For the first time in nearly a decade, a fleet of some of the fastest and most radical powerboats are competing in one of the toughest races, a 220-mile offshore race from Cowes to Torquay and back

For the first time in nearly a decade, a fleet of some of the fastest and most radical powerboats are competing in one of the toughest races, a 220-mile offshore race from Cowes to Torquay and back.

A fleet of awesome monohulls crossed the start line off Cowes this morning in a haze of spray and roaring engines. The powerboats began their race a couple of miles east of Cowes itself, approaching the start line at 30 knots, before opening up their throttles as they crossed the line and offering the audience ashore and afloat an idea what these boats are capable of, which for some is a top speed in excess of 100 knots.

Whilst the fleet was made up of the larger craft which have made the journey to the Honda Cowes Classic powerboat festival, also competing are some considerably smaller RIBs, for whom the gruelling race across Lyme Bay may prove somewhat uncomfortable.

Fortunately conditions are ideal, just a light breeze and slight sea to contend with. None are more pleased by this than the man behind the race, Lord Beaverbrook. The event was the brainchild of his father four decades ago, and having made sure that the event would run once again, he was pleased that the weather held out.

The fleet are currently battling back towards the Needles and the finish at Cowes. The winner of this event will be the first to lay claim to perhaps the most prestigious powerboat title in a long time. However, thanks to the efforts of the newly formed British Powerboat Racing Club, we have only to wait until next year to see that claim challenged once again.