Poole-based businessman Richard Carr and Steve Curtis toughed out the ‘roughest ever’ Cowes-Torquay Cowes race to claim their first ever victory in the offshore classic.
Navigated by Paul Sinclair, Carr (driver) and Curtis (throttleman) showed their vast experience to master the rough conditions and come out on top in a race that saw multiple boat failures.
Both Carr and Curtis have enjoyed illustrious careers in the sport racing across the globe, however Cowes glory had alluded them both, until now.
“The Cowes race for powerboat racing is the equivalent of Wimbledon in Tennis and the British GP in Formula 1,” explained Richard Carr.
“Anybody who is a serious powerboat racer and has been successful in the sport has their name on the Cowes Torquay Cowes trophy. However, that honour had alluded myself, Steve and Paul so to win it now at the current stages of our careers is extra special. Paul is 58, I’m 57 and Steve is 52 so just to complete the course was special, but to win the race was a major feat.”
Carr and Curtis have been racing together and against each other since the late 1980s and have won multiple titles. In their Aluminium Cougar 46, powered by two Mercury 1350bhp engines, they recorded an average speed of 51.88mph and competed the course in 4 hours and 12 minutes – over an hour ahead of their nearest rivals.
Even in such a huge powerboat the rough seas and gale force 7 winds in Lyme Bay meant that at times Carr was driving at 25mph, which accounted for the low average speeds.
“I never assumed that we would win the race; powerboat racing is such an unpredictable sport. We put a lot of effort into preparing the boat and preparing our bodies for the race and it certainly paid off,” Carr said.
“I was in the gym six weeks prior to the race and without that preparation I don’t think I would have made the finishing line; we all have injuries from the race including a severely chipped elbow which I am suffering with!
“Most of the other competitors either turned back or sunk as a result of the horrendous conditions. It was so rough at Portland Bill that the RNLI gave up on trying to rescue one of the boats and came back for it the next day!”
Despite their being limited celebrations after the race due to shear physical exhaustion, Carr is extremely proud to have achieved the victory alongside Curtis and Sinclair.
“I have been pals with Steve for a very long time and with Paul since a young teenager, we have raced against and with one another and to win it for the first time together was a nice feeling. It was really good fun being out in the boat and although we did have the odd moment when it was quite tense, it was a pleasant experience – on the whole!
“It’s an accolade to have completed the Cowes-Torquey-Cowes and to be in a very special club.”