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The 1998 "Sidewinder" HPB

This year an entire redesign of the drivetrain was necessary. It just broke too many times last year, and must have been inefficient. When Bob Buerger returned from the 1997 HPV championships in Germany, he brought back pictures (and tales) of a two person catamaran called "Almost Perfect". It had two people facing each other, but sideways, so that the riders were each pedaling pedaling  with their feet over a different hull. The prop shafts went straight out the back of the hull with no twisting chains, no bevel gears, nothing to to rob power from the human  engine. Oh, and it won all the non-hydrofoil competition. This sounded like the way to go. During one weekend and some evenings,  I reconstructed the Enterprise (now Enterprise III? or maybe Frankenboat!), turning the seating sideways, and constructing the "gearbox". I used a 3/8" steel rod to go from the gearbox to the prop (this time the prop is in the rear of the boat). I had to use a large (16x16) prop as I only had a 3 1/2 to 1 gear ratio. The angle of the driveshaft was kept to 15 degrees as I read that that was the maximum efficient driveshaft angle on the IHPVA boat list (sorry I forget who wrote that...). In water testing  showed that it works great! The cadence is kind of high, but the effort is very low. Spinning for long distances seems to be easier than low rpm grunting on the stationary bike from hell.

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Enterprise III "Sidewinder" with sideways seating. Note pedals over right pontoon.

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Close-up of gearbox.

Time for the July 4th Rockford raft race once again! I was originally thinking I would not have time for this race this year, but serendipity shown, and I was there. The river was high, and there was a good tail wind which meant high speeds. The turnout was good, with twice as many entrants in the speed category as last year. Bob Buerger and Bill Murphy had brought their HPBs, and Bob's stoker was Sean Costin. This didn't give me many hopes for placing. A couple of nice hull designs turned out to just have people paddling them. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I hear that Jake Free from Indiana was showing up with a 4 man HPB. Luckily they would be starting way in back. The starting bomb went off, and I began pedaling madly. Bob's boat and mine were neck in neck in contention for the lead for most of the race, but they lost some gas toward the end and I started pulling ahead. I was amazed at how many other contestants were only a short distance behind us. Jake's 4 man dreadnought finally overtook us all. I ended up coming in second. Later I found out that a hole in Bobs hull may have slowed them down. I'd like to think not... Next weekend is the Hydrobowl!

Hydrobowl98 went well. While my boat (now christened the "Sidewinder") wasn't the fastest, I did manage a 3rd place overall finish. This was largely because George Tatum elected not to do the bollard pull. At hpra events, not doing an event will loose you a lot of points! The important thing was, my boat didn't break all year! (OK, I did lose the chain a couple times, and my bottom bracket shell delaminated from the foam and fiberglass boom, but I did finish all the races, and had a great time.)


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