In the middle of April, I got to enjoy watching some Thundercat Racing just off Bournemouth Beach.
Thundercat racing is at grass roots level and is one of the cheapest forms of speed racing you can do, apparently a tank of fuel will last a whole days racing. You have to be over 17 to become a driver but co-drivers can be as young as 16. You do need to have a RYA Powerboat Level 2 Qualification and undertake specialist Thundercat training but otherwise anyone can join in.
There was so much plastic to be spotted, from the polyester promotional flags...
... to the PVC inflatable ribs of the semi-rigid boats themselves.
The water proof clothing, wetsuits, and equipment including the buoyancy aids and helmets will have all been made of plastics materials with varying properties to keep the drivers and co-drivers warm, dry and safe.
The boats start the race in the water with the co-driver in place and the driver standing in the sea. When the starting signal is given the driver jumps in and starts the engine. Without a good start you could easily get left behind.
The beach wasn't complete closed and some paddle boarders were escorted past the race by the stewards on jetskis.
I suspect that even the chequered flag, that signalled the winner, was either nylon or polyester.
The Youtube video below belongs to John Kerrisk and was filmed in New Zealand but it shows the speed and height off the water that these boats get to.
Find out more about Thundercat Racing on the official website. The next race is at Fistral Beach 14th-15th May.
Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)