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Putney to Calais Powerboat Race

The first Putney to Calais powerboat race was inspired following a publicity stunt in 1962 by Clive Curtis and Geoff Tobert, who set off from Putney to Copenhagen, Denmark, aiming to set a new world speed record. The boat they used was a Healey Corvette powerd by twin Gale 40hp outboard engines. It seems inconceivable in today's age of Health and Safety, that you would set off from London in a 17ft pleasure boat boat with 2 x 40hp outboatrd engines, to Denmark! These were the days before mobile phones and Sat Navs.

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They never actually reached Copenhagen due to a forecast gale, but they did reach Denmark.

 

Following a subsequent trip to Calais by Clive Curtis, via Ramsgate, Geoff Tobert bet Clive £5 that he would beat him in a race accross the channel.

 

News of the challenge soon got round and it wasn't long before 27 boats were entered into the first Putney Calais race.

The race attracted entrants from many small pleasure craft manufactures who wanted to publisise their crafts. The first race was won by Clive Curtis with navigator Brian Brain, with Geoff Tobert and navigator Ray Bulman finishing as runners up. Incidently, Geoff Tobert (aged 80) and Ray Bulman (aged 79) re-ran the course again as pensioners in 2009 in a 40 year old Sunseeker Sovereign, taking just over 14 hours to complete the course, compared with the 11hrs 58 mins they took in 1962.

Following the 1962 race the UKOPBA was set up (the UKOPBA was originally called the United Kingdom Outboard Power Boat Association, The name later changed to the United Kingdom Offshore Powerboat Association following the introduction of inboard engines).

THE RACE