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Thunderstreak rolls back the years in a rough Poole Bay

John Moore on 31st May 2021

The UK offshore powerboat racing season kicked off at Poole Bay this weekend with the late Tommy Sopwith’s historic 1963 Bertram 31, Thunderstreak [H400] taking first places in the Class 4 [Historic/Offshore] on both days at the UKOPRA-organised race weekend in Poole Bay.

Not only was the Isle of Wight-restored and rigged H400, at 58 years, the oldest boat in the 20-30 boat fleet by several decades and more, but the crew’s average age was “comfortably north of 71”.

Thunderstreak was entered by “Team: Royal Yacht Squadron” with race-boat owner-driver Hugo Peel joined by RYS Members – navigator Johnny Raymond and James Gaggero on throttles/trim.

Based in Cowes, Isle of Wight, its extensive three-year restoration programme at local boatyard Solent Marine Services, was the subject of an extensive article in Motorboat&Yachting magazine in 2020, “From Wreck to Racer”.

This charted her history from 1960’s/1970’s contender to derelict 2013 houseboat – and back to racer again.

Hugo Peel comments: “Saturday’s ‘shakedown race’ in near perfect sea-conditions enabled the crew to work up H400”s systems and work as a team. Sunday’s longer, much tougher race let Team Royal Yacht Squadron put them to [often] severe test over 80+ miles of close racing in an ugly swell underlying a confused sea.”

Many competitors with contemporary race-boats sadly failed to finish with mechanical breakdowns and electrical failures.

H400’s crew got off lightly with bruises and tired legs – and just one broken finger.

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