Offshore powerboat racing to follow a successful sailing week

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While the sailing at Cowes Week draws to a close, a different breed has sights set on the same venue with the 50th running of the world famous Cowes-Torquay-Cowes offshore powerboat race.

It takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekend following a week of various national events for the smaller classes.

The main race, which launched modern offshore powerboat sport outside the United States in 1961, has attracted one of the largest fleets in recent years with a true international line-up seeing competitors from Italy, Austria and the United States.

The main difference to the current UIM world championship is that all craft taking part in the main event at Cowes will be monohulls. Catamarans are not accepted.

Known as the Marathon Class, these boats are an important departure from multihulls and have done much to encourage a revival in genuine offshore racing.

Among those taking part will be Austrian Hannes Bohinc who will not only be aiming to become the first driver to win the race for a fourth time but will also be after the coveted Harmsworth Trophy which he has won on two previous occasions.

Bohinc’s boat Wettpunkt.com (pictured) is an FB 39 rigid inflatable powered by twin N67 560 Fiat Powertrain engines.

“Cowes is the home of powerboating and I always feel privileged to race there,” says Bohinc. “The Harmsworth Trophy will add to the occasion and increase the competitive edge of this very special event.”

Italian powerboat legend Fabio Buzzi will be entering two boats of his own design. He will also be one of the oldest drivers taking part but with two Cowes-Torquay-Cowes wins under his belt will also be one of the most experienced.

Meanwhile, a large collection of classic craft, the majority Fairey Marine cruisers which accounted for most of the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes fleet in the race’s early years, will be gathering at Torquay.

Organised by the Classic Offshore Powerboat Club, it is the largest group of fast classic cruisers to muster in UK waters so providing a reminder of the very foundations of modern offshore racing.