A cigarette boat is a V-hull, planing boat equipped with very powerful engines that are capable of truly outlandish amounts of horsepower. This combination results in top speeds well over 100 miles an hour. These boats were originally designed solely for racing, but they have crept into the mainstream as toys for the very rich. George Bush owns one...

Cigarette boats are long and narrow, with enclosed bow and cockpits closer to the stern of the craft. This type of construction—with its clean lines and lack of obstructions—greatly improves the boat’s aerodynamics. An open bow really isn’t necessary anyway, as sitting up there would be dangerous at the speeds these things get up to, and any weight would slow the boat down.

“Cigarette” is actually the brand name of one of the first successful ocean racers. Over the years the name has become generically applied to fast racing boats—kinda like Kleenex or Jello. According to the Cigarette Racing Team, Inc., manufacturers of the Cigarette Boat, "these legendary racing boats are so long and narrow they remind people of smoking materials. The recognition of the name by the general public is so great that they often mistakenly refer to all racing boats in the class as Cigarettes." I’m not entirely how much of that is true, but it’s from the horse’s mouth.

The teams that race these boats consist of three people. One person steers the boat, one works the throttle, and one navigates and makes sure the pilot stays on course and doesn’t hit anything. In recreational use, the boats are used as very fast toys and status symbols.

Tech stuff gleaned from http://www.boatsafe.com/kids/cigboat.htm.

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