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Cedar Point CEO: Shoot the Rapids delay due to oversized boats

Shoot the Rapids render

Cedar Point's CEO has revealed that the two-week delay to the opening of its $10.5 million water ride Shoot the Rapids was caused by its boats being "too long".

The park announced on Monday that Shoot the Rapids' opening date had been pushed back to May 29, causing it to miss the start of Cedar Point's 2010 season on May 15. At the time, it blamed the need for extensive safety testing for the delay. However, it has now emerged that issues with the ride's boats are the real cause.

In an interview with the Sandusky Register, Dick Kinzel (CEO of Cedar Fair's parent company Cedar Fair) explains that manufacturer Intamin had outsourced the construction of the boats to a contractor. However, testing revealed that the boats' length was causing them to fail to crest hills properly - potentially damaging the flume. This has required them to be modified, putting construction and testing behind schedule. Two of the ride's four boats had been successfully adjusted by Sunday.

Kinzel said: "Basically, we had trouble with the boats. It's more of an engineering problem than a safety problem. The manufacturer made the flume, and he contracted out the boats. When the boats came together, the boats didn't fit the flumes."

Although blame for the delay appears to lie with Intamin and its contractor, Kinzel has ruled out legal against the company. Cedar Point has a long history of working with the Swiss manufacturer, which built its Top Thrill Dragster, Millenium Force and Maverick rollercoasters.

Shoot the Rapids will see riders boarding 10-person boats, before travelling along a 2,100 feet, 3-minute-long course. The ride is themed around the Crystal Rock Bottling Company, with guests encountering "some wild feudin' and fightin'" as they pass through an "illegal moonshine still". The family ride will feature an 85-foot, 45-degree first drop through water rapids and rock work.

Cedar Point hopes that Shoot the Rapids will boost flagging annual attendance figures at the park, after a drop of 256,000 during the 2009 season.

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