P1 confirms Cowes as race venue

Fears lifted the event would switch to mainland

The P1 offshore race organisation has confirmed that Cowes, the traditional home of offshore racing in Britain, will host this year’s event on August 23.

The Cowes-Torquay-Cowes launched offshore racing in Britain in 1961 but because of increasing costs of local facilities, it was feared the event would be switched to a mainland venue. After much discussion P1 have not only chosen to maintain its link with the town they are also planning to adopt the traditional offshore course format.

The early races, which many boat builders used to test hull design and equipment innovation, were held over a 220 mile return course from Cowes to Torquay and back but this altered more than a decade ago. More recently the event has been confined to short, inshore circuits between Cowes and Gurnard but this year a full course is planned.

Many current offshore racing craft no longer have the fuel capacity for events of this length and duration but many Cowes-Torquay supporters, particularly those from Italy, will almost certainly have their craft modified. A large proportion of the fleet competing in the round Britain Race marathon five weeks earlier are also expected swell numbers at Cowes to the high levels not seen since the 1980s.