Sandwich based hovercraft manufacturer Flying Fish Hovercraft is genuinely floating on air this week after finishing in second place in the World Hovercraft Federation Endurance Race held last week in Nottingham.
The company, which employs ten people manufacturing small two and three seat recreational hovercraft, made the decision to enter the bi-annual event to help speed up development of their Marlin II Hovercraft and its brand new 50bhp Briggs & Stratton engine. The hovercraft was driven by Workshop Manager Gary Brown, and Director Russ Pullen for four one hour events over a land and water course at speeds up to 50mph.
Gary told us “The conditions were terrible with lashing rain and very high winds gusting to nearly 40mph – so it was a wet and wild ride! We used one of our bog standard recreational craft to compete in a grid full of bespoke lightweight racing craft – the poor conditions played to our strengths as the amazing reliability and handling of our hovercraft means it will deal with anything a boat of equivalent size can handle. Lots of our competitors faster craft simply couldn’t cope with the whitecaps, rain and wind – but we found we could just push on with 100% reliability.”
The company have a history of proving their product in the toughest conditions, having made two return crossings of the English Channel in 2008 & 2011 with identical Marlin hovercraft, completed eight 1000km ‘Rhone Raid’ events and won two national championships racing across mudflats and beaches.
Russ Pullen said “We’re all petrol heads here and it’s great to build a race team around the core business of supplying hovercraft all around the world. So far this year, we’ve supplied thirty hovercraft to over a dozen different countries and what we learn from racing improves the product we sell. But, second isn’t a win, so we’ll be back in 2014 in an attempt to take the big trophy away!”