top of page

Extraordinary People

Some extraordinary people have been the main drivers of innovation in shipping, yacht design and powerboat racing.


Joe Carstairs 




One of the first three female members of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects, joining in 1918, and active in tank testing naval and torpedo boats. To read more about Blanche please click here: Engineering and the family in business: Blanche Coules Thornycroft, naval architecture and engineering design.

“The fastest woman on water” and an openly gay yachtswoman and powerboat racer in the 1920s, Marion ‘Joe’ Carstairs, pictured here with her mechanic, Joe Harris, was fiercely independent and heiress to the Standard Oil fortune. She had a tremendous love of speed and especially of fast boats. She came to the Isle of Wight in the 1920s and used her considerable wealth to commission, develop and race some of the fastest early powerboats in the world. Click the links below to learn more about Joe 

The fastest woman on the water

Becoming the Fastest

Whale Cay


Blanche Coules Thornycroft

Uffa Fox

Friend of the late Duke of Edinburgh and pioneering yacht designer who

 ‘invented’ dinghy planing.

 Read more about Uffa Fox from the Hidden Heros Past Exhibition

Read about the UF50 celebrations 

bottom of page