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Pirate beats the waves to take honour

PUBLISHED: 15:47 04 July 2008 | UPDATED: 20:47 05 July 2010

Lowestoft-based boat Ocean Pirate stormed back in style after suffering potentially disastrous bad luck just five minutes into the Round Britain Powerboat Race.

Lowestoft-based boat Ocean Pirate stormed back in style after suffering potentially disastrous bad luck just five minutes into the Round Britain Powerboat Race.

Not only did the offshore cruiser complete the test of endurance but it finished fourth in the classic class and was awarded the trophy for out-standing effort on or off the water in an offshore powerboat race.

The boats taking part in the race came into Lowestoft on Sunday, and people lined the dockside to welcome them and to see them off on Monday morning on the final leg back to Portsmouth, where it began last week.

But, as Ocean Pirate prepared to set off on the first leg of the race to Plymouth, disaster struck.

“We had extreme ill luck five minutes before the race when we damaged our port propeller and had to retire from the first leg,” said owner and driver Mike Barlow.

The boat was hauled out of the water, and, as the rest of the fleet stormed off on the first leg, Mr Barlow was driving from Portsmouth to St Neots to get the propeller repaired. They then left for Plymouth to catch up with the rest of the fleet for the next leg to Land's End, but that was cancelled because of rough weather and most of the boats were taken by road to Milford Haven. Ocean Pirate, however, was back in the water and managed to round Land's End and eventually joined the fleet again at Oban.

Returning to his home port on Sunday was a great honour for Mr Barlow, having worked over the past three years to restore his beloved craft - built by Brooke Marine for the first Round Britain in 1969, when it finished seventh. He said: “We arrived to a great welcome, with people lining the harbour wall to welcome us home, which was great and much appreciated.”

Donations can still be made to aid the boat's achievement via the website www.oceanpirate.co.uk. Half will be shared with the RNLI and Prostate Cancer Society.

About 2,000 people attended a fun day in Lowestoft in support of the Round Britain race. They enjoyed entertainment including a rodeo bull, Crazy Corin's magic show, a football penalty shoot-out and an inflatable rock climb.

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