A “BATTY” engineer who spent five years building a Batman-style powerboat has won backing to bring them to the market for £120,000 each.
The hydroplane has been compared to a “Batboat” by its admirers, but designer Chris Phillips didn’t have the caped crusader in mind when he was building the craft.
Chris, 35, had always wanted to build the first ever high-speed hydroplane craft for leisure use that will be available on general sale.
Up until now the motor boats, designed to skim over the surface of the water, have only been on the market for racing.
He spent five years constructing a prototype under a canopy on his dad’s farm in Ringwood, Hants, and had to sell his car to see the project over the line.
With a marine-adapted 9.4 litre engine originally designed for American NASCAR racers, Chris spent £40,000 on producing the four-seat vessel which boasts 750 horsepower and can reach speeds of 60 knots.
The boat, named Alpha-Centauri, was only compared to something from a Batman movie after Chris sprayed it black.
He said: “It wasn’t supposed to look like Batman’s boat when I made it, but after we sprayed it black everyone was saying it and we’re embracing it.
“The design uses computational fluid dynamics in order to give a low coefficient of drag while maintaining stability at speed.”
Similar hydroplane machines have previously been the preserve of the racing circuit but Chris’s design, which includes an accelerator pedal rather than a throttle lever, is aimed at “anybody who wants to have fun” on the water.
The concept was almost never seen by the public after Chris ran out of money in the weeks before he was set to transport it from the farm to the famous Southampton Boat Show.
The engineer secured the funds after selling his prized Maserati, a move that appears to have worked after he was approached by investors who plan to help him mass-produce the distinctive looking boats.
He already has five orders and is set to make them on premises near his home in Fordingbridge, Hants.
Chris said: “This is the first hydroplane to be built for the luxury market – until now they have all been racing boats.
“It’s been designed primarily as a super-yacht toy and I am hoping this will completely change the face of power boats and allow people to show off like never before.
“It took me five years to build on my dad’s farm, but it’s something I’ve been dreaming about all my life.”
He added: “I started making models of hydroplanes when I was about eight or nine. I grew up around boats – but mostly old wooden ones – and I always found myself looking out at the the speed boats.
“I started building this prototype five years ago on my dad’s farm in a polytunnel.
“By the time it was completed I was completely out of money and had to sell my car to get it down to Southampton for the boat show.
“Thankfully that seems to have paid off. We are about to sign a significant deal with an investor so we can produce them on a larger scale, and we already have several potential buyers lined up.”
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