Vector Martini won both legs of the iconic Cowes-Torquay-Cowes offshore powerboat race today.
Driven by Peter Dredge alongside Simon Powell, Vector was first to the Devon town after the fleet had left the Isle of Wight this morning.
And it was first back at Cowes this afternoon to a salvo from the canons at the Royal Yacht Squadron and a cheering crowd.
The Cowes-Torquay Powerboat Race is the toughest powerboat race in the world.
It’s reputation for punishing boats and crew, and crushing even the most prepared teams, has been somewhat subdued for the last two years as the south west coast of Britain has turned on spectacular weather with much calmer seas and gentler breezes than the racers are used to.
Conditions were today suited for fast racing and spectacular viewing.
Tim Powell, a 29-year veteran organiser of the race, fired the canons from the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes at 9am this morning, setting the fleet on its way as they raced once more from their historical starting point.
Dredge and Powell got out to a handy lead in Vector Martini and led all the way to Torquay. They were chased hard out of the Solent by ‘Smokin Aces’ driven by Chris and Nicholas Dodge and ‘Silverline' driven by Drew and Ali Langdon.
The Ribs ‘Hot Lemon V’ (D50) and ‘Birretta Due’ (B41) chased the leaders fiercely, getting very close as the boats rounded Portland. They, in turn, were pursued by Team Barwood (C7).
Norwegian Preben Sorensen, racing in his Predator 337 SuperSport, was competing for the first time in the Cowes-Torquay race, finishing the unfamiliar course 11th in the first leg.
Both ‘Cube 52’ and ‘Flyin Falcon’ withdrew during the first leg and returned to Cowes.
After winning the race to Torquay, Dredge said: “We had a wonderful run.
“The boat is going fantastically well and we have had no problems. We’re looking forward to turning around for the run back to Cowes.
“We’ll be going downwind and we might even go flat out on the way back.”
On the second leg of the race back to Cowes, Vector Martini kept their word and led by one and a quarter nautical miles after clearing the Ore Stone turning buoy at Torbay.
By Swanage the lead had grown to 4.62 nautical miles and they were to extend this even further by the end of the race.
They were clocked racing into the Solent at 83 knots.
‘Smokin' Aces’ took second place on the return journey with ‘Team Barwood,’ who were competing in their first Cowes-Torquay Race, taking a well-deserved third place.
With the tail wind adding to the fast conditions, it was not surprising that two teams made navigational errors on their way back to Cowes.
Both Black Ball Racing and Predator 337 SuperSport incurred a one hour time penalty for missing buoys.