CHARLES LAWRENCE An architect with a lifetime interest in boats, especially the classic offshore powerboats of the Golden Age from around 1955 to 1975, author Charles Lawrence has, in retirement, become an historian, illustrator, writer and publisher on the subject.
He has researched Fairey Marine and its boats, associated types and their rivals since 2002, and published monographs on Fairey Marine, Bruce Campbell, Sonny Levi, the Port Hamble Pacemakers, the first Cowes-Torquay offshore powerboat race in 1961, and with Graham Stevens a reference book on the Daily Express sponsored years of the Cowes-Torquay races from 1961 to 1978, the five British offshore races, plus biographies of Chris Tremlett, John Iddon and C W Burnard. In addition Charles has drawn coloured profiles of around 150 boats, used to illustrate his books and individually printed as posters.
Charles catalogued the drawings of the late Alan V Burnard, designer of the Fairey powerboats, and distributes copies of the original Fairey Marine drawings on behalf of the Fairey Owners’ Club and the Classic Boat Museum, Cowes.
He has also contributed to the Fairey News, Professional Boatbuilder, COPC News, Riva Magazine, River Hamble Handbook and the On Site Review. He is Archivist to the Fairey Owners’ Club, and a member of the Classic Offshore Powerboat Club, the Classic Motor Boat Association, Association of Yachting Historians and was a long term member of the Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club.
GRAHAM STEVENS Now a raceboat archivist in retirement, having taken and amassed photographs, raceboat reports, result sheets and other material since the early 1960s.
Graham’s interest in raceboats began when serving an apprenticeship with Vosper Ltd, in the days of the Tramontanas and Flying Fish. He teamed up with Lorne Campbell, a fellow Vosper man, to build the Class 2 Highland Fling for Lady Arran, which broke several records at Windermere.
Shortly after this, Graham moved on to work in the Don Shead design office, joining several Vosper chaps working on his raceboats of the 1970s, as well as many large superyachts, including several that were gas turbine powered.
Powerboat Archive The powerboat archive was formulated to document all records of the modern raceboat era. It consists of many photograhs taken by the author, supplemented by data from around the world, and personal collections from well known powerboat enthusiasts, notably Ray Bulman.
Graham’s photograph gallery, library of race results, printed articles and also films are freely available to all at www.powerboatarchive2.co.uk
RAY BULMAN A renowned powerboat enthusiast, Ray Bulman is a retired Class III racer, journalist, writer, commentator and raconteur about powerboat racing since the early 1960s, Ray’s wide ranging, incisive and authoritative analyses of motorboating activity was always set within a wider context and greatly assisted a better understanding of the sport. Ray was present at each of the five Marathon events recorded in the Marathon book, but as an observer rather than a competitor.
GEORGE BUTLIN is a retired interior designer whose work comprises internationally acclaimed projects, including museums, art galleries, theatres and many five-star hotels throughout Europe and Africa.
He has a lifelong interest in the work of Thurston Laidlaw Shoosmith. His other passions include Alvis motor cars, Bedford Park, the “First Garden Suburb”, where he lives, the life and work of the architect and designer C F A Voysey, and the history of coach-building, in particular H J Mulliner & Co, on which he has written several articles. He writes for a number of journals, and edits The Orchard, the journal of The C F A Voysey Society.
John McGowan is an artist/printmaker and former art teacher. In 1981 he came across the sketchbooks of T L Shoosmith in The Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. This led directly to his curation of Thurston Laidlaw Shoosmith – A Closer Look in 1983. More recently he has organized exhibitions at the Yarrow Gallery, Oundle School, including Jean Spencer, a retrospective. He has directed four films about artists and their work.
Now, retired from teaching, he has returned to his studio in Cambridgeshire, where he creates series of prints that reflect his interest in local buildings and landscapes which might have been familiar to Shoosmith. In his work he celebrates the rich diversity of architecture created by our forebears.
BEN CURTIS In real life, Ben, a recent Commodore of the Fairey Owners’ Club lives with his (very patient) wife Lorna and son Felix on the Isle of Wight. Ben lived his first 25 years close to the shore of Southampton Water and then 20 years in Hamble, his school chum James’ father owned Merlin a fabulous long skinny motorboat built in the 1930’s in France, Merlin was moored on the Hamble River and as a result motorboats captivated Ben from the late 1970’s. One sunny day, around 1980, leaving Cowes a short distance ahead was a Huntsman 31 aft cabin (Ben still wonders to this day which boat it was), a roar of engines and puff of sooty smoke, the Huntsman leapt onto the plane and shot off at great speed. A defining moment in Ben’s life, the rest as they say is history, glue, varnish and paint.