A BOAT engineer was called into action at the weekend to provide emergency repairs to a power boat propeller — in the middle of a race. The work included a frantic 290-mile round trip to bring the damaged propeller of the Ocean Pirate boat from Portsmouth

RACING CERTAINTIES: Competitors in the Round Britain Powerboat Race get under way on Saturday.

A BOAT engineer was called into action at the weekend to provide emergency repairs to a power boat propeller - in the middle of a race.

The work included a frantic 290-mile round trip to bring the damaged propeller of the Ocean Pirate boat from Portsmouth to a warehouse at Little Staughton and back again.

The emergency repairs meant the Ocean Pirate could rejoin the Round Britain Offshore Power Boat Race, albeit being forced to miss the opening leg.

Paul Williams, owner of propeller manufacturer Clements Marine, said: "The Ocean Pirate team are customers of ours and I had a call on Saturday from the driver saying there had been an incident on the start line.

"We are usually closed on Saturday afternoons but I made a special trip back to the office to help repair the propeller.

"It took more than three hours to get the propeller into shape but Ocean Pirate was able to rejoin the race on Saturday evening."

The Ocean Pirate power boat is 40 years old and has been restored by driver Mike Barlow over two years, in preparation for the race.

However, disaster struck when Ocean Pirate struck an underwater submarine barrage off the coast of Portsmouth moments before the start of the race, damaging its propeller.

Staff at the Marina hauled the boat out of the water and within 15 minutes, Mr Baker was heading for Little Staughton with the propeller in the back of his car.

Mr Baker arrived at Clements Marine at about 3pm, when he was joined by Mr Williams to hammer the propeller back into shape.

Mr Baker said: "It was our fault we went over the barrage. It was on our chart and we should have seen it.

"After the start, she was rattling like a stone in a bucket and it was clear we couldn't do anything."

Mr Baker added he was determined to complete the course, even though he had lost all chance of winning the historic powerboat category.

The race has already been packed with drama - one powerboat sank on Saturday and Sunday's racing was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.

INFORMATION: The race continues until Monday, June 30. Follow the latest at www.roundbritainrace.co.uk