I had just turned on my video camera and viewed the big splash as the end of drive shaft with propeller attached splashed back into the water after exiting U-57 unlimited hydroplane driven by Mark Evans during qualifying at San Diego Bayfair event on Mission Bay yesterday (Friday 9/17).
VERY fortunately for the team - and fans like me - it was a clean break - Mark said there was just a little vibration before he shut down his turbine engine - and no damage to the boat and U-57 will be back in the water today.
Prop breakage in a hydroplane, especially the big (28') unlimited hydroplanes, can be a disaster: a blade breaking off and going up through the bottom of the boat can set off drivetrain vibration and very seriously damage struts, gearbox and engine as well as smashing holes in the hull which require many hours of a crew's time to repair. Financially, simply to replace the prop will cost a team $10,000 or more plus a shaft, but a clean break AND exit away from the hydro rather than thru it means a team won't be set back by up to $100,000 or more to replace the complete drivetrain as well and repair the hull and some hardware components.
A "bad news, good news" scenario for veteran driver Mark Evans and Ted Porter's three-boat team.
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