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Dream of clean engines stays alive

Patrick McCartney

A lifelong boating enthusiast, Steve Goodall of Zephyr Cove believes that the boating public needs to clean up its act.

During last year’s debate on the impacts of marine engines at Lake Tahoe, Goodall came up with an idea to promote the use of cleaner engines and alternative fuels.

Goodall, a real estate investor who began boating as a boy at Newport Harbor, proposed an alternative power regatta for Labor Day weekend, but was unable to complete preparations for the event this year. He is already planning next year’s Tahoe Waterfest.

“The preservation of Lake Tahoe takes precedence over recreation, but I don’t think there’s any reason you can’t have both with the technology we have,” Goodall said. “The last thing I want to see is boats banned from Lake Tahoe, because boats are my passion.”

Goodall made the comment at Harveys Resort Hotel/Casino Tuesday, while he showed off two watercraft he believes hold the key for a cleaner Lake Tahoe.

On display was the DeWalt Unlimited Hydroplane, a 31-foot racing boat powered by a 2,650 hp turbine engine. While the hydroplane may not resemble the typical boat used on Lake Tahoe, Goodall said it offers lessons in marine engineering that apply to boating everywhere.

“This is the most efficient watercraft in the world right now,” Goodall said. “It uses that efficiency to go 200 mph. The racing boat has the most efficient internal-combustion engine, the turbine engine, and the hydroplane is the most efficient hull design that exists.”

Also on display was a Bombardier Sea Doo, the type of personal watercraft that has become popular at Lake Tahoe. Complaints last year over noise and pollution from the small, powerful watercraft led the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to approve the nation’s first phaseout of two-cycle engines that rely on carburetors.

In June, the agency voted to eliminate the engines from Lake Tahoe by June, 1999, saying the engines emit a fourth or more of its fuel unburned. Later this month, the agency’s governing board will consider extending the phaseout deadline to March, 2000.

A new company founded by Goodall, Clean Marine, will convert the Sea Doo to a cleaner engine, installing a four-cycle engine in the personal watercraft. Later, the company will replace the four-cycle engine with a propane-fueled engine, and compare emissions from the watercraft with each type of engine.

Goodall said the boating community must shoulder the responsibility for reducing the pollution of Lake Tahoe.

“I’m willing to take responsibility for my own pollution,” Goodall said. “That’s a small price to pay to use a national treasure like Lake Tahoe.”


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