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Pic 1: Happy winners all! Pic 2: The 2007 MPBA Scale Nationals course. Both rounds were broadly the same, but sailed in opposite directions. Pic 3: General view of the Wicksteed lake with several boats on the course. Pic 4: Some of the competing boats on the stands. Pic 5: An unusual steam plant installation. Pic 6: Roy Whittons tug Gribbin Head leaves the holding dock. Pic 7: Ian Walletts corvette Loosestrife in the Open Navigation class. Pic 8: Dave Nowlands Pilot Boat Fetch It. Pic 9: Jack Connellys Drumbeat of Devon. Pic 10: Dot Wilsons Scottish ferry Lochmor. Pic 11: Nick Brown entered his RAF Armoured Target Boat in Exact class. The armouring on the hull and cabin can be clearly seen on this interesting model. Pic12: Scale Secretary Steve Jones together with Keith Bragg on judging duty.

A report by Colin Bishop

The Model Power Boat Association 2007 Scale Finals were held at the excellent venue of Wicksteed Park, Kettering on 16th of September and were hosted by the Northampton & District Model Boat Club. The purpose built model boating lake is an ideal spot to hold major events of this nature, being located in the middle of a large leisure park full of family attractions to divert wives and children not directly participating in the serious business of running boats. Bounded by concrete edging backed by grass, the lake is only two feet deep which proved rather fortunate for a number of competitors during the course of the day. Following the dreadfully wet summer, the event was blessed with sunshine for most of the day although a wicked wind got up during the morning which caused a few problems later on.

The course and competition

The Northampton club had laid out a large and challenging course which took advantage of the whole lake and was designed to test both large and small boats alike. It has been some years since I last attended the Nationals and I was curious to find out how it might have changed. Well the rules and classes have been modified a bit, but the course principles seem to be about the same as before. It has to be said that the support for the scale competition has declined over the years as interest has shifted towards informal free sailing events, but there were still plenty of boats in evidence to demonstrate that core support for the MPBA competition is still present. However I did note that support for the Exact and Marquee classes was very low which was something remarked upon by Dave Abbott last year. It was also noticeable that a number of the boats seen this year were the same as featured in Daves 2006 report, which suggests that not as many new models are coming though as was the case in the past.

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Pic13: Dave Brumsteads Model Slipway kit Tsekoa took on some water but not enough to prevent him winning the Kit class by one point! Pic 14: Robin Lees Conserver negotiating one of the canal sections. Pic 15: Conserver entering choppy waters. She still managed a very close second to Tsekoa in Kit class though. Pic 16: Junior Antony Leslies HMS Ashanti. Pic 17: Dennis Hubbles Range Safety Launch makes a fine sight. Pic 18: Some hazards were more hazardous than others! Pic 19: John Fawcetts tug Nangee being rescued by a brave course judge and yes, he wasnt wearing waders! Both dried out successfully. Pic 20: Despite its diminutive size, Roy Whittons ferry Devonia shrugged off the rough conditions and romped home with first place in Exact class. Pic 21: Colin Bishops Reculver shipping it green before having to retire. Pic 22: Paul Freshneys Harbour Defence Motor Launch took first place in the Semi-Exact class. Pic 23: John Fawcett had more luck with RNLB Lily Wainwright, fourth in the Open Navigation class. Pic 24: Fred Goffs tug Saltwick Nab pooped as she took the seas abeam. Pic 25: Despite losing her superstructure, Saltwick Nab just made it to the bank with the interior of the hull awash. Pic 26: As might be expected, the lifeboats coped better than most with the conditions. This is Dot Wilsons RNLB Khami. Pic 27: Dot Wilson successfully docking RNLB Khami. Pic 28: Living up to its name, RMAS Waterman, piloted by Dave Evans, seemed to have few problems with the chop at the downwind end of the lake. Pic 29: Things were a bit calmer on the Mini Ships pool. Here is Tilly Castle with her Wee Spark which took second place. Pic 30: Paul Wigglesworth came first in Mini Ships with tug Lucky XI. Pic 31: Mini Ships have mini innards! Still room for a smoke generator maybe? Pic 32: Dot Wilsons Lochmor undertaking a tricky manoeuvre. Pic 33: Graham Castles horse drawn passenger vessel Vulcan which won the Marquee class and TSB Cup. (Pic taken by Dave Abbott at the ME Exhibition) Pic 34: Some of the MPBA silverware.

Staging an event of this type requires a lot of organisation and manpower and the Northampton club are to be congratulated on the effort they put in which was very much appreciated. The general atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly and contestants were obviously enjoying themselves. The only fly in the ointment was the wind blowing directly down the lake which increased during the morning to half a gale. This set up a very steep and nasty chop at the bottom end of the course which featured the main astern steering test. Boats were pushed off course and deluged with water which sorely tested their watertight integrity, especially the smaller models and the tugs and offshore support type vessels which had large hatches on their flat afterdecks. As a result, there were several outright sinkings, while other boats had to be rescued or brought into the bank for safety. My own coaster, Reculver, only just managed to make the bank as the receiver packed up with the after welldeck awash and the hull half-full of water. Modern electronic gear is pretty resilient however and once dried out the next day everything worked as normal, as I believe was the case in most other instances - it was quite exciting anyway. For the second round the rough water part of the course was omitted and the models still competing managed ok.

It was nice to see our Editor Paul Freshney taking a break from the day job and proving that he isnt quite ready to hang up his transmitter yet by winning the Semi-Exact class.

There was only one entry in the static Marquee Class, but Grahame Castles Gold award for the first Scottish iron vessel Vulcan was richly deserved, coming hard on the heels of his Gold medal at the Ascot Model Engineer Exhibition.

So, a very good day overall and I hope that the pictures capture some of the flavour.