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Welcome! This month we will conclude the write up of our visit to Skipsea Sands Model and Craft Week, go to the scale steering regatta at Bridlington, pay a visit to Maldon in Essex and finally begin modifying to electric power the Billings Karoline, otherwise known as the potato boat.

Skipsea Sands Model Boats and Craft Week

One area of the hobby that seems to be on the increase is the installation of miniature cameras on model boats. We have seen this for several years in model aircraft and at Brean Modelmakers week, but this year Dave Edwards had a system installed on his model of the Italeri PT596, Photo 1. This is a miniature security camera transmitting on 2.4GHz to a wireless receiver. Dave had bought the equipment, which was made in China, on Ebay.

As well as model boating there were other activities taking place during the week. Photo 2 is of Dave Abbott in action in the Sports Hall with his indoor helicopter. During the evenings, Dave is busy helping organise and judge the competitions on the swimming pool with Keith Garner. Dave was also kind enough to help out with the following pictures: Photo 3 is of Alan Argent’s Pershing Tank. Alan was ‘competing’ with Graham Breeze and Ian Adcock in a tank battle with Graham’s Sherman and Ian’s Tiger! All of the tanks were made by Tamiya and fitted with the Battlefield System – an infra red light in the gun barrel and a sensor in the turret. When the gun is ‘fired’ and hits the target, the sensor in the turret of the ‘hit’ tank is activated. The sensor is coupled to the electronic speed controller and reduces power to the drive motor in proportion to the number of hits received. So it isn’t just model boats at Skipsea!

The ladies had a busy week doing their crafts and Photo 4 is of the them and the results of their labours.

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Friday evening was time for the prize giving. With prizes for Tanker Towing, Mini –Ships, Ladies, Junior, Yachting, Club 500, The Grand Regatta plus the Bridlington Scale Regatta, there were plenty of very happy winners. To select just a few, Photo 5 is of Sarah Fencott and Mike Collins who won the Tanker Towing, then Photo 6 is of Aden Bradley the winner of both Mini-Ships and the Junior classes, and finally Christine Smith, Photo 7, winner of the Ladies trophy. Jim Worner is presenting the prizes. After being part of the Skipsea team since it began and the model boating activities at Primrose Valley in the years before Skipsea, Ann and Mike Finnis decided to call it a day, Photo 8. As a special ‘thank you’ the organisers presented them with a free holiday for next year and Chris Brookes and Jean Collins also made a ‘thank you’ presentation. Thanks to Dave Abbott for these photos.

To conclude the event, Jim auctioned off Boys and Girls Organiser’s caps which realised £64 and with other donations and collections made £240 for this year’s chosen charity, ‘Assistance Dogs UK’. As usual we had a super week mixing with friends old and new. If you want to try Skipsea for a model boating holiday, you can contact the site on 01262 468210 or email There is an event planned for November if you want a late holiday, details from Jim Worner 01423 862071, evenings only please.

Bridlington Model Boat Society Scale Steering Regatta

This event was organised for the Monday of the Skipsea week for the benefit of the modelmakers at Skipsea. Photo 9 shows a corner of the lake with the clubhouse in the background. Benches around this corner keep the models off the ground and are at a useful height for carrying out those last minute adjustments. Models sailing the course set off from the harbour area in this corner. Photo 10 is of Geoff Cundill’s Clarity setting out. Based on the Mountfleet Models Coaster kit, this vessel may be finished in either civilian or wartime livery.

Photo 11 is of Ian Yates’ Model Slipway Aziz. Ian has enhanced his model with the addition of cargo on the after deck. The harbour area can be seen in the background with the steering course beyond.

Paul Cropp had two of his models in use. The first, Photo 12, is Paul’s version of a RCMP Police Boat, Iroquois. Based on a vac. formed Pilot Boat hull and deck, the superstructure is built from plastic card and the model was built from photos. Inside the Iroquois, Photo 13, are two Electronize 543/23 electric motors, a single Electronize electronic speed controller, Futaba two channel radio and power comes from two 6v 4amp batteries wired in parallel.

Paul’s other model, in action on the water in Photo 14, is the Northern Guardian and as you can see, this is a Fisheries Patrol vessel. For this model Paul used an old Tyne lifeboat hull, a ply wooden deck with plastic card superstructure. The RIB was scratch built from pipe insulation and the handrails and aerials were made from aluminium welding rod. Inside, the model is propelled with two Buhler motors and uses a Robbe Rokraft ESC and Futaba radio. Back on deck, the crane in Photo 15, is a truck crane from an Italeri accessory kit. Thanks to Paul for the information and to Ian Phillips, the club secretary. We hope to be back next year if you do it again.

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A visit to Maldon, Essex

We arrived back home on the Saturday and as we were still in a holiday mood decided to pay a visit to Maldon on the Sunday. We were aware that there was a meeting of the Association of Model Barge Owners (AMBO) taking place on the lake in Promenade Park. When we lived near to Maldon we used to visit and sail there regularly, the downside being that the lake was salt water, being fed from the estuary. In recent years there has been considerable refurbishment and rebuilding of the lake and as we hadn’t seen it since the work was completed, it was another excuse for a visit. Maldon is also home to many full size barges, so this added another dimension to our visit. Photo 16 shows the lake with the nearby car parking. At the entrance to the lake is an information board, which shows the depth of the lake around the edges (150mm minimum) except for the launch area (at the bottom of the entrance steps) and the centre which is 900mm in depth. The AMBO members were having a practice sail before their race meeting began. Officer of the day, Ivor Bittle, is seen here keeping a close eye on the start line at the beginning of the day’s first race, Photo 17. As you can see from the umbrellas in the background, it wasn’t a very pleasant day so we decided to walk towards the town along the quayside. Photo 18 gives some idea of the number of barges and other vessels moored alongside. As we got nearer to the town the quayside brought us past these two barges, George Smeed and Betula, Photo 19. Including these two vessels, there were a total of eight barges alongside.

Another significant vessel moored at Maldon is the TID tug Brent. It used to be moored further up river and although it could be seen, access was difficult. Now moored alongside the footpath, Photo 20, it is much easier to take photos of the detail of this vessel. The Brent was built in 1945 and much has been written about the method of construction used for this type of vessel, notably welded steel plates, which could be fabricated in factories not normally associated with shipbuilding. The overall length of a TID was about 74ft (22.5m), with a beam of approx. 17ft (5.2m). Photo 21 shows the wheelhouse, the top half of which is wood on top of the steel main structure. Photo 22 shows the detail of the foredeck. The final picture, Photo 23, is of the classic lines of the vessel’s stern, showing the chine construction of the hull. Well, that concluded our visit to Maldon.

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Billing’s Karoline modifications

Some time ago I did a kit review of the Billing’s Karoline. This was known as the potato boat, fishing in the summer months and transporting potatoes in the winter. The model sailed ok but I wanted to be able to use it for scale steering regattas, so some modifications were required.

Photo 24 is of the model in its sailing configuration. The biggest drawback of the design was that when the boat heeled there was a lack of steering control due to the insufficient submerged area of the rudder. Photo 25 shows the original rudder. This rudder would also have to be replaced to accommodate the fitting of a drive motor and propeller. I could have fitted a ‘wing motor’ which would have its shaft emerge one side of the keel, but I did some research on the web and found several pictures of vessels with conventional stern drive but with a modified rudder, so I decided go for this option.

I had kept the original drawing supplied with the kit and fortunately this was full-size for the model, Photo 26. The first stage was to place a piece of drawing film over the plan of the stern of the vessel, including the rudder. I then roughed out an outline of what I wanted. As well as increasing the effective area of the rudder, I also allowed for a cutout area to accommodate the propeller. The position of the prop shaft was also included, Photo 27. From this rough sketch a ‘clean’ final drawing was created. The outline from this was transformed onto a suitable piece of ply and the new rudder was cut out on the jigsaw, Photo 28. The ply was slightly thinner than I wanted, but as the next stage was to clad it with strip wood, it didn’t matter too much. Photo 29 shows the rudder clad with strip wood prior to finishing off. When this stage was completed new hinge pins (pintles) were fabricated using those on the original rudder as a pattern. Photo 30 shows the upper and lower pins prior to being shaped to fit the rudder.

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Well, we’ll have to stop there. Next month a visit to Merstham and more on the Karoline modifications. If you wish to get in touch, please do so either via the editor or email Happy modelling!

(Karoline was reviewed in August 2005 Model Boats and at the time of writing is not currently listed in the Billings catalogue, but we have seen kits for sale on traders stands at shows fairly recently and it could well be re-introduced into their list – Editor)