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Pic 1: General view of the Bluewater lake showing the large number of models on the water together. Pic 2: Colourful line up of Thames barges on the Chantry club stand. Pic 3: Close up detail on Thames barge Revival. Pic 4: The barge Triumph makes a fine picture as she gets under way. Pic 5: Just some of the large models on the Tugs ‘r Us stand. Pic 6: Impressive detail on an American LCT from the Dover club. Pic 7: Ready for action, the LCT heads for the beach! Pic 8: A very good example of the Deans kit of HMS Kelly constructed by Robin Lee of the Brentwood club. She looked great on the water too. Pic 9: An unusual Vickers Hovermarine multipurpose patrol and fire vessel built by the Chantry club’s Martin Oliver. Pic 10: Thames barge Centaur under full sail. Pic 11: David Petts, secretary of the Brentwood club with his diminutive Billings Lilla Dan. (An article on this static model conversion to r/c is in preparation – Editor)

Anyone bemoaning the supposed decline of model boating would have had cause to revise their opinions at the Chantry Club’s Open Day on 10th June. Over 150 boats were present at this relaxed annual fixture which was blessed with warm sunshine. Supporting the event in addition to the host club were the Brentwood, Cygnets, Dover, Herne Bay, Ramsgate, Southend, Southwater and Tugs'r'Us clubs.

The Chantry club are fortunate to have an attractive venue at Bluewater, Kent. Many UK readers will be familiar with this vast modern shopping complex which is set in an old quarry near the Thames at Dartford. Bordering the shops are extensive car parks whilst outside there are landscaped grounds, including several small lakes of which the Chantry club has the use of one. For wives and daughters becoming a little jaded with the boat modelling scene, a five minute walk offers opportunities for unlimited retail therapy which may well have a terminal effect upon the annual family modelling budget!

As with the Mayhem event a couple of weeks earlier, I was struck by the wide variety of models on show. Both quantity and quality were equally impressive and the effective use of the frequency board ensured that the maximum number of boats were on the water at any one time. The general atmosphere was very friendly and all the modellers seemed very happy to talk about their boats to anyone who asked. It was particularly pleasing to see such a large turnout of scale sail models including a colourful contingent of Thames barges which always look most attractive on the water.

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Pic 12: Four channel r/c gear for rudder, motor and sail control leaves little room inside Lilla Dan’s hull. Pic 13: Lilla Dan demonstrating that you don’t need to have a big model for it to sail well. Pic 14: Not all boats were fitted with radio control, but the host club are prepared for all eventualities! Pic 15: Susie, a very attractive motor launch which I hadn’t previously noticed, until she made her debut on the water. Pic 16: This resourceful gentleman was obviously responding to his wife’s request for the new handbag that she couldn’t find in the Bluewater shopping centre. Pic 17: These two ASRLs made an appearance during the afternoon, one with all the fire monitors in action. Pic 18: The P&O ferry Pride of Kent from Dover. The original is almost a local boat! Pic 19: Nothing like a bit of waterskiing on a hot afternoon! Pic 20: John Boyd’s tug was judged best power driven model of the day. Pic 21: Beautifully detailed wheelhouse on John’s model. Pic 22: Alan Woodroffe took the best sailing craft prize with his elegant ketch Lancer. Pic 23: The winners! L to R - John Boyd, Chantry Club Chairman Collin Barrett and Alan Woodroffe.

As this was essentially a non competitive event there were only two awards – best power driven model and best sail boat. The former went to John Boyd of Tugs ‘r Us for his impressive tug John B, while the sailing prize went to Alan Woodroffe, Commodore of the Southwater Club for his large ketch Lancer which looked beautiful on the water and sailed like a dream.

This was my first visit to this annual event and I very much liked the friendly, laid back and efficient organisation, backed up by the free tea, coffee and delicious cakes provided by the ladies without whom no event of this type could possibly function – and I do mean that most sincerely!

The pictures give some idea of the variety of models on display and it was very difficult selecting them from the 160+ pictures that I took during the day. Digital cameras are two edged swords, you take far more pictures than you need and getting the numbers down to fit the space available can be a painful process!

Attendance for clubs and individuals is by invitation via Colin Barrett, Tel: 01634 256682. The date in 2008 has not been fixed at the time of writing, but will most likely be around the same time in June – it really is a club orientated event with no trade support, but plenty of free sailing in a nice environment.