The British Powerboat Festival 2011 witnessed around forty powerboat teams descend upon Cowes, Isle of Wight on the Bank Holiday of Sunday, 28 August.
Seventeen teams took part in the gruelling 164nm race from Cowes to Torquay and back, that would test not only the boats capabilities but also the strength and stamina of the crews. The other 18 teams took part in the shorter but just as testing Cowes Poole Cowes Race, including the P1 SuperStock fleet that would really have their racing skills put to the test in taxing conditions.
It was the impressive team Cinzano that took the top honours in the Cowes Torquay Cowes Race after being the first boat to reach the half way mark at Torquay. The return leg saw Cinzano driven by Simon Wood-Power with Markus Hendricks on the throttles and Eric Smillie in control of navigation put under pressure by Powerboat Asia with Martin Lai, Chun Kit Siu and the races youngest finisher Tom Williams-Hawkes (29)on board.
Cinzano held their rivals at bay completing the race in two hours 53 minutes and 44 secs beating Powerboat Asia by a mere nine seconds to make them the only boat to have won the Cowes Torquay Cowes race four times in the races 51 year history. Twenty-six minutes later it was the 40ft Buzzi RIB, Pippa,crewed by the experienced team of Rob Gray, Mike Bontoft, John Caulcutt and Stephen Hemsley who crossed the line to take third place.
Hazel Smith navigator for My Pleasure II with Driver Gordon Compton was the only female to complete the race after a gruelling four hours and 51 minutes, powering home to take the finish in ninth position and see Hazel awarded with the Ladies Prize.
In the shorter Cowes Poole Cowes race the Peters and May Race teams took both first and second places’ in the overall race results. Peters and May Racing in the 38ft Donzi driven by Daniel Cramphorn, Kim Collins and Miles Jennings took the overall win and the first in class in the over 300hp category, completing the 34nm race in 42 minutes.
Taking second overall and first in the P1 Panther Class was the SuperStock Team Peters and May of Darren Hook and Dave Harwood completing the race in 43 minutes and 18 seconds. Experienced endurance racer Darren Hook commented: 'Through the first two buoys it was rough but the rest was alright it’s all about driving to the conditions', said Hook.
'It’s our first race in this boat and we haven’t had much time in it so we’re pleased. Being a bigger race, navigation played a much bigger part than on short courses and we have a lot of experience in that – so that was a good advantage. It was great being invited to be in the Peters & May boat this weekend, it’s been a great weekend.'
Completing the overall Cowes Poole Cowes podium and second in class was Team Helvetia Wealth piloted by Shelley Jory-Leigh with navigator Dan Smith taking their first podium finish of the SuperStock season.
In the under 300hp category Me Too driven by Clive Prestidge and Michael Spinks were the only finishers taking sixth overall with Technohull 888 forced to retire from the race.
Top honours in the SuperStock 150 Class went to Hampshire based Team Purple, with husband and wife team, Stuart and Sara Cureton, extending their lead in the SuperStock Championship. Team Purple had originally finished the race third in class but navigational errors from Team Eclipse’s Rose Lores and Lucci Levi and Team Fox Martin Colligan and Liam McDermott saw them awarded time penalties for missing a buoy and demoted to second and third respectively and saw Team Purple promoted to the top spot.
'The first bit was rough but it wasn’t too bad, I've had worse conditions!' reflected Sara Cureton. 'The Sat Nav kept disappearing, it has an anti-shock thing so it keeps cutting out navigation is vital in a race like this. The start was difficult, some people were just steaming past then we’d pass them when they broke down.
'I’m tired and my neck hurts from the jarring – I think it must be two inches shorter than before! We didn’t go out to win this one because we knew we only have two weeks before the next race, we wanted to be competitive but keep it all in one piece but we will be going for it In Liverpool.'
The RYA Powerboat Racing Department would like to offer their thanks and congratulations to all involved with the event for their hard work and commitment in creating a successful and safe race.
An event of this magnitude takes a lot of preparation and these events wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of officials, support crews, racers and safety boats. We would also like to thank the Harbour Masters, Coast Guard and Lifeboat Crews in the areas covered by the race for their support, assistance and co-operation.