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There is a low res image attached: Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Shelley Jory will race together as Team Scorpion in this year’s Cowes-Torquay-Cowes Race. Photo: Nikki Drummond
SAILING LEGEND SIR ROBIN KNOX-JOHNSTON WILL COMPETE IN THE GREATEST OFFSHORE POWERBOAT RACE IN THE WORLD : THE COWES-TORQUAY-COWES RACE – AUGUST 29th 2009
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first sailor to circumnavigate the globe single-handed and non-stop on his yacht Suhaili back in 1969, has today announced that he is teaming up with the world’s top female powerboat champion, Shelley Jory to take on the longest and toughest one-day endurance powerboat race in the world, the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes on 29th August.
- THE TEAM
Racing as Team Scorpion with Shelley as the Driver, Sir Robin, an icon of the sailing world, Chairman of Clipper Ventures plc and now aged 70, has never before experienced powerboat racing but jumped at the idea of being Shelley’s Navigator when she first suggested it to him just a couple of weeks ago.
“When Shelley asked whether I would like to navigate for her in the Classic Cowes-Torquay-Cowes powerboat race, it took one second to accept. This is something I have not done before so naturally I want to find out what it is all about. This will be fun with the spice of competition,” says Sir Robin.
Shelley, a spring chicken at 39, is currently competing in the Powerboat P1 World Championships in the first all-female team to race at this level. So what prompted her to sign up for this race and then invite a total novice (to powerboat racing), to accompany her?
“I had this wild idea whilst preparing for my next P1 race that I really wanted to compete this year in my own country and what better race to do than the CTC (Cowes-Torquay-Cowes). I knew I needed an excellent endurance boat and it was a no-brainer; it had to be a Scorpion. I have raced against record-breaking Scorpions such as Hot Lemon and Seahound for many years and I was very impressed with the way the all-girl team handled the Scorpion Dubois Sting in last year’s Round Britain Powerboat Race,” says Shelley.
She tracked down Patrick Byrne who owns Scorpion RIBs and they immediately hit it off. She knew she needed a good navigator and who better than the most famous navigator in the world with whom she had been sharing a BBC Radio studio over the past two years? Shelley’s co-presenter on BBC Radio Solent’s Friday evening programme, H20, is Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. She admits that she wasn’t at all confident that he would accept her ‘off the wall’ suggestion but Sir Robin agreed instantly and asked when they could start training!
Shelley continues, “So for my 14th consecutive Cowes powerboat race I have a very keen novice on board and the best endurance boat on the water to get us to Torquay and back.”
- THE BOAT
Team Scorpion is entering Motor Cruiser Class G (#R14) in a 10 metre Scorpion Sting, a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) known for its excellent fuel economy, comfortable ride and ability to maintain a racing speed of around 50mph.
Shelley is feeling pretty confident about the team’s chances in a fleet of 40-50 boats as this is the same model that successfully completed last year’s Round Britain Powerboat Race as Team Scorpion-Dubois with Sarah Fraser and Miranda Knowles bringing the Sting Rosy B home in 12th place overall and 4th in class.
As Shelley quipped when asking Scorpion’s M.D. Patrick Byrne if she could ‘borrow’ one to do this race, “Scorpions seem to perform especially well for women drivers.”
- THE TRAINING – Preparation includes taking the HUET or ‘Dunk Test’
Shelley has organised a tightly packed training schedule to get Team Scorpion fully up to speed, literally, with some calm and rough water racing in the Solent. The Team completed the ‘Dunk Test’ or HUET (Helicopter Underwater Escape Training) at Andark Diving last weekend which, although not essential for this type of open canopied racing, is a definite safety procedure that all racers should take according to Shelley.
“You are put into a simulator in a swimming pool, turned upside down, drowned and taught how to survive and it really is a must for anyone playing or racing in fast boats,” she explains.
Team Scorpion will be equipped with Headcams to capture every heart-stopping moment of this endurance race as their boat hurtles across the water in the hands of its champion driver. The start is at 10am off the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes and, all being well, it shouldn’t take them longer than three or four hours to complete the voyage and return to the safety of Cowes Harbour giving them plenty of time to get to the Prizegiving at the Royal Yacht Squadron at 6pm!
In addition to Scorpion RIBs who are providing the boat and necessary safety equipment and training opportunities, Team Scorpion would also like to thank Raymarine for their sponsorship and Sir Robin will be navigating the Sting using the Raymarine E120; Andark Diving and Watersports for the HUET (Dunk Test); Predator for the VX360 Headcams and DS Neptune Developments for the race helmet intercom system.
– ends –
Notes to Editors:
A high-res version of this image is available on request from Peta Stuart-Hunt. New images of Team Scorpion training on the Solent will be also available shortly.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston
On 14 June the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race started at Falmouth Cornwall. Robin Knox-Johnston rounded Cape Horn on 17 January 1969, 20 days before his closest competitor Bernard Moitessier who abandoned the race. Thus, Knox-Johnston became the first man to circumnavigate the globe non-stop and single-handed on 22 April 1969, the day he returned to Falmouth. He donated his prize money to the family of Donald Crowhurst, who committed suicide during the race. He completed his second solo circumnavigation of the world in the yacht SAGA Insurance on 4 May 2007, finishing in 4th place in the Velux 5 Oceans race. At 68 he was the oldest competitor in the race. http://www.robinknox-johnston.co.uk
Business woman and British Powerboat Champion, Shelley Jory is one of the UK’s leading powerboat racers and the world’s top female powerboat racer. Shelley, from Hampshire also runs a successful family bridal business – a far cry from the world of powerboat racing. She has made history once again this year heading up the first all female team to enter the Powerboat P1 World Championship series. Partnered by Maltese throttlewoman Audrien Ciantar the ladies of Team Iko Casa have shot to the top leaving most of their male competitors in their wake. Racing a 41 foot Chaudron in the Supersport class with a pair of 525 EFI V8 Mercury’s, the ladies took their first Grand prix win in Istanbul, Turkey.
Shelley is looking for a world championship to add to her trophy cabinet and will not stop until she gets it. A classic example of Girl Power, she really is a woman in a man’s world.
Scorpion RIBs Ltd, based in Lymington, Hampshire, is a fine example of a British company producing a first class product using British design, British craftsmen and British manufacturing skills. The brand is widely recognised for setting all the industry standards to produce high-end, bespoke cruising and performance RIBs. Scorpion will launch a range of production boats at this year’s PSP Southampton Boat Show in September.
The Cowes – Torquay – Cowes Race
This Race was launched offshore powerboat racing as a sport in Britain in 1961. Initially sponsored by the Daily Express newspaper, its success encouraged several countries in Europe and the Middle East to follow suit. It can rightly claim to have introduced offshore powerboat racing to the rest of the world, outside the United States where the modern sport was launched with the first Miami-Nassau Race in 1956.
When the Union Internationale Motonautique, the world governing authority for powerboat racing, introduced the World Offshore Championship in 1967 as a memorial to Sam Griffith, the American founder of modern offshore racing, the course was found to be too short at 125 miles to qualify as a championship heat. The race format was therefore changed and instead of finishing at Torquay, the fleet returned non-stop back to Cowes, a pattern that remains to this day.
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