The same batteries used in forklift trucks, from CMP Batteries, are the power behind a world speed record on 1st November that took place on Coniston Water, the lake where Donald Campbell crashed in his Bluebird K7. A team of boating experts smashed the world record for the fastest electric boat, during the annual October Speed Record Week. To conform to Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) regulations, the 'An Stradag' team had to make an outward and inward run. They reached speeds of 70.61 and 65.56 mph respectively to give an average speed of 68.09 mph.
'An Stradag' (which is Gaelic for 'the spark') beat its own UIM record of 50.8mph set 16 years ago which was then piloted by the 76-year-old Countess of Arran. An American team, called 'Cloud Electric' had achieved a speed of 70.06 mph in 1995 but that attempt was not UIM approved because they only made one run. The An Stradag team were determined to beat this speed, which they did on the outward run, as well as beating their existing UIM record by a comfortable margin.
Lakeland businessman and speed record enthusiast, Henry Engelen recently bought An Stradag from the Lakeland Motor Museum in Cumbria with a view to updating it and recapturing the record. Twenty-four year old motorboat champion Helen Loney was the pilot for the latest record attempt.
An Stradag is a three-point hydroplane and is powered by the same battery technology used in materials handling and heavy-duty cleaning equipment. CMP Batteries Ltd, a member of the EXIDE Technologies group of companies, provided a bank of 12 AGM spiral-wound batteries, which delivered their entire charge of 1000 volts in just 90 seconds.
An Stradag is 15ft long, and built from plywood, kevlar and carbon-fibre. At speed she runs on just two tiny areas of the sponsons forward, and the two surface-piercing propellers aft. In 1989 she had four 12hp Lynch motors, but a bank of helicopter starter batteries powered the previous attempt. The CMP traction batteries used in this attempt are largely responsible for the increased power gains, in addition to the uprated motors – four Lynch motors, producing 30hp each, and made by Agni motors of India.