The London yacht club has explained the vital role that two classic motor boats played in last month’s Trafalgar Race

Last month saw Sir Robin Knox-Johnston join a field of 24 yachts to race from Crayfordness to Greenwich in the London Trafalgar Race, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of two classic motor boats.

The Little Ship Club, the City of London’s only yacht club, which organises the race with Erith Yacht Club, has paid tribute to the crew of White Viking and Sir Claude Inglis.

These two motor boats chaperoned the sailing yachts through the Thames Barrier, a 200m stretch of water that must be traversed under power, due to Port of London Authority regulations.

To ensure no horsepower-related advantage could be registered, the two motor boats timed the sailing yachts’ progress through the Thames Barrier.

These times were later subtracted from their overall racing time to ensure that only sail power contributed to the final results.

Michael Forbes Smith of the Little Ship Club told MBY: “It was a particular pleasure to see Frank Walter’s classic Freeman 27 White Viking and Neil Fisher’s former survey vessel Sir Claude Inglis, with their faithful crews, providing the sound signals and recording the times.”

Frank was initially reluctant to join the “rag and stick brigade” in the Thames Trafalgar Race, Michael added, but he was won over by Sir Robin himself.

“The Thames Trafalgar races are truly unique events on the sailing calendar,” Michael continues. “They have proved to both the sailing and motor boat club members that the whole is much bigger than the parts.”

Sir Claude Inglis (pictured above) is a 51ft former survey vessel built in 1969 on the Isle of Wight by Groves and Gutteridge.

Designed and tank tested at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, she generates 360hp from a pair of Ford Mermaid Manta diesel engines.

The 2015 edition of the Thames Trafalgar Race will take place over the weekend of 26-27 September with race entries accepted from 1 March onwards.