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57 years of powerboat racing at Cowes

23 August 2017
This Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday, 26th and Sunday, 27th August will see the 57th year of offshore powerboat racing at Cowes. 

Cowes is recognised as the birthplace of international powerboat racing. It is therefore fitting that every year some of the biggest, brightest, loudest and most powerful boats in the world assemble to re-enact the famous race from Cowes to Torquay then turn around and race back from Torquay to Cowes where the first race was hosted in 1961. 

The Cowes-Torquay-Cowes race covers a distance of 190 nautical miles. The course record speed was set in 2015 by Peter Dredge, Simon Powell, Mal Crease and David Gandy driving Vector Martini Rosso at a staggering average speed of 94.55 mph. 

Dawn in Cowes on Sunday, 27th August 2017 will break to the sound of roaring engines and activity on the water will be evident from approximately 08:45 when the 16 boat racing fleet will depart their berths in Cowes Yacht Haven to parade past Prince’s Green before mustering to the east of the Cowes Harbour entrance. Race boats will then proceed at speed in a convoy past the Snowden and Prince Consort buoys before starting the actual race as they cross the Royal Yacht Squadron line at 09:30. The main race will be followed by the popular Cowes-Poole-Cowes race start at 09:45.

The fastest race boats should be approaching Berry Head by 10:30 and will continue on northward to a mark at the Ore Stone before turning and heading into the finish off Haldon Pier at Torquay. At Torquay the boats will form up and parade past Haldon Pier at 13:00 before lining up for the race start back to Cowes at 14:00.

Depending on the conditions, the fastest boats should appear back in the Solent from 15:00 for a finish off the Gurnard North Cardinal Mark at Egypt Point.

The drivers will include two legendary offshore racing drivers from the United States, one of these is three-times Cowes winner Richie Powers, who with Charlie McCarthy will be travelling over to be part of 2017 'Dry Martini' Cigarette racing team.

Event Director Martin Levi commented: “It should be a fabulous weekend, the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes is a world renowned International powerboat race and we have drivers and teams from Belgium, Italy, Poland, Ireland, and the USA.”

Also in Cowes this year will be one of the best-known offshore powerboats of our time, the classic GEE. First raced in the 1968 Cowes-Torquay-Cowes (CTC) GEE is the only Classic powerboat to have competed in the first 1969 and last 2008 Round Britain Race having won ‘Historic Class’ 40 years on. She has achieved class-winning victories or highly placed finishes in the Needles Trophy, Guards international, Torbay International, Round The Island and many CTCs during her 50 years.

GEEGEE
Above right photo: Cowes-Torquay-Cowes 2010. GEE. Credit Graham Stevens.

This year’s 50th anniversary celebration for GEE comes ahead of next year’s 10th anniversary Round Britain celebration and "GEE's Historic 50 years Later" outing for the Cowes Torquay Race in 2018.

Viewing places and times - 27th August:
Cowes-Torquay-Cowes 2017

09:30 and 15:00 to 17:30 - Egypt Point, Isle of Wight
09:35 to 10:00 and 14:45 to 17:30 – Hurst Castle
09:35 to 10:00 and 14:45 to 17:30 – Fort Victoria, Isle of Wight
09:40 to 10:10 – Bournemouth and Boscombe Piers
09:55 to 11:35 and 14:30 to 17:15 – Anvil Point
09:55 to 11:35 and 14:30 to 17:15 – St Albans Head
10:00 to 11:45 and 14:30 to 17:00 – Portland Bill
10:45 to 12:40 and 14:00 to 14:30 – Berry Head
10:45 to 12:40 and 14:00 to 14:30 – Daddyhole Plain, Torquay
10:30 to 14:00 - Haldon Pier, Torquay

Cowes-Poole-Cowes 2017
09:45 and 10:20 to 12:00 – Egypt Point, Isle of Wight
09:50 to 12:00 – Hurst Castle
09:50 to 12:00 – Fort Victoria, Isle of Wight
09:55 to 11:00 – Bournemouth and Boscombe Piers

*All timings are approximate and subject to change depending on weather conditions. Access to Cowes Yacht Haven, Cowes and the pontoons at Haldon Pier, Torquay is limited to race crews and officials. 

Cowes-Torquay-Cowes 2016 Credit Chris Davies
Photo: Cowes-Torquay-Cowes 2016. Credit Chris Davies.

To find out more check out the race website and Facebook page. Harbour users are advised to read Cowes Local Notice to Mariners No. 25(T) of 2017- Cowes Classic Offshore Powerboat Races.

Top photo: Cowes-Torquay-Cowes Race 2016. Credit Nigel Barrett.

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