The Cowes Torquay Cowes Offshore Powerboat Race is recognised as one of powerboating's toughest challenges, and sees competitors race 190 nautical miles

The Cowes Torquay Cowes Offshore Powerboat Race, known as the Cowes Classic Offshore, promises thrilling action over the Bank Holiday weekend (26-27 August).

According to the organiser’s official website, 10 boats will be racing the 190 nautical mile course from Cowes to Torquay and back again.

Among those racing will be two legendary offshore racing drivers from the United States –  three times Cowes winner Richie Powers and Charlie McCarthy for the ‘Dry Martini’ Cigarette racing team.

A further six teams will be taking part in the Cowes Poole Cowes Offshore Powerboat Race, which will be running at the same time.

It is 57 year since international powerboat racing began off Cowes – the idea of the newspaper tycoon, Sir Max Aitken.

A powerboat race off Cowes

Credit: RYA/Chris Davies

Previous competitors have included the notorious Lord Lucan and his brother-in-law Bill Shand Kydd – who was related through marriage to the late Princess Diana.

Since then it has grown to become one of the leading races in Europe, with comparisons made with motorsport events such as Le Mans and the Indy 500.

All those taking part this year will be looking to beat the course speed record set in 2015.

Peter Dredge, Simon Powell, Mal Crease and David Gandy driving Vector Martini Rosso completed the course with a staggering average speed of 94.55 mph.

This year, the powerboats will start the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes race at 9.30am between The Royal Yacht Squadron line and the north of Gurnard North Cardinal Buoy.

The Cowes-Poole-Cowes competitors will cross the start line at 9.45am.

The fastest race boats should be approaching Berry Head by 10.30am and will continue on northward to a mark at the Ore Stone before turning and heading into the finish off Haldon Pier at Torquay.

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At Torquay, the boats will form up and parade past Haldon Pier at 1pm before lining up for the race start back to Cowes at 2pm.

Depending on the conditions the fastest boats should appear back in the Solent from 3pm for a finish off the Gurnard North Cardinal Mark at Egypt Point.

The races form two parts of the RYA National Marathon Championship with the Cowes to Torquay being RYA National Marathon Championship (Heat 3) plus the UIM International Ordinary Race. The Torquay to Cowes race is the RYA National Marathon Championship (Heat 4) and the UIM International Ordinary Race.

The director of the event, Martin Levi, said spectators should expect a “fabulous weekend” of racing action.

“The Cowes Torquay Cowes is a World renowned International powerboat race. We have drivers and teams from Belgium, Italy, Poland, Ireland, and the USA,” he commented.

Viewing Places and Times


09:30 and 15:00 to17:30- Egypt Point, Isle of Wight
09:35 to 10:00 and 14:45 to 17:30 – Hurst Castle
09:35 to 10:00 and 14:45 to 17:30 – Fort Victoria, Isle of Wight
09:40 to 10:10 – Bournemouth & Boscombe Piers
09:55 to 11:35 and 14:30 to 17:15 – Anvil Point
09:55 to 11:35 and 14:30 to 17:15 – St Albans Head
10:00 to 11:45 and 14:30 to 17:00 – Portland Bill
10:45 to 12:40 and 14:00 to 14:30 – Berry Head
10:45 to 12:40 and 14:00 to 14:30 – Daddyhole Plain, Torquay
10:30 to 14:00 Haldon Pier, Torquay


09:45 and 10:20 to 12:00 – Egypt Point, Isle of Wight
09:50 to 12:00 – Hurst Castle
09:50 to 12:00 – Fort Victoria, Isle of Wight
09:55 to 11:00 – Bournemouth & Boscombe Piers

Spectators can visit the Cowes Wet and Dry Pits at Vectis Yard, High St, Cowes, with the dry pits available from 9am on Saturday, 26 August to 9pm on Sunday, 27 August.

Torquay Wet Pits at the Haldon Pier, Torquay in Devon will be available from 10.30am to 3pm on Sunday, 27 August.