“Thunderflash”

THUNDERFLASH Designed by Walt Walters for Dick Wilkins Built by Souters Cowes late 1963 early 64 Powered by Coventry Climax engine coupled to a Volvo Penta outdrive. Raced by Tommy Sopwith and Jim Wynne

Layout, twin cockpits single seat for driver at rear, fuel tank built into hull. 1964 season raced at Aix les Bains 24 race , Paris 6 hrs and Rouen.

1965 season specification changed to Offshore class 3 still twin cockpit driver and navigator in rear with tonneau over front cockpit and new engine cover. Raced by Sopwith with Charles De Selincourt as navigator. Additional tank to rear, engine now Volvo Penta 120, Coventry Climax proved unreliable and overheated.

1966 season Thunderflash turned into high speed tender for Philante 5. Don Shead designs Philante 6 and tender is now Carbon Fibre Avenger 21.

THUNDERFLASH becomes redundant turns up in Lymington in 1990’s and is purchased in 2013 by the Water Rats Offshore Classic Team.

As you can see from the following photo’s 50 years is a long time for a wooden boat to survive intact but such was the Souter workmanship most of the boat is in very good condition…Main areas of repair at the moment are the Transom which has been totally replaced due to the over large Mercruiser transom plate that had been fitted, in readiness for the retro fit of a Volvo Penta outdrive unit..and the bow area where rain ingress had rotten the ply laminations. We are awaiting news from the States about Walt Walters original plans which cannot be found at the moment but believed to be still in Walts posession. One unusual feature is the 6 compartment open top fuel tank built into the keel and glassed in! the cover for this is long gone by the way, then behind that was another tank in copper. These tanks were obviously used firstly when she was racing as a circuit boat then capacity was enlarged for offshore…having seen early film of the craft we realised she had had several cockpit layouts but the driving position was always at the rear. The problem facing us is which layout to use as in her last reincarnation as a speed boat the steering had been moved to the front cockpit..but we have a cunning plan! Photo’s will be added as the rebuild progresses.