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Venture Cup Powerboat Race Forecast As 'Big Irish Maritime Event'

13th April 2016
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Vector Martini speeding under Haulbowline Bridge Vector Martini speeding under Haulbowline Bridge

It isn’t often that I am told “she is a beast of a boat…” with admiration in the voice of the person describing the boat to me. However, when she has over 2,000 horsepower to get her moving, it is probably a fair description because when the boat I was looking at moves, it travels very fast, it really goes. Aidan Foley was the man describing it to me. He is primarily responsible for what will be one of the biggest maritime events around the coast this year, in a season when the Round Ireland Yacht Race and Cork Week are also scheduled. Scroll down to listen to the podcast below.

To achieve that, it must be really something and that Cork has been chosen as the starting point for what is a world event is a great boost for Ireland in marine recognition internationally.

Aidan conveys confidence and ability about his task: “Half the organising team is Irish, so we are well equipped for what we plan to do.”

What they intend is to bring out crowds in Dingle, Galway, Killybegs, Belfast and Dublin, in addition to Cork where, when the Venture Cup was announced, the sound of two powerboats blasted across Cork Harbour from the seafront and made a spectacular sight, particularly when I saw one of them round the Naval Base on Haulbowline Island and speed under the bridge to the mainland. That will also be part of the special in-harbour racecourse before the powerboats start a race that takes them around coast to Dublin. The demonstration and the racing itself is planned in conjunction with port and local Council authorities and designed to provide spectator sport around the coast for up to what the organisers say could be a million people during the week-long event.

The powerboats I saw are powerful machines, though I wondered about the pummelling the bodies of drivers and crews will take along the West Coast. From Dingle to Galway, onto Killybegs and around the top of Ireland came to mind as likely  tough locations for them, from my days offshore racing in the Round Ireland and the Round Britain and Ireland races.

Powerboat racing is physically demanding, the racers said. I can believe that as they power through, off, above and into waves. The shocks to the body can be considerable. But is also a hugely exciting, demanding and, of course, by its nature very fast sport and, yes, as they told me, potentially dangerous, so it demands experience and concentration on safety at speed in the water. The boats carry liferafts and, when I asked about the numbers on the bow of the boats, some of which appeared to be upside down, the laconic answer was “so, they are right side up for recognition and rescue if needed, should the boats go upside down!”

The Venture Cup is forecast to be Ireland’s “largest public, free event” this Summer, starting with the Cork in-harbour race on Sunday, June 12, with the first leg the following day, Monday, June 13, to Dingle and finishing in Dublin on the following Sunday, June 19. “Twenty-five teams from across the world will participate in the official World Cup for Offshore Powerboat racing and it will be broadcast globally,” the organisers said. Celebrity drivers will be in the boats, Bruno Senna and David Gandy amongst them on Vector Martini Racing and adventurer Bear Grylls as part of the support team. It is one of the favourites to win. Last year the Vector V40R race boat broke four speed records on Coniston Water and retained the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes race title, with a maximum speed of 135mph. These boats are built for offshore racing, Aidan Foley told me in this Podcast interview, when I asked him about the race after the boats leave Cork and he also told me that a male model, surprising as that might seem, will be crewing on the powerboats around Ireland.

Published in Island Nation

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