MICHAEL Schumacher he may not be, but Chris Jones does drive the Ferrari of the sea in a V24 powerboat.

Looking more like something from a space programme and travelling across the sea like a bullet, it is easy to see why the boat is likened to the red racing machine that rules the track.

The craft is powered by a V8 5.7-litre engine, which delivers 320hp and can reach speeds of 85mph on flat water and between 70mph and 75mph on open seas.

Chris said: "The V24s look like something Batman should drive."

The 19-year-old, who lives in the Cranbourne area of Basingstoke and works as a gym instructor at Queen Mary's College, only got into the sport this year.

After completing a safety course to ensure he could escape from the craft if it capsized, he was able to go out on the water from the boat's base in Southampton.

His first impressions of life skimming the ocean waves at high speeds were a little different than he expected.

Chris said: "I did not realise I would be thrown around quite so much and I ended up with bruises everywhere, but that said I loved it as the sport really tests you.

"You have to remember, unlike car driving where the track is the same on each lap, on the sea everything is unpredictable."

The new boy to the sport is being trained under the watchful eye of powerboat racers Lee Booth and Richard Bendy, who competed in the series last season.

At 19, Chris will be youngest man in the V24 National Powerboat Championship, which takes pilots around Britain, as well as to Scandinavia.

The series is made up of 14 crafts, which are all identical.

The first chance to see Chris in action is at Torquay on May 29, followed by Ramsgate on June 19.

The series then moves to Littlehampton for round three on July 16, before moving north to Arendal in Norway 14 days later.

Additional rounds are in Scotland, Sweden, Wales and at Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

The series will also be featured on Sky.

The team are sponsored by Poleposition and Waterview, who sell property along the Thames - one place the boats don't get to race!

They are on the look-out for more sponsors, both large and small. Anyone interested can contact Chris on 077965 40286.