One of the world’s oldest powerboat trophies, the “Dupree International Challenge Trophy”, is set to become the official award for Team Britannia’s round the world record attempt.
The magnificent solid silver trophy will be rededicated at an official ceremony taking place at the Royal Naval Club and Royal Albert Yacht Club in Portsmouth.
The trophy was donated to the Club by brewing magnate Colonel Sir William Dupree, 1st Baronet, in 1932, but it is believed that the creation of the trophy pre-date this. It was then awarded to the winners of the Portsmouth and Southsea Powerboat race and was used until just before the outbreak of the Second World War.
Thought to be lost for ever, after the then Club Secretary, fearing a Nazi invasion, took the precaution of hiding the valuable award. Then in 1980, whilst builders carried out renovation work to the Queens Hotel in Southsea, Hampshire, they found the trophy, along with a hoard of other valuables hidden up a chimneybreast.
Despite sustaining damage it went on display at the RNC & RAYC until last year, when thanks to a generous donation, it was restored to its full glory in preparation for the rededication.
Simon Wright-Cooper, the current Club Secretary commented,
We are absolutely delighted to be able to rededicate this historic trophy for the record attempt. The Dupree family are iconic in the powerboating world having been involved in the sport from when it’s infancy all the way through to its heyday in the 1950s and 60s. The family competed in all the great races such as the Daily Express Offshore Boat Race Cowes – Torquay. They would be delighted that this trophy, which bears their name, will now be used to recognise those that undertake the most difficult endeavour in the sport.
The trophy is believed to be the second oldest powerboat trophy still in use, only surpassed by the British International Harmsworth Trophy, first presented in 1903 by Sir Alfred Harmsworth, former proprietor of the Daily Mail. The “Dupree International Challenge Trophy” predates the famous Segrave Trophy from 1930, which commemorates the life of Sir Henry Segrave, who unknowingly captured the water speed record driving Miss England II on England’s largest natural lake, Windermere. The Segrave Trophy is awarded annually to a British subject who accomplishes the most outstanding demonstration of transportation by land, air or water.
Team Britannia’s skipper and ocean racing legend, Alan Priddy, added,
This is a great honour. Sir William Dupree and his family were true pioneers of the sport and this trophy, one of the oldest powerboating cups in the world, is a fitting testament of their role and contribution to the sport. It is a double honour as Sir William made his home in Portsmouth, was a former Mayor (three times) and Alderman of the City. He owned Portsmouth United Brewery gave generously to charity and served his country with distinction and I am sure that if Sir William had been around today, he would have been vying for a place on our boat, or even offering to race us.
Chris Davies ARPS, has been photographing and writing about powerboat racing since 1987.