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.
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.
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We welcome well written contributions from Website members on almost any aspect of Model Boating with a particular emphasis on practical hints, tips, experience and builds.
In order to maintain a consistent standard and format, all suggestions should first be sent to me by Personal Message for approval in principle. Only a very limited amount of time is available for editing contributions into a suitable format for placing on the website so it is important that the material is well presented, lucid and free from obvious spelling errors. I think it goes without saying that contributions should be illustrated by appropriate photos. I shall be happy to give advice on this.
The Member Contribution area offers space for short informative mini articles which would not normally find a place in Model Boats magazine. It is an opportunity for Website Members to freely share their expertise and experience but I am afraid that virtue is its own reward as there is no budget to offer more material recompense!
I look forward to receiving your suggestions.
Colin Bishop - Website Editor