Founder of Cougar Marine Clive Curtis dies

Respected marine industry veteran and father of powerboat champ Steve was 78

Clive Curtis, the founder of Cougar Marine and father of powerboat champion Steve, died on Monday at the age of 78.

Curtis had a long boating history, first in sail and then in powerboat racing.

It was in dinghy sailing where he found his first success in his Merlin, Rozzer, but it was several years later, alongside the late James Beard, that he became world famous for creating the first successful offshore catamaran.

It was this design that forms the basis of today’s fast seagoing power craft, including the majority of commercial ferries.

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Curtis was a successful powerboat driver in his own right and crewed the late Don Aronow in the Cigarette when it won the 1969 Cowes-Torquay-Cowes race at an average speed of 66.6 mph.

His company, Cougar Marine, started out mainly building racing boats, but in the late 1970s the firm was incorporated within the Toleman Group and moved into the old Fairey Marine premises at Hamble Point.

Here, as managing director, Curtis saw his original firm move up the industrial ladder, at one point employing well over 200 staff building high-performance domestic pleasure craft and also commercial vessels.

When Toleman ceased trading in the late 1980s Clive carried on building smaller craft at Warsash until his retirement, when the company was taken over by his son Steve, the eight-time world offshore powerboat champion.

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