It is with great sadness I have to advise that Ivor Verlander who rode shotgun/mechanic on Surfury and was part of that iconic team has passed away aged 80…a suitable epitaph Surfury at speed….


We have taken the decision that only the Cowes Torquay race reports from 1961 AND 1962 will be available on this site and would advise that to save duplication we would refer all interested parties to the Powerboat Archive of Graham Stevens…….

Graham has spent years accumilating and scanning every aspect of the sport from 1959 onwards and is the best site for facts, figures and media reports that can be found anywhere . To detract from Grahams hard work would be idiotic and the COPC site will continue with recording all possible regarding news ,finds and restorations etc…so why duplicate!..Graham is working with us to record the past and we will work with Graham to help with future records especially when private collections become available…..Saving the past for the Future.

Morgan Giles Monaco 52

A 1959 Morgan Giles Monaco, larger, but closely related to the Monacos that appeared in early Cowes Torquay races, is under restoration on the Thames. To be used as a live-aboard, the owners nevertheless intend to revive the original Detroit diesels etc.
A film crew was aboard whilst she was at Chiswick Pier, and she should appear in ‘George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces’ at 8pm on Channel 4 on Thursday 13th (this week).


PS her original owner was none other than Tommy Sopwith . .

Wrong choice of “wording”?

The subject of the 21 foot Avenger for sale has unintentially stirred up a hornets nest…the following letter from John Walker is undoubtedly the most reliable response to the ongoing discussion…..Note the Avenger /Avengers on Philante V1 were not 21 footers and were, are, incredibly lighter than the standard moulding…Tommy has confirmed to me that he did have 2 tenders one I/O and one with twin Mercury outboards…the I/O now owned by the CMBA member Emrhys Barrell has the teak inset decks Robin Wards craft has flush decks and has the davit lifting eyes plus although not now fitted 2 RYS BOW BADGES… is the letter to Graham from John….
Dear Graham,
It is only when, on the odd occasion, I visit blog sites that I realise why I never visit blog sites. Never in the history of human conflict has so much utter tripe been promulgated by so few for so many and none of them seem to know of what they speak.
Having been working with both Tommy Sopwith and Don Shead between 1969-1973, and being a Director of the Avenger Boat Company 1971 Limited, let me try and bring some order to the story of Avenger boats and tenders.
Sopwith owned the 22.7 metre LOA deep vee motor yacht Philante V (P.5) since it was delivered to Ray Hunt lines by Camper & Nicholsons’ Shamrock Quay yard in Northam, Southampton in 1962. A modesty sized vessel by today’s standards, it only had room for a 4.8 metre tender which was designed by Shead and built in tree wood in 1969 by Wilf Souter in Cowes. Coincidentally, the following year, when P.5 became superceded by Philante VI (P.6), a 28 metre Shead design built by Camper & Nicholsons, the 4.8 metre wooden tender was acquired by Pascoe Watson’s Avenger Boat Company operating out of Brickfield Lane in Chandlers Ford and became the plug for the Avenger 16 GRP runabout and Class III race boat. The Jackson brothers’ Specialised Mouldings concern in Huntingdon had been Watson’s preferred moulding sub-contractor.
As P.6 began to take shape, Shead was keen to see an Avenger as its tender but the Avenger 16 was considered too small and the standard GRP build Avenger 21 was marginally too long and quite a bit too heavy to fit on the yacht. Specialised Mouldings core business was in constructing race car bodies, mono-coques and component parts in GRP (glass reinforced plastic) and more exotic FRP (fibre reinforced polymer), including the new wonder material carbon fibre/Grafil, so when faced with the P.6 tender conundrum, Shead commissioned them to build a ‘special’, which came out of the Avenger 21 moulds, but was 30% lighter and about 12″ shorter, though retaining the traditional Sopwith colours of duck egg blue decks, navy blue topsides, a red chine and white below, and carried teak decking infills fore and aft.
It was originally specified and rigged with a BMW straight-6 normally aspirated motor coupled to a Riva Calzoni water jet, but so bad was its performance, not being able to get out of its own way, that Shead & Sopwith decided to junk that ensemble and retro-fitted a Mercruiser straight 6 sterndrive unit which performed to the required speed.

By this time, Watson had sold the Avenger Boat Company to Arthur Lawson-Johnson, (he of the Bovril family), it had re-located to his home county of Bedfordshire as the Avenger Boat Company 1971 Limited, but faced with the imminent 1972 London Boat Show and no boats of its own to show, borrowed the Sopwith tender and a Positano Yellow Avenger 16, which it displayed in Earls Court.
To my knowledge, there were only ever 3 Avenger boats moulded in carbon fibre. All were 21 footers or in the case of the P.6 tender, a close derivative and the other two were both Class III race boats. Best known was ‘Twos Up’, owned and driven by Leicestershire landowner Brian Griffin with knitwear company director, John Bennett, sporting twin Mercury 140hp outboards and the other by South East London developer, Nicky Cole, but little raced or used on the offshore circuit (maybe ski racing?).
To my knowledge, Kevlar was definitively never used in any Avenger boats as it was not on the marine market at the time.
The P.6 Avenger 21 derivative was ultimately purchased by The Hon. Edward Greenhall and used at his Jersey island home.
This boat, still in the Sopwith colours, with its three substantial s/s davit lifting points and with t/t Gee in gold on its transom is now owned by Emrhys Barrell and is understood to be undergoing restoration by him.

With this provenance, a rare piece of classic powerboating memorabilia.
Best regards,

John W.

as the story rumbles on suffice to say that an important piece of marine history is for sale..regardless of its construction…….

PS…why is it always me that get a kick up the backside? all I do is try to keep everyone happy!