Speedonthewater.com contributor and Miss GEICO offshore racing team public relations/media officer Cole McGowan will be heading to the United Kingdom this month to compete in the Cowes Classic powerboat endurance race. The 23-year-old, Sarasota, Fla., resident will join the U.K.-based Blastoff Racing team of Dorian Griffin and Jack Weller in the cockpit of Pippa, a 40-foot vessel designed by the late Fabio Buzzi and powered by twin 750-hp diesel engines. Covering 220 miles of typically rough water, the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes competition is set for August 29 and celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
American Cole McGowan will join the Blastoff team in this open-cockpit 40-footer for the upcoming Cowes Classic endurance race. Photo courtesy/copyright Chris Davies.
“I’m extremely excited to take part in such an historic and illustrious competition,” said McGowan. “As I have found my way through this sport, Cowes stood out to me very early on as a challenge I wanted to undertake. This race is one of the last which reflect the true spirit of the sport of offshore racing, which is what made it so attractive to me.”
The team’s Pippa rigid-inflatable raceboat actually is a loaner of sorts as its primary Cougar R12 boat dubbed Argentum blew one of its Ilmor Marine engines in testing last week. Owner Dan Smith graciously made Pippa available to the Blastoff team as it does not have enough time to source parts and make repairs to the engine in time for the race.
Not only will McGowan be the only Class 1 competitor from the United States in this year’s Cowes Classic, he’s one of the few Americans to ever compete in the event. He’s also among the youngest.
In 2016, the Blastoff team marked its best Cowes Classic result to date with a second-place finish.
“Having known and worked with Cole for nearly 10 years observing his enthusiasm and seriousness for the sport, I believe he is prepared for whatever this race throws his way,” said Shelley Jory-Leigh, the Blastoff outfit’s manager. “As a team, we’re all very excited about this year’s competition.”
Added McGowan, “I’m eminently grateful to Shelley Jory-Leigh and Dorian Griffith for making this possible so early in my career. Likewise, I owe thanks to all of my supporters, friends and colleagues for helping me in this endeavor.”
Editor’s note: Cole McGowan is covering the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series for speedonthewater.com this season. The next and final race of the series is set for October 7-9 in Fort Myers Beach, Fla.