Thirty-six year old craft pummels younger competition

Markus Hendricks of Germany won this year's Cowes-Torquay-Cowes in style on Sunday covering the 190 mile course at an average speed of 65.26mph (102.02kph). Driving the 38ft (14.0m) Cinzano that Don Shead designed for Italian Renato Del Valle in 1974, the veteran craft showed a clean stern to a much younger fleet to repeat the success it had here on two occasions over 30 year ago. But victory was not achieved without cleaver tactics on the part of the driver.

Hendricks set a steady pace following the start and lay well down the fleet when Fury, overall leader, passed Anvil Point at the 20 mile mark. Fury, the 39ft (12.6m) American Phantom driven by Vahid Ganjavian was slowly moving further ahead of Martin Lai representing China in the PanteraPowerboat Asia. However she was to suffer mechanical problems a few miles further up the course before stuffing the bow as it tried to regain planning speed.

By Torquay, marking the halfway stage, Cinzano had crept up and was now dicing with Powerboat Asia to become a contest of its own. They raced back to the Solent several miles ahead of the remaining fleet which by now had been reduced from the original 17 starters down to ten.Among the retirements was the earlier hopeful  Argentum, a brand new 36ft (12m) twin Ilmore powered Cougar rib driven by ex multi-world offshore champion, Steve Curtis. Claimed to be capable of speeds in excess of 90mph. It lay a disappointing fourth at the quarter mark before suffering mechanical problems and final retirement.

The leading pair lay less than ten seconds apart as they shot passed Hurst Castle  six miles from the finish before Cinzano and a jubilant Markus Hendricks took the finishing flag a few minutes later."I knew I had the edge on speed," said Hendricks once ashore. "There was little point moving ahead. After all one only needs the narrowest of margins to win which left me power in hand. It was a great event and the one race I've always wanted to win."

Our Race - Throttles Markus Hendricks

lately returned to Germany and half way back to normal life.
Simon Wood-Power has given a brief view of our run, so not much facts to add, but some emotions maybe?!

Let me start with the fact that before the race nobody would have known, whom to see as most likely winner.

We knew about the speed advantages of Dean Gibbs and the Langdons in their Fountains, also Fury was faster then us. The Buzzi Rib now in the hands of Rob Gray and his very expirienced crew was very well prepared and the brand new Cougar with same as our engines had a bit of all.

In the previous races many people proved that they could go fast in bad weather and few people know that Martin Lai was leading a while to Fabio Buzzi last year before his skegs went off.
Toni Tolls Apache 41 in the last Marathon Race proved its merits and had good speed, too.

Now to the race:
As Simon mentioned the run up the Solent to our starting area off Hurst gave us first stress by the narrowness of space due to a non race RIB that tried to squeeze between the Cougar and us and stayed always in our way.
Outherwise it was good to have some pictures of the Boats from the stable deck of the Red Jet and as a fleetrun, we still enjoyed the stunning looks to our sides.

Finally the start procedure was on and everybody blasted off as in a short sprint race. We managed to start well as shown from first short Filmfootage out of the Helikopter. You can see us behind the Langdons leaping forwards to them for a while.

Only Mr. Hendricks prefers to take it gentle until the pattern of the sea and the trimm match the actual boat weight distribution.
I need to develope a rythem that suits me.

I generally pefer to have some body leading the way at the beginning and then make my progress over the distance. Do not forget it was my fourth time in Lyme Bay on this race and as I sank first time my improvement of coming home save has exceeded to three out of four!

Some reason for slow upwind starting is the problem that Cinzano is when loaded with that much fuel quite heavy in the back and if we run propellers that will allow a decent speed when necessary, the punch for jumping headseas is not much at the early part of the race.

Knowing all this our strategy to hug the coast and stay in the calmer bits worked to give us a smooth ride and improved position.

You can see us coming from starboard towards Dean Gibbs Fountain and making good progress from two buoys to Portland in the Film mentioned before.

In fact the raceboats were all quite close still at Portland before we were heading into Lyme Bay. Our situation was that about four other boats were directly visible two of which following our small slope into the Bay two others more on a direct route. Dean since Portland being very close behind or to our sides made it 6 Boats in direct distance.

On the long stretch towards Berry head our setup of fuel and prop-ratio started to work better and we slowly made way towards the two most obvious roosters infront, being as we saw later the Chinese Pantera41 and the Phantom39 Fury.

From last year we knew of the upwind qualities of the Pantera, which looks to me like a copy of an Appache, as Tony Tolls, with added steps in the hull. It has much freeboard and the standing position of the drivers allows for good visibility for working out the best passages of the rougher seas.

They were well pushing Vee and Gareth both known for their fearless driving and no slow in the rough at all.

Nearer Berry Head we could close up to them as seas began to flatten and by the Berry Head Mark, we were directly behind Martin Lai.

Now I could raise the drives flatten the trimm plates and let Cinzano run.

We could pass Martin well with probably 10 MPH higher speed and soon went for Fury that had not much chance of seeing us coming in their very enclosed cockpit.

We stayed in their wake and foamy water to make us go even faster till we turned to their port side for clearly overtaking them before the turning mark at Torquay, too.

We saw speeds of mid eighty knots and after turning out to sea again it was up to 88knots on the GPS!
The turn at Torbay was an absolute wide and high speed move with us praying for Cinzano to stay nice on its radius and not hook or bounce dangerously.

As we noticed later and is visible on some pictures our Rooster Tail gave Fury some trouble in this sequence, but as they have a lot of P1 experience and the better turning boat they managed to stay well.
As the first to Torbay is quite an important detail of the race, we did not see the point in not have taken the opportunity and after all it is a race.

Down the Bay we could stay a while above eighty knots before sense and seastate made us slow down again.

I must confess it is easier to follow somebody then to lead the way, but as we knew our speed was superior there was no point in going to fast. 
We were in actual fact leading the race for about 85 miles as the finish was in the Solent and the turning mark was much less then half the distance.
The tracker can not show this as it is reporting only in sequences of abaout a minute or more to its sattelites (no mobile phone based transmitting).

Lyme bay Back was good to handle and only near Portland seas became unpatterned and less comfy to run again.
In fact the closer to Cowes the worse the weather developed and much worse was the current changing the Seapattern.

Still we enjoyed the Sun when we rounded Portland and revving up in the calm directly behind was good fun too.

If we had had a depth sounder it would most probbaly have screamed at us for the shallow waters we have been in, but it was good to hear the echo of our engines and run fast for a while.

Out of this positive experience we did Anvil and the way into Poole Bay as close as possible, too.
I could virtually read the tourist information of smugglers using the coves left from the stone digging for their purposes.
Reminds me of seeing the optician for a new pair of reading glasses as Simon goes to close for me reading without them...

By now the Helicopter gave us a lot of audience and we could expect from that that nobody else was up front. 

Well the way down to North Head we eased back slightly as our followers took the direct route and we seemed to have a save couple of length for heading into the Solent left.

Here we knew our speed would give us a good margine.

Only the Solent was not as flat and nice as we expected it to be and after I trimmed the drives out again and we were making superior speed we hit some strange wave or wash and had an unforeseen jump that was quite high.

As I hoped to have some distance covered I let Cincano slow down a bit for not mixing it up on the last mile and the heavy rain that started by then did not help either.

Well this was enough to see our Chinese chefs (Martin Lai is and his English Navigator Mr. Wiliams-Hawkes is a chef, too) turning up to my left side again.

So it was Speed wanted again and I trimmed the drives out, but let the Trimplates slightly down for stabilisation. It does take a while to reach supersonic (more then 80miles) again and it was quite close in the end.

We had a tough race, seaconditions not easy, somewhere between 2009 and 2010. For once I opted for a summers race not a british summers race, but no chance...

On Monday when we took Cinzano back to Drivers, it was real summerish and as tranquil as wanted but usually I do not like Mondays. 
So maybe next year is fair weather. Then we have the pre RB12 race to be allocated and the Roundbritain in June plus a CTC probably not on bank holiday again though.

So lets see what happens.

We are planning Weymouth now and maybe doing 110mph in Coniston next?!?

Our Race - Driver Simon Wood Power

Just a quick post to tell you about our race at Cowes in Cinzano:Sunday morning was dry and not so windy, although I knew that the headlands would still be rough so we ran a fairly short pair of props.

Assembly and run down Solent was in my opinion almost more dangerous than racing with fast ribs etc trying to muscle in to the middle of the fleet. Start off North Head was all OK and we, as usual, were not quick off the mark. Markus takes a little time to warm to the conditions, so we were about 7th at the first mark; 2 bouys. ( Turn moved there from Needles Fairway to miss the expanded Shingles bank).Run across Poole Bay uneventful, short sharp confused seas, ran inshore from Anvil to Portland and ran very, very close to the Bill, picked us up 4 positions, turned the Bill, ran North for about 3 miles, hugging the coast to miss the race, then turned West.

Stayed a few miles North of the rumb line to find lesser seas which seemed to work as we got to Berry Head we only had Fury and Powerboat Asia in front. Water had calmed slightly so we sped up and saw 87-88 knots on the GPS, by the first Torquay mark we were leading. First 10 miles back across the Bay was a pretty flat following sea and fast, then built up a bit, so we kept Northerly and headed for the middle of the Portland landmass. About 1/2 mile from the bill we again hugged the land closely following the line of Lobster pots about 50 metres from the rocks.

Found a nice tranquil patch and sped off to Anvil.Anvil was fairly horrible whilst the photo chopper was fololwing us we had a big stuff that tore off the screen top foam cover and soaked everything, pumps on !Ran very very close to the shore as the race was big, could see Powerboat Asia in the distance, further out having a pretty rough ride.Cut North into Poole bay up towards Hengistbury, coming to North Head almost from due West, Powerboat Asia lurking up, closer and closer.

She's bigger than us, in the A class but actually no faster!

Turned into the Solent hoping for some calm, very close in the Hurst Castle, about 20-30 metres, off the groynes, to try to miss the rough stuff.Trimmed her out and went for it, at one stage we were 2nd then 1st, then 2nd, a couple of really hairy moment on washes at nearly 90 knots, but we bit the bullet and won by 8 seconds, after over 3 hours of racing.

All a bit close but a terrific win.So all 3 of us are now multiple winners and the boat has won 5 or 6 times, (no one actually knows as Della Valle had a few hulls to play with).Great weekend of racing, organised by the BPRC with very little sponsorship budget, in a tough economic climate.

For the race to continue a new, ideally longer term, title sponsor is needed, its not a lot, so do enquire !

Very fortunate indeed to be part of a great team, in a classic boat.

Back at work now nursing the blisters and bruises, but so worth it !

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