Miss Enfield 2

Miss Enfield 2

Miss Enfield - 1969
Miss Enfield – 1969

There is no doubting that the lineage of "Miss Enfield 2", Tommy Sopwith’s second Cowes Torquay winner can be traced back to Don Shead’s first design AVENGER
After the success of Telstar in the 1968 race Shead was to take what was basically a longer version of the 21 and develop a new hull for Sopwith based on the Avenger 21 and Telstar this was to be T2 which unfortunately proved unsuccessful in his hands although she did reap some rewards as Hot Bovril with David Bassett and was consequently used as a mould for the production versions known as AVENGER 34 which was moulded by Danamos. The 34ft cruiser was also raced, Passing Cloud the gas turbine which then became Red Rum was one such a boat.

Miss Enfield II - 1970
Miss Enfield II – 1970

The slightly smaller Avenger Too which had won the Round Britain Race, also bore lines which bridged both the early Avenger 21, Telstar, T2 and lead to HTS
At the same time of T2’s build the experimental Miss Enfield also came of the stocks although unlike the Souter built wooden T2, Miss E came from the newly founded Enfield Marine and was built using Aluminium.
It was from lessons learned with both craft T2 and Miss E that the next design had evolved, built by Enfield Marine Miss Enfield 2 looked the part from day one and was powered by new 650 hp Mercruiser engines although it was her sister boat which was the fancied runner, the even more powerful Avenger 007, which in her own right was the template for Sheads most successful design UNOWOT…

Yellowdrama - 1972
Yellowdrama – 1972

Miss Enfield 2 won the race that year ahead of 007 but it was 007 that Sopwith borrowed to race in the America’s to try and wrap up the world championship and was duly scuppered when she caught fire and sank.
After Tommy parted with Miss E2 she reappeared in the hands of Ken Cassir in 1971 then renamed Yellodrama for the 72 race with John Galliford.
In 1973 she reappeared in the striking white and blue colour scheme of John Davey and was now known as BLITZ. She raced under this name for 74, 75 and then 76 when under the ownership of Alf Bontoft. Sadly and in a very spectacular way her race ended when the crew lost control in the Solent of Gurnard Ledge resulting in Alf Bontoft’s death when he was thrown from the bucking craft.

Blitz - 1973 Blitz - 1974
Blitz – 1973 Blitz – 1974
British_Buzzard - 1977
British Buzzard – 1977

With a change of name, owner and engines the hull reappeared in 1977 with Roger Allen at the helm and powered by twin Perkins diesels and again in ‘78 with Sabres and was known as British Buzzard. Now 10 years old she made one last appearance again with a new owner in 1979, she was known as LPW and was powered by "Outboards" such a sad finale for a successful and famous craft.

Miss Enfield 2 then vanished, as do many offshore racers only to resurface in the garage of Sway resident Don Wood where she had been stored for the past 25 years and was now on the MARKET!… such is the reach of Classic Offshore it appears that an Italian gentleman Guisseppe Soro had spotted her for sale and the deal was finalised early April this year.

LPW - 1986
LPW – 1986

Again as in the case of Telstar another famous racer is leaving our shores but Miss Enfield 2 is to be restored and will be raced again in Italy and here. We look forward to seeing her return and will keep all posted to developments.

Mike
21/04/2011

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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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