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Originally published January 25, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified January 29, 2007 at 8:36 AM

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Big, gaudy and Bond-like, Seattle Boat Show exhibit cuts to the chase

By one count, the entertainment franchise of James Bond has featured 20 different aircraft and more than 70 different cars and trucks, including...

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By one count, the entertainment franchise of James Bond has featured 20 different aircraft and more than 70 different cars and trucks, including the auto rickshaw of "Octopussy" but not counting the moon buggy of "Diamonds Are Forever." More than a dozen of 007's wristwatches feature things like garrote wire, a dart gun, a ticker-tape readout and an electromagnet that deflects bullets and unzips dresses.

The laws of toy physics dictate that anyone with so much cool stuff must now and then come into a boat or two. Bond and his enemies have taken the helm of several, and four of them will be featured in our annual tribute to boat lust, the Seattle Boat Show.

This year's show is, as usual, over the top, lasting 10 days, covering two venues, displaying more than 1,000 boats in nearly 600 exhibits and putting on dozens of seminars on boating and fishing. Fittingly, this year's major attraction — carrying out the theme "007 in 2007" — is four of the world's most over-the-top watercraft used for action scenes and chases in the Bond film series.

"Thunderball" tow sled

The underwater "tow sled" of "Thunderball," with headlights and '60s-era racing stripes, is used by Bond nemesis Largo and his henchmen, and briefly by Bond, in the film's underwater battle sequence (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2M-7gqGhcY). Fourteen were built but only two still exist. This one comes from the Ian Fleming Foundation, which is lending the four boat-show vessels from its collection of 28 Bond vehicles.

If you go


Seattle Boat Show

The Seattle Boat Show continues through Feb. 3, at the Qwest Field Event Center and on the South Lake Union waterfront at 901 Fairview Ave. N., Seattle.

A free shuttle between the two venues will run continuously during show hours.

Hours at the event center are noon to 8 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. South Lake Union hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for youths ages 11 to 17 and free for younger children. A three-day flex pass is available for $18.

More information

www.seattleboatshow.com

"Diamonds Are Forever" submarine

The Bath-O-Sub from "Diamonds Are Forever" is another underwater vehicle used by another nemesis, Blofeld, to escape the oil rig that served as his headquarters. According to the unofficial MI6 Web site documenting many Bond gadgets, the vehicle is a one-seater mini-sub with two turbine thrusters.

"Live and Let Die" boat

The chase boat of "Live and Let Die" is the most conventional boat of the display and one of 26 built by the Glastron boat company for the 1973 film. Seventeen were destroyed in rehearsals, including practice jumps for a chase sequence in the Louisiana bayou. One, driven by Bond, unintentionally made a record 110-foot jump over two police cars. The boat featured in the Seattle show was driven by Dr. Kananga's henchmen and made a slightly shorter jump into a swimming pool.

"The World Is Not Enough" jet boat

The Q jet boat, which looks more like something out of "Star Wars" than star of Bond's "The World Is Not Enough," is a Northwest product made good. It was built in Lewiston, Idaho, by Bentz Boats and Doug Riddle of Riddle Marine, a specialist in jet-powered race craft. In a matter of weeks, they built 15 of the boats, spares needed for the fairly destructive testing and stunts in a chase scene on the Thames River.

The boat is essentially a wide and outrageously powered personal watercraft, less than 14 feet long, weighing more than 1,800 pounds and propelled by a loud 320-horsepower Chevy V-8 engine.

"The House of Parliament was complaining about the noise," said Riddle, who spent five months in England for rehearsals on a lake south of London and filming of what became the largest pre-credit sequence of any Bond movie. Film buffs voted it the best film scene featuring London. The highlight, aside from the scenery, is a barrel roll that claimed an inordinate number of prototypes in rehearsals. The stunt can be seen on the video "A View ... to a Boat Chase," about the making of the boat chase scene, and on a trailer that can be viewed at www.bondpix.com/Videos/DVDTrailer.wmv.

Bond gadget caveat

All four vehicles are cool boats indeed, but the rigors of fair and balanced journalism dictate that we note that none of the Seattle Boat Show's Bond fleet is featured among Popular Science's list of Top 15 Bond gadgets. There, among the "Thunderball" jet pack, the heavily firepowered "toy helicopter" of "You Only Live Twice" and the Aston Martin DB5 of "Goldfinger," lies the mechanical alligator Bond hid in going to and from the all-female island in "Octopussy." And taking top billing is the Lotus Esprit submarine car from "The Spy Who Loved Me," featuring a periscope and fins that take the roles of wheels.

Still, you won't be seeing any of these boats in the Montlake Cut.

Eric Sorensen is the Seattle Times boating columnist and rarely sails faster than 6 knots. He can be reached at svwhim@yahoo.com.

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