Cinzano vs. Martini

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Words by: JPS for duncan quinn

The Cowes-Torquay-Cowes powerboat race, aka the Cowes Classic

organized by the British Powerboat Racing Club, is the longest-running offshore powerboat race in the world. It’s also one of the coolest sporting events for sea-going gentleman racers anywhere on the globe – the motorized equivalent of Les Voiles de St.Tropez, or perhaps an oceanic Le Mans. About 20 boats of various vintages compete each fall in the 200-mile race, long recognized as one of powerboating’s toughest challenges, with winners completing the course in under three hours, weather permitting. The classic livery on some of the boats alone is well worth the price of admission.

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Take the drop-dead gorgeous Cinzano 588 for example, or the Dry Martini, both fitting homages to the iconic aperitifs not to mention blindingly fast. The Cowes Classic was originally founded in 1961 by dashing British newspaper tycoon and World War II fighter pilot Sir Max Aitken, son of Lord Beaverbrook, who based it on the Miami-Nassau Powerboat Race that began in 1956. “The race became the leading race in Europe, if not the world,” notes powerboat racing expert Ray Bulman, “and internationals say you haven’t really achieved anything unless you’ve competed and finished the Cowes-Torquay.” Well see you there, old sport.

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Words by JPS for duncan quinn