The Physics
Factbook
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Speed of the Fastest Ship

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Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Standardized
Result
"Motorboat Racing," Microsoft Encarta 97 Encyclopedia. Redmond, WA: Microsoft, 1996 "The world waterspeed record set in 1978 by Australian craft Spirit of Australia, is 319.63 mph." 142.89 m/s
Guinness Book of World Records. New York: Bantam, 1998. "The official world water speed record is 275.8 knots set on October 8, 1978 by Kenneth Peter Warby on Blowering Dam Lake." 141.98 m/s
Christensen, Karen, and David Levinson. Encyclopedia of World Sport. Berkshire Reference, 1996. "In 1978, Kenneth Peter Warby achieved a world's water-speed record of 552.8 km/h in New South Wales, Australia, in his hydroplane, the Spirit of Australia." 153.56 m/s
Water Speed Records. Spirit of Detroit Thunderfest. "317.60 [mph] 8 Oct 78 SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA, Ken Warby, Blowering Dam, NSW" 141.98 m/s

The speed of the fastest ship is held by the hydroplane, Spirit of Australia. Ken Warby drove this boat that set a world record. The Spirit of Australia achieved a speed of 141.98 meters per second. This record was achieved on October 8, 1978 in Australia.

Two of the four values I got were the same. The value found in the Encyclopedia of World Sport is significantly different from the other three values. The explanation for that is because it listed the unofficial record of the highest speed. The two sources I used showed the official record. The speed found in Encarta was different from both the official and unofficial record. I was not able to find out the reason for that.

I have chosen to go by the value I got from the Guinness Book. I chose that one because people use that book everyday to find out about records. It is a well-known book and although the speed found in the Encyclopedia of World Sport is also accurate, I decided to go with the official record.

In conclusion, the speed of the fastest ship is 141.98 m/s. The value found in the Guinness Book is most accurate compared to the other sources.

James Yu -- 1999

Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Standardized
Result
Ken Warby. Electronic Mail. 9 August 1999 15:33:47 -0400. "The actual official world water speed record is 317.60 mph or 511.11 kph. I built the boat and drove it. Check out kenwarby.com." 142.89 m/s

Editor's Supplement -- 1999