Ocean Pirate comes home to Lowestoft

While the attention remains focused on the leading pack, other perhaps less noticeable contest are taking place further down the fleet.

Ocean Pirate is the hero of Lowestoft. It owner/driver Michael Barlow has worked endlessly over the past three years to restore his beloved craft that was built by local Brooke Marine for the first Round Britain in 1969 where it finished seventh. Michael was one of the first owners to enter the current event when it was announced two years ago and despite having a series of mechanical problems in the early stages of the race, is far from the back of the fleet.

Ocean Pirate is now lying fourth in the Historic Class and hopes to maintain this slot or perhaps finish even higher at Portsmouth on Saturday.

Harley Street dentist John Skuse is experiencing his first ever powerboat race. His Fairey cruiser Xanthus built in 1972 earned a reputation in its early days as the official starting boat for the majority of offshore races held along Britain’s south coast.

John, together with his two crew, Kevin Martin and Chris Holmes, have been living aboard which is the true meaning of a fast cruiser. Xanthus currently lies third in the Historic Class and although finishing long after the leaders their enthusiasm remains high.

“This race has been a struggle for us more than the boat and engines. They purr on without any protest while the boats itself, now many years old, doesn’t protest. We all hope it keeps purring to Portsmouth. And what a celebration we will have.”

Other unsung heroes of the 2008 Round Britain are father and son Francis and Stuart Whitley. They are driving Fugitive, a Yanmar diesel powered Lorne Campbell designed Shakespeare 960 cruiser.

This race is some way from the type of event when Francis competed in the small III category but his background experience is now paying off. Compared to many contenders higher in the standings Fugitive has experienced a trouble-free race and now lays 19th overall and second in the MC2 class – a well deserved reward.

The airsea rescue services came into play on the Newcastle- Lowestoft today (Sunday) when Tony Hamilton driving Garmin was thrown against the wheel. The impact left him in a collapsed state forcing owner Iain May to call for help.
Tony was immediately airlifted and flown to a hospital in Grimsby where he was reported to be safely recovering from his experience.