Sailing legend enters Cowes-Torquay-Cowes

Competitors in the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes powerboat race this Saturday go up against some serious nautical might in the shape of none other than Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

The petrol heads will no doubt be gunning for the scalp of arguably the world’s greatest raggie, but they may have some difficulty getting to the finish line before him.

Wiley Sir Robin, realising in any boat that goes more than four knots his expertise might be somewhat lacking, has former national powerboat champion Shelley Jory as his helm.

Shelley is as competitive as they come and will also have no compunction in telling the veteran mariner what to do.

Sir Robin, aged 70, may have sailed around the world several times in his illustrious career, but the gruelling CTC is nonetheless likely to prove a quite a challenge. He and Shelley will race as Team Scorpion.

Sir Robin says: “When Shelley asked whether I would like to navigate for her in the Classic Cowes-Torquay-Cowes powerboat race, it took one second to accept.

“This is something I have not done before so naturally I want to find out what it is all about. This will be fun with the spice of competition.”

Shelley, aged 39, is currently competing in the Powerboat P1 World Championships.

She and Sir Robin are co-presenters on BBC Radio Solent’s Friday evening programme, H20.

Shelley admits that she wasn’t at all confident that he would accept her ‘off the wall’ suggestion but Sir Robin agreed instantly and asked when they could start training, she says.

Training has included the dreaded dunk test, official known as HUET (Helicopter Underwater Escape Training) at Andark Diving, which although not essential for this type of open-canopied racing, is a safety procedure all racers should take, Shelley believes.

Their boat is a 10m Scorpion Sting RIB capable of more than 50mph.