Established 1924


Straight Running Section
Long before the introduction of radio control, models were mostly sent around in circles or across the pond and nudged back the way they came by the owner or a friend. The other main activity of the day was ‘Straight Running’. This form of model boating was designed to test one’s skill at steering a straight course, which can be easier said than done with any size of boat. Wind direction, wind pressure on your boat, currents, back wash and other influences of the day contrive to produce an unwanted curve. Propulsion can be by steam, electric and many forms of i.c. engine.

The present day setup includes four classes: Scale Boat/Ship; Wedge; Functional; Metre. To compete, a competitor positions their model boat between two start buoys and aims at a set of gates approximately 70 metres away. Passing between the centre pair has a value of 10 points. The other gates either side have diminishing values of 9, 8, 7 and so on. Three runs are normal and the scores are then totalled to give the placings. Apart from a model boat, the only other piece of essential kit is a pair of full length waders and perhaps a hat!

This well established form of boating is practised throughout the UK, with area qualifiers and a grand final, plus club and grand regattas. There are also fun days, trophy events and knockout shields. Some of the MPBA silverware has been competed for since 1924.

Dave and Ken went to St. Albans on the 15th May 2011 to report on a Southern Area Qualifier. The day was a little cold with rain in the air, but this did not stop the happy bunch from donning their waders ready to spend a considerable amount of time in the water adjusting their boats prior to going for a maximum score. Age and gender holds no barriers for this discipline and they follow the best traditions of the hobby.

And at Mayhem?

The Model Boat Mayhem weekend at Wicksteed Park in May 2011, gave the MPBA a chance to demonstrate to a wider audience just what Straight Running was all about. A standard course was laid out by Phil Abbott and Dave Jones so they could run a selection boats with different engine types over the two days. Although straight running has its serious side, there is always room for a light hearted approach at times, hence an unusual dress code on the Sunday of that weekend!

Clubs can have a go at this using any type of radio controlled boat. Just set a course and allow the boats to remain under radio control until level with the two start buoys, then no further rudder adjustments until the boat has passed the through the scoring gates. If the idea takes root, the Straight Running Section of the MPBA will happily give you help and advice to build or alter your boat to comply with any of the four class types and ease you into competition. The MPBA Straight Running Section Secretary is Keith Reynolds.


MPBA website:  

Ken Gould:                 

                                                tel: 01582 662735

Dave Abbott:             

                                                tel: 01582 503961

Keith Reynolds:        

                                                tel: 01784 458692