Broomstick Breaks 25 Knots!

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Doug Halsey, May 15, 2008.

  1. Doug Halsey
    Joined: Feb 2007
    Posts: 399
    Likes: 104, Points: 53, Legacy Rep: 160
    Location: California, USA

    Doug Halsey Senior Member

    I was feeling bad about neglecting Broomstick, my 15' hydrofoil trimaran, for so long. I cracked the rudder last July & was taking a long time to make a new one & get back out on the water. Of course, I made some other changes (like converting from a wishboom to a conventional boom), but 10 months is a long time to stay on shore!

    Finally, last week (5-6-2008), I decided to forget all the other things that needed attention & just get out there (Lake Perris, near Riverside, California). On that day, conditions were fairly moderate, so I didn't improve on my previous top speed of 20.6 knots, but the boat performed well & gave me some confidence that my latest changes were improvements.

    This week (5-13-2008), I tried again & conditions were anything but moderate. The conditions reported on the weather website for nearby March ARB show winds over 20 mph & gusts around 30 mph all afternoon. The actual conditions at the lake were much more interesting, varying all over the place in both speed & direction. Whirlwinds kicked up clouds of sand & made life miserable on or near the beach. A Hobie 16 capsized on the beach under jib alone!

    I spent much of the afternoon slogging around, trying to cope with the fluky, gusty winds and not really going all that fast. A few times, however, the wind settled down enough for me to get my act together a little. By the end of the day, I was rewarded with an all-time personal best of 25.8 knots (unfiltered speed from the Velocitek file).

    I knew that Broomstick was capable of breaking 25 knots. That was an informal goal for this year. My eventual goal, with a better rig & the right conditions, was 30 knots. I now think it could do 30 knots right now & perhaps more, if nothing major breaks.

    I realize that 25 knots is just barely over 1/2 the current official World Record, and that an instantaneous speed is not the same as the average speed over a 500 meter course, but given the scope & limitations of this part-time, one-man effort, I am thrilled & very proud. Please forgive me if you think this is too much of a pure brag.

    A long article describing the Broomstick project as of Fall, 2007, including the boat's dimensions & several photos can be accessed through the Photo Gallery of the International Hydrofoil Society's website (, or more directly at Broomstick_4.htm.

    The attached photo (by Terry Curtiss) conveys some idea of the conditions that day.

    Attached Files:

  2. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Nice ride, Doug and you are right, Lake Perris is frequently flukey as you describe. I think it has to do with the way it sits between the two mountain ranges with the thermals rising from flat land Orange County, as well as the heat from the desert to the east.

    I'm a South Bay kid, originally, and have spent a good bit of time at Perris, Elsinore and pretty much all the different lakes of SoCal, depending on friends, boats and the conditions present.

    Gotta tell you though... in the photo you're looking very much like Sheik YerBouti with the white wrap as it shows in the image. Kinda cool, if you ask me.

    Next time I'm down in SoCal, I'd like to drop by and get a look at your boat. Write me a PM if that sounds OK with you.

  3. Doug Halsey
    Joined: Feb 2007
    Posts: 399
    Likes: 104, Points: 53, Legacy Rep: 160
    Location: California, USA

    Doug Halsey Senior Member


    Your reply gave my wife & me a good laugh. The "white wrap" in the photo was actually an unintentional comb-over of my all-too-thin & all-too-white hair, after I lost my autographed Alinghi cap overboard in one particularly big gust. (I thought I had tied it to my wetsuit zipper). Good thing the rest of the knots in the boat's rigging weren't as poorly tied!

    In addition to the weather influences you mentioned, I think there are also some important local effects. The usual summer afternoon thermals blow mostly over the dam, with little else to disturb them, so those winds tend to be fairly steady. On this day (5-13-08), the wind was more from the North, directly over some nearby hills, which I'm sure make it more flukey than usual. It probably hasn't helped that they recently (10-2005) lowered the level of the surface of the lake by 25', after discovering that the dam was built over a pretty serious earthquake fault. All-in-all, though, I think that Lake Perris is a great place to sail a boat like mine; the water can be extremely smooth in spite of some pretty strong winds.

    As far as dropping by to visit: I'm not sure how safe it is to invite over a stranger whose only known address is "Undisclosed Boatshop".

    Seriously, though, I am more than willing to share any & all info & ideas with anyone interested.

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