The launch of the new Sunseeker XS2000 high speed sportsboat during the London Boat Show has rekindled enthusiasm for genuine offshore racing.

The launch of the new Sunseeker XS2000 high speed sportsboat during the London Boat Show has rekindled enthusiasm for genuine offshore racing. Over 30 years have passed since powerboat racing was staged over long offshore courses, the most famous being the world leading Cowes-Torquay-Cowes race.

At 220 miles it was extremely punishing but a contest which helped ‘improve the breed’. Many innovations seen in today’s high speed cruising craft, including all models in the Sunseeker range, incorporate aspects of design and equipment first tested under vigorous conditions of offshore racing.

Unfortunately a return race between Cowes and Torquay has not taken place since the early eighties. The current breed of high speed offshore catamaran is no longer suitable for such events. With a fuel range of 150 miles or less and performances more suited to calm inshore courses, such marathons are no longer feasible but with the introduction of the XS2000, interest is already being shown by certain race organisers to turn back the clock.

Powered by twin Yamar a diesel, the XS2000 is capable of reaching speeds of 70 knots. As the standard model will be identical in design and power, this new Sunseeker provides an ideal basis for a one-design deep-sea racer where skill and tactics rather than sheer performance wins the day.

Tim Powell, organiser the Cowes Classic in August has already pledged to run a separate offshore event for the XS2000 to Torquay and back. The RYA, who will be organising the final rounds of the British Offshore Championship off Gibraltar in September, may also include an event for the Sunseeker XS2000. This could have a course running from the colony to Puerto Banus West of Marbella, on to Ceuta in Morocco and back to Gibraltar: a race distance of approximately 120 miles.