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Powerboat crew given royal boost

PUBLISHED: 15:56 23 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:29 05 July 2010

THERE was a royal boost for Lowestoft's involvement in Britain's most spectacular powerboat race this week.

As preparations for the tough Round Britain Offshore Powerboat Race gathers pace there was a special message of support from Prince Philip.

THERE was a royal boost for Lowestoft's involvement in Britain's most spectacular powerboat race this week.

As preparations for the tough Round Britain Offshore Powerboat Race gathers pace there was a special message of support from Prince Philip.

The Prince, who has boarded Lowestoft-based Ocean Pirate in the past, sent his best wishes to the crew who will be taking part in this year's race.

In a letter to boat owner Mike Barlow, the Prince said: “I was interested to hear that Ocean Pirate has been entered for the 2008 Round Britain Powerboat Race, just 39 years after her first attempt in 1969. I am delighted to offer my best wishes to her crew for a comfortable and safe passage round the course.”

Next month the race will feature around 60 boats stopping over in Lowestoft for the first-time in its history - having previously stopped at Great Yarmouth.

A delighted Mr Barlow, who runs Khayyám Associates, an Oulton Broad consultancy business, has not only been involved in high-profile talks to get the race to town but he will also be entering the race with Ocean Pirate, which took part in the first Round Britain Race almost 40 years ago. Getting the boat ship-shape for the 1,600 mile has been tough but now a crew that includes Mr Barlow, Anglia Afloat columnist Paul Carter, former Customs Cutter driver Bob Pennington and engineer Tom Brissenden, are ready for action.

“Prince Philip has been on Pirate on more than one occasion in the past when visiting Lowestoft and on the Thames and this letter will be framed and accompany us on the journey around the circuit,” said Mr Barlow.

The race will be run round the coastline of the United Kingdom over 10 days in June, beginning in Portsmouth on June 21 before travelling clockwise to Oban where they will cross the Caledonian Canal and begin the race again at Inverness, reaching Lowestoft on June 29. It will leave the next day for the finish at Portsmouth.

Mr Barlow has been in talks with Waveney District Council, ABP, the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club and Haven Marina staff to get the infrastructure together for the arrival and departure of the boats.

Pirate's progress during the race will be shown on its website www.oceanpirate.co.uk

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