Sunday saw the 55th running of the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes powerboat race – probably the most famous race in the world.
An entry list of 14 boats started the race at Cowes – the weather was very kind – a bright sunny morning and a flat sea – perfect conditions for setting record times. As the crews sped towards Torquay it was the Italian boat Tommy One of Maurizio Schepici and Giampaulo Montavoci in the lead from Vector Martini Rosso of Peter Dredge – a crew of four including international model David Candy aboard.
Vector Martini Rosso is a brand new boat costing about £1M – Peter’s previous Vector Martini boat in white was written off in a serious testing accident in the Solent in May when the boat hit a buoy at high speed and ended upside down. Peter’s son, Simon, was seriously injured but is now fortunately making a speedy recovery to full fitness. Simon dropped the flag to start the race in Cowes. This was the boat in which Peter won last years race.
Bad luck was about to hit the Italians in Tommy One, who are currently competing in Class V1 of the World Championships. They had been in a fierce battle with Vector Martini with the two boats neck and neck all the way from Cowes. However, about 5 miles off Berry Head the boat caught fire and they were reduced to a walking pace.
This left Vector Martini to storm across the finishing line in Torquay as winners in a time of 1 hour 9 minutes – an average speed of 94 mph. The next boat in was Silverline crewed by the father and son team of Drew and Ali Langdon – local competitors from Woodbury Salterton near Exeter. Their time was 1 hour 19 minutes – that shows how far ahead Vector Martini was. The boat in third place was another local, Devon boat – Smokin’ Aces crewed by brothers Chris and Nick Dodge from Seaton in a time of 1 hour 24 minutes.
The times for the remainder of the fleet :
Flyin Falcon 1:55
Boss One 2:44
Grey Ghost 2:48
Birretta Due 2:52
In addition to the retirement of Tommy One, Thunderstreak and HTS Perkins also retired during leg one and did not make it to Torquay
I caught up with a very disappointed Giampaulo Montavoci on the Torquay harbourside after Tommy One was towed in. He explained that they had chosen a different route across Lyme Bay to Vector Martini – they could see Vector, but a long way off their bow – Tommy One had decided to take a tighter line into Torquay which was giving them the edge......until a fire developed. Giampaulo thinks it was an electrical fault that caused the blaze. He was left trying to arrange a lift back to Cowes by road.
The Mayor of Torquay, Gordon Oliver, presented the cup and laurels to the top three crews and then it was time for the boats to fire up for the return leg to Cowes. One more boat was about to drop out – Flyin Falcon - they had picked up steering damage in leg one.
The ten remaining boats did a parade lap past Haldon Pier in front of the crowd of spectators and then headed out to the startline. At 1.50pm the flag was dropped and the sea boiled as the ten boats hurtled towards the horizon on the return leg to Cowes.
Immediately leg two started to develop into a repeat of leg one, minus of course Tommy One. Vector Martini in the lead from Silverline and Smokin’Aces. Microlink, who had been one of the favourites in leg one but had suffered various mechanical issues, succumbed to further mechanical problems and retired en route to Cowes. The other retirement being Blastoff.
The final results:
Leg 2 Total
Vector Martini Rosso 1:11 2:21
Silverline 1:20 2:40
Smokin’ Aces 1:24 2:49
Dry Martini 2:05 4:04
Boss One 1:42 4:26
Grey Ghost 1:47 4:36
Birretta Due 1:49 4:41
Fugitive 2:06 6:15
For my pictures of the event go to my Flickr album: