SUNDAY sees the return of competitive powerboat racing to the Isle of Wight with the spectacular Cowes-Torquay-Cowes and the smaller Cowes-Poole-Cowes and Cowes 75 races.

With 40 boats already entered in this, the 59th year, the event promises to be one the most popular ever.

The 180-mile Cowes-Torquay race, starting at 10am, has long been recognised as one of powerboating’s toughest challenges, with comparisons made to motorsport events such as Le Mans.

The Cowes 75 will set off at the same time and will feature the Island’s Frankie Rose, piloting Vintage Torque, alongside Vee Ganjavian, who aims to notch up another great win following his heroics in last year’s Cowes-Poole-Cowes race.

Last year's race was particularly sweet, having won it in appalling weather conditions.

Rose, who has competed in powerboat events in Cowes since 2002, said: “I am thrilled to be competing where so many famous names have raced before.

“I expect it to be very competitive race, with all the teams in the class capable of taking the win.

"The course will take us from the start, off Cowes Green, down to the Needles and into Poole Bay, then around old Harry Rocks and out to Saint Alban’s Ledge and back to the Needles and Cowes.

"The course is 75 nautical miles long.

"Weather conditions for this year’s race look to be good and spectator viewing at Fort Victoria, Freshwater, or the Needles, providing a great view of the course.

"Depending on the sea condition, we hope to get back home just over an hour after the race starts."

Sunday’s racing will feature the final round of the UKOPRA World Championship, with the main race followed by the Cowes-Poole race at 10.15am.