The Hard Work Behind Breaking Records
When Sydney speed skier Lauryn Eagle broke the record for water skiing from Sydney to Newcastle and then turned around and skied back to Sydney, few would have appreciated the mammoth logistical feat that supported the super human effort.
Indeed the notion of simply running a boat over 222 kilometers of open sea is daunting enough. But to have the added responsibility of a skier at the end of a 45m (150’) tow rope for the entire journey adds an extra dimension.
Long time ski and offshore racer Rory Brown was central to the team effort, pulling together the people, boats and equipment for the record run.
“While many would have thought that a conventional ski or offshore race boat would be the ideal tow boat, we chose the Protector RIB with Yamaha F350 for the record run,” Rory Brown said.
“The 9m Protector hull has a long, deep vee fibreglass hull shape. The inflatable tubes around the hull added to the stability of the hull and delivered a really soft, cushioned ride.”
Rob Stirling of Protector Boats Australia was a driving force behind the project and supplied all the boats for the record attempt.
“We had nine Protector boats on the water, all powered by Yamaha,” Rob said. “Many would think that you just need to provide a tow boat, but the logistics of this kind of exercise are quite huge. We were delighted to put about $1 million of Protector boats at the disposal of the Lauryn Eagle attempt.”
To get the big 2.5 tonne boat up and running, the team opted for the biggest production outboard in the business, the Yamaha F350 model. This is a 350hp V8 four stroke outboard engine that had the power, fuel economy and reliability to do the job.
“We needed to have an outboard engine that could run at a comfortable mid power range yet deliver the speed needed for the record. The Yamaha F350 was fabulous – it never missed a beat and did a fantastic job,” Rory said.
“The Yamaha F350 did the job asked really easily.”
Carrying a crew on board the Protector comprising driver Danny Knappick and observer Rory Brown, Rob Stirling from Protector Boats Australia was also on board navigating and working the communications systems.
In addition to the two boats, there were two chase boats plus a dedicated medical support boat. All three additional boats were Yamaha powered Protector hulls powered with dual Yamaha F150 outboards.
On the run up to Newcastle the seas were kind running with a 2 metre swell. Lauryn Eagle did the 111 km journey in a time of 1 hour and 42 minutes, breaking the 30 year old record. Boat speed on the run north was up to 40 knots (74 km/h) at times, with the Yamaha F350 mostly running at mid throttle.
But on the return trip, the sea conditions had deteriorated with the seas having turned more turbulent. Not only was the swell a bit bigger, but now there were waves on top and the Protector boat was angling into the oncoming seas.
“On the run south back to Sydney, Lauryn was certainly feeling it,” Rory Brown said. “Conditions kept our boat speed down and we were feathering the engine throttles all the way to keep the tow line tight for Lauryn.”
“Lauryn fell twice coming home. But she is such a gutsy girl, she got back up again and was determined to ski all the way home through Sydney Heads and past the Manly Wharf.”
On calmer water the Yamaha F350 – Protector RIB package is capable of 53 knots (98 km/h) at wide open throttle.
“I know that with the Yamaha F350 and Protector combination did the job perfectly for me on the day,” Lauryn Eagle said.
“That Yamaha engine is a fantastic outboard. It has a heap of power, comes on nice and smooth and was great to ski behind.”
Yamaha outboards are available through an Australia-wide network of authorised Yamaha outboard dealers. All Yamaha 4-stroke outboards are supported with a full 4-year manufacturer’s warranty and all 2-stroke outboards are backed by a 3-year warranty – standard conditions apply.