“Ocean Pirate” is a 40’ offshore cruiser built by Brooke Marine at Lowestoft in 1968. The hull is aluminium and was the first of a series of this model which were sold mainly to foreign Customs and law enforcement agencies. The last one to be built was in 1974 and the yard ceased trading in 1987, although Brooke Yachts did continue until 1992.
Pirate was originally fitted with two Cummins V8 300 M engines numbered 547372 and 373 which were manufactured in January 1967.
In sea trials in November 1968 Pirate achieved a speed of 27.25 knots with these engines (see report).
Later that month she was shipped to San Francisco to exhibit at the Boat Show and a show poster and copy photographs can be seen on this link. A Cummins engine can just be seen on the stand to the rear of the boat.
After her return to the UK it was decided to enter Pirate in the first Round Britain Powerboat Race which was held in July and August 1969. The main change was that the 300M’s were replaced with VT8 Turbo charged engines developing 375 bhp. Pirate is an excellent sea boat and may well have finished higher had the weather not been as calm as it was for most of the race. As it was, she finished 7th overall.
The Cummins engines gave very little trouble apart from a broken turbo charger stud and leaking forward crankshaft oil seals but these did not hamper the performance in any way and she averaged almost 30mph for the entire race.
The boat was kept as a demonstrator by the company and used to take photographs of trials of the naval craft (mainly FPC's - Fast Patrol Craft) built by the yard until she was sold to the first private owner in 1973 although the original engines were replaced before sale.
Pirate was owned for 20 years by a company who used her in the UK and Mediterranean and returned to the UK in 1995 when she was bought by the previous owner to us. He spent some time refurbishing her internally and externally but did little mechanical work.
The boat was hardly used and only rarely went to sea in the 9 years he owned her.
We bought Pirate in 2004 and began to put her back into something like the condition she was when she competed in the race, including the race numbers and yard details on the hull, although this time we have also shown she is powered by Cummins.
Over time, Pirate has been altered to provide a fully enclosed wheelhouse as opposed to the open-back that she had in the race and all-round guard rails have been fitted but otherwise she is substantially the same as she was in the 1969 race. The picture shows her at Lowestoft Haven Marina where she is currently berthed - less than 250 yards from the place where she was built.
Our plan was always to take Pirate around the race circuit again and the announcement of the Round Britain Race in 2008 has given us the opportunity we were looking for and we have entered her in the Classic Class.
Although her present engines seem satisfactory, they are over 40 years old now and not as efficient as modern day units. They are also noisy and thirsty and so we decided to change them before the race.
We wanted to keep with Cummins as she has always had their engines and have now agreed to install their latest Quantum series engines and are putting in 355 hp QSB 5.9 litre units linked to ZF gearboxes at 1.86:1 ratio. With the four-blade propellers she now has she should be capable of over 30 knots and cruise well at 25.
The engines will be installed by Broom Boats at Brundall Norfolk and we will keep this site updated with progress and photographs as the work progresses.