It looks like Lake Townsend is going to be the place to be and be seen on Thursday, Oct. 26.
Not actually on the lake itself, which is closed to boaters on Thursday, but the place to perhaps watch history unfold.
On Thursday, Oct. 26, the Princeton Electric Speedboating group – made up of undergraduate and graduate students at Princeton University (Go Tigers) – will attempt to set the American Power Boat Association’s (APBA) straightaway kilo-record for an electric-powered boat.
While boaters are not welcome, spectators are, and the Lake Townsend Marina will be open throughout the event, which is scheduled to take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It seems somewhat odd that a group from Princeton, New Jersey, has chosen Lake Townsend in Greensboro, North Carolina, to make its attempt at breaking a speed boat record. When asked if she knew why the Princeton team was coming here, Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “Because Greensboro is the place to be.”
The Princeton team of 40-plus students will be attempting to break the current record for an electric-powered boat of 88.61 mph.
There have been reports of electric-powered speed boats reaching speeds of 116 mph, but those runs have been unsanctioned and aren’t recognized as official world records.
As one might expect, there are a lot of rules to set an APBA record. The attempt must be sanctioned by APBA, must take place over a one-kilometer course, and a set number of runs is required. The record is determined as an average speed over the distance in both directions, not the boat’s peak speed in any one run.
Also, the rules for electric-powered boats making sanctioned runs do not allow for recharging or replacing batteries between the initial and the return run.
The Princeton team’s Chief Executive Officer Andrew Robbins said this effort started in February 2022, with the goal of breaking the 100 mph barrier with an electric speed boat.
Robbins said that the boat tested well and they believe they can run speeds fast enough to set a new record.