How the rally came about has already been documented on the 'About Us' page. The first rally took place in 1990 and twenty boats attended from all over the country. It was interesting to note that at that rally over half the boats broke down. Never-the-less the rally was a success and formed a firm foundation for the future and the rally has been held each year since. After the first rally the number of entrants gradually grew to an average of 35 boats. A number of entrants from abroad also attended including a group from Italy in 1995. Regular entrants continue to be Alain and Martine Bocquet who travel most years from France trailing their boat (and some years even brought the 'rally' wine!) Other overseas entrants have come from France, Holland and Italy over the years.

A high standard of boat entries is usual with some lovely expensive wooden boats being seen as well as the usual entry. It is the ethos of the rally to make all entrants welcome whether they bring a boat on which thousands have been spent or just a modest boat still requiring renovation.

Until 2005 the Rally also included a morning of classic boat races and speed trials organised by the WMBRC. This was the only organisation of these events in this country. Unfortunately these have had to be discontinued since the introduction of the speed limit.

From the start the rally was very fortunate to be adopted by the Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club which has hosted the rally from its inception. The WMBRC is a prestigious private members club with a unique powerboat racing and records history situated in country house premises on the shores of Lake Windermere. Entrants are fortunate to be allowed temporary membership of the club during the period of the rally.

The Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club is not only rich in heritage but also has it’s headquarters in the superb 1898 county house masterpiece designed by Voysey. The house, Broad Leys, overlooks Windermere with extensive front terraced gardens and three distinct large curved bay windows stretching from the ground to the first floor providing magnificent views over the lake. Below the terraces is the extensive lake shore complete with two slipways, a timing pier with servery and six jetties. To the side is a boat park and ample car parking.

In addition to the club's eventful and dramatic history every summer from April to September the Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club (WMBRC) runs a series of powerboat race days and national events. The twelve club race days are usually made up of 4 or 5 races over two courses offering variety and plenty of chances to race. The races were previously held on the lake but since the introduction of the speed limit are now held in Barrow docks. A number of prominent members of the motorboat racing world are committed members of the club and the club has a long time association with the 'Campbells'
The club racing at Windermere is run on a handicap system with the slower boats setting off first and the faster ones following at later times. This gives all the boats a fair chance of winning and provides for interesting racing. In the last few years the most consistent boat that has scooped all the prizes has been a ski boat and not an out-and-out powerboat.

National and world records continue to be broken by members of the club mainly at the Speed Records Week held on Coniston in October each year. Many members of the club are closely involved in the club racing, the Records Week and the K7 Club (which is a club formed by Donald Campbell. Membership is only available by invitation to those breaking significant records or with a long term history of record breaking support).

From the mid 1990s, Lake Windermere was always under the threat of having imposed on it a 10mph speed limit. This was eventually passed by the Government in the year 2000 and came into effect in March 2005. it is still the subject of much controversy and a dedicated group continue to fight to either have the speed limit overruled or to have it replaced by a managed agreement. The speed limit is at present 10 nautical miles an hour (approx 11.5mph). It is hoped that eventually the Rally will gain a speed limit exemption and work continues towards this.

At the suggestion of Graham Loney speaking at one of the rallies, regular entrants of the rally decided in 1998 to form the Classic Motor Boat Association. This has now grown to a sizeable national association organising it's own national rallies and events. The BCMBR is proud to have been responsible for the birth of this national association. Many CMBA members continue to attend the BCMBR. The BCMBR also continues to welcome entrants who are not members of the CMBA.

2004 was the much publicised last rally prior to the introduction of the speed limit and it turned out to be a mammoth event. There were over 90 boats and over 220 people present during the extended five day rally. It was known as the 'Last Blast' rally and is still talked about in 'fabled' terms. The 2004 rally was also honoured by the attendance of the Riva GB association with over twelve Riva boats being present of all types from Riva Juniors to the Riva Aquaramas. It was perhaps the largest gathering of Rivas ever held in the UK.

After 2004 some envisaged that the rally would fold but it was identified that there were a significant number of entrants who would still attend due to friendships and the beautiful location. The 2005 rally saw a significant drop in numbers but since then the rally has re-grown and entries once again average 35 boats and 80 people. The rally is a little more formal than other rallies with evening meals over the three nights, a Friday evening supper, Saturday night dinner and dance and a Sunday evening buffet. Gentlemen are required to wear jackets and ties on the Saturday night (a club rule) and the ladies particularly enjoy being able to 'dress up' and see their partners in more formal attire.

For a pdf version of the rally entry form please click here, or alternatively contact us on: