Galvanizers create firm foundations for British attempt on the Outright World Water Speed Record

A North West galvanizing company has helped to play its part in a forthcoming British attempt to break the Outright World Water Speed Record.

The pure thrust jet hydroplane being built - named Longbow - will be powered by twin military jet aircraft engines and will be driven by a serving Royal Navy pilot.

Manchester Galvanizing Ltd. was called on by the team behind the project to galvanize a six-wheeled steel trailer, from which the craft will be launched into the water.

Once the build of the jet hydroplane is complete, the purpose-designed flatbed trailer will be used to transport Longbow to the Lake District, where she will begin initial trials on Coniston Water, the home of many water speed record attempts in recent decades.

Sales Manager, Mark Waters, said the plant was proud to be involved in the Longbow project.

He added: “We are delighted to offer our services in support of such a fantastic venture. Galvanizing the trailer for Longbow means it has the very best possible protection against the elements and will stand the test
of time for many years to come.

“It’s important for us to know that corrosion of the trailer for Longbow will not be an
issue for them, so they can concentrate upon developing and running the craft that with good fortune we hope in time will lead to a credible attempt on the record itself and we wish them the very best of success with their endeavours.”

The current Outright World Water Speed Record was set at 317.6mph by Australian Ken Warby MBE on Blowering Dam Australia in 1978 with his jet hydroplane Spirit of Australia. Ken's son, David, good friends with the British Longbow team, is now also attempting to break his father’s record with a new jet hydroplane, Spirit of Australia II, providing great competition for the Longbow team.

Perhaps most notably, Britain's Donald Campbell CBE, broke the record several times in his iconic jet hydroplane Bluebird K7 between 1955 and 1966, of which five were achieved at Coniston Water. Just last month (March), two RAF Hawk aircraft flew at low level and high speed over Coniston Water to celebrate Donald's achievements, while his daughter Gina Campbell QSO, laid a wreath from the Coniston jetty to commemorate Donald's lifetime of record breaking.

David Aldred, Project Leader for Longbow, has closely followed the history of water speed record attempts and has had a lifelong interest in record breaking both on land and water. As a qualified engineer, David assisted for over two years in restoring Campbell's Bluebird K7 jet hydroplane and for four years worked with Helical Technology constructing a separate full size replica of Bluebird K7, called K777, the latter of which undertook trials on Coniston Water in 2011.

David and his team began construction of Longbow in 2018 and he said he was grateful to all at Manchester Galvanizing Ltd. for their sponsorship of the venture. Without the generous support of all the companies who have backed the project, it would not have happened, he added.

“We’re not yet sure whether we’ll slip the trailer and craft into the water from the lakeside to launch and recover Longbow, or crane Longbow off the trailer and into the water,” he said. “But we knew we wanted a coating to the steel framework of the trailer that would provide a far superior and long lasting protective barrier to the steel against corrosion when exposed to water, rather than simply painting it.”

Currently working out of his cottage workshop in Thornton Cleveleys, where Longbow is being built, David said he was almost halfway through the hull build stage for the craft. He added that once Longbow was fitted out internally, the intention would be to statically test her twin jet engines at a suitable location such as Blackpool Airport, which is local to the venture.

The Longbow jet hydroplane will be piloted by serving Royal Navy pilot Lt. David-John Gibbs RN (DJ), who as part of his military career now works as flight examiner for the world-renowned Central Flying School at RAF Cranwell, and in his spare time races powerboats and flies vintage and ex-military aircraft. These include the BAC Jet Provost – powered by the Rolls Royce Viper jet engine. Two Viper engines from the closely related and more powerful BAC Strikemaster aircraft will propel Longbow, used side by side within the craft.

Manchester Galvanizing Ltd. is part of Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd., the largest hot-dip galvanizing organisation in the UK with a history dating back over 150 years and with 14 plants located across the country offering a nationwide service.

For further information please contact Wedge Group Galvanizing on 01902 601944 or visit
www.wedge-galv.co.uk. To find out more about the exciting high profile Longbow jet hydroplane project and the Outright World Water Speed Record, visit www.jet-hydroplane.uk.