//Guernsey raises the curtain on the 2016 Stanley Gibbons Investment Powerboat season

Guernsey raises the curtain on the 2016 Stanley Gibbons Investment Powerboat season

Having been handed the responsibility of sourcing its own Event Insurance by the RYA for the coming season and that Insurance still with the Club’s Advocates up to three weeks ago, the Guernsey Powerboat Association raised the curtain in style in what I’m sure will be yet another outstanding race series supported once again by Stanley Gibbons Investment.

The east coast of Guernsey incorporating Havelet Bay was to be the venue of the first two of ten races this season.

Due to holidays and breakdowns, a fleet of ten boats entered for the Saturday race in smooth to slight seas which the Scandavian catamarans who raced here in 2014 would have absolutely loved.

Although the sun never shone, the early morning thick fog lifted adequately for the race to start and the long run in from Lower Heads Bouy.

Unfortunately, Richard Le Feurve and Barry Culver in the class 2 rig ‘Paranoid’ suffered engine failure before the start and returned to the Harbour.

Paul Etasse and Chris Stonebridge
Paul Etasse and Chris Stonebridge

As the fleet entered Havelet Bay on the first lap, Paul Etasse and Chris Stonebridge, as expected, in the new all black ‘Slayer’ Class 3a rig got off to a tremendous start and were showing some of the more powerful rigs the way followed by the ageing Phantom 18, ‘Warpath’ from the sister Island of Jersey, brothers Gareth and Matt Keest in Oracle Finance and the Dewe brothers from Sark in their 19 Phantom ‘Dewpacabra’ racing for the first time in Z 150 class.

Racing for the Sarkees wasn’t to be for too long as after two laps, they hooked at the Longue Pierre turn mark and were ejected with ease, whilst the boat remained upright.

Martyn Robert and Diogo De Freitas
Martyn Robert and Diogo De Freitas

Whilst all this was going on, the only V boat on the water, ‘It Wasn’t Us’ with Martyn Robert and replacement co driver Diogo De Freitas were making steady progress through the field after a lazy start and went on to take overall honours, ahead of a creditable first outing for the Jersey boat.

In the middle of the field an ongoing battle was going on with a mix of boats with different power plants. Mark Terry and Sue Cosgrave in the Miss Geico coloured ‘Dirty Deeds’ was enjoying its maiden run after a complete refit fending off Bill Gladstone and Katie Sauvarin in their Z150 powered phantoms, ‘Me Too’ and ‘Money Monster’ and newcomers Jai Rive and Kirsty Savident in the Stanley Gibbons sponsored ‘Grey Sea’.

The newcomers initiation into the sport was short lived however after an impressive performance only to retire towards the end of the race with a blown gear box.

They’re finding that this sport can be cruel at times after losing a propeller two weeks earlier during the Club’s training session.

Race 2 – Sunday

Race 2 on the Sunday morning saw clearer skies, but more wind which provided spectators and photographers with more airborne action than the day before.

From the start, V3 ‘It Wasn’t Us’ with returning navigator Tim Abbott back onboard, made no mistake and surged into the lead by the first turn mark and remained in the overall lead throughout with a faultless display.

In Z150, Patrick Dewe in Dewpacabra quickly found itself up with the front runners from the off and kept everything tight with an assured and even dry display this time to romp home in first place whilst further back his class competitors Bill Gladstone in ‘Me Too’ and Katie Sauvarin in ‘Money Monster’ were never far apart and swapping positions throughout.

Money Monster
Money Monster

Sauvarin finally clinched second place honours after a hard fought battle, almost losing that position on the final straight after opening the door at the final turn mark allowing Gladstone a tighter exit.

In Class 3, the bright yellow Backdraft ‘Dirty Deeds’ of Mark Terry and Sue Cosgrave wing walked their immaculate rig to yet another deserved third place whilst ahead of them Paul Etasse and Chris Stonebridge in ‘Slayer’ found themselves chasing down Gareth and Matt Keest in ‘The Governor’ who themselves were looking to reverse the previous day’s result.

Dirty Deeds
Dirty Deeds

After ditching last year’s Backdraft, Keest has put in a good shift this winter testing his new aquisition and had the Phantom 19 running flat all weekend.

As the race passed the half way mark, it was obvious that Etasse was becoming more familiar with his brand new boat and his speeds were increasing lap by lap thus shortening the gap between himself and Keest ahead.

Unfortunately for Etasse, the chequered flag came out earlier than anticipated allowing Keest his first win of the season.

In Class 2, after failing to reach the start line on the Saturday, Richard Le Feurve and Barry Culver in the black Phantom 20, ‘Paranoid’ looked like a boat possessed and took the honours unchallenged.

After encountering mechanical gremlins the day before, this crew worked through the night until 4.30am in the morning rebuilding their 200hp motor and were seen putting the final touches right up to launching.

Grey Sea
Grey Sea

Their class competitors, the Jersey boat ‘Warpath’ retired early into the race after the driver’s seat broke and the Stanley Gibbons Investment sponsored Phantom 21, ‘Grey Sea’ driven by newcomers Jai Rive and Kirsty Savident gained valuable experience after a steady drive in somewhat trickier conditions.

Photos: Daniellé Friend

2016 Guernsey Stanley Gibbons Investment Series

Round One – Saturday 28th May

Club Class 2

1st – Warpath

Club Class 3

1st – Slayer 2
2nd – The Governor
3rd – Dirty Deeds

Club Z150

1st – Me Too
2nd – Money Monster

V Class

1st – It Wasn’t Us

Round Two – Sunday 29th May

Club Class 2

1st – Paranoid
2nd – Grey Sea

Club Class 3

1st – The Governor
2nd – Slayer 2
3rd – Dirty Deeds

Club Z150

1st – Dewpacabra
2nd – Money Monster
3rd – Me Too

V Class

1st – It Wasn’t Us

Colin Clarke
Colin is the current Chairman of the Guernsey Powerboat Association and has been involved in the sport for over 30 years.