Foamflyer

Foamflyer

Owned by H.Read the 26ft Watson built ragged chine Foamflyer finished 10th in the 69
Round Britain race, powered by 2 Evinrudes totalling 420hp. Mr Read will be remembered for his escapades
in the little Ianthe in the 61 Cowes Torquay when they exchanged an Evening Standard with a Russian
Trawler for petrol to enable them to finish the race.

The Watson ragged chine never got the recognition due in powerboat racing but went on to make its mark
on countless G.L.Watson built lifeboats for the RNLI.

Later Foamflyer was owned by Mike Lloyd, Alan Goodwin and Peter Myles.

March 2010
Foamflyer was rescued from a farmers field in Devon via ebay, Foamflyer has made the journey to Sussex where she will
be cared for by new owners Ben Yates and Tim Hardwicke.

Follow the story of Foamflyer’s restoration progress at Ben & Tim’s website: www.FoamFlyer.com

 

Foamflyer

 

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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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