Wednesday, March 14, 2007

mini Xtreme

Since i started windsurfing at the age of 12 i have always been drawn to speed and extreme sea sports. In 2005 my knee was killing me and was not getting better after my second operation. The crushed tibia plateau had also ended up getting mixed up with torn cartilage. I had stopped windsurfing and kitesurfing and needed some kinda rush almost like a junkie not getting a fix. I felt lost without some sort of adrenalin rush and after seeing a friend zoooming over the waves on something he called a ZAPCAT i knew i had to get one....and i did.

Anyway, these little boats are only 13 feet long and have way too much power. They are like angry dinghies on iv steroids, and after seeing some of the videos i knew i would love to get involved. Anyway, it was very hard finding one made by Zapcat, and i finally located a copy cat company in the USA called Dux Inflatable who said that theirs were stronger and better. These things need a very unusual design of engine which carries a shorter shaft length than most other motors. Also they are steered by tiller and not by wheel which gives you direct control and feel over the engine. I finally found a us made engine which was only made for export that fit the design specs and got it all shipped.
At the end of the day this was a big toy that could be used as a tender to my boats if needed. Anyway, once i set it up i realized that this was a super high performance machine which wasn't to be messed with. I never used a hand held GPS to check the speed but it felt like it could do 50 mph, but the craziest thing about it was the turns and acceleration. They turn on a dime because of the type of bottom they have, and also float over waves because of the air that gets trapped between the hulls.
The video above and this one were both taken in barbuda during our carnival holiday. lots of silly holiday fun.

The ZAPCAT is a mini catamaran with loads of power behind it. Most dinghies that size have 15 or 20 hp motors but these usually use between 40 and 55 hp engines on them. I could only find a 55. After using it and abusing it for a year i managed to damage the transom (what the engine attaches to) as well as a few other problems. I knew the job was going to be big and during the summer David and i got some of the prelim work done. This past weekend Tony and i used the machined metal brackets i had made to reinforce the transom. We didn't finish and it’s taken me the past few days to get it all bolted together and ready for the engine to go back on. I do have one little leak to fix too and then she's ready to launch. One of the reasons i am excited about getting it fixed up and back on the water is that a couple of friends here now have them and are interested in having races and "poker runs". Should be some good Xtreme fun out on the water on weekends. I will be sure to get some good pics and video when i get it sorted but for now it’s just mpeg video. I hope u enjoy this light bit of fun. The top video was taken by roddy using my little sony cam. He was supposed to throw the tiny anchor into the sand near the reef but decided it would be fun to throw my camera over too. ha ha it was funny afterwards. The snorkeling was great too. This vid below is of crazy zap cat crashes....and stuff that i won’t be doing. ouch!!!

and if you are super bored and want to see one more vid of us going too fast, too shallow and too close to a deserted beach in barbuda check this one: