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28 October 2014

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You are in: Dorset > Sport > Extreme Sports > Zapcats in action

Zapcat boats rushing through the water

Zapcats travel as fast as 50 mph

Zapcats in action

It's fast and its furious! Find out more about the ever popular Zapcat racing in Dorset.

Recently the Zapcat Racing's National Championship got a rip roaring start at the ever popular destination of Bournemouth's West Beach.

Bournemouth provides the perfect playground for Zapcats. With its ever-changing conditions no day of racing is ever the same.

Spectators can get up close and catch all the action with Bournemouth' sandy beach and pier providing the perfect platform for watching all the thrills and probably a few spills.

What is Zapcat racing?

Zapcat racing is a high-speed powerboat sport. The boats, called Zapcats  unsurprisingly, are catamarans that have been fitted with 50hp engines.

They cut through the water at speeds up to 50 mph.

This of course is very nippy in terms of the speed most sea craft reach; your average ferry boat will only travel at around 30 mph.


Zapcats go for it

Rough and tumble

These guys (and girls) thrive on the rough conditions - the choppier the waves, the better the surf, and the more exciting the action.

At first it can be difficult to know what is going on, but with the boats fizzing around, bucked by the waves, it doesn't matter. It's a very entertaining sport!

Is it easy to get involved?

Zapcat racing is probably one of the easiest motorised watersports to get into, as the cost of purchasing your boat, licences and safety gear is arguably the cheapest of all the powerboat sports - you can be completely ready to race (equipment-wise) at a cost of £10,000.

That isn't to say that you yourself are going to be ready...


It takes a long time to learn how to drive a boat. You'll need experience of driving your average marina boat before you even dream of setting out in a Zapcat!

As for the co-pilot, well, according to David Drew who manages Weymouth-based Crownline Racing, there is nothing quite like actually getting in the boat and doing it:

"There is no training for a co-pilot - it's get out there, hang-on, stay in the boat and learn as you go round. If we get new co-pilots on board, we'll take them out around Portland harbour, throw them around a bit and get them used to getting wet and possibly getting out of the boat!"

Where can I get involved?

If you just want to experience being in a Zapcat, there are packages which offer you the chance to ride one as a passenger which are available.

For those who are interested in getting started, it is probably best to contact the Royal Yachting Association, or the Zapcats website, and they will be able to provide you with details of your nearest group/team.

Find out more about the season ahead and how to watch by visiting the Zapcats website:

last updated: 07/09/07

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