Fast Craft Intended to
1994 Jeremy Watts contacted me saying that he was intending
start a new company to build fast leisure craft. The idea
that these would be craft that could cover distances
in comfort at high speed in offshore conditions. They
were not intended to be sportsboats used for water
skiing or just a quick blast around the bay. They were
to go places!
Jeremy was a well
known racer (winning the 2 litre World Championship at
around that time) and he knew the
available concepts for fast craft. Broadly these were either
monohulls or catamarans and there were many different
versions of both types on the fast boat scene. There
were also a number of my ‘stabilised monohull’ racers
about; sometimes referred to as three pointers in
those days. I had started designing the first one
- Skean Dhu,
for the Countess of Arran – in 1975.
It had first raced in 1976 and had achieved some
success, see the racing
craft page. These craft were the
direct antecedents of the Bladerunner – see
I had long discussions about which of the three types would
make the best production craft,
bearing in mind the high speed offshore ‘Grand
he was aiming for. A waterborne Aston Martin
or Ferrari! We looked at the pros and cons of the mono,
cat and what
I was trying to achieve with the stabilised
monohull. We agreed about the desirable features of
a fast offshore
craft and went with the stabilised monohull
concept – a
shape we now call an Air Entrapment Monohull – or
AEM. This was a term coined by Jeremy and describes
the function succinctly.
the detailed reasoning behind the AEM hull shape
and its comparison with the monohull
have a look at …… Since its introduction,
Jeremy has constantly developed the craft and
introduced detailed enhancements. During his
own periods on
through talking with owners, ideas
for improvement are fed in all the time. We then
think they are worth pursuing, a plan
for testing out the ideas is formulated. This
then incorporated in the production craft.
Production and marketing of the Bladerunner 34 (34 feet)
started in 1998, increasing from a trickle to a steady
stream over the succeeding years. The 34 was replaced
with the upgraded 35 in 2005 and the first 51 footer
was produced in 2004.
The first 34 was initially used as a
racer, just to show that it did have competitive performance
and to get the craft seen. A true campaign was never properly
mounted due to cost and engines were always
never blueprinted. Even so success was achieved.
At the World 6 litre Championships in Venice they managed
overall with very recalcitrant engines which
reduced the calm water speed way below the craft’s
capability, but a superb performance in the rough water
a reasonable result. Bladerunner was twice
second in the European championships once in 2001 and again
2002. The latter result was particularly
frustrating as having won the rough water heat, She was
calm heat also, with one lap to go, when
one of the prop shafts snapped – but that is racing.
Again, it would have paid dividends to have
had blueprinted shafts!
This first craft is still running well and
has been refitted as a thrill ride craft.
The first ever production 34 (number
2), epitomised the thinking behind the Bladerunner concept.
The owner lived in the Channel Islands and used the craft
to the South of England. Like a private
aircraft, you do your pre-trip weather checks, etc.,
the journey. Overall time, if you include
getting to the Airport or Marina and then filing flight
is about the same. The difference with
the Bladerunner is that when you complete your trip you
have a recreation
boat to use!
The first Bladerunner 51 obtained the Round Britain
World Record in 2005 (27 hours and 10
minutes) and the second and third production craft, at
this size, are being built
now. Have a look at Ice Marine’s own website at www.icemarine.com
the race boat concepts developed over the past 30 years
on our BLADERUNNER