Arthur has always had a passion for boats, and planes making models from a young age. At 16 he took an apprenticeship with GE Wade marine engineering in Bembridge Harbour as a fabricator fitter, and later the service and repairing of inboard marine engines. The company was sold and re named Harbor engineering.
A new design of American engine was starting to be imported – “the outboard motor”. Harbour Engineering was offered the Evinrude outboard dealership. Arthur, the youngest employee was offered the job of looking after the new engines, travelling to London for courses. The outboard customer was adventurous and exciting. Coupled to the latest designs of plywood speedboats, you could achieve 30mph!
Soon after, along with a group of friends he purchased a wooden speedboat. It soon became evident why it had been sold so cheaply, it was wet, handled atrociously and needed constant repair. It was used until it could be repaired no more.
The RNLI opened a new inshore station in Bembridge, using an inflatable boat with a single outboard motor. Arthur was offered a place on the first crew, which gave him some valuable experience.
Harbor engineering became heavily involved with Souter’s shipyard in Cowes. Powerboat racing was in its heyday. Souters were busy building many of the famous race boats of the time. Arthur was involved in fitting many of the engines to these boats, including the Gardner brothers Levi design “Surfury”-the most advanced boat of this generation. Back at Harbor engineering Arthur could see the company was losing interest in smaller craft, and outboards were not favoured.