Mark Booker's 1979 Viking with Mercury V6 150.
It all started back in the early 1980's as a young "wanna-be-pad-pilot" when I saw numerous 'Streams and Allisons "flying" the local waterways. One in particular was a single seat Vector running a 150 in-line Merc that came by the family bowrider over 80 mph. Many years later, a Contender tunnel boat with 2.6 'Rude power filled the void for a while, but it was boring to drive and didn't fly like a pad boat. The family 22' Baja with big block Chevy power was too heavy and took gobs of money just to go another 2mph...plus it wouldn't fly either. After selling both boats, the Viking was purchased. It took about a year to find one locally in decent shape (of course, that's before I knew about S&F and the IHR site).
Boat, motor, and trailer was purchased for a measly sum and first run off the trailer was a death-trap-like, chine-walking 62 mph. Time to get to work. I knew it had more and was shooting for 80 mph with 150 V-6 power. The 1980 motor is stock with a fresh rebuild, dual reeds, solid mounts, torque tab, Bob's l/w p/u, tight heads, cut exhaust, and 2:1 gearcase.
After adding the usual go-fast and safety amenities, raising the engine 2 1/2" on the 5 1/2" setback jack calmed the chine-walking down enough to test props. After testing several props, I finally settled on a 14 1/2 x 30 Mazco RE3 that was a good all around prop for taking a passenger and speed runs. Medallion speedo came in at 77 mph @ 6300 rpm. Since I was getting close to 80 and the revs were holding good, I figured why not go for it and find a 32 pitch cleaver, although with 150 power, I didn't think I could turn such a big prop, or see 80 for that matter.
A 15x32 Mazco RE3 cleaver (tested several others too) and another 1/2" up on the jackplate put me solidly over the 80 mph mark. This prop literally made the boat fly. Best mph run to date is 83 @ 6100 rpm, with a consistent 82 mph the norm. GPS readings are 83.1 and 81.7, respectively. The final engine height sweet spot is p/s 3/8" below the pad.
Amongst all the testing, the single biggest challenge was getting the boat to handle good. The trick was to rebalance the boat and get everything on the centerline as much as possible. I removed all the interior to lighten the boat (trimmed 150 lbs), made it a single-seater, then mounted the gas tank and battery on the centerline. Talk about a handling improvement! The final icing on the cake was when I moved the driver seat to half way between the centerline of the boat and the stock position. Moving it to the center position made it too far from the steering wheel to drive safely.
After exhaustive testing and note taking almost every Saturday morning at daybreak on the Ohio River in Louisville, the boat flys straight as a pin and handles great.
Special thanks to Ron Pratt, Noah Legear, Mark Soliman, Bob Garone, Matt Pickett, T-Rex, Anthony SS, and Jay Smith for props, parts, tips, and taking the time to answer my questions. I'd also like to thank Virus and Mark Casper for great websites and forums to make a project like this much easier for gathering information.
Next up is a hull blueprint and 85 mph. I'll probably sell this boat after the blueprint because Ms. Boatnik wants a larger boat with room for the kids. Of course, I still have to go fast with passengers, so the next 'Stream will probably be a Vegas XT. I'll shoot for low-90's with pilot only, and low-80's with passengers.
- Mark Booker
[ Home l About
HH&P l History l Models l Owners'
Pictures l Feature
Article l Tech