The London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony 2007/2008 Bladerunner RIB 35 Powerboat
Serial no. GB-ICE-35-006-3-06-07
While for many people the enduring legacy of the 2012 London Olympics will be memories of countless acts of sporting prowess, arguably the most enduring images are those of the spectacular opening ceremony. As what might be termed the overture to Danny Boyle's three-hour extravaganza, footballer David Beckham piloted a powerboat carrying the Olympic torch up the River Thames to the stadium where it was passed to five-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave, who carried it inside. The television viewing audience was estimated at 900 million people. Obviously, the boat itself had to be something very special, and that chosen for this most important task was the Bladerunner RIB 35 offered here.
The project began some three months prior to the Olympics when Hampshire-based ICE Marine - manufacturers of the Bladerunner - were contacted by HM the Queen's official Waterman, Chris Livett. After a successful rehearsal had proved that it was possible to get a large and powerful racing powerboat up the network of narrow canals leading from the Thames to the Olympic Park, creative director Stephen Daldry's team began work to equip the RIB for the opening ceremony. This involved fitting fake rockets containing smoke canisters at the stern; race pick-up water jets; an Ullman suspension seat for the torchbearer; hundreds of LEDs around the hull and cockpit; gel batteries for same; and a gas canister for the Olympic Torch, which would be carried by footballer Jade Bailey.
The additional weight mean that the boat would have to be tested again prior to the ceremony, and this was done discreetly at the nature reserve on the River Hamble estuary. Five weeks before the event David Beckham flew over from the USA and although he was happy to drive the Bladerunner down the Thames, it was decided that a more experienced pilot would handle the final approaches. On the Monday before the opening ceremony a final shakedown run was completed with David Beckham at the controls, after which he flew back to the USA. So successful was the shakedown that Stephen Daldry felt confident enough to cancel the final dress rehearsal.
On the night, everything ran like clockwork: David Beckham steered the RIB impeccably, passing beneath Tower Bridge in a blaze of coloured light, smoke and spray, while Ice Marine's Jeremy Watts operated the throttles, taking over the wheel for the final 45-minute canal section. Stephen Daldry wanted the final approach to be dramatic yet at the same time the transfer of the torch had to be as dignified as possible. Jeremy Watts had just 40 seconds to accelerate from a standstill to 30 knots then drop of the plane for a controlled docking, which was achieved with consummate skill. After its moment of glory the Bladerunner was stripped of the Olympic paraphernalia, although the rockets and torchbearer's seat have been retained. An Olympic torch, sourced from the original supplier, had been ordered and should be with craft at time of sale.
The Bladerunner is built by ICE Marine, which was formed in 1995 soon after the founder and owner, Jeremy Watts, won the 2-Litre World Championships. Together with a team of highly respected high-performance offshore racing professionals experienced in design and engineering, the company set out to not only improve the performance, efficiency and handling of high speed offshore powerboats, but also generate a much safer, softer riding and leisure-friendly platform. What emerged after an extensive period of development, wind tunnel testing and sea trials, was one of the most technically advanced hull forms in the world: the Bladerunner.
The Bladerunner hull form was conceived by Britain's most successful and experienced offshore racing professionals in both design and engineering. Head of design at ICE Marine is naval architect Lorne Campbell, a man with over 30 years experience in designing class-winning high-performance powerboats and an enviable 100 race wins and 20 World and National championships to his credit. First launched and raced in the 1998 season, the RS6 ICE raceboat (Blade 001) was an immediate success on the demanding 6-Litre circuit, winning the Cowes Classic three years in succession.
Raceboat performance and everyday practicality are usually considered to be mutually exclusive properties. However, this is most certainly not the case if you are responsible for developing a completely new design of powerboat at ICE Marine. With over 30 years of extensive development and technical expertise behind the company combined with a comprehensive 10 year development program for the Bladerunner's 'Air Entrapment Monohull' design, the Bladerunner Series now ranges from 35' to 51', with a number of very creditable World and national records under its belt, including the outright Round Britain World Record.
Pioneered by ICE Marine the 'Air Entrapment Monohull' (AEM) is radically different from a conventional monohull, with dramatic twin tunnels that flare out either side of the extremely slender twin-stepped hull, finishing with sharp knife-like sponsons at the sides. This unique combination gives a Bladerunner exceptional aerodynamic lift, which improves performance and significantly softens the ride compared to that of conventional monohulls. This is achieved by compressing the air inside the tunnels, adding a cushioning effect. A further advantage is that the centre of lift is located much further aft than in a comparable high performance catamaran, providing a safer and more level ride in rough seas. The sharp keels of a Bladerunner's sponsons cut effortlessly through the waves, contrasting starkly with the wide flat chines of a conventional monohull that impact hard on the surface of the water. They also form the outer walls of the tunnels, which is essential for air compression and the resulting aerodynamic lift.
The Bladerunner is kept stable and level in a straight line and when turning by a combination of the sharp keels and the pressurised air in the tunnels. These same sharp keels also provide superior directional stability to avoid any unforeseen sudden changes in direction (hooking) to the left or right that high-speed monohulls and catamarans are prone to. The net result of all this is a quicker, safer and more efficient hull that has superb rough water capabilities with inherent soft riding characteristics.
If this leading-edge design technology sounds amazing on paper, you only have to experience a Bladerunner for a short time to understand what it means in reality. The Bladerunner RIB 35 measures 10.6m (35') in length overall with beam of 3.2m (10' 5"), draft of 0.53m (2' 7") and draft including propellers of 0.75m (2' 7"). Its dry weight is approximately 2,250kg (2.25 tonnes) and the tanks hold 450 litres (fuel) and 36 litres (water) respectively. This example is powered by twin 2.6-litre Mercury Verado supercharged V6 four-stroke engines, each delivering 300bhp, their combined output being good enough for a maximum speed of 65 knots (75mph). Its range is approximately 200 nautical miles.
Principal features of the Bladerunner RIB 35 include a sports steering wheel; electro-hydraulic power steering; Smartcraft electronic speed and tachometer instrumentation; Ulman suspension jockey seats (x4) and a three-person aft bench seat; electronic compass; electric helm operated windlass; enclosed sea water toilet cubicle inside console; Smartcraft digital hand throttle shift (DTS); sun bed and retractable swim bladder; Raytheon depth sounder; fresh water swimming shower; colour GPS chart plotter unit; VHF radio; console and individual seat covers; RDS radio/CD player; three electric bilge pumps: two automatic and one manual; non-slip cockpit sole; self draining deck; large aft, forward and side storage lockers; and retractable stainless steel cleats.
The first RIB 35 built and winner of the 2007 'Beaujolais Run', this beautiful British powerboat has to be the ultimate 2012 Olympic Games souvenir.
Please note that this lot is subject to VAT on the hammer price as well as the premium