Isle of Wight Tourist Guide - Articles
Cowes Powerboat Festival
Cowes Powerboat Festival is an adrenaline-filled event held every year* on the Isle of Wight during the August Bank Holiday weekend. Powerboat racing is a dramatic, action-packed motor sport on water, which is full of excitement and thrills. Cowes Powerboat Festival also features the Powerboat P1 British Grand Prix, where talented pilots demonstrate immense bravery and skill as they speed across the Solent in a closely fought endurance race reaching speeds of approaching 100mph.
There are two classes of powerboat that compete in the P1 British Grand Prix:
For boats with a minimum length of 36ft and maximum of 43ft using inboard motors only and with a minimum post-race weight of 4250 kg. Whilst these high powered prototype racing craft can reach speeds in excess of 100mph (equivalent of more than 200mph on land), the rules demand a power to weight ratio of 1hp to 3.5kg with a maximum average lap speed of 87mph and top speed of 95mph to ensure safe and competitive racing. They can produce up to 2000 horsepower.
For boats with standard production model hulls and engines, each craft must be a minimum length of 33ft and 42ft maximum and with a maximum power to weight ratio of 1hp to 4.5kg. The engine capacity of diesel-powered craft must not exceed 6000cc (363ci) with petrol engines restricted to a capacity of 8300cc (502ci). Boats in SuperSport race to a maximum average lap speed of 75mph and straight-line top speed of 80mph.
Each powerboat is permitted a maximum of 3 pilots during a race. Normally this will comprise a driver, throttleman and navigator. Both classes are open to both petrol and diesel powered craft.
Cowes has a rich nautical heritage and its ability to host major marine events is demonstrated each year when the Powerboat Festival come to town. Cowes Powerboat Festival is an exciting international event that is contested by around 80 of Europe's finest powerboats. Spectators are guaranteed spectacular action and entertainment on and off the water with the public and competitors mingling in the pleasant surroundings of Cowes and taking in the traditional pubs, restaurants and cafés that are a feature of this historical venue.
*there is no festival in 2008 - but there is a Cowes-Torquay-Cowes powerboat endurance race instead 22-24 Aug.
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