Sail gives way to power on the Isle of Wight over the August Bank Holiday weekend when the Powerboat P1 British Grand Prix of the Sea roars into life, building upon the 47 year heritage of the Cowes Powerboat Festival. More than 120 craft are expected to assemble in Cowes, including many of the world’s top racing craft and crew, and organizers predict spectator numbers will exceed last year’s estimate of 70,000.
The racing starts in earnest on Friday 24th with the highlight of the programme Round 7 of the Powerboat P1 World Championship, the P1 British Grand Prix of the Sea. The race incorporates a lap of the Island, one of the most prestigious and demanding challenges in powerboat racing with a history that dates back to 1968. Shortly after the high-powered P1 craft ’blast off’ at 2pm, the competitors in the ’Round-the-Island’ challenge will assemble off Cowes for one of the most popular events of the weekend. Open to all pleasure and race craft, crews race against the clock in a range of class categories following the same circuit as the P1 ’muscle machines’. Last staged in 2005, 36 entries were attracted from across Britain and over 50 are expected to compete on Friday.
On Saturday and Sunday racing will revert to an even more spectator-friendly circuit where the public lining the shores between Cowes and Thorness can enjoy the spectacular action, close-up and personal! A packed programme over both days includes International RIBs, Class 3C and V24s, Thundercats and Jet Skis and the Honda 4-stroke Series comprising 150s and 225s.
The headline act on Saturday 25th will be the two-race Honda 4-stroke Series, the UK’s leading domestic championship, whilst on Sunday the star attraction is undoubtedly the final leg of the Powerboat P1 British Grand Prix of the Sea with 17 of the world’s finest racing boats and pilots competing for World Championship points and the glory of winning in Cowes, the “mecca” of world powerboating.
Adrenalin filled excitement will not be limited to the sea this weekend as The Blades, precision formation aerobatic display team take to the air with its 4 man team of ex Red Arrows the ideal high altitude compliment to Powerboat P1.
Back on terra firma, the P1 cafe bars, champagne tents, food stalls and exhibition zones, are the place to be for the thousands of spectators lining the Cowes Parade This historic sea faring town becomes a bustling hive of activity with an international feel as pilots, teams and glamour mix with the public in the streets, bars and restaurants. There is a festival atmosphere throughout the weekend and as the sun goes down, the partying starts and the throb of these awesome P1 powerboat engines is replaced with top line bands and DJs. Live entertainment on the Cowes Parade will continue until 10pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.