International Model Lifeboat Rally
DAVE WOOLEY reports from Etherow Country Park 26th June 2011
A bit of history
Historically, when called the National Lifeboat Rally, it had been held for many years at Southport, initially as the brainchild of Des’ Newton and it raised a lot of money for the RNLI, sufficient for two D class inflatables. Sadly it suffered a demise, but after an absence of a couple of years it was reconstituted in 2010 at a different site as the International Model Lifeboat Rally and has done rather well. Etherow MBC can boast of having two excellent sailing waters and currently has a membership of over 150. The club supports all sectors of the hobby including yachting and is clearly a dynamic group of model boaters.
One of the most appealing of entries and generating a lot of interest, was Andrew and Margaret Chandler’s supremely entertaining ‘bear’ crewed RNLI Atlantic 21 on a trailer and towed by a DUKW. The Atlantic and its crew were towed down the slipway into the water, then the lifeboat was free to make its own way and off it went with a real turn of speed, a good performance all round. This was a real crowd pleaser for both the young and old.
Another unusual entry, which certainly made the judges think hard, was a spectacular piece of engineering in the form of a one quarter scale Talus launching tractor built by William Power. This was an amazing entry, accurate in every detail to the full size counterpart. Only the power plant was different, an electric motor replacing the 210hp Caterpillar diesel engine. Apparently this model Talus tractor took 19 years to build and when one just looks at the winch and internal cab detail I can understand why. It is worth noting that the cab on the full size tractor is watertight. Entered in scratch the judges could only award the Talus a third place. Why? Well it was not a lifeboat and the rules said ‘lifeboat’! Nevertheless, this amazing model was awarded the John Docwra Trophy by the RNLI as their choice of winning model. The Talus was not the only tractor on display, others being part of boat launching trailer combinations. Apparently there is a strong indication that there will be some form of recognition for lifeboat towing vehicles and the launching carriages next year.
The Aerokits Charity Shield for Best Kit went to Ken Pheasey with his excellent Waveney class The Scout 44-018, the original being stationed at Hartlepool from 1977 to1997.
Models of lifeboats such as the classic Arun class look superb both on and off the water, but the first Arun was not identical to the production versions, having a straight sheer line and a very different superstructure to that of those we are familiar with. Arthur Barlow is building this unique craft and no doubt it will generate a lot of interest, if not controversy. This original Arun served briefly at St. Peter Port, Guernsey from 1972 to 1973, then at Barry Docks from 1973 until 1997, before being sold out of service and renamed Arun Adventurer.
Downside? Well none really, other than perhaps a bit more pre-event publicity to further boost numbers. Dates for 2012 are 23/24 June and the host club’s website is: www.etherowmodelboatclub.co.uk.