The Cowes–Torquay Winners 1961 to 1970

The Cowes–Torquay Winners 1961 to 1970

1961-THUNDERBOLT TOMMY SOPWITH
25′ BRUCE CAMPBELL CHRISTINA / RAY HUNT
2 X 325 HP CADILLAC CRUSADERS
TIME ; 7 HRS 17 MINUTES
SPEED 24.5 MPH
RACE DISTANCE 156 NM

Thunderbolt

1962 TRAMONTANA JEFFREY QUILL
42 FT VOSPER/ Du CANN
2 X 1054 HP PETROL CRM’S
TIME ; 5 HRS 10 MINUTES
SPEED 36.8 MPH
RACE DISTANCE 170 NM

Tramontana

1963 A’SPERANZIELLA RENATO “SONNY” LEVI
30FT CANTIERI NAVAL TECHNICA / LEVI
2 X 400 FORD DEARBOURNE INTERCEPTORS
TIME ; 4 HRS 43 MINUTES
SPEED 40.8 MPH
RACE DISTANCE 167 NM

Levi

1964 SURFRIDER CHARLES and JIMMY GARDNER
31 FT BERTRAM / RAY HUNT
2 X 390 HP DAYTONA’S
TIME ; 3 HRS 52 MINUTES
SPEED 48.9 MPH
RACE DISTANCE 164 NM

Surfrider

1965 BRAVE MOPPIE DICK BERTRAM
38 FT BERTRAM SPECIAL / RAY HUNT
2 X 550 HP CUMMINS DIESELS
TIME ; 4 HRS 58 MINUTES
SPEED 40 MPH
RACE DISTANCE

Brave Moppie

1966 GHOST RIDER JIM WYNN
28 FT SOUTER / WYNN
2 X 500 HP DAYTONA’S
TIME ; 4 HRS 49 MINUTES
SPEED 41 MPH
RACE DISTANCE 172 NM

Ghost Rider

1967 SURFURY THE GARDNER BROTHERS
36 FT SOUTER / LEVI
2 X 525 HP TURBO CHARGED DAYTONA’S
TIME ; 3 HRS 44 MINUTES
SPEED 53 MPH
RACE DISTANCE 172 NM

Surfury

1968 TELSTAR TOMMY SOPWITH
25FT SOUTER / SHEAD
1 X DAYTONA 600HP
TIME ; 6HRS 1 MINUTES
SPEED 37 MPH
RACE DISTANCE 198.3 NM

Telstar

1969 THE CIGARETTE DON ARONOW
32 FT CARY /ARONOW
2 X 475 HP MERCRUISERS
TIME ; 3 HRS 33 MINUTES
SPEED 66 MPH
RACE DISTANCE 205 NM

The Cigarette

1970 MISS ENFIELD 2 TOMMY SOPWITH
33 FT ENFIELD MARINE / SHEAD
2 X 425 HP MERCRUISERS
TIME ; 4 HRS 2 MINUTES
SPEED 58.5 MPH
RACE DISTANCE 204 NM

Miss Enfield II

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Renato (Sonny) Levi.

Renato Levi, known to all as Sonny, was born in Karachi, India in 1926.
His father ran a shipyard in Bombay(now Mumbai), so Sonny naturally took an
early interest in boats & ships.

Sonny became an apprentice in his fathers shipyard in Bombay, but with the coming of World War 2, he joined the RAF, becoming a Pilot Officer. No doubt his interest not only in boats but also aircraft was heightened by this part of his life.

Sonny became primarily interested in marine design, especially in relation to smaller, fast craft, and the ability of such craft to withstand the varieties of sea conditions often encountered. He designed craft for his fathers yard during the 1950’s, but moved to Italy in 1960. In Italy, Sonny managed Cantiere Navaltecnica (Canav), in Anzio.

No one of a certain age can forget “A’Speranziella”, built by Canav to Sonny’s design for the 1961 Cowes-Torquay Race. She finished sixth, after experiencing mechanical problems, but had led the race for a considerable distance, dueling with the eventual winner “Thunderbolt”.

After partially re-building the boat in light of the experiences of 1961, success dawned with a win in the 1962 Viareggio-Bastia Race. Further developments resulted in great success with “A’Speranziella” winning the 1963 Cowes-Torquay Race.

Sonny became a world renowned designer of fast craft largely as a result of these successes, and the many fast craft he designed culminated in the 1965 launch of
“Surfury”, often thought of as one of Sonny’s most memorable designs. This boat
made a name for herself, winning Cowes-Torquay in 1967. “Surfury” was the first of Sonny’s much lauded Delta designs.

This success brought more commissions, and Levi designs were sought world wide,
where fast sea-going boats were needed.

In the 1980’s, Richard Branson commissioned Sonny to design “Virgin Atlantic
Challenger II”, which was successful in recording the then fastest trans-Atlantic crossing, despite contaminated fuel issues en route. This famous boat was certainly a fabulous marker in Sonny’s career. “VAC II” not only had its design by Sonny, but also the Levi Drive system too.

Developments in high speed propeller and drive systems have been part of Sonny’s
great contribution to fast boat development over the last forty or more years.

Martin Napier

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