Nichols Brothers boat attempts world water ski record

"More than 100 water skiers will see the back of the Klondike Express as a world water skiing record is attempted Saturday.Jim Larsen/staff photoLake Washington will be the center of attention for Whidbey Island residents Saturday as a boat built by Nichols Brothers attempts to set a world water ski record.The Freeland boat building company has put considerable resources into the effort, according to President Matt Nichols. It's taken a lot of money and planning, he said.KING TV personality John Curley, a frequent visitor to the island, persuaded Nichols to attempt to set the world ski record. The mark is for the number of skiers pulled behind a single boat. The world record is 100 skiers, set in Australia.Nichols said the Australians pulled 100 skiers using two skis each, and then did it again with one-ski participants.We'll try to break both records, he said.This won't be Nichols' first attempt at the world record. About 15 years ago a Nichols boat tried it in San Francisco Bay, but fell short. Too many beer bellies, laughed Nichols. This time, the effort will be more serious with skilled volunteers from a number of area ski clubs.Nichols said KING TV will film the effort, and sports networks such as ESPN and CNN have expressed interest in acquiring the footage.The Klondike Express, owned by Brad Phillips, is the catamaran that will be used for the record-breaking attempt. The boat was launched last summer from the Nichols Brothers yard and spent the last year as a cruise ship in Alaska.The Klondike Express has 6,220 total horsepower in diesel engines that drive the water jets that propel the boat.We want the world record for Whidbey Island, Nichols said.A representative from The Guinness Book of World Records will be on hand.Nichols said the attempt will be made Saturday afternoon. Anyone wanting to witness history in the making should go to Seward Park on Lake Washington. Nichols suggests being there by 1 p.m. "

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