25 boats will cross the start line this weekend for Britain’s 2021 offshore racing season opener on the south coast of England, the race will be held under the sanction of the United Kingdom Offshore Powerboat Racing Association (UKOPRA) and is due to start at 12:30 on Sunday May 30 from Bournemouth Pier.
The Poole Bay 100 event has attracted an impressive line-up of Classes 1 and 2 entrants while Class 3C will be the most competitive category for the smaller craft.
RIBs in Class 1
Making their offshore racing debut in the top class will be Daniel and Shaun Bentley with Tom Yaldren.
The team will be racing an Artic Blue 37 RIB, a slightly unconventional choice, however, there is a good reason behind this.
They are currently in the process of fully restoring a 40′ Planatec, formally known as Double Two Shirts. Once they have finished fitting new Mercury power units to the GRP hull the hope is to use the Don Shead designed boat in the second round of the UKOPRA championship in Guernsey.
Two other RIBs are on the entry list in Class 1, last year’s Poole Bay 100 winner, Pippa (above), will this year be crewed by Dan Smith and Jack Weller although missing from the cockpit will be Dan’s father Andy, who sadly passed away earlier this year.
Shelley Jory-Leigh, Dorian Griffith and Will Stevens have swapped their quiet diesel powered Fountain for the noisiest boat on the south coast, the trio have been testing their Ilmor powered Cougar on the Solent recently and have topped both the ton and the decibel readings in Southampton.
The RIB’s will be up against the Cigarettes of Christian Toll and Richard Carlton, Scott Younger and Rob Lockyer’s Dragon and another new team to the series, Gary Aldington and Nick Spenser, who will be racing the FB Design Vintage Torque.
3C was once the most popular offshore racing class in Britain, and six boats have signed-up for the rebooted discipline this season.
It will be a first time out for Rodney Hawkins and Darren Elliott in the UKOPRA championship series with the other teams established regulars including veteran racer Peter Clarke in a Mercury / Phantom package.
Father and son team, Thomas and Brian Pelham have entered their trusty Beaver Returns into 3E while in 3D, Glynn Norvall has recruited camping enthusiast and 2019 Guernsey Gold Cup winner, Andy Hiscox, for social media opportunities and some occasional navi-guessing.
The Class 4 boats will be racing over the same 71.4 nm course as the Class 3 competitors with the oldest boat in this section being the Bertram of Hugo Peel, Johnny Raymond and James Gaggero – Thunderstreak.
Yet another new team, brothers Marcus and James Dodd will be in a Mercury powered Chris Parsonage catamaran and father and daughter, Brian and Nicole Peedell, team-up with David Salter in Hell’s Angels, the Hunton that was raced by Fiona Gore, Countess of Arran.
The boats can be viewed at Poole Quay from Friday until Sunday where they will be scruitineered and the drivers will be briefed for the race.
There will be a shakedown practice on Saturday with a start time of 14:30 from Bournemouth Pier and the championship race is set for 12:30 on Sunday.
Racing Instructions can be viewed here.