Based in popular British tourist region Cornwall, the picturesque town of Falmouth is increasingly developing a thriving water-sports scene. Plans were recently unveiled to bring powerboat racing to Falmouth, to draw more tourists. Former British champion powerboat racer Richard Carr comments.
Major tourist draw
Powerboat racing can really boost a town’s profile, For example, Scarborough recently played host to the opening weekend of P1, the nation’s largest powerboating competition. By agreeing to host this contest, Scarborough drew families from across the country to its many popular tourist attractions.
Consequently, powerboat racing can prove lucrative for local governments. The Welsh government, for instance, contributed £30,000 towards a race held in Cardiff Bay, earning returns equalling more than £7m. Citing this case as an example of how powerboat racing can boost tourism revenue, events promoter Paul Mitchell of Mitchell Racing recently revealed plans to bring the sport to Falmouth.
Powerboating in Falmouth
According to the Falmouth Packet, a local news source, Mitchell claimed that if a P1 powerboating event was held in Falmouth, it could attract up to 50,000 spectators to the town. Mitchell has asked Falmouth to devote £20,000 to his plans, arguing that this investment could deliver strong returns.
Explaining, Mitchell said: “Everybody wants to come and race in Falmouth. At other race events we generate between a 30,000 and 50,000 crowd, and a TV audience of 300million. We would very, very much like to put Falmouth on the map of international powerboat racing.”
Getting plans going
18 months ago, Mitchell submitted plans to bring 12 racing boats and 25 jet skis to compete off Swanpool Beach. Now, Mitchell wants to host an additional event for fast catamarans at Malpas, as well as a long distance race from Falmouth to the Isles of Scilly with “big offshore twin engine” boats.
Commenting further, he said: “Falmouth is the ideal place to do this, but it all needs money to push it through. We are looking for money from sponsorship and would like you to help with our efforts.” Elaborating, Mitchell noted that part of the attraction here “was the ability of crowds to line up along the promenade and Gyllyngvase beach where the race circuit could be kept close to shore.”
Mitchell also said that the event could be held every year. He proposed that it be scheduled in late June/early June, giving “a lift” to tourism when there are no other events. Mitchell also argued that his plans could hold educational benefits, as his team would be willing to help the local University and Falmouth Marine School in showing the boats to the public and with the engineering. He said that the event would bring around 60 boats to Falmouth, which could be displayed between races.
Supporting in principal
Falmouth councillors seemed receptive to the plans. Councillor Steve Eva admitted that it “seems like a great idea,” depending on whether it is financially viable. When asked by Eva about the £20,000 figure, Mitchell said that it would “make the event happen,” adding that “we would be looking to do it across a week: racing, and music throughout the town.” Responding, Eva said that “It’s something I would like to support in principal,” suggesting that powerboat racing could soon come to Falmouth.