Lady Violet Aitken celebrated her 90th birthday with friends and family near her home at Lambourn, West Berkshire on Saturday.
Lady Aitken (or Vi as she is affectionately known), is the biggest fan, supporter and competitor of Offshore Powerboat Racing that I have ever met.
When her husband Sir Max Aitken, organised the first Cowes to Torquay race in 1961, the young ‘Lady’ was already a fan of high speed boat competition having viewed the 1956 Miami-Nassau powerboat race.
For 3 decades after the start of ‘Offshore Racing’ in Europe, Lady Aitken had raced various boats, anything from a revolutionary Sonny Levi Class 3 catamaran (main photo) to a Fairey cabin cruiser.
In one of her last Offshore races in 1988, Vi raced with her daughter Laura in a Steve Baker designed, Mercury outboard powered Phantom 28′.
Punishing seas in a force 6 gale towards the end of the London to Brighton race slowed the team down to 14 knots as they battled to the finish line.
‘Mother, this is worse than child birth’!
‘You really should have had a few more sips out of the Hip Flask when we left Tower Bridge this morning’.
Happy Birthday Lady Violet Aitken.
Main Photo: Graham Stevens
Lady Aitken racing a Class 3 catamaran with Ray Bulman
John raced Offshore UIM Class 3 in the 1980’s & 1990’s.
He served as the Cowes Torquay Cowes Event Director for 4 years, including running the 50 th Anniversary Event in 2010.
He has recently organised 4 British Offshore races under UKOPRA sanction.
He is the Editor of Powerboat Racing World.