In 1957 Carl Kiekhaefer, founder of Mercury Marine, set an endurance record by running non-stop for 50,000 miles over 68 days on “Lake X” in Florida. “Lake X” a 1,400 acre body of water originally named Lake Conlin (near St. Cloud, Florida) was Mercury’s secret test area. They set the record using the newly developed 60HP Mercury Mark 75 – 6 Cylinder outboard installed on Raveau hulls.
W.R. Walwork & Associates, Inc has developed a great web site which celebrates the history of Raveau Boats and the modern day development of the marque. Images and the following text for this story are courtesey of W.R. Walbrook & Associates, Inc. / Raveau Boats.

Raveau boats were first built by Marcel Raveau in 1939 in Long Island, New York. In the late 1940’s the boats became known for their success in racing the grueling Albany to New York Marathon down the Hudson River.

In 1957, Carl Kiekhaefer, owner of Kiekhaefer Corp., ordered four Raveau boats to be used to test the Mercury outboard motors. These boats were used for the famous “50,000 Mile Endurance Record”. Two 15′ Raveau hulls were rigged with Mercury Mark 75 engines. The United States Auto Club (USAC) was on hand 24 hours a day to certify the test. At the completion of 25,000 miles, the motors were inspected and then installed on two 16′ Raveau hulls for running the remaining 25,000 miles. The longer boats were used because of the windy weather and rough water, which was developing. This feat led to the development of the test site that is now known as “Lake X”.

But rather than reading about the historic record breaking event, why not just sit back, relax, and watch this great original 21 minute Newsreel 1957 Mercury Mark 75 Endurance Record by Greg Terzian at screamandfly.com

Donna & Bob Walwork from W.R. Walwork & Associates, Inc.

Rosemary Young testing her new 16′ Raveau in the 1960’s.

Gus Weckhorst from Eau Gallie, Florida preparing for the 1960 Gold Coast Marathon. Looks like those Tall 6 Merc’s were a little hard on gas!

Jeffery Rodengen (Syndicated Columnist, Marine Historian and Author of the best selling The Legend of Chris-Craft) carefully documents Mercury’s historic record breaking event in his book Iron Fist – The Lives of Carl Kiekhaefer, Industrial Caesar of a Marine Industry Empire.

Texx

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4 Responses to “50,000 Miles in 1957 Aboard a Raveau Boat with a Mercury Mark 75 Outboard”
  1. ALAN F. GUILLEMAIN

    MARCEL’S WIFE, LUCIE, WAS MY GODMOTHER. SHE WAS A COUSIN OF MY MOTHER’S. I SPENT MANY SUMMERS WITH MARCEL IN THE 50’S AND EARLY 60’S AS A CHILD “HELPING” HIM BUILD HIS BOATS. WHAT A FANTASTIC INDIVIDUAL.

    • felicia albanese

      did you by any chance know rosemary and phillip young?

  2. felicia albanese

    hi I am “miss marcelle’s” granddaughter and i have enjoyed the photo’s you have posted of her on the web site. what about a new version of that with she and i together!