STEWART RAE reports on the Chase Boat Race at Torquay, September 2008
Mark Copleys new CMB 67 powered Apache 50.
Torquay for AA-D Classes on the 28th September 2008, saw our second Chase Boat event of the season. Here we are then at the other end of the spectrum. Chase Boat One event (early season) had sunny spells and snow showers (well sort of blizzards, so Ive heard said), but for Chase Boat Two it was warm and sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky.
OMRAs second visit to Torquay this season came about after the cancellation of the two day event at Windermere, Glossop (Torside Reservoir) being the other single day replacement event as reported in last months Model Boats.
For those of you not familiar with the term Chase Boat, its a simple affair with the driver and pitman getting aboard a full size offshore powerboat (in this instance R.I.Bs), starting the model boat engine and chucking the model boat over the side into the sea, a quick nod to the R.I.B. pilot tells him you are ready and off you go through the start gate chasing your model boat.
Well, its not quite that easy as you have to make sure you are firmly wedged in as it can get quite rough out at sea and we dont want competitors falling overboard having to be rescued and so ruining what could be a quick race time! I remember very well the first time I was aboard an Offshore Powerboat, racing from Brixham to Torquay and back, taking some eight miles of pounding (it was a bit rough that day), so the old body felt a bit stiff with many bruises the next day.
Pitmen also have to be very careful when launching and retrieving the model boats, because rudders and propellers are very sharp. Rigid Inflatable Boats (R.I.B's) have inflatable buoyancy tubes, so the two dont mix very well. I think there was only one puncture during the day.
Normally OMRA competitors can park on the pier close to the steps at the far end near the Harbour entrance, but today of all days there was a National Laser dinghy race taking place offshore and they had chosen to park all their dinghies (some 150 of them) on the pier blocking vehicle and public access. OMRA competitors had been allocated a small area to drop off their models, but then they had to find somewhere else to park within the town.
It took sometime to weave our way through the dinghy camp to the end of the pier some 200 metres away. You try carrying an offshore model that distance, then going back for your ancillary equipment. Some kind person had provided half a dozen or so trolleys and as you can guess these were on a first come first served basis, so it was a case of awaiting your turn.
Officer of the Day, Tony Ellis gave his usual welcome and with a reasonably calm sea he expected some fast race times
The course would take us from the start point just off Haldon Pier at the Harbour entrance up to Thatchers Rock, round the rock and back to the start and finish line. Tony made drivers aware of Lobster Pot marker buoys on the far side of the rock, but even so some came back with tales of woe, reporting how surprised they were to see the markers so far out from the rock, or maybe they just went a bit too close to try to cut down on their race time. There are no lap scores in a Chase Boat event, as its down to the fastest time taken to complete the course.
An anomaly arose in this event, as normally DNF (Did Not Finish) competitors score two points in an OMRA Chase Boat race.
OMRA scoring gives 15 points for first place down to two points for ninth and one point for tenth place, but as there were more than ten boats entered in both C and D Classes this meant that any boat with a DNF could score equal to ninth or better than tenth. This was considered to be unfair, so for this event any boat finishing ninth or below was allocated two points. Im happy to report that this anomaly was removed from the rules at the 2008 OMRA AGM, so with effect from the 2009 racing season, DNF in Chase Boat events will attract nil points.
Four R.I.Bs were running as the chase boats. O.O.D Tony Ellis had managed to spread the competitor entries throughout the day so that those entering more than one model could take a rest between runs. A total of 46 boats had entered with C and D Classes proving the most popular.
Only two boats in this one with Andy Rennies Crusader 3 CMB 21 taking the top spot just over eight minutes in front of Alan Kingsley-Dobsons Force 21 powered Arrowshaft. These were not bad times considering these are the smallest and least powerful of the racing boats.
Young Luke Copley has had a very good season and today was no exception as he came away with the top trophy having scored a very creditable 8.56 driving his Challenger 48 CMB 45. Bernard Holder, Crusader 2 CMB 45 took second place with a 10.49 and Rob Gay over from Wales finished third with his CMB 45 Cobra (13.30). A bit of bad luck cost Andy Rennie (pitman was yours truly) a possible first place. We had rounded the rock and were on the home straight when the R.I.B. driver said this was going to be a very fast run, but a second later a pod of Dolphins appeared directly in front of us causing the R.I.B. driver to make an emergency stop with Andy slamming the Crusader 2 rudder hard to starboard to roll the boat over out of harms way. Dolphins are intelligent animals and Im sure a collision would not have happened, but the trouble is they are very inquisitive, so it was better to be safe than sorry. It took an age to restart the CMB 45, but at least a finish (14.12) was well within the time limit of half an hour with what has to be the most original and best excuse ever in the history of OMRA racing!
The top four places all had nine minute or more runs. Bernard Holders Magnum CMB 67 took exactly 9.00 minutes with Mark Copley posting 9.03 with his Apache CMB 67. I ask you - three seconds apart after four miles of sea racing, now that was very close. Richard Jordan drove his Warhawk CMB 67 to third place in 9.26 and another Warhawk CMB 67 took fourth, this time piloted by OMRA Treasurer John Kingsley-Dobson.
Another spot of bad luck befell Andy Rennie, this time his Magnum CMB 67 hit a patch of turbulent water dislodging his new hatch cover which promptly sank. Forgot to attach a floatation aid was his comment. This slowed his boat down somewhat as it appeared water spray was entering the boat and affecting the fuel mixture, but still it was good enough for sixth place.
Another close contest with the top two places being fought over by Phantom 145s both running CMB 91 engines. Mark Copley took the win with a 7.38 against Richard Haydocks 7.45. Bernard Holders Magnum appeared in third place, 8.24, and Kevin Hodges Ocean 52 CMB 90 took fourth posting a 9.38. Nice to see a total of seven different types of hull taking part in this, one of the fastest and most powerful of the OMRA classes.
Gary Darch loves his sea racing and is always on the winners rostrum, so no surprise then that he took first place with his Platta 40 powered Phantom 145 taking just 7.45 minutes and a half a minute in front of Phil Hatchers Phase Two RCMK 26. Well done Phil, where did that one come from? Phil aint had much luck this season.
On the water Paul Firmin finished his Spirit of Norway Mathe 35 in third place taking 8.56 to complete the course. It was later discovered that his OMRA membership fees had not been forthcoming for the 2008 season, so this result became a disqualification. This subsequently promoted John Smiths Zenoah 26 powered Stealth to third place and a welcome ten championship points. Ten different hulls were entered in the petrol powered D Class. Kevin Hodges had a DNF when his Mathe powered Makara refused the restart after a submerge and David Halls Spirit of Norway threw in the towel with a snapped flexishaft.
Now back to those Laser dinghies I mentioned earlier. Our racing was suspended for approximately 3/4 hour when the whole fleet decided to ignore our racing marks and position themselves right outside the Harbour entrance, hindering not only our race boats but also that of other water traffic, I did a quick search for a Laser race official to seek out an explanation, but could not find one!
Fastest time of the day: Mark Copley, C Class 7 minutes 38 seconds
Concours dElegance: Richard Jordan, C Class Moody Blue Apache
Our special thanks go to the Harbour Master and the chase boat drivers: Dave, Rob and Tony McCarthy and Dave Thomas.
Thanks also go to Tony Ellis (OOD) and his wife Ann (timekeeper) for looking after us. Next issue its the last of the OMRA 2008 season race reports from Penzance: Tide, what tide?
If you would like to know more about offshore model powerboat racing please visit our website at www.omra-uk.org or call the OMRA PRO Stewart Rae on tel: 07711 594063.
If you are looking for bits to build your boat our website links page is full of useful contacts/suppliers.
AA-D Class Results Torquay Chase Boat, 28th September 2008
Name Boat Engine Time
1 A. Rennie Crusader 3 CMB 21 11.36
2 A.K. Dobson Arrowshaft Force 21 19.46
1 L. Copley Challenger 48 CMB 45 8.56
2 B. Holder Crusader 2 CMB 45 10.49
3 R. Gay Cobra CMB 45 13.30
4 N. Bedford Crusader 2 CMB 45 14.02
5 A. Rennie Crusader 2 CMB 45 14.12
1 B. Holder Magnum CMB 67 9.00
2 M. Copley Apache 50 CMB 67 9.03
3 R. Jordan Warhawk CMB 67 9.26
4 J.K. Dobson Warhawk CMB 67 9.57
5 A.K. Dobson Warhawk OPS 65 12.19
6 A. Rennie Magnum CMB 67 14.49
7 R. Haydock Warhawk CMB 67 15.25
8 T. Ellis Warhawk CMB 67 21.59
1 M. Copley Phantom 145 CMB 91 7.38
2 R. Haydock Phantom 145 CMB 91 7.45
3 B. Holder Magnum CMB 90 8.24
4 K. Hodges Ocean 52 CMB 90 9.34
5 R. Jordan Apache CMB 91 11.49
6 T. Ellis Sea Eagle CMB 91 14.14
7 N. Bedford Ocean 52 CMB 91 14.57
8 J.K.Dobson Challenger 48 CMB 80 15.43
1 G. Darch Phantom 145 Platta 40 7.45
2 P. Hatcher Phase 2 RCMK 26 8.16
3 P. Firmin ***** Spirit/Norway Mathe 35 8.56
4 J. Smith Stealth Zenoah 26 10.05
5 M. Jorgensen Ocean 52 Zenoah 26 10.37
6 P. Snewin Makara RCMK 26 11.13
7 S. Locke Phantom 145 Zenoah 26 12.48
8 R. Gay Titan Zenoah 26 13.46
9 D. Wherlock Apache 56 RCMK 26 17.07
10 P. Locke Spirit/South Zenoah 26 21.44
Only those who scored OMRA Championship points are included in the results.
***** P. Firmin later disqualified, therefore all subsequent results moved up one position.
Concours dElegance: Richard Jordan, Apache - Moody Blue, C Class
Fastest time of the day: Mark Copley, C Class, 7 minutes 38 seconds