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Olympic Torch powerboat on display at PSP Southampton Boat Show 2012
4:29pm Monday 17th September 2012 in Sport
IT was the boat that delivered the Olympic Torch on the final leg of its epic journey – in the hands of one of the world’s most famous sportsmen.
Millions of people across the globe watched David Beckham pilot this Hampshire-designed powerboat along the River Thames as part of the London 2012 opening ceremony.
Looking after the craft is Jeremy Watts from Winchester , who eagle-eyed TV viewers would have spotted driving the boat along London’s East End canals in the moments leading up to the torch entering the Olympic Stadium.
Former powerboat racer Jeremy told the Daily Echo: “It was just madness, it really was. The days leading up to it were so tense.
There was so much security but by the time we got to the stadium most people living nearby had managed to work out what was going on.
“David’s an international star, he is so well recognised. Because we did dress rehearsals in the days leading up to it, most people had worked out what was going to happen.
“We tried to keep it as low-key as possible, David wore a hoodie but people still managed to recognise him.”
Many Hampshire designers worked on the boat while it was being created by Jeremy’s company ICE Marine.
After the torch was handed over the 70- knot speedboat was taken to the firm’s headquarters in Farnham, Surrey, where it has remained until this week.
Britain’s moment of glory is still paying dividends for Jeremy’s firm despite not having any branding on the boat.
“It may be going to the United States to do some shows over there,” he said. “Since the Olympics we have had contacts and emails from all over the world.
“It is from now that we can start to capitalise on it. We had 900 million people watching the show.