A blast from the past - Gee is back!
The preparation for the Round Britain Powerboat Race has seen many classic hulls given a new lease of life – and they’ll need it.
The 1,600-mile race, which starts on 21 June from Portsmouth, is unofficially known as the Everest of powerboating and one of the sport’s toughest challenges.
For one team in the Historic Class, making sure that a veteran of countless races in the 1960s is up to the job has resulted in a massive rebuild.
The Cowes-Torquay class winner Gee is a Souter hull and is currently at Swanwick Marine in Southampton stripped to the gunwales while any possible weakness is strengthened, replaced or refurbished.
Besides having two new Cummins diesels fitted she will also receive new shafts, refurbished rudders, new props and upgraded electronics.
Owner Chris Clayton is adamant that she will go to the line on 21 June in top condition.
He says: “She will be in effect, a brand new boat.
“Such are the rigours to be faced by teams in this marathon race that nothing can be left to chance and running a valuable craft especially with the history that Gee enjoys, entails a more detailed preparation, more so than a modern day racer.”
One major bonus in Gee’s favour is her design and build quality, developed from the design of Cowes-Torquay winner Ghost Rider, the 1966 craft of offshore supremo Jim Wynn, then built in classic cold-moulded style by the Souter Yard in Cowes.
To match her race pedigree, the boat will have Round Britain Record co-holder John Guille as skipper. He will be joined by Chris, Michael Clark and Mark Clayton.
When the 40ft Gee was built back in 1967, she was originally powered by a pair of 500hp Cummins Indiana diesels.
Chris says: “And didn’t the competition know it! She lifted some of the sport’s top prizes from 1968 to the end of her racing life in 1972.
“In the 40 years since she first started racing, technology has changed and the new Cummins QSB480 units will, despite their slightly lower horsepower, give Gee a very impressive turn of speed.”
For full details of Cummins’ engine range, from 115hp to 715hp, visit www.cmdmarine.com
For the full Gee story visit www.geeracing.co.uk
For more on the race visit www.roundbritainrace.co.uk