The eleven teams entered for this year’s CTC race will hold a unique advantage over those heading to the West Country this weekend…. they will miss the bank holiday traffic which promises to be extra busy in August thanks to a favourable weather forecast.
Those chasing the trophies have a veritable treasure chest of silverware to aim for this year including the prestigious Harmsworth Trophy which dates back to the 1930’s and is awarded to the team that heads the points table from four UK races – Poole, Falmouth and two from Cowes. However, a very low turn out at Falmouth together with bad weather may mean that heat will be aborted. As Drew Langdon of ‘Silverline’ fame completed the course, this would give him an advantage over his rivals should the Cornish race be deemed eligible.

Apart from Langdon who else is in with a shout for the Harmsworth? Mikko Oikari’s quad-engined ‘Going Lean’ looks a likely candidate for overall honours, and the crew of the Cougar ‘Fortitude’, Steve Curtis, Mark Pascoe and Paul Sinclair, won the race in 2017, but can they do it again? The ‘Apache Warpath’ powered by twin Ilmors won the Poole 100 Race back in June holding Mike Bontoft’s vintage ‘Dry Martini’ at bay while German Markus Hendricks’ giant Adam Younger design ‘Hendricks 55’ is apparently still in the experimental stages.

Last year’s winner the Cougar ‘Fortitude’

Can an outboard powered hull outshine the inboards? We will soon know enough when Tom Montgomery Swan’s Mercury powered ‘Sunus’ faces Dorian Griffith’s diesel powered Fountain ‘Blast Off’. The Whitley family’s ‘Fugitive’ has probably got more miles under its keel than all the others as ‘Fugitive’ has taken part in the last five CTC marathons.

There are two RHIB’s taking part, the Ocke Mannerfelt ‘Mr Mako’ and the Belgium entry ‘Biretta Due’ which has become a regular to the Cowes event in recent years. The race, over 200 miles long with a two hour stop-over in Torquay, has become the longest surviving event in the UK offshore calendar, but hopefully numbers will increase in the future if a major sponsor should sign up.
While the larger more powerful entries head off west to Torquay after their early morning start, a hardy breed of OCRDA and UKOPRA offshore racers will be participating in the Cowes-Poole-Cowes race. This event attracts the entries that cannot carry enough fuel for the CTC. With up to twenty boats taking part in this smaller race it will be a real cut and thrust battle, and it is anyone’s guess as to who lifts the trophy.