Powerboat racing on Windermere, Lake District, UK

A bylaw came into force on England‘s longest lake in the year 2000 setting a speed limit on the lake of 10 knots (12 mph), despite much controversy. Proponents argued a speed ban was required on environmental and safety grounds whilst opponents pointed out that this was the last remaining lake in the Lake District where power boating was permitted, and the impact that the ban would have on local businesses in the area would be catastrophic.

Despite this, Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club – the oldest motor boat racing club in the UK – has sucessfully applied to stage an afternoon of racing on the lake at a location close to Storrs Point, and we had the pleasure of being in attendance. We were blessed with a lovely, warm afternoon so were able to sit and enjoy a picnic as the boats whizzed by.

Powerboat racing

Here are a few photographs to give you a feel for the atmosphere:

Powerboat racing

Powerboat racing

Powerboat racing

There were 5 races, with each boat completing 10 laps, but using a handicap system that saw the slowest boat start first and the fastest last. This meant the fastest boat had to lap the slowest three times in order to get ahead.

Powerboat racing

This poor chap had a problem with his boat in only the second race and ended up having to be towed back to shore.

Powerboat racing

Competitors gathered after each race to check on the results.

Powerboat drivers

It was an enjoyable day out and one that goes a small way to accommodating the needs of speedboat enthusiasts who have seen their hobby all but irradicated from the Lakes.

Chequered flag

Comments (2)

  1. Charles says:

    That looked like an interesting race, there are a lot of pictures presented which is nice, helped a lot to get that feeling of being there. I didn’t quite understand in the end the speed limit law was applied or not? Regardless seems like everyone had a good time.

  2. Paul Johnson says:

    There is a speed limit on the lake but there can be special circumstances (such as this event) where permission is granted to go above the limit.

    I myself ‘broke’ the speed limit earlier this year, for example, when doing a powerboat training course. Permission had been granted in advance of this, though, so it was not a problem.

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