Miss Pepsi

Harry taking Miss Pepsi for a cruise along the Hawkesbury River with Ray Goodwin in 1969.

Miss Pepsi is the vessel that took Harry Luther and the Pepsi Ski Team to glory on the world-record marathon ski in 1970, as well as countless other competitions. She was a unique and lovingly built piece of machinery that had many features to optimize her performance as a racing vessel. Ray Goodwin was the Miss Pepsi driver at the time when Harry was at the height of his career. Alex Luther has procured a 1968 Pride Fury for his attempt to re-live Harry and Ray’s world-record-setting journey.

The original Miss Pepsi was a 17 ft Pride Fury hull manufactured by Pride Marine in Blakehurst, Sydney in 1968. Pride custom built a 17 ft hull for Harry Luther – 2 ft longer than the regular Pride hull length – in order to be better suited to the team’s offshore racing ambitions. Miss Pepsi was designed with no holes for deck fittings or windscreen mounts to maximally streamline the boat and prevent any possible points of fatigue cracking.

She was powered with twin 1969 2 stroke 100 HP Red Band Mercury engines, giving her a top average speed of 68 mph (109 kph). These were short shaft engines with counter rotating propellers, Michigan gold cup 23in or 27in propellers depending on conditions, fuel load etc. The engines were raised 1 & ½ inches above the re-strengthened transom to maximize performance along with vented cowls. Murphymatic Master Gauges guarded the motors from over-heating, along with gauges for water pressure, oil pressure, rev counters, battery meters and speedometers in both km and miles. A micro adjustable foot throttle was installed along with hydraulic trim tabs and a hydraulic power tilt that both the Driver and Observer could operate via a pump unit. Steering and all gear controls were a Teleflex set up.

Miss Pepsi was truly unique, with custom made seating arrangements for both Driver and Observer, who sat right up against the outboard well. This made room for the multi-baffled 100-gallon or 378 litre custom fuel tank required for the long distance marathon hauls. The tank took up the bow and amidships section of the hull and extended right back to the dashboard.

Aircraft Exide batteries were used to power the boat with two bilge pumps constantly working to empty the boat from water she had taken on, especially in big swells. The hull was reinforced with a high density flooring to cope with the gruelling marathon runs.

Miss Pepsi was retired in 1974. It is unconfirmed that she is somewhere in Italy today.

The driver of Miss Pepsi for the 5,010km world record event was Ray Goodwin. Ray currently lives in Sydney’s South and still spends time boating, although leisurely fishing is now his preference when out on the water. Harry chose Ray for his superb boat-handling skills and no-fear attitude when driving Miss Pepsi. Harry always strived to be the fastest and Ray was the man that pushed both Harry and Miss Pepsi well beyond their expectations.

Without Ray, the adventures of Miss Pepsi and Harry Luther would not have played out the way that they did. The Chasing Canguro team thank you, Ray, for taking Harry to glory!