Heavy weather makes it tough going

Austrian Hannes Bohinc and hisWettpunkt.comteam were cruelly denied victory in the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes on Saturday when a ruptured fuel tank forced him to retire to just 1.5 miles short of the finish after almost four gruelling hours. The abrupt ending allowedCinzano, piloted by Marcus Hendricks from Germany, Tim Grimshaw and Eric Smilie to take the chequered flag in a time of 3hrs 35.20, seconds ahead ofHot Lemon, the race leader for much of the 170 nautical mile event.

Although now owned and raced by Marcus Hendricks, it was the third Cowes victory for this particular boat. Designed by Britain’s Don Shead and built by Cuv in Italy, it competed several times at this race in the 1980s driven by Italian champion, Renato Della Valle. Della Valle went on to win the race several times, twice in this boat.

As conditions deteriorated the drama increased and less than half of the 21 starters were able to complete the distance. On the outward journey, with swells of up to two metres hampering progress,Ocean Dragon, the former P1 SuperSport contender, ran into difficulties in Poole Bay and sunk. Thankfully its crew, owner Martin Lai and Miles Jennings were safely rescued.

Wettpunkt.comreached the halfway stage in fifth place; the FB 39 powered by FPT engines demonstrating its quality in the most arduous conditions. By Portland Bill, Bohinc, Ed Williams-Hawkes and Max Holzfeind had moved up to third and closing in onHot LemonandCinzano. It was proving to be a remarkable debut for the Hannes Bohinc Racing FB-39.

By Anvil Point, with 20 miles remaining,Wettpunkt.comandCinzanowere running neck and neck in pursuit ofHot Lemon. They would pass the Scorpion of Mike and Dave Deacon with five miles of the finish as the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes, Europe’s oldest and biggest offshore endurance powerboat race once again lived up to its reputation. Another chapter in its illustrious history was about to be written.

“That’s racing,” comments Hannes Bohinc. “It was really tough but we did everything we could to win in these difficult conditions. It was a fantastic team performance and we are naturally disappointed after coming so close. Congratulations toCinzanoand the British Powerboat Racing Club for putting on such a great event.”

Fourth slot overall, was filled byTeam Scorpion, driven by female powerboat champion Shelley Jory and crewed by 70 year old Sir Robin Knox-Johnson in his first ever powerboat race, after a trouble free run.

2009 Cowes-Torquay-Cowes

Official Race Result

1. – 558 – Cinzano – CUV/Ilmor

2. – R2 – Hot Lemon – Scorpion/Yanmar

3. – 47 – Relentless – Revenger/Mercury

4. – R14 – Team Scorpion – Scorpion/Yanmar

5. – 343 – Carbon Neutral – Revenger/Mercury

6. – 18 – Power Products – Phantom/Yamaha

7. – 130 – The Fugative – Shakespear/Yanmar

8. – 100 – Blastoff – Fountain/Mer