Isle of Wight Hidden Heroes

What better day to visit the Classic Boat Museum Gallery.

In the United States they celebrate National Maritime Day on 22nd May 2018.

The national holiday was created to recognise the birth of the maritime industry - marking the date in 1819 when American steamship, Savannah, set sail from Georgia on the first ever transoceanic voyage under steam power.

Here on the Isle of Wight we've had plenty of American sailors and powerboat racers pass through, many of them having an impact on the boat-building industry.

'Fastest woman on the water'
If you are familiar with our Isle of Wight Hidden Heroes, you'll know all about Marion 'Joe' Carstairs - the openly gay, female powerboat racer - who came to the Isle of Wight to take part in powerboat racing in the 1920s.

When she arrived on the Isle of Wight, Joe commissioned Sammy Saunders to build her a powerboat.

She went on to set up her own boat yard on the River Medina, Sylvia Yard, employing Islanders to work on the design, build and testing of her sleek powerboats.

Despite leaving the Isle of Wight at the end of the 1920s, she continued to support her chief engineer, Joe Harris (pictured above with JC). When he passed away, she continued to support his family until her death in Florida, aged 93 in 1993.

Find out more
What better day to visit the visiting the Classic Boat Museum Gallery, where you can find out more about 'Joe' Carstairs.

The gallery also currently has an excellent maritime-focused Hidden Heroes exhibition.

The Classic Boat Museum Gallery is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10am - 3.30pm and can be found in the Columbine Building, Columbine Road, East Cowes.

Image: © Classic Boat Museum

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