By : Dennis Stein
The big red boat known as My Way is back in the Thousand Islands, and ready for another season on the river. After a lengthy nap in her winter home in Ottawa, owner/driver Bill Tomlinson, and throttleman Ken Kehoe took the 50 foot turbine powered catamaran out last Saturday for its first test run of the season. It was a beautiful sunny day out in the Thousand Islands as the two 3000+ hp turbine engines roared to life, drinking down up to 4 gallons of kerosene per minute. The interior of the four man canopy closed, and we were off, despite the lack of special helmets, and the HANS devices worn by NASCAR drivers.
"They could save your life, if that's important..." he replied when asked about it.
So the decision was made not to run to hard. As we departed the dock, Ken throttled up the engines slightly, taking us out. As the boat came up on plane, the sound was deafening, and My Way started to move at what seemed like an unbelievable speed.
The boat continues to be a local favorite, and with good reason. Last August, after a run in the Thousand Islands Poker Run, along with a stop at Brockville during Ribfest, the boat was packed up to head to the Lake Of The Ozarks Shootout, an annual event. My Way went out on its first run the second day, and shattered the course record of 209 mph, running 224. It made them the event Top Guns, and is an unofficial world speed record for its class, I believe.
Now that summer has finally arrived back to the Thousand Islands, My Way will appear this coming weekend during the Alex Bay 'Thunder on the Bay' Poker run, and will likely return for the Thousand Islands Poker Run in August. When asked, Bill commented that he has no plans to return the boat to Lake Of The Ozarks this year, saying only: "Maybe if someone beats our speed, I might consider it next year..."
Both Tomlinson and Ken Kehoe are extremely busy men, with their own businesses, but running My Way is still a passion of theirs, thanks partly to all of the local support for the boat.
The King of the Thousand Islands has returned for another season, to rip the surface off the water. This 50 foot boat is the fourth incarnation of My Way over the years, and has somewhat of a mystique about it. People walk up beside it in the parking lot of Kehoe Marine, in awe at it mass. But nothing attracts a crowd like the firing of its twin t-55 turbine engines, or the huge rooster tail thrown up into the air as it rockets down the river.
What can I say about my ride aboard My Way? I have waited patiently for a chance to get aboard for a 160 mph test run... And as I write this, five days after the ride, I am still grinning...