Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell…Sidelines

Back in the late 50’s and early 60’s whilst the Christina brand was establishing itself Bruce Campbell held dealer ships for Albatross and maybe the American Ancarrow brand.
Ancarrow produced speedboats that looked like the Cadillacs of the waves with their outrageous wings and exhaust’s mounted like rear lights!

Ancarrow - Lil' Daddy

But one of their products which caught Cambell’s eye was the incredibly
Futuristic looking "Consul"

Ancarrow - Consul 19'

19 feet of Black high gloss accentuated with gold and powered by the latest Cadillac Crusader engines thro a step up V drive giving 65mph!
Yes you heard correctly, 65 mph in 1960!
Here is another picture, better quality thank goodness, it was taken at the London Boat show…

Ancarrow - Consul 19' photographed at the London Boat show

The story goes like this…

Back in 1960, Bruce Campbell and Ken Raybould had taken a CHRISTINA down to the South of France to demonstrate its capabilities to prospective buyers. One day whilst Ken was demonstrating the boat at Villefranche they were overtaken by a black speedboat which turned out to be driven by none other than Gianni Agnelli, the Fiat magnate. Ken had never seen a small boat go so fast and followed in the Christina, eventually back in the harbour Agnelli come over to look at the Christina having never seen a Deep Vee before so a two way conversation went on regarding the 2 boats. It later transpired that Dick Wilkins of Tramontana fame had a Consul which he kept in Devon this was aquired by Campbell and brought back to the Hamble yard where it remained for a fair time during which it attracted much attention especially when its V8 Crusader burbled away!

The craft was eventually purchased and used by Arthur Cole who had redesigned the now famous Christina superstructure for Campbell, subsequently it was then obtained by Philip Goddard who was then based at Willments old yard but has long since disappeared. The original Crusader engine was around this time replaced by a 240hp Ford Dearbourn.

It would be good to know if this unique craft has survived the past 50 odd years and is possibly still in the Hamble area look again at that unique deck and let us know if you spot it anywhere.

Here below is the range of Ancarrow boats…totally 50’s in style and utterly amazing specifications for the age.


Ancarrow - Consul 19' photographed at the London Boat show

Ancarrow - Consul 19' photographed at the London Boat show

Ancarrow - Consul 19' photographed at the London Boat show

To see more of the Ancarrow Marine 1959 Brochure, follow the link to; – Online Magazine

Black Magic

Black Magic

Black Magic

It appears that the pictures above (Black Magic) are of the actual craft owned by Campbell and found in London

Recent Posts

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

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