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Hydroplane Anatomy

Courtesy of InboardHydroplanes.com

engine cowling The engine cowling is a light weight fiber glass covering to protect the engine from water.  Often you will see boats racing without an engine cowling.  This is usually because the boat was up side down in a previous race and the engine cowling is at the bottom of a lake or river somewhere.
shroud The shroud is the covering over the driver to keep water out of boat and the driver's face.  It is not required and some drivers prefer an open cockpit.
canard In aeronautics, canard (French for duck) is an airframe configuration of fixed-wing aircraft in which the tail plane is ahead of the main wing, rather than behind them as in conventional aircraft.  The earliest models, such as the Wright Flyer, the world's first airplane, and the Santos-Dumont 14-bis, were seen by observers to resemble a flying duck hence the name.  In a hydroplane, the canard is used to adjust how high the front end flies over the water.  This is usually set to a fixed maximum position and driver has a foot pedal (some times called the "down" pedal) to lower the from end.  This allows a driver with quick reflexes to possibly avoid a fly over.
cockpit The cockpit is the inside of the safety capsule, where the driver controls the boat.  It contains instruments, a single seat with 5 point harness, and optionally an air supply for the driver.
non-trip The non-trip is the side of the sponson that allows the boat to slide through the turns.
sponson The trailing bottom surface of the sponsons (not pontoons) on either side are two of the points in the 3 point suspension design.  The propeller is the third.
skid fin The skid fin adds stability in the straight away with very little drag.  In the turn, the skid fin digs in to maintain control.  These fins have to handle as much as 5 G force on most boats.  The largest can experience as much as 20 G force.
rudder The rudder is the main steering device and is attached to a steering wheel in the cockpit by a series of levers or cables and pulleys.
propeller A propeller is essentially a type of fan which transmits power by converting rotational motion into thrust for forward propulsion of the hydroplane.  The highly tuned propellers used for racing are the surface penetrating type, where only the bottom half of the propeller diameter is in the water at racing speeds.
strut The strut is typically a cast aluminum bracket to hold the shaft in a stable fixed position inside of bearings to allow it rotate freely.
shaft The shaft is directly connected to the output of the engine and the propeller is on the other end.  Gear boxes are used on some of the biggest boats, but most are direct drive.  There is no neutral, reverse, or brakes on a hydroplane.  One of the hardest things for new drivers is bringing the boat back into the pits.  If they shut it off too soon, then they drift away.  If they shut it off too late, they risk running over crew and crashing into the shore or dock.
air trap The air trap refers to the space between the sponsons on the bottom of the boat.  The wider this is the more air that is trapped and the higher the hydroplanes flies over the water.  Trapping too much air will make the boat prone to fly over.
Copyright 2012 InboardHydroplanes.com

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