Dear Members and friends 

You have probably all heard by now of the sad passing of our founder John Iddon….without whose foresight our club would not have come into existence.. John was adamant that the club would lead the way back to powerboating as we knew it in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s…with friendship and sportsmanship at its heart…how sad that just recently his wish seems to be on the verge of becoming fact again…..John was powerboating …he built them , raced them and scrutineered them .  He knew the sport inside out …one of the back room boys so often overlooked…we have lost a good friend and mentor…


The Late John.K.Iddon.
As many of you will have heard, John Iddon passed away last Sunday morning, 5th November, peacefully at home, aged 90.
I now have details for his funeral, which will take place on WEDNESDAY, 6th DECEMBER at 1245hours.
The Funeral is to be at The East Hampstead Crematorium, South Road, Nine Mile Ride (B3430), WOKINGHAM, RG40 3DW
Following the cremation, the wake will be held nearby at East Hampstead Conference Centre, off Peacock Lane, WOKINGHAM,
RG40 3DF
 All are welcome …lets give him a hero’s farewell…
Mike James
Vice President  COPC

Renato (Sonny) Levi.

Renato Levi, known to all as Sonny, was born in Karachi, India in 1926.
His father ran a shipyard in Bombay(now Mumbai), so Sonny naturally took an
early interest in boats & ships.

Sonny became an apprentice in his fathers shipyard in Bombay, but with the coming of World War 2, he joined the RAF, becoming a Pilot Officer. No doubt his interest not only in boats but also aircraft was heightened by this part of his life.

Sonny became primarily interested in marine design, especially in relation to smaller, fast craft, and the ability of such craft to withstand the varieties of sea conditions often encountered. He designed craft for his fathers yard during the 1950’s, but moved to Italy in 1960. In Italy, Sonny managed Cantiere Navaltecnica (Canav), in Anzio.

No one of a certain age can forget “A’Speranziella”, built by Canav to Sonny’s design for the 1961 Cowes-Torquay Race. She finished sixth, after experiencing mechanical problems, but had led the race for a considerable distance, dueling with the eventual winner “Thunderbolt”.

After partially re-building the boat in light of the experiences of 1961, success dawned with a win in the 1962 Viareggio-Bastia Race. Further developments resulted in great success with “A’Speranziella” winning the 1963 Cowes-Torquay Race.

Sonny became a world renowned designer of fast craft largely as a result of these successes, and the many fast craft he designed culminated in the 1965 launch of
“Surfury”, often thought of as one of Sonny’s most memorable designs. This boat
made a name for herself, winning Cowes-Torquay in 1967. “Surfury” was the first of Sonny’s much lauded Delta designs.

This success brought more commissions, and Levi designs were sought world wide,
where fast sea-going boats were needed.

In the 1980’s, Richard Branson commissioned Sonny to design “Virgin Atlantic
Challenger II”, which was successful in recording the then fastest trans-Atlantic crossing, despite contaminated fuel issues en route. This famous boat was certainly a fabulous marker in Sonny’s career. “VAC II” not only had its design by Sonny, but also the Levi Drive system too.

Developments in high speed propeller and drive systems have been part of Sonny’s
great contribution to fast boat development over the last forty or more years.

Martin Napier

Sonny Levi

It is with great sadness that we have heard that Sonny Levi has passed away peacefully following a short illness.

An appropriate tribute will follow in due course.


The year is continuing to bring more finds to the surface..just had a message from Matthew Saville
I saw on your website a mention and picture of Monaco Fortuna from the 1961 Cowes Torquay race (…/…/the-morgan-giles-monacos/)

Well she still lives as I own her. Converted to a liveaboard although currently on the hard at Shoreham.

Matthew says that she is for sale and found details when searching for her history…maybe she will find her way back to the water?

and here she is….


Please note there is now a FACEBOOK site for Surfury….SURFURY.The future.  and a new website remodelled on the old Chris Grayer site will soon go live but in the meantime I am pleased to announce that the fund has reached £800….thank you to all and keep the interest flowing..

Westcraft of Topsham

If anyone remembers and has any details, information or knows the whereabouts of any boats built by Westcraft of Topsham, I should be delighted to hear from them.

Westcraft’s diminutive Ianthe was the only outboard boat to reach Torquay in the first Cowes-Torquay in 1961, although it was out of time. It also competed in ’62 and ’63.
The Westcraft boats were designed by Allen McLachlan of GL Watson and Partners who then devised the ‘Ragged Chine’ hull form. If you are not familiar with it, it comprises 9 or 12 spray rails butted together each side, and was said to give a very soft ride.
An unknown number of ragged chine cruisers and fishing boats around 25 feet were cold moulded by Westcraft, and their best known was a 26 footer, Foamflyer, which was 10th in the 1969 Round Britain race.
Sadly their builder, Dick Read and his daughter, were killed off Portland Bill in 1972.

The ragged chine was adopted by the RNLI for its inshore rescue boats, and also the Arran lifeboat prototype.
It was also adopted by Kappa Marine in Milan, who produced slightly larger boats in grp in the 1980s.
Other, larger, ragged chine raceboats were built elsewhere, and included Zingara and Big Moose

A Read family member and some former employees have provided some material, but the boats themselves remain elusive!

Any information welcome


Right here is some fantastic news ….little BELLA 2 the entry of Fred Carvill 62.63.64 has turned up ..due for restoration of course but what a find….she is owned by Paul Traylen who I hope to speak to later…but in the meantime we need any info apart from what is already known to help Paul with his project…….MORE TO FOLLOW

Walt Waters

I am sad to report the death of Walt Waters on 28th December.

Walt’s first notable role was as production engineer for the Bertram 31, but was of course the designer of the many powerboats credited to the Jim Wynne – Walt Waters partnership, as well as subsequently under his own name.


Harry Hyams

It is with great sadness we have to report that another of the sports outstanding players passed away this weekend….Harry Hyams…who won the CTC twice in the Don Shead designed UNOWOT/ UNO EMBASSY previously Tommy Sopwiths ENFIELD AVENGER….Hyams was remembered for the Centre Point building in London and the controversy that surrounded it…
He was also a founder member of the BPRC….and the craft was one of the most successful racers of its day thought by many to be the pinnacle of Sheads design work.
.Photo’s believed to be originally Powerboat Archive




Obituary reproduced from the Guardian

Rarely was the property developer Harry Hyams seen in public – at least if there was any chance the press might be present. But while the epithet “recluse” was frequently attached to his name, it was not strictly accurate. Hyams, who has died aged 87, valued his privacy and would go to almost any lengths to preserve it, yet he was not too shy to enjoy the fruits of his fabulous wealth. Exotic travel, the opera, powerboat racing, vintage cars and horseracing would have been among the hobbies he listed in Who’s Who – had he consented to an entry.

To the fourth estate he had nothing to say but “no comment”, and even that was usually through a lawyer or other spokesperson. The sight of a camera was enough to cause him to take elaborate evasive action. His voice was never caught on tape, at least not by the BBC. As chairman of a publicly listed company, Oldham Estates, Hyams was compelled by law to hold an annual meeting for the company’s shareholders. For many years he chose the most awkward time he could imagine, 4.15pm on New Year’s Eve. Naturally the press was excluded from the meeting, and Hyams would go to extraordinary lengths to avoid being photographed. On one famous occasion he donned a Mickey Mouse mask as he pushed his way through the gaggle of photographers outside the Institute of Directors.

Hyams’s wealth came from a sector in which it is possible to operate quite anonymously. However, he undertook one property development – Centre Point, an office tower in the heart of London at the eastern end of Oxford Street – that was to thrust him into the limelight and with which he would always be associated. Centre Point came to represent the avarice of the postwar property boom, and even before it was built it attracted controversy. In the late 1950sLondon County Council (LCC) wanted to rationalise the busy junction at the north end of Charing Cross Road and needed to acquire land to build a roundabout. Under the law then in force, the LCC could offer only pre-war values, as a result of which the plan became bogged down in bureaucratic process.

 Centre Point, the office tower in central London that thrust the developer Harry Hyams into the limelight. Photograph: Philips/Fox/Getty

It was then that Hyams entered the scene, offering to buy the land at current values. He said he would build only on the part of the site not required for the road scheme, provided he could gain the benefit of the whole site when calculating the maximum size of building that could be allowed on the part site. The agreement was never set in writing because it was illegal to “sell” planning consents, but as a result of the deal Hyams was able to build at twice the normal five-to-one ratio of floor space to site area. He then handed the whole site over to the LCC and leased back the part required for building at a fixed rent for 150 years.

The architect  George Marsh, working with his colleague Richard Seifert, designed a 385ft, 35-floor tower of concrete and glass (which is now grade II listed), built at a cost of £5.5m over three years from 1963 to 1966. Hyams insisted that the building, one of London’s first skyscrapers, was to be let only to “a single tenant of undoubted covenant”. Partly as a result, it remained empty for the next 16 years, and Hyams was accused of purposely keeping the building empty, as the growth in its capital value was higher than the lost rent. He denied this accusation at every turn, using the lawyer Arnold (later Lord) Goodman to fire off letters and threats of legal action at anyone who suggested the vacancy was deliberate. Protestations of innocence continued until his death.

In 1973, Hyams took out an advertisement in the press claiming Centre Point was “the best known office building in the world”. Some in New York may have disputed that claim, but it was certainly the most controversial. Eventually, Hyams relented and leased the building floor by floor. It was never fully occupied, and the road scheme that precipitated its construction, with its dismal underground pedestrian ways, was for many years a disgrace to the capital. After housing the Confederation of British Industry from 1980 to 2014, in 2015 Centre Point was converted from office space into luxury flats.

Harry was born in Hendon, north London, the son of a bookmaker. After private schooling he joined a firm of estate agents, then switched to property development.

Before he was 30 he was already a millionaire, having taken advantage in the 1950s of the many opportunities provided by second world war bomb sites in prime locations. He was particularly active in developing office space in the 1960s and 70s, and apart from Centre Point, the team of Hyams and Seifert built a number of other notable central London buildings, including Space House, off Kingsway. Hyams’s company, Oldham Estates, in which the Co-operative Insurance Company held a major interest, was eventually taken over for more than £600m in 1987.

In 1964, Hyams paid £650,000 for Ramsbury Manor, a beautiful Charles II mansion tucked away on 600 acres of the Kennet valley in Wiltshire. At the time it was said to be the highest price paid for a private house in England. Using the law, he guarded the privacy of Ramsbury against anything and anyone who might threaten it. He also became embroiled in disputes over shooting rights he owned, which he fiercely protected despite having given up shooting many years before. However, his privacy was shattered early in 2006 when thieves broke into the manor, stealing clocks, porcelain, paintings and other works of art worth around £30m. The stolen goods represented half a century of passionate collecting by the idiosyncratic millionaire, and he was deeply upset by the raid, which remains Britain’s biggest burglary.

As recently as January 2015, Hyams was still using the law to assert his rights, when he objected to plans by the billionaire owner of the H&M fashion chain, Stefan Persson, to build a mansion next door to Ramsbury. He argued that this would infringe his shooting rights.

Hyams’s wife, Kay (nee Hoey), whom he married in 1954, died in 2011.

• Harry John Hyams, property developer, born 2 January 1928; died 19 December 2015

Foam Flyer

Good News…… just in regarding Foam Flyer the Watson designed Westcraft raceboat rescued by Mike LLoyd then taken on by Ben Yates and Tim Hardwicke, she is now in storage at the IBTC unit in Portsmouth…awaiting further works…it was IBTC who carried out the hull work on THUNDERBOLT…All work on FF is on hold as Ben and Tim have young families but we are assured she will one day re emerge from enforced storage.