Phenomenon Update: Look for Record Attempt in Summer 2011

Updates out of the Phenomenon camp have few and far between since July, but I do have a couple thanks to Al Copeland, Jr., the owner of the quad-turbine-engine catamaran reportedly designed to break the propeller-driven water-speed record of 220-plus-mph. Most notably, the Phenomenon team will take another shot at the record in late 2011, “most likely during the summer months,” Copeland said in a written response to one of several questions I submitted to the public relations firm representing the Phenomenon project.


Second, according to Copeland, the 56-foot catamaran built in Metairie, La., did not sink earlier this year, contrary to an unconfirmed report. “It did not sink,” Copeland said in his response. “It took on water due to a drive shaft problem.”


Like many high-performance powerboat industry observers and enthusiasts, I’ve wondered who designed the boat since its inception. According to the Phenomenon website, the boat “was created by engineers from Boeing, former U.S. Naval architects and world class professional powerboat builders.”  That seemed a little vague to me, so I asked for more detail on the design team.


Copeland confirmed that noted designer Doug Wright was involved, “but his work was primarily on the bottom of the boat.”


As for the names of the Boeing engineers of U.S. Naval architects involved, which was one of the questions I submitted, Copeland responded that, “These names are not available for distribution.”


I’ll keep the updates coming as I receive information from the Phenomenon team. Like most of you, I’m looking forward to their next shot a breaking the record.