Crew of airline pilots get a lift
With just seven weeks to the start of the third Round Britain Powerboat Race, Hamble based Swordsman Marine has confirmed its sponsorship of Team 747 entry of Jonathan Napier.
The builders of the modern classic Swordsman range, rekindling the legendary Fairey heritage and design provenance, have teamed up with an older Fairey classic, the Spearfish entry of Napier, to bring together two great names in leisure powerboating in one of the greatest offshore powerboat marathons.
One of the last hulls built by the old Fairey Marine company, Napier, who is based near Nice on the Cote d’Azur acquired his Spearfish in 2002 and has proceeded to completely renovate it, bringing it back to an as-new cosmetic finish and re-engining with twin Cummins QSB 5.9 380hp marine turbo-diesels.
Napier and his three crew members, Andy Fielding (Windlesham, Surrey), Mark Jealous (Sandbach, Cheshire) and Cormac Lundy (Belfast, Northern Ireland) are all commercial airline pilots with British Airways, flying 747s but have decided that they don’t get enough excitement and to compensate have entered Napier’s Spearfish in what they see as a great adventure for slightly eccentric gentlemen sportsmen.
Swordsman Marine’s Richard Gough had been keen to get involved in the race and saw his opportunity;
“Our company is deeply committed to re-building the Fairey design legend but as I could not give the time to competing in my Swordsman 40, we thought that helping out another member of the Fairey Owners Club to fly the flag was an ideal way to participate. Jonathan has arguably one of the nicest looking and best prepared Spearfish boats afloat which is very much in keeping with our ethos.”
As Napier comments, he and his crew will be keeping alive a racing tradition that started in the 1960s;
“Fairey boats were big players in offshore racing when it started in the UK. In the first Round Britain in 1969 former test pilot and world airspeed record holder, Peter Twiss, drove a Fairey with the race number 707 which in those days was the workhorse of the British airline fleet and the 747 now fills a similar role so it seemed only right to give our boat that number.
“I have looked enviously at the boats that Swordsman Marine is currently building and really appreciate their help in getting us to the start line. We are unlikely to win overall but a class win would be a good way to repay his help.”