‘Pace’ boat will demonstrate alternate fuels | TahoeDailyTribune.com

‘Pace’ boat will demonstrate alternate fuels

Patrick McCartney

Steve Goodall of Zephyr Cove has been boating on Lake Tahoe since 1974, but he’s been bothered by a nagging sense of guilt since the first time he refueled a boat on the lake.

“The first time I fueled up, we had a spill of gasoline,” Goodall recalled. “When you overfill a tank, it spurts gas right out into the lake. It almost gave me a heart attack to see an oil slick on Lake Tahoe.”

When the issue of pollution from boat engines became an issue at Lake Tahoe last summer, Goodall decided to set an example for other boaters and encourage the use of alternative engines and fuels.

Over the Labor Day weekend, the group Goodall founded, Tahoe Waterfest ’97, will sponsor the Tahoe Environmental Challenge, a competition to encourage the design and development of alternative sources of power for recreational boating. Goodall has raised $40,000 in prize money to reward the most innovative designs.

On Tuesday, Tahoe Waterfest ’97 introduced the event’s official boat, a 20-foot Wellcraft Eclipse donated by Wellcraft Marine and Silver State Water Sports of Reno. Goodall introduced the boat at a meeting of the South Lake Tahoe Yacht Club.

But Tahoe Waterfest ’97 will not just parade the boat, which is powered by a conventional fuel-injected, four-stroke engine, but use it to demonstrate the possibilities of alternative fuels.

First, the nonprofit group will test the engine’s efficiency and measure its emissions in a million-gallon pond to be made available by the South Tahoe Public Utility District.

Once the tests, under the supervision of marine engineer Greg Stevenson of Incline Village, are completed, Tahoe Waterfest ’97 will employ Amerigas of Reno to convert the engine to run on propane. Then, the group will retest the boat to compare emissions from the factory-equipped, four-stroke engine with those from the propane-fueled engine.

The difference in emissions will help illustrate the advantage of alternative fuels, Goodall said.

“We intend to promote practical alternatives to the use of gasoline power on Lake Tahoe, he said.

The Tahoe 2000 will be piloted by Rich Pomin, a Carnelian Bay resident whose family has deep roots in Lake Tahoe boating. Pomin’s great grandfather, Ernest Pomin, was the captain of the Steamer Tahoe, the crown jewel of Lake Tahoe’s steamship era.

His great-uncle, Joe Pomin, won the first powerboat race held on Lake Tahoe in 1911. The trophy will be on display during Tahoe Waterfest ’97, along with several of the unlimited hydroplane boats that competed on the lake in the 1960s.

Following in the family tradition, Rich Pomin also raced boats on Lake Tahoe, competing in the smaller hydroplanes during the 1960s. But he sees the demonstration of alternative fuels by the Tahoe 2000 as the future of boating at Lake Tahoe.

“As my great-grandfather was captain of the most significant ship on Tahoe through the turn of the century, I am proud to pilot what could be the most significant watercraft on Lake Tahoe for the next century,” Pomin said.

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