Tramontana II

Tramontana II

Tramontana 2 was entered again in 1964 minus her wheelhouse using instead a sweeping cockpit coaming and ran under the number 40 with Tommy Sopwith at the helm.

Tramontana was a favourite with the spectators and raced on for several more years in the hands of Tim Powell, the following extremely interesting article was written by Rod Green and gives an insight into how powerboats survive all that the sea and circumstance can throw at them.


My involvement with Tramontana II, started in 1964 when I was employed as Works Manager at a Jaguar Main Dealership in Chichester, West Sussex. I was approached by Tim Powell and Peter Ricketts, wanting to know if I would be interested in helping them restore the boat to race condition, in particular the Jaguar engines.

I had previously known Tim when I worked for Coombs of Guildford a renowned Jaguar Dealer where I was involved in Jaguar repairs and modifications and prepared Jaguar 2.4, 3.8 litre saloons and lightweight ’E’ Types to race, driven by Graham Hill and Roy Salvadori.

Tim, Peter and myself went to inspect the boat, which was moored at Vospers Yard at Portsmouth. It looked in a very sorry state and possibly as though there had been some kind of fire in the engine compartment. They agreed that it could be restored so Tim and Peter purchased it. She was towed back to Birdham Shipyard as she was a non-runner at the time. Once back there she was floated onto a cradle and pulled into a large shed.

The four engines and all ancillary equipment, drives, clutches, heat exchangers were removed. The engines were transported to Chichester Automobiles where they were completely stripped to the last nut and bolt. The engines were rebuilt to race specification, crankshafts and con-rods polished and cylinders rebored. Other modifications were carried out as required during the rebuild. The engines were then transported to Vospers Yard at Porchester where they were each in turn put on a Dynamometer to run and tune and also set up each of the three double choke Weber Carburettors on each engine. Each engine produced approximately 250 HP, which gave us approximately 1000HP from the four engines.

The boat was completely repainted interior and exterior. The engines, drives, clutches were all re-installed, heat exchangers, electrics, propellers, instruments overhauled and refitted, throttle linkage adjusted (this was quite complex with 12 carburettors).

The boat was then refloated and first start up was carried out, the noise was ear shattering from 4 open exhausts about 3” in diameter. By this time it was well into the middle of 1965 and our first race was the Cowes Torquay in September. From this time on many hours of testing were carried out in The Solent, trying spark plug combinations (24 plugs) slipping the boat to try different props. It all came together and we were ready for our first race.

The day dawned bright and sunny but windy which was good as Tramontana II was a good rough weather boat. The first part of the race went well without any real problems until we reached Lyme Bay where it became very rough. About half way across the Bay one of the heat exchangers on the port side broke loose and punched a hole through the topside, we managed to lash this with a rope, which I held for the rest of the race to prevent further damage. We completed the race and were 4th overall out of 55 starters and won the All British prize in a time of 5 hours 20 mins at an average speed of 37mph for the 172 miles.

During 1966 we competed in many races with a great deal of success, but this was marred by what might have been a tragic accident. During the Cowes Torquay race that year we had an exhaust pipe break, which we did not know about above the general roar of the boat. I was at the helm and we were heading into Lyme Bay, the situation only came to light when I passed out due to carbon monoxide gases leaking into the cockpit and two other crew members on the verge of collapse as they sat in the cabin. Peter Ricketts managed to drag everyone clear then strapping them to the engine covers to recover as he took sole control of the boat.

Tramontana II - 1967
Tramontana II – 1967

1967 again was a round of races, testing and maintenance as we were preparing to take the boat to the Bahamas 500 Race. We were testing in The Solent at the time we were just off Langstone Harbour, unfortunately we did not spot a wreck buoy and ploughed straight into the wreck doing mortal damage to the boat by ripping out the transom. The boat sank within about 10 minutes and we ended up in the life raft. Luckily we were picked up by a fisherman and taken back to Langstone Harbour.

The boat was recovered and taken back to Birdham Shipyard where another complete strip down and rebuild was carried out. We had the boat ready for the 1967 Cowes Torquay and again it was fairly calm all the way which did not suit Tramontana. However we finished in 11th place out of 57 starters and won the All British prize again in a time of 4 hours 54 mins at an average speed of 35.14mph. In all a very eventful 4 years.

Today Tramontana 2, is now owned by Wolter Groenewold in Germany, where she is currently undergoing another full restoration. If I hopefully have got my facts right when Tim Powell ceased racing her the original Wheelhouse/ cabin was restored to the hull. She was shortened to 36ft overall after the sinking and fitted with Mercruiser Inboard / Outboards. Once in new ownership she was also trial fitted with a Gazelle gas turbine, which proved too powerful for her, then with 3 outboards and is now to be fitted with 2 high power diesels during her restoration. Unfortunately contact with her owner is erratic but if and when information does filter through be sure that you will see it here first.

Many thanks to Rod for this fascinating insight.

Mike James

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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




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.

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Sponsors interested in being involved with the series as a whole should in the first instance contact

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