MBY hosts party to welcome back Thunderbolt

A classic powerboat which has been restored to its original condition was unveiled at the Earls Court Boat Show, at a party hosted by Motor Boat & Yachting.

Thunderbolt won the first Cowes-Torquay race in 1961 driven by Tommy Sopwith. Tommy himself was there at the unveiling, along with some of the country’s most eminent powerboaters.

The Christina 25 has had a varied history since then but was tracked down by enthusiast Mike James to designer Don Shead, who mentioned he owned her in an MBY interview.

Mike bought the boat on condition it was restored, and has now brought it back to its original condition in a painstaking project.

He first laid eyes on the boat as an 11-year-old, as she docked in Brixham after her famous victory.

At the unveiling on Friday at the Earls Court Boat Show, where the craft is displayed in the power hall, he spoke of the pride he took in “bringing back to life this very special lady”.

He added: “It’s been worth all the back ache!”

The craft will be used as a fundraiser for Seafarers UK.

Pictured is Mike James (left) with Tommy Sopwith.