The ancients have still got it

Two of the classic boats in the Round Britain Powerboat Race are having an epic tussle in the Historic Class.

BothGeeand the Fairey cruiserTeam 747were designed in the late 1960s but the hulls are holding up to the daily pounding and hitting average speeds most modern day craft would be proud of.

Today’s stage saw the two duel off Scotland in the fourth leg of the race to Oban, withTeam 747coming home just 10 seconds ahead.

Andy Fielding, the co-driver onTeam 747, was delighted as he scrambled up the dock wall in Oban.

He said: “After our first leg on Saturday, I would quite happily have walked away from boating, but yesterday it began to get easier and today has been really very enjoyable.

“The wind today was South Easterly so as expected, we encountered some biggish quartering seas in the early miles until we got in the lee of the Mull of Kintyre and then we ran quite hard up the Scottish coast.

“There was quite a snotty little patch at the point of Kintyre and we slowed a bit so Gee caught us up and then we just ran in company until the finish, which we took by about 100 metres.

“Our real problem now is that after our disaster on Day 1 when we dropped 2 hours on Gee, all those boys have to do is just track us round so unless something stops them, we can’t really catch up, but it won’t stop us trying.”

Owner ofGeeChris Clayton said: “We came upon 747 heading out from sheltered inshore waters slightly ahead of us.

“We drew alongside before opening our throttles but there was little difference in our speed.

“It seems we have met our equals.”

Tomorrow sees the fleet make a non-racing passage through the Caledonian Canal to Inverness, with a lay-day to follow.

This gives the rest of the Historic Class a chance to catch up.

John Skuse re-launched his Fairey Huntsman, Xanthus, in Troon, and is heading north as fast as he can.

Mike Barlow’s crew aboard Ocean Pirate are on passage to Scotland from Dublin.

And Jonathan Townsend, whose Fairey Swordsman retired on Day 1, is en route to Oban from Falmouth.

If all goes well for them the Historic Class will be almost back to full strength when the race leaves Inverness.