Team 747 is dismasted!

MBY man Derek Wynans rides the stunning Fairey

MBY’s Derek Wynans suffered an unusual experience in a powerboat today – he was dismasted!

Derek, 35, from Oban, was competing in the Round Britain Powerboat Race on Team 747, the beautifully maintained Fairey owned by 747 pilot Jonathan Napier.

The Cummins-powered boat was making its way through lumpy conditions in the Irish Sea on the race’s third leg, from Wales to Northern Ireland, when the unexpected happened.

Derek said: “A couple of the screws came loose and we were suddenly dismasted, which was unusual for a powerboat.

“The mast came back into the cockpit so we had to stop and cobble something together.

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“We had been running at the front of our class but unfortunately we then lost a few places.”

The fleet had left Milford Haven this morning in a big residual swell from yesterday’s high winds.

Progress was bumpy through the heaving mass of water and race photographer Chris Davies reported that he got shots of every boat’s propellers!

Derek says: “It was very lumpy and we were bouncing around as if we were weightless for most of the time.

“We then had to go right out into the Irish Sea to avoid a conservation area but as soon as we swung north it was beautiful.

“The boat just ran beautifully and we were flat out which was 38 knots. She handles beautifully and she’s a very dry boat, a very comfortable ride.

“It was a good laugh!”

The flat seas ensured fast progress all round, with the most powerful boats hitting 100mph and more.

But the speed took its toll on fuel consumption and it was just five miles before the finish line off Bangor that the 747 crew realised they were running very low.

Derek says: “We weren’t running on fumes, it was memories! So we found a tiny little fishing harbour to fill up and then had a mad dash for the finish line.

“We’re very happy with the result and how the boat ran.”

Fellow crew member Cormac Lundy, gave his reflections on the leg: “I’m still a bit new to this powerboat racing game but we all cracked on out of Milford Haven.

“The first 5-7 miles were a bit choppy but then things got easier, until our mast fell down so we had to stop to re-fit the electronic aerials that it normally holds up.

“That lost us a bit of time and our main competitor in class, Gee, which had been running alongside us, stopped to see if we were OK so we waved them on and then a few miles further up the track we saw they had stopped so returned the compliment but they were OK too. All very friendly this racing.

“Then, when we found some shelter from the Irish mainland, Jonathan hit the throttles and we went up to 38 knots and just stayed there at 2800rpm having a lovely time, until we discovered that we were running low on fuel.

“We made a few telephone calls, found a pump on the waterside about 5 miles short of Bangor and dropped 200 litres in but that lost us another 7 minutes.

“Then we had a bit of difficulty finding the finishing line and I said to my senior Captains that it was probably because there were no landing lights on the final approach and they went a bit quiet but Bangor was en fete for us and we have clawed some time back from Gee in the overall standings, which was nice.”

With John Skuse electing to make his way with Xanthus to Oban by road and Mike Barlow still bringing Ocean Pirate round from Devon to join up again, the Historic Class looks set to be a battle between Gee and Team 747, both powered by Cummins Mercruiser Diesel QSM 5.9 turbo diesels.

Tomorrow Derek heads to more familiar waters as the fleet crosses back across the Irish Sea, to Scotland, and Derek’s home town of Oban. 

For a full race report visit the race website here .


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