If this race had been staged today, the RYA, UIM and just about every governing body would have had the organisers arrested. A powerboat race circumnavigating the Isle of Wight going one way while a yacht race was heading in the opposite direction.
Sounds like fun and happily no-one was killed. Those were the days when powerboat racing and yachting were not bogged down with rules and regulations, however, some would say we have gone too far the other way, and the freedom from restrictive legislation enjoyed in the 196os are long gone. The Wills International Powerboat Race was organised by the Royal Southern Yacht Club, who are still based at Hamble, Southampton and only organise sailing races these days. Wills was just one of many tobacco companies lending their name and financial support to the sport. The event attracted a mixed bag of entries ranging from a diminutive Fletcher, at the start of its racing career, and the larger production Bruce Campbell built Christina cruisers, one of which was the ‘Thunderbolt’ which won the first Cowes-Torquay race in 1961 with Tommy Sopwith, son of aviation pioneer Sir Thomas Sopwith.
The following article on the 1967 Wills International Round the Wight Race appeared in the publication ‘Power and Sail’.