The defining moment of modern history is not the end of World War II....

The defining moment of modern history is not the end of World War II, or the collapse of the Berlin Wall, or even the detonation of the first atomic bomb. It’s not the emergence of Twiggy or the Beatles or Elvis Presley, or the compact disc, nor is it the invention of the jet engine or the personal computer, or man walking on the Moon. No, the defining moment of modern history is that unrecorded moment of time when suddenly there were more cameras in the world loaded with colour film than with black and white.

As a result it is now widely accepted that everything that took place in black and white is history, whereas everything that takes place in colour is news, or in certain cases old news. It is also clear that in black and white everything was either much better looking or much weirder looking, and this historical rule of thumb applies to all areas of life: boats, cars, planes and people. For example, the Ford Anglia was weirder looking than anything you see on the roads today, whereas the Hawker Hunter is much better looking than an Airbus. The Cigarette, the famous 1969 Cowes-Torquay powerboat race winner, was better looking than anything currently afloat, while News of the World was definitely weirder. Ray Bulman – well, you’ll just have to judge for yourself about Ray. Cowes this summer saw the triumph of black and white powerboat racing over the modern colour version, when veterans of all Cowes-Torquay races from the last 40 years gathered at the Royal Yacht Squadron to commemorate the anniversary and reminisce about famous victories in appalling weather, legendary drinking bouts and sharks in hotel swimming pools. It was a historic gathering, even though it took place in colour. And of course Ray was there – see p54.