The Vosper Built “Flying Fish”
|In 1966 the Savundra era came to an end but not before he had commissioned another raceboat to carry on from the Jackie S series. His downfall which went with the collapse of the Fire Marine and Auto Insurance group left Vosper holding the baby, that baby being a boat which could have been the Doctor’s best chance of winning the Cowes Torquay a prize he desperately sought.
The craft was the immensely purposeful and stunning “Flying Fish”, fashioned in Aluminium and powered by 2 x 550hp Daytona’s. This was the age of the Daytona engine which was powering many of the current soon to be winners of offshore races including Surfury, Ghost Rider Delta’s Synthesis and Blu.
Flying Fish had been purchased prior to the ‘66 race by Albert Figgins who had previously raced the Halamatic Christina hull Thunderfish powered by Ford Interceptors hence her name.
One wonders what the good Doctor would have called her it would probably been Flying Jackie a name used for another of his aborted boats built by Watercraft to a Teal design.
Flying Fish was driven in the race by Mike Trimming with Albert Figgins on board and being one of the most powerful craft in the race it was inevitable Flying Fish would be vying for honours she in fact led the race for much of the first legs.
Then as they entered the open waters off Portland Bill in a battle for the lead with Ghost Rider, it happened and whether they hit a submerged object, a rogue wave whatever, the bottom split and the dreadful result was her total loss as this amazing sequence of photographs show.
We have to thank Sam Mace for letting us have the complete set showing her demise, Sam found the dusty old prints in her late fathers archive and though many of you have probably seen the 2 most published ones, the whole set makes compelling viewing.
The most interesting aspect of this, especially when you look at the neck and neck racing with Ghost Rider is that they show Jim Wynn’s co driver Bob Sherbert standing in the cockpit! Bear in mind this was prior to him breaking his ankles! Is it therefore possible that both boats hit the same bad patch of water /object each suffering the consequences but in different ways?
Maybe John Mace had in this sequence of pictures the reasons as to why both craft suffered now we will never know of course but it will certainly raise new questions.
Had the incredibly strong Souter hull, which was an inch thick on the hull bottom as specified by Wynn, been able to survive an impact albeit at a cost catching Sherbert unawares as the shock jolted the hull!
Either way Ghost Rider went on to win the race and a fascinating race boat sank to the the bottom of Lyme Bay and though discovered by Royal Navy divers was deemed unrecoverable.
Photographs courtesy of Sam Mace