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The 15th of October was a day we had been waiting for. The 26th of June seemed like a long time ago and we were all eager to get K3 wet again.

One adjustment had been made on the vee drive, we had cured a minor oil leak on the engine ,fitted lanyards to the magneto switches, some minor paint work, put two extra wheels on the rear axle attached to the cradle, along with other small improvements. We had also attended our local festival of transport for three days and Goodwood Revival for a week on display. This really was turning out to be a busy 75th year celebration!

The day started early with the alarm going of at 6.30am. I had not slept much with all the excitement. At 7.30 the phone rang and it was Radio Sussex ready for a first interview of the day. I put them straight on a few facts and it all went well.

After a quick cup of tea and breakfast I was of up the yard to get Bluebird out of the workshop ready to load for 8.30am. Mick Waller and Martin Anderson were already and willing to lend a hand. In about 15 minutes K3 was out and ready to load. The weather looked unsettled but we were going ahead with the test. Dave from 360 Diggers turned up along with Andy Taylor and friend Brett. Dave said the lorry is on its way and Gary had over slept. Gary did not get to us until 10am and you could say we gave him a bit of a hard time. During the loading Richard Millar arrived and Lisa and Phill Beaney our ace photographers all gathered.

At last we were ready to go.

We arrived about one hour late and we had been through several heavy showers of rain, plus the wind had got up and the surface of the water looked choppy to say the least. We meet up with the CMBA boys, Geoff Allchorn, Steve Carpenter, David Knight, and Clive Boggis. Their help is always invaluable and David Knight had bought his beautiful classic Bosch speed boat as fast tender.

I had not even got out of the van when I was accosted by Radio Sussex for another interview. Robin Gibson from South East Today, and Meridian TV were also there and wanting interviews. Stardom at last! 

In the meantime K3 was unloaded and swiftly put in the water. We were running late. I got the white team overalls on, together with the flying hat and goggles and got into the cockpit. All the checks had been done and I went ahead with the start procedure. Bluebird fired instantly and we warmed the engine up. It was soon time to cast off and be towed to open water for a run.  

We stopped the engine engaged the dog clutch and were soon under way on the first run.

Bluebird was slow to pick up , but cleared her pipes and we were soon up and planing. It was very bumpy compared to the 26th of June and there was more spray coming from the bows. We had planned a slightly different course so that I could return across the reservoir running parallel with the club house for the TV. This involved a starbot turn which we had not done yet. As I was racing across in front of the club house again it was fairly bumpy but we got up well and were slightly faster than the outwood run. All to soon it was time to slow down and return to the jetty. K3 turned well to starbot and was easy to control back to the stop point where she was towed back for a check.A good first run. We also got confirmed at 40MPH via a GPS watch that I was wearing and we were still under half throttle. All looked good to try and go a bit faster. 

Second Run of K3 Bluebird Preview

K3 Bluebird - 20 second taster from Phill Beaney on Vimeo.

Goodwood Revival


K3, as far as I am aware, has become the first historic boat ever to be displayed at the Goodwood Revival event. 

The invite to display came direct from Lord March for which I am very grateful.

Our Goodwood adventure started on the Wednesday with the loading, transportation, and once on site, the setting up of the display.

On the Thursday myself and Martin Anderson traveled down in his camper van to get set up in the exhibitors camping field and to have a before the event look around. The machinery that was already on site was to say the least mind blowing. Over the next three days all the racing cars, and motor bikes were demonstrated, or raced, and I really do mean raced! If you have not visited a Revival meeting I can strongly recommend it.

The most memorable thing about the whole weekend was the enthusiasm showed for K3. I meet a lot of interesting people as well as making new friends. Also over the weekend lots of people I already knew showed up at the display to say hello and to have a chat and catch up.

K3 was started up once a day at around 2pm, and although this was not officially in the program, a large crowd gathered at the appropriate time to witness Bluebird being started. After each run, a wave of applause was heard which was very satisfying for myself and crew that were onsite to help.

A visit from Darrell Bell from Ariadne, and Richard Gardiner from Global was a pleasant surprise. It was great to see them.

Special thanks must go to Lord March for the invite and to Peter Russell whom I have known for many years, for getting Bluebird in at the event. Stuart Payne and all the team at the Pilots Club for looking after myself and the team so well.

Dave Jazz and Gary 360 Diggers ltd for the safe transport of Bluebird to the event.

My team for the weekend - Martin Anderson, Andy Taylor, Richard Millar.

There is a feeling that each time we do an event with K3 we are literally making a bit of history. In this case the first boat at the Revival.

We are now looking forward to more adventures with K3.

Preview video of the first K3 Bluebird run.

26th June 2012


After 22 years, I am now proud to announce that K3Bluebird is again in working order and the date of 26th June 2012 is now in the history books.

Much work was completed in the last two weeks and the day was booked with Bewl Valley Sailing Club for Bluebird’s first water trials.

Dave Chappell of 360 Diggers as ever was willing to supply the transport to Bewl. Myself, My father -in –law, Mick Waller and ‘ace’ lorry driver –Gary, loaded Bluebird and all the kit needed during the afternoon of 25th. At 7.30am prompt on 26th, we pulled out of the yard for the short journey to Bewl and arrived on time for 9am.

My team of Andy Taylor, Richard Millar, Mick Waller and Martyn Anderson were all present. Also four members of the CMBA including Geoff Allcorn and Steve Carpenter were on station working with support boats and generally helping with organising matters out on the reservoir. We also had the invaluable help from Bewl Valley Sailing Club Staff.

Our first task after unloading and floating K3 was our final transmission test that involved running the prop for the first time. To achieve this we had to strap K3 to her cradle and attach the front of the cradle to the lorry making sure that the prop and external cutlass were submerged before attempting the test. After thoroughly warming the engine, we were now ready. The engine was stopped, dog clutch engaged, gear box scavenge pump switched on and prop seal lubrication cock turned on and we were ready to start. Nervously I pressed the start button and almost immediately the engine fired and Bluebird’s prop was spinning for the first time in 75 years. Even at tick over speed you could tell that the prop was really shifting some water and that K3 just wanted to get up and go. We ran the test for 10 minutes, stopped the engine to do some basic checks, to our satisfaction everything checked out and we were now ready to attempt a first low powered run.

Bluebird was towed to clear water with the engine running and pointed in the right direction across the lake, again the engine was stopped, dog clutch engaged etc, the throttle set at tick over and the start button pressed. The engine fired straight away and Bluebird’s response was immediate and she was away under her own power for the first time.  During the tick over run, the steering was tested and the vessel was found to steer Port and Starboard very well, even at a tick over speed the support boats were starting to struggle to keep up. We soon found ourselves at our turning point and made a beautiful Port side turn and as I headed back to base camp I was tempted to open the throttle, I maintained my discipline and kept at tick over speed until it was time to stop the engine to be towed back to the moorings. All I could think was that we had made history and how I wished my Dad could have been there to see it. Bluebird now moved under her own power.

The second run

After the usual basic checks and particular attention paid to the temperature of the step up box which was running as cool as a cucumber, a second run was to follow, we decided on a faster run to get the ram cooling system working.

The same procedure was followed and K3 was towed to clear water ready for another run. Again the engine fired and we were off on a quarter throttle second run, very quickly the bow went up and Bluebird was trying to climb over her bow wave. I stuck at quarter throttle and gradually she climbed over the top and to my amazement we were on the plane. I soon noticed that we were gaining speed rapidly and that I hadn’t moved the throttle, after about another 10 seconds I decided discretion was the better part of valour and started to ease the throttle off, as I back off, momentarily she seems to speed up and then squirm a little as she comes down off the plane. I make a port side turn and head back. I let the wake from my first run pass by and throttle up and quite soon K3 is back up on the plane. All too quickly it is time to slow down being mindful not to allow the stern wave to swamp the back of the boat. Down to tick over speed and a very successful second run. By this time we are starting to feel very confident that all our hard work has paid off. We decided it was time for lunch!

Lunch time and then the third and final run

Bewl Valley sailing Club put on a superb buffet lunch for all the crew and of course all the talk was about K3 and what we had achieved that morning. After lunch we prepared for our third and final run of the day which was planned to be our fastest yet. After warming the engine we were towed to our start position and we prepared for the final run. The button was pressed but K3 refused to fire, we tried various throttle and choke settings but in the back of our mind, the one thing we did not want to do, was to flood the engine, eventually Richard Millar came on board and had a look down the inlet and decided more fuel was necessary”it’s no good, you’ll have to give it more gas”. So I set at ¾ throttle and full choke and again tried to start, with an enormous roar we were away, I took the choke off as soon as she fired, she cleared her throat and we were underway. At ¾ throttle she was up onto the plane very quickly and we were going faster than ever before, the speed was climbing very quickly and I was able to back down to ½ throttle and still maintain the same speed. I do not the exact speed that was achieved but it certainly felt very quick to me. I had been given permission to use one of the legs of the reservoir for extra running room and I was heading down this area very quickly. I soon become aware that the area of water is becoming very narrow and I need to start slowing down ready to turn, as I turned to head back, I had a quick check of the instruments and all was good. As I look up I see some distance away the support boats are still trying to catch me up. I decide that everything is ok and start to head back. As I start to throttle up I start catching the wake from my first run and the ride starts getting exciting. After clearing the wake I accelerate to ½ throttle and we are again reaching a fair speed. The support boats have turned and are heading back. I soon catch them, pass them and leave them behind but this is all being filmed by Phill and Lisa Beany on the main support boat ( I can tell you that we have some superb footage). The Club house and Moorings are looming up quickly and again it is time to slow down but what an experience it has been to pilot K3. K3 is still a very fast boat.

It has always been my Father’s dream and ambition to be able to run K3 at a decent demonstration speed and I am happy to say that we are now able to do just that.

A Massive thank you must go to Bewl Valley Sailing Club and Southern Water for allowing us to use the slip pontoon and reservoir also to Dave and Jasmine at 360Diggers LTD transport and driver Gary, to Andy Taylor, Richard Millar, Mick Waller and Martyn Anderson, to Geoff and Steve and the boys from the CMBA, to Lisa and Phill Beany photography, all of which without the help this special day would not have happened.

I would like to dedicate the day to the memory of my late Father, PAUL FOULKES HALBARD.

More pictures to follow soon

March and April update

It seemed a long time since we had our last engine test in December but al last we were ready again by late March. This would be our first test after renewing all the roller, rocker bushes and recommission of the fuel pumps. We had also modified the water feed pipe to the prop seal to improve cooling water flow, we were also tempted to test the transmission with the engine running but not spinning the prop, test date was April 11th and we were ready.

At first the engine refused to fire. We soon discovered that it was a lack of fuel causing the problem, basically we had an airlock between the fuel pipe and pump. This was sorted and the engine was soon up and running. Everything was going well and the engine was nice and warm. Now the big decision;  we decided to go for it, the dog clutch was engaged, the scavenge pump was switched on and I nervously pressed the start button. There was nothing to worry about. What a sight after all these years to finally see the dog clutch, prop shaft, gearbox and step up all spinning and working well. After a 5 minute run, we stopped the test just to check everything was fine. Everything checked out so a longer, harder test was to follow which was successful. 

An excellent day, made even better by the modification to the prop seal cooling pipe being successful as well.

We now have a few small finishing jobs before we can look at doing our first water trial. All we need is more water back into Bewl Valley Reservoir.

January and February update

Once again the year is starting to rush by. We decided in January to extract and pull apart the gear box and step up box. Although it seemed like going backwards I am pleased that we took the trouble to have a look. The thrust bearing arrangement in the step up box was not going to be good enough and we had a concern  that there was not a circulating oil system in place, so we set to work.

A new taper thrust bearing was purchased and all the necessary machining was done in our own workshop by Peter Watford. The next task was to built a circulating oil system, a plan was formed and a suitable scavenge pump came via an old friend of the family, John Court. Finally we were ready for a bench test(see Photo). A gut buster drill was attached to the main gear box and we had a successful test.

We now have a oil reservoir to feed the main pump that works off the main gearbox and this feeds oil to the main gear box as well as the thrust bearing in the step up box. Once the oil in the step up box reaches it's capacity it is the returned to the reservoir via the scavenge pump and I am glad to say it all worked beautifully. We gave the system the thumbs up and the transmission is now re-installed with all relevant pipes and wiring in place.

V drive gear box and step up on test


This saw the arrival of 150 Air tight buoyancy tubes courtesy of Quasar International. This will be deployed in the Hull on our first moving water trials, just in case! Sir Malcolm originally used bags of ping pong balls to the same effect.  Many thanks to David Knight and his team at Quazar for producing these for us. Please see Quazar International on our sponsors list with a link to their website.

December second engine test.

After our initial 5 min engine test in November, we were now ready for a longer test.

December 21st was the chosen date. The boat was ready and in position and the water supply etc all in place by 1.30pm.She started very well and started to settle. At about the 7 minute mark we spotted the deck starting to look very hot under the Exhaust Stubbs, so we decided to shut her down. After a short time we had fitted temporary heat guards and restarted the engine . This gave us our first warm start. We continued with the test non-stop for 18 minute without any cooling problem, Good oil pressure etc, the only slight problem during the test was our prop seal lubrication pipe that is taken off the water inlet pipe was not producing enough water at the moment. After discussion, we decided to fit bigger bore pipe to be tested on the next engine test. This length of engine run time is probably longer than we would ever have to run in one session in the water. All good news.

Many thanks to the team, Andy Taylor, Pete Watford and Richard Miller. Also to Richard Hayden and Johnnie for their input

Now we plan to check the transmission in January before more engine testing in February.



After the successful first flotation test on September 20th 2011 our attention then turned to the re commissioning of the Meteor engine. The engine had not run for fourteen years and only for short periods of time. A good friend of mine called Richard Miller joined our little team to help us with the task. Apart from the usual stuff like taking all twenty four spark plugs out for a clean there was actually a lot of work to do to put the unit back in working order. Finishing the cooling system, crankcase breather and tank plus all related pipe work. Petrol tank breather pipe. Cooling system breather pipe, oil pressure gauge, temperature gauge fit , warning lamps, prop seal cooling pipe, wiring and so on. 

Finally we were ready to check the oil pressure by cranking the engine over with the plugs out. The engine quickly produced oil pressure up to 30PSI at cranking speed. We were happy with this and it also proved the gauge was working as well as our warning lamp when we stopped cranking.

After this successful test we were now ready to think about a first engine test. We decided early on Wednesday the 30th November that this was the day. Phil and Lisa Beaney were called to attend for filming and photo purposes. A lot of jobs had to be done on the day including fitting all the spark plugs back in and fitting several pipes one of which Andy Taylor had only finished fabricating on the morning of the test.

About 3pm and Bluebird was still in the workshop with sticking petrol pumps. After a determined effort by Richard the pumps were working and Bluebird was moved into start up position in our yard. Her cooling system was plumbed into a water reservoir (an old Jacuzzi) and the hole cooling system was primed and filled. We now know we need 30 gallons to fill the cooling system! It was now time to press the start button. It was now 3.50pm. We poured a healthy dose of neat fuel down the inlet and cranked the engine. It fired almost immediately. The process was repeated a couple of times and she roared into life. Flames out of the exhausts and very noisy with the straight out Stubbs. Spectacular.

Wow it is really something when these engines start up. After  two minutes the engine settled into a nice rhythm with good oil pressure and staying cool. Run time was about five minutes, and we felt that it was a good first test and all the hard work had been worthwhile. Run time on our next test will be ten minutes and so on.

I am already looking forward to hearing her run again.

Please view the pictures of the start up on the photo page .

K3 Bluebird First Floatation

On Tuesday the 20th September 2011 at 11.16am, we made a bit of history. I am very proud to say we have finally re launched Bluebird. K3 is back in the water for the first time after her last record in August 1938.

The 20th of September was my late fathers’ birthday. So I felt it was a fitting deadline to put K3 back in the water.

I would like dedicate this day to my father, Paul Foulkes Halbard and to Sir Malcolm Campbell.

We had a few small hitches and the boat had to be persuaded to leave her cradle that was floating under her. K3 finally floated off and away from the cradle and was moored for about 2 hours while we checked various things. There was very little bilge water and I was amazed just how water tight she was after all this time being dry.

Much was learnt about launching the craft as this was our first attempt.

All the action was of course filmed and photographed by our official photographers Lisa and Phill Beaney. We have put a small selection on the website in the photo section and plan to put a small download film available exclusively from

I must say a particular thank you to Geoff Allchorn, Auto gear boxes for his excellent wading abilities and guidance throughout the launch, also to 360 Diggers LTD for transport and help with winching during the launch and relocating the boat safely back onto her cradle, extracting her from the water and bringing her home safely to Filching Manor.

Thanks also to Darrell Bell, Ariadne Yacht Management, Global services, Davey and Company for all their recent assistance on the project.

Please see our sponsors’ page with links to their websites. 


K3 News

Wow, what a week it has been for the K3 Bluebird project.
I was invited to display the mighty R37 Rolls Royce engine at the Goodwood Revival, Spirit of Aviation display this year. This was very short notice, so much midnight cleaning was done to prepare this amazing piece of engine history.
When I collected the engine on Monday 19th September from Goodwood I was told they estimated about 8k people passed through the marquee on Sunday along!
This engine was fitted in Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird car and broke the land speed record 3 times pushing past the 300mph barrier for the first time with R37. He then had K3 Bluebird boat constructed by Saunders Roe and fitted R37 in the hull.


June 11th 2011 saw the 1st public appearance for K3 Bluebird for over 15 years.

K3 was wheeled out of the workshop at Filching Manor and loaded onto 360 Diggers LTD fantastic lorry. The lorry was driven by Gary and assisted by his son Gary junior.

Myself and Andy Taylor meet at the top yard at 6.30am, loading went smoothly and after about 45 minutes we were ready to leave for our destination which was Bewl Water in KENT. The journey lasted 50 minutes at which point we set up for the day’s static display at Bewl Water for their club Regatta day.

Bluebird was very well received and lots of interested onlookers asking lots of questions and some purchased our limited edition prints. (See website if you would like to order your print)

We were joined by Steve Carpenter who came along in period overalls. Steve is assisting us with the cooling system and other matters with the final stages of the restoration. Also, Mike Parker, who is helping with PR for the Bluebird and did a great job talking to the public about K3.

A massive thank you must be given to Dave and Jasmine Chappell who own 360 Diggers LTD for sponsoring the transport and to Gary Senior and Gary Junior, for driving and their help on the day. Also to Andy Taylor, Steve Carpenter and Mike Parker for all playing their part in a very successful day.

Thanks must also go to Bewl Water Yacht Club for inviting us and offering us the use of the club slipways for testing Bluebird in the near future.

Check out our Photos page to see how it went.

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