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Race Against the Odds: The Tragic Success Story of "Miss England II" [Paperback]

Kevin Desmond
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Jan 2004
Miss England II, the legendary British powerboat, was the first speedboat to cross the 100mph barrier. As such, it holds a unique place in the history of sport and "Race Against the Odds" is the result of thirty years of research by a powerboat historian who has successfully uncovered not simply a story of a speedboat but a profoundly human saga. What is this tragic success story; what were the odds that Miss England II came up against? Among the odds that Miss England II faced were: that such sophisticated equipment could be combined with such a fragile hull; that Miss England II could achieve a record in the muddy log-infested waters of a South American river; that she could fail on Windermere; that she could be salvaged; that she could crash twice with survivors; and, that her components might be recycled and used to break speed records in the 1930s and 1950s in South Africa! "Race Against the Odds" is a fascinating addition to power-boating history whether you are an enthusiast or not. With previously unpublished facts and photographs of record-breaking history, motor-sport history, and British patriotic history it makes fascinating reading.

Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Sigma Leisure (1 Jan 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1850588066
  • ISBN-13: 978-1850588061
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,549,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Age of Giants 27 Aug 2011
Kevin Desmond's book tells the exciting and tragic story of Miss England II and also of an era of record breaking attempts and power boat racing on water. It contains poignant pen portraits giving clues to the characters of the men who crewed Miss England, Sir Henry Seagrave, and Engineers Haliwell and Wilcocks, and later driver Kaye Don.

I read the book in a little over a day and found it compelling. My father was an office boy with Saunders Roe at the time and also found the book a wonderful reminder of days gone by, especially as he had seen Miss England II at various stages of her construction and still describes how beautifully she was built.

The book describes in detail the design philosophy underlying the boat, its engineering excellence, and construction methodology specifically aimed at making the boat as strong and safe as possible. It's test program, including ongoing problems with propeller blade breakages leading up to and including the fatal record run paint a fascinating picture of just how difficult and ultimately dangerous it was to try to break the magic 100 mph barrier in the 1930s.

The book contains several sections of good clear photos and for modellers some nicely detailed plans and side elevations of the boat - although anyone using them to build a scale model should be aware that they are not 1/43 scale as described. The original plans may have been 1/43 but appear to have been reduced to fit the page size. A 1/43 scale model is nearly a foot long: see Touchwood Models website which has an excellent 1/43 scale model of Miss England II, and many other WSR boats listed.
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