- Boat Type: Catamaran Sport Hull
- Length: 16'
- Beam: 72"
- Depth: 28"
- Transom Height: 15"
- Recommended HP: 80 - 140
- Seating: Back-to-back buckets
- Available Colors: Red, Blue, or Yellow "Fire-Glass"
There are a few HydroStream Panther hulls still around, but they are rare enough that few people have seen one, and very few know they even exist - unless they are visitors to this website. As obscure as it is, the Panther model is one of the most important hulls in HydroStream's history. Although it is a true tunnel bottom, it was actually the foundation for the development of the formidable HydroStream V-bottom hull.
Here is the brief history as told to Mark Casper (from HydroStream.org) by Howard Pipkorn:
While in St. Louis, Pipkorn visited a Mercury team racer who described a new type of tunnel hull boat he had seen that was very fast and had great performance. This boat was a Molinari, a plywood-built boat from Italy. As many boat history enthusiasts know, the Molinari introduced some new innovations in tunnel hull design, and the result was a great performing boat that influenced a lot of new designs from other builders, including Howard Pipkorn.This Merc racer sketched out the bottom shape for Pipkorn, and he ended up making the Panther which used this hull design along with a deck that was an adaptation from his Cougar design. The Panther turned out to perform fairly well, and it was great in rough water, but a friend of Pipkorn's said he wouldn't be able to sell it since tunnel hulls were still a relatively new concept at the time. His friend said he needed a V-bottom and should just splash a Glastron (like many others did at the time) and start from there. Pipkorn agreed about coming out with a V-bottom, but he took a different approach: he took his Panther hull and flipped it over. He literally cut off the sponsons so that the tunnel area now actually became the pad. He shortened the keel in the back by 5" - this recessed pad was a huge innovation and was the basis of other model Streams that followed. It's design was a built-in setback that gave the engine a longer leverage point and a better dispersion of water back to the prop. So innovative and influential was this design, that Pipkorn regreted not having patented it
The result of the Panther conversion: the Ventura, a spectacular boat that went on to set many records and was the boat to beat on the race course.