Single-outboard RIB crew tell of hair-raising passage
One of the most impressive stories emerging from the Round Britain Powerboat Race, which finished on Monday, was the night-time Land’s End rounding by the Botnia Targa 42.
The boat made passage from Plymouth to Milford Haven after the race’s second leg was cancelled due to rough conditions.
Most of the rest of the fleet went by road to the next start at Milford Haven, thinking better of braving the gale force winds and 9m waves in the Bristol Channel.
It has now emerged, however, that one other boat made the passage that night, a Ribcraft RIB fitted with a single Suzuki outboard.
Team Pulsar Racing, skippered by Major Greg Marsden, is a 7.8m hull with a standard Suzuki 300hp 4-stroke outboard.
The crew was made up of Southampton fireman Alex Rhodes, Major David Hemming and army training officer Nigel Spencer MBE.
Skipper Greg says: “Unfortunately, the second leg of the race was cancelled due to bad weather.
“But we were determined to complete our Round Britain challenge and having done a detailed weather estimate, we made our way down to Land’s End on Sunday, stopping off in Newlyn for a Chinese.
“We left Newlyn for Milford Haven at 3am on Monday morning arriving at 7.35am, just in the nick of time to make the drivers brief and refuel.
“The Suzuki was faultless throughout and ready to do the next 200 miles for the third leg to Bangor, Northern Ireland.”
Greg, who is managing director of 2012 Marine Ltd and a serving Royal Engineer Officer, adds: “I have served in some of the most challenging environments across the world and this experience ranks up there with the toughest!
“However, I must give credit to our crew both on the water as well as our shore-side support and also pay tribute to the quality of the equipment we were using.
“The Suzuki 300hp outboard, Ribcraft Hull, Ullman Seating and Raymarine electronics proved to be a package that demonstrated robustness, resilience and excellent performance.”
Richard Whittaker, Business Development Manager for Suzuki’s Marine Division said: “The stamina and seamanship of Greg and his crew was amazing.
“This was an endurance event that tested crews and equipment to the limit.
“This really showcases the reliability of Suzuki’s 4-stroke outboards, and the excellent performance the standard engine delivers.
“To have powered the only RIB that fully completed the course is something very special indeed.”