilverHook reaches the channel marker in front of El Morro Castle in Havana (Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro). Following a brief celebration hosted by the Hemingway International Yacht Club, the return leg will be straight back to Key West.
The sanctioned record of 6 hours was set in 1922 by a boat piloted by motor racing Hall of Fame member Gar Wood. Wood was an American inventor, entrepreneur, motor boat builder and racer who held the world water speed record on several occasions. He was the first man to travel over 100 miles per hour on water.
In 2015 the ocean racer Apache set an unsanctioned time of 1 hour and 51 minutes.
This U.S.-Cuba record attempt is a tremendous challenge for the SilverHook, which given the expected wave conditions should exceed 125mph. The boat is 48 feet long, weighs more than 13,000 pounds powered by two Mercury Racing engines producing a combined 3,100 horsepower and a top speed of nearly 168 miles per hour in calm conditions. The powerboat telemetry has been radically updated from its normal Superboat unlimited configuration.
SilverHook's course will take it 102 miles across the Florida current
that flows between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean
Sea. The current is at its strongest in July and August and that resistance will force SilverHook to travel about 110 miles on its record attempt.
The Florida current also is a treacherous body of water that has been the graveyard of many ships through the ages. Depending on wave height, visibility can be poor at high speeds, with the monohull diving down and through waves rather than skipping over the surface. Waves can run from 3 to 30 feet high and constant vigilance by the helicopter spotters is needed to avoid other ships or floating debris such as tree trunks and oil barrels.
SilverHook's main sponsors include Lucas Oil, IBM Watson IoT, Globecomm, Ingram Micro and Inmarsat. This attempt will be conducted under the sanction of the UIM (Union International Motonautique), the APBA (American Power Boat Association), Powerboat P1-USA and the Hemingway International Yacht Club in Cuba.
SilverHook is owned and captained by transplanted Englishman Nigel Hook, who will be controlling the throttles and telemetry on the record attempt. Hook is a 30-year veteran of international powerboat racing and has won three World Championships, set three World Speed Records and earned membership in the APBA Hall of Champions. He currently races the 77 Lucas Oil SilverHook 48GP in the Superboat International unlimited class. His co-pilot and driver is fellow APBA inductee and powerboat veteran Jay Johnson.