Thursday, June 30

Record-Holding Gentry Eagle Broken Up for Scrap

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This is sad. The Gentry Eagle, the 112-foot, 11,460-hp speedster that set a transatlantic record in 1989 and then also won the Motor Boating & Sailing Chapman Trophy for the fastest time from Miami to New York, is no more. It was just demolished for scrap in a yard in Ventura, California.

The Gentry Eagle is the product of Tom Gentry, a Hawaiian builder and a serial world offshore boat racing champion. Gentry himself died four years after his 40-foot Skater cat crashed during the Key West World Offshore Championship race in 1994. The Skater flipped and Gentry was trapped underwater. He lost oxygen to the brain and was in a coma. Gentry was 67 when he passed away.

In 1988, Gentry had the Gentry Eagle built at the British yard of Vosper Thornycroft, specifically to break the transatlantic speed record held by Sir Richard Branson. The aluminum-hulled boat had a beam of 24 feet, displacement of 176,000 pounds, and an 18-degree deadrise aft. It held 9,800 gallons of fuel.

And its power was massive. Twin 3,480 MTU turbo diesels were coupled to a 4,500-hp Textron Lycoming Marine Turbine, for a total of 11,460 horsepower. Top speed: 63 knots.

In 1989, Gentry and a crew of five (including his son, Norman) set a new transatlantic record of 62 hours and 7 minutes from New York to the Lizard Light off the southern coast of England, handily beating Branson’s time.

Gentry also broke the Miami to New York record, taking 19 hours and 17 minutes to race 1,257 miles from the Sea Buoy off Government Cut to the Ambrose Tower off New York Harbor. I remember going down to the lower harbor to give him the Motor Boating & Sailing Chapman Trophy for setting the new record. (I was editor and publisher of Motor Boating & Sailing at the time.)

The Chapman Trophy dates to 1921, when Gar Wood established a record of 47 hours and 15 minutes, spread over five days, racing from Miami to New York to prove the viability of gas-powered offshore boats. Charles F. Chapman, then the legendary editor of Motor Boating magazine (and author of Chapman’s Piloting and Seamanship) was a friend of Wood and established the trophy.

Once its racing days were over in 1992, Gentry had the Gentry Eagle refit as a luxury yacht, with a luxurious salon and a spiral staircase that led down to two spacious staterooms. The flybridge even had a barbeque and lounges.

But the yacht sat, unused, at the Ventura yard for many years. Finally, after a prospective sale fell through, the Gentry Estate had it destroyed. See the video of the boat in action below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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