Man to go 100 mph for 100th birthday

April 1, 2008 9:47:17 AM PDT
Bay Area native Gordon Miller doesn't intend to slow down Thursday when he turns 100 years old.

He plans on piloting a boat 100 mph on the San Joaquin River to become the fastest 100-year-old man on water.

Just before he does that, he'll drive his son Fred's 2004 Lexus 430 100 mph on private land near the Discovery Bay Yacht Club. His father remains licensed to drive, Fred Miller said.

Fred Miller said he and his father are still waiting to hear from the Guinness World Records organization whether the water feat will set a record. Either way, it's going to happen rain or shine, Fred Miller said.

Gordon Miller, of Point Richmond, has been racing boats, mostly sailboats, in the Bay Area for more than 70 years. He has lived and sailed on San Francisco Bay since he left the U.S. Navy in 1945, excluding 22 months he spent in Walnut Creek and a tour of duty during World War II.

He will be at the helm Thursday of the 36-foot Skater Cat, a catamaran powered by two 1,000-hp engines that give it a top speed of 150. With Fred on board, Miller expects to depart the Discovery Bay Yacht Club in Contra Costa County around 9 a.m. and head about five miles to flat water on the river where he'll set what is expected to be the speed record on water by a 100-year-old man.

Miller said his father will make two passes at 100 mph so witnesses can videotape it and to assure he sets the record. Cameras on board will also record the event.

Gordon Miller has been a member of the Richmond Yacht Club since 1938 and is active in the club's Geritol Group. He still sails as often as possible.

He was born in Santa Cruz in 1908 and moved to Berkeley when he was 8. He and his wife of 63 years, Margaret, have two grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

He built a hydroplane craft in the garage of Steve Bechtel Jr. and later his own Snipe sailboat. He has owned and sailed El Toros, Zephyr, Cal 25, Ericson 27 and in retirement, model sailboats.


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