Power boats' Cromer date

Annabelle Dickson Cromer's seascape usually features crab boats slowly chugging out across the waves.But that is set to change at the end of July when an extreme powerboat racing championship arrives on the quiet coastline.

Annabelle Dickson

Cromer's seascape usually features crab boats slowly chugging out across the waves.

But that is set to change at the end of July when an extreme powerboat racing championship arrives on the quiet coastline.

The Zapcat National Champion-ships, which could become an annual fixture on Cromer's calendar, will descend on the north Norfolk seaside town for the first time this year.

Thirty single-hull lightweight powerboats will compete in what is claimed to be the largest one-design powerboat competition in the UK.

Attracting crowds of 15,000 people each day in Bournemouth last weekend, it is hoped the high-adrenaline wave jumping and crashes in the sea will attract many spectators to the town.

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With the boats weighing only 75kg and packing away to fit into an estate car, the competitors can easily travel around the country.

Launched from East Runton, the boats will compete near the Cromer shoreline, making it a great spectator sport for those who want to watch the action closely.

Cromer's North Sea surf provides the perfect conditions for racing, according to Zapcat events manager Chrissy Winchcombe.

They have competed in Newquay in Cornwall and although the Cromer surf does not rival that of the south-west coast, the “lumpy” sea does make the racing interesting and there are always some good flops and crashes to add to the drama, she said.

Developed from lifesaving surf rescue craft, Zapcats are designed to cope with a huge variety of sea conditions, from flat-calm lakes to big breaking surf.

As well as the exciting spectacle, it is hoped that the attraction will bring benefits to the town.

Already the 30 competing teams and their supporters have booked accommodation and it is hoped the visitors to the event will bring trade.

Cromer mayor Hilary Thompson said it was brilliant for the town which was the ideal setting for the event.

She said the town council had been concerned that it would upset the fishermen but they had been asked and were happy with the event taking place.

Depending on the success of the event this year, it could become an annual fixture, she added.

Racing will take place between noon and 5pm on the weekend of July 26 and 27.

For more information on Zapcats, go to www.edp24.co.uk/dailylinks