Once again, the Solent will reverberate to the sound of high powered, high octane powerboats when the annual Cowes – Torquay – Cowes Powerboat Race takes place on Sunday, 31st August 2014.
Cowes is recognised as the birthplace of international powerboat racing. It is therefore fitting that every year some of the biggest, brightest, loudest and most powerful boats in the world assemble to re-enact the famous race from Cowes to Torquay then turn around and race back from Torquay to Cowes where the first race was hosted in 1961.
An exciting change is planned for the start at Cowes this year with the race returning to its roots. In close consultation with the RYA and Cowes Harbour Commission, race organisers the British Powerboat Racing Club have worked hard to ensure that fans can see an organised start closer to the shore. So, this year the race starts from Cowes itself and some 15-20 Marathon Class offshore powerboats will cross the harbour entrance and roar off down the western Solent at 09:00 providing a thrilling spectacle for onlookers.
Activity will commence at approximately 08:45 when the racing fleet will muster to the east of Cowes Harbour entrance. Race boats will then pass in a convoy, at speed, between Snowden and Trinity House buoys before starting the actual race immediately to the north of Gurnard cardinal buoy at 09:00. (See schematic diagram in Figure 1 below).
Fig 1: Cowes muster and pre-start formation
The course for the race boats takes them from Cowes to the East Lepe, Sconce and SW Shingles buoys before heading west to Portland Bill and across Lyme Bay to Torquay. Event timings and suggested Island and mainland viewing points, as well as advice for spectator craft can be found on the Cowes Classic 2014 event website.
After racing to Torquay in the morning, the boats will race back to the Solent in the afternoon following a reciprocal course and finishing north of the Gurnard cardinal buoy. If the weather is good, the leaders are expected to return past Hurst Castle shortly after 14:30 with slower craft following any time up until 17:30.
As always, the safety of both spectators and the race boat crews is paramount. Further guidance for spectator craft, pleasure boats and other mariners regarding the course and safety precautions for the event is provided in Cowes Local Notice to Mariners No 22(T) of 2014: Cowes – Torquay – Cowes Powerboat Race 31st August 2014.