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ALL AT SEA JULY 2019

RACING AHEAD reparing a oat and its team for o shore power oat racing.

W

e caught up with team Southampton Dry Stack to see what preparations they undertook before the start of the UKOPRA offshore powerboat race series. Over the last few months Dennis Clemson and Lee Kattenhorn and their team have been busy preparing the race boat, which is sponsored by and named after the Southampton Dry Stack. This season’s circuit will see the painstakingly restored boat racing at Poole, Guernsey and Cowes. The team has been working alongside the builder of the boat, Richard Lucas, who lives on Hayling Island. The Forgecraft boat, built in Alton, Hampshire, was designed by Richard’s father Stephen Lucas. Forgecraft produced just five boats, two of which will be taking part in this year’s events, a first for over 10 years. Richard, who also owns the boat as well as being heavily involved with the team’s restoration work, had kept her in Scotland previously for pleasure use by his family. The driver of the boat will be Dennis Clemson and the navigator will be Lee Kattenhorn. We caught up with both of them to hear about their pathway to this season’s racing.

LABOUR OF LOVE

It has taken in excess of 500 man-hours to restore Southampton Dry Stack. The team consider themselves very fortunate as their sponsors have been actively involved and their help and support has been invaluable. The cost to the team has been two new engines, and the sponsors met most of the other costs. The team are thankful to Richard Saunders of R S Performance Boating for all his hard work on the preparation and refreshing of the engines and Paul Denford of Denford Property Management for supplying all the satellite navigation equipment. The restoration was pretty straightforward with the exception of the previous paint jobs. The team had hoped to just respray her, but on closer inspection it was decided a full bare metal respray was the best option, stripping back many layers of old paint to get back to the bare aluminium. Once bare the boat was in amazing condition with virtually no repairs, which demonstrated how well she was designed and constructed.

Ready in Poole with a new paint job. All images: Rachel Eastmead

COST OF RACING

The team is expecting the cost of competing in the UKOPRA series to be around £3,600 but with a team of five plus family members this figure might increase. The boat is currently undergoing rigorous testing, but as both driver and navigator have considerable experience they do not need additional training. Dennis has been on a healthy eating programme and has not touched alcohol since last December. His training regime includes weights and cardio vascular work, although he has always kept himself in good shape. The boat is insured in its own right and the crew will be obtaining their own personal accident policy and travel insurance to Guernsey as it is not included in the UK health care system. Dennis and Lee both love the challenge of racing on an unpredictable surface, not knowing what conditions they will be faced with and told us that it is brilliant fun, a complete adrenalin rush and something special to take part in. At the time of going to press Team Southampton Dry Stack are lying in fourth position after the Poole race with 169 points in Class 3X. ukopra.com

THE DRIVER

Dennis Clemson owned his first boat at 15 and started competing in 1984 in the Cancer Research race in a Ring 20. In 1989 he bought a Forgecraft Aluminium Racing powerboat, a sister to the Southampton Dry Stack boat, and started racing in the Class 3 2-litre series run by the RYA. Dennis raced in this series for three years with navigator Howard Ambrose. During this time they took part in the World Series in Guernsey finishing fourth overall. Various other wins followed with Dennis often racing against his current boat. He stopped racing in 1992 to concentrate on family life and his business, but his love for the sport endured. Over the past 10 years he has restored a Revenger 25, which he uses for family days out. In 2017 the current owners of the Forgecraft that he owned in 1989 contacted Dennis and asked if he would like to drive the boat again. He went on to drive her at West Bay in 2017 in an OCRDA event and then again in 2018 in a UKOPRA event in Poole, finishing first in class. Richard Lucas then came forward and offered Dennis the newly named Southampton Dry Stack boat to compete in this year’s series.

8 JUNE Fortitudo Property Poole Bay 100. Organised by 2017 MOTO Limited 6 JULY - Guernsey Organised by The Guernsey Powerboat Association

THE NAVIGATOR

Navigator Lee Kattenhorn entered his first race in 1988 in the Northern Series of Offshore powerboat racing competing in a Ring 20. In 1989 he was in an OCR basic race as navigator and obtained a first and second place. He also participated in the Cancer Research races in 1989 in a Ring 20 and again in 1997 in a Phantom 21. He finished second in the Northern Series Championship.

25 AUGUST - Cowes Organised by The British Powerboat Racing Club

Many layers of paint were stripped away to reveal the aluminium hull

23 NOVEMBER - UKOPRA Dinner & Awards evening, Royal Southern Yacht Club. Organised by 2017 MOTO Limited

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