The Vosper

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!
Yet the stressed Aluminium hull of FF which had been subject to many calculations by staff from Mitsubushi for lightness and rigidity not been given enough plate thickness where it mattered most?. resulting in a seam failure!

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.

The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying Fish
The Vosper built - Flying FishPhotographs courtesy of Sam Mace

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Press Release 14th April 2019

Press Release – 14th April 2019

Embargoed until authorised by UKOPRA / COPC

Following the Classic Offshore Powerboat Club AGM at RAF Yacht Club today a presentation was held at their invite from UKOPRA to publish their new classes for historic racing which take immediate effect.

COPC as an existing avid supporter of the regenerated offshore racing scene in the UK had prior to that presentation formalised their affiliation with UKOPRA by unanimous decision in order to allow event organisation under their sanction.

Much work has gone on in the past months and UKOPRA are extremely grateful to the committee of COPC for their input and assistance in creating the new (old?).

Class 4 Historic

Sub Classes for Class 4 are as follows with offshore general rules to apply.

  • Runabout – Pre 1990 design to a maximum of 115 HP and 21 ft boat length.
  • Cruiser – Pre 1990 design with a maximum speed of 50 knots to be upheld.
  • Purpose designed – Pre 1990 design with a maximum speed of 60 knots to be upheld.

The aim is for historic boats to compete on the same courses as existing UKOPRA Offshore class boats with a reduced distance covered to reflect the need to preserve the historic equipment.

The points system to be allocated to this class of racing will take a form of only 25% coming from final race position with the remainder awarded to criteria relating to Presentation, Age, Spirit, Quality of restoration, Provenance etc.

In addition to the above the publication of new UIM rules relating to Pleasure Navigation now allows the following UIM Group B compliant boats to enter our offshore classes as follows.

  • UIM Promotion Class can enter UKOPRA 3A/B
  • UIM Production Class can enter UKOPRA 3X
  • UIM Super boat Sport S1 and S2 can enter UKOPRA 3N

Minimum levels of equipment carried will be as referred to in the UKOPRA general rules.

Records Weekend

With COPC now formally affiliated they are keen to run an additional event this year and have agreed to host

Performance Records

Event Organiser – Classic Offshore Powerboat Club.

Sanctioning body – UKOPRA

Date – To be advised but provisionally a weekend in late September / early October.

Location – To be advised although the Freshwater area of the Solent is favoured subject to permissions.

Eligibility – All UKOPRA classes with a minimum of two fully licenced offshore licence holders in control.

Course Measurement – Will be over 1 statute mile to be run in both directions and an average speed taken for the two runs.

There will be the opportunity for marine manufacturers to be measured subject to a suitable application and with a minimum of two UKOPRA licence holders in control of the vessel.

Whilst there is no requirement to be a member of any of our affiliated race organisers to take part in activities we do recommend you support them and any potential event sponsors would be gratefully welcomed.

2019 Poole Bay 100

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Registration of vessels for any of the above classes will be opened on Monday 15th April 2019 which will add the owner to our databases for email contact.

Please subscribe to www.ukopra.co.uk for further updates.

Sponsors interested in being involved with the series as a whole should in the first instance contact info@ukopra.co.uk

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