Vision Marine Technologies is getting ready to return to the famed Lake Of The Ozarks Shootout (LOTOS) this weekend to not only match the electric boat speed record it set last year, but to set a new one.
Alex Mongeon and Xavier Montagne, respectively CEO and COO of Vision, have been working with Shaun Torrente, pilot of last year’s 109 mph run, on a new boat powered by Vision Marine’s E-Motion electric powertrain. The boat has not been fully revealed to the public but as you can see from the company’s Instagram post below, it is very impressive.
From 25 mph to 109 mph in five years
This is the 35th running of the Shootout, which started in 1988 when a few boat owners on the man-made reservoir thought it would be fun to settle the dock side arguments and see who really deserved bragging rights for the fastest boat on the lake.
Word spread, more boats arrived, more spectators arrived, and the Shootout is now the largest unsanctioned boat race in the US, named one of the nation’s eight “must-see” boating events according to Powerboat Magazine.
As many as 100,00 visitors come to Missouri for the weekend and their attendance is put to good use. The Lake of the Ozarks Shootout has raised more than $3 million since 2008 for 32 local charities and 8 fire departments.
There are dozens of races, with class divisions created by hull type, engine modifications, and driver classification.
Electric boats first arrived in 2018 when Randy Vance, an Editor at Boating Magazine, piloted a ‘panga’ style boat from US boatmaker Calypso hitting a speed of 25mph / 39kmh.
The next year Vance piloted a Volt 180 from Vision Marine (known as Canadian Electric Boat Company at the time) and bumped the record up to 30mph / 48kmh.
In 2020 there were no electric entries, and in November of that year the CEBC became Vision Marine Technologies, launching as a public company with a successful IPO on NASDAQ led by the company’s development of a new high power electric outboard system.
By the time of the next Shootout in August 2021 Vision Marine was ready to enter a boat with a E-Motion 180e outboard – with peak power 135kW / 180 HP – and promptly set a record of 49 49 mph / 78 kmh in its third and final run.
Last year, the company got tongues wagging when they began working with three-time boat racing world champion Torrente to develop a 32 foot Hellkats Catamaran powered by two of the E-Motion 180Es.
The tongues really started wagging (and jaws dropped) when the boat became the first electric boat to break the 100 mile per hours barrier, hitting a speed of 109 mph (175 km/h) – more than twice the event’s previous electric boat record.
Then, at the Charged! Pavilion of electric boat exhibitors at February’s Miami Boat Show, Mongeon and Torrente announced that they were working on a new boat to break that world record at this year’s LOTOS.
Monitored by international, US powerboat organizations
A quick word about boat speed records. Like all international sports, boat racing has a governing body – the UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique) – which sanctions power boat races and oversees attempts at speed records.
As mentioned, the Shootout is the largest unsanctioned boat race in the US, so the speeds registered there are not recognized as official. To set a world record in the United States requires a speed run sanctioned by both the UIM and the American Powerboat Association (APBA). It needs to take place over a one kilometre course and requires a set number of runs.
The record speed is determined as an average speed over the distance, rather than its peak speed. The boat must make two passes over the whole course in opposite directions, with a maxiumum of 15 minutes between passes. The UIM/APBA rules for electric craft speed runs state that “Recharging or replacement of batteries between initial and return runs while attempting a record is not permitted.”
The Offshore Category Chairperson of the APBA, Rich Luhrs, will be leading the team in Missouri. He explained to Charles Plueddeman of Boating Magazine: “The boat can have a run of up to about one mile long to get up to speed before entering the measured kilo. We will use high-speed video cameras with a time code to record the moment the boat enters and completes the kilo. The cameras are synchronized and will record the time to cover that distance down to 1/100th second.”
The UIM record for absolute top speed by an electric-powered boat was set in 2008 by Mike Bontoft in a small one-man hydroplaning unit on Devil’s Lake in Lincoln City, Oregon. The Circuit Outright Electric Record is held by the Jaguar Vector racing team at 88.61 mph. The verified record for a production electric boat is 50 knots (93 km/h, 57.5mph), set by the SAY Carbon 29E, June 24, 2018 on Lake Zell in Zell am See, Austria.
Mongeon and Torrente are out to officially break them all. “This partnership aims to redefine high-speed watercraft and recreational boating,” says Mongeon, “forging a path toward sustainable racing while pushing the boundaries of conventional competition.”