Bristol Docks are never completely calm, especially on a windy day. The wash from the models and other dock users reflects off the walls to create choppy conditions that cause drivers to ease off before the end of the long straights. The Bristol event was mild compared to the conditions encountered in Sunday’s racing at Windermere, with models really struggling to stay on the surface of the water. You can race on a flat calm pond any day, but for a real challenge try some waves.
OMRA/Dateline Marine Z class at Bristol, September 2nd 2007, by John Kerr
The Bristol Floating Harbour is a very interesting place. Redevelopment of the dock has provided much to see from the S.S. Great Britain to the transport museum and the new development of offices and houses with ‘ferries at the bottom of the garden’. There are many users of the water and the OMRA racing has to be arranged well in advance, with a ‘Notice to Mariners’ issued to keep the course clear. We race at Baltic Wharf, which is near the sea lock (to the tidal river Avon), by the pub and the campsite. The dock is fed by fresh water coming from above the tide barrier on the river Avon via a canal. However, around high water the sea lock is left open on free flow, making the water slightly salty. On this race day, despite a strong wind, the water was not particularly rough.
Two new bare hulls appeared at Bristol from the Weller stable. Keith has designed ‘Harpoon’ a 32in long winged hull and Paul has designed ‘Absolute Zero’ a more pointed version of his current Zero design with no wings. They should both be running before the end of the season, ready for 2008.
Dave Clay shot off into the lead in the first restricted heat with his Cherokee Chief II and set a target of 39 laps. Julie Hine was just about keeping in touch until she hit a marker buoy. Apparently she liked it so much she did it again, taking the prop off and stopping the boat. She finished on 32 laps as Jean Kerr passed her and went into second place on 34 laps. Clare Roger’s Delta Zero went completely out of control at the start. It was quickly fixed and back on to the water scoring 30 laps. Kelvin Bird’s boat was very slow at the start. It did improve as the race went on and he managed to pass Clare, but it was definitely slower than the speed it showed last year.
In the second race, it was me who gave the rescue crew rather more to do. I hit a marker buoy and broke a prop and later broke another in the middle of the straight. With only one more spare left we would have to be very careful. Gary Wilkinson’s similar Z-6 was also having handling problems on the bottom right buoy. Despite numerous spins he moved to equal second on 34 laps. Geoff Stent had a steady run to score 32 laps, which meant that behind Dave Clay it was all very close. Graham Turner had difficulty getting his Delta Zero to run as did Ted Aggett with his submerged drive Miami.
There was a moment of sheer panic in the first unrestricted race as a boat came the wrong way down the pit straight, narrowly missing Shannen Wilkinson’s Z-3, but hitting Chris Hine’s Z-2B directly in the side. This made a huge hole and his boat stopped. A speedy repair with gaffer tape kept some water out, but it stopped again before the end of the heat. Mike Knight deliberately stopped his boat when it spun and was heading directly for the dock wall. By the end of the race Kelvin Bird’s Cherokee Chief was leading on 34 laps from Mike Knight and Shannen Wilkinson both on 27. With Chris back on 24, his hopes of the championship were fading.
In the second group, Dave Clay, Paul Weller and I, all had problems and no one could touch Ted Aggett’s Miami that made 36 laps and took the lead. Steve Bond’s Cherokee Chief made 30 to join the leaders.
Lunchtime saw Bernard Holder testing a 3.5cc outboard powered Bandit cat. It was quite fun but unsuited to the conditions in the dock, often turning over or just being swamped by the waves. The restricted boats resumed their battle after lunch. After ten laps Jean Kerr was involved in a collision, which broke a blade off her prop. As she drove it in to change the prop it would not slow down, the throttle arm had broken off the carb. – end of her race! This is the second carb. failure she has had this year. The end of the heat was rather strange when Julie stopped, then Clare and then Kelvin. All stopping within feet of the finish line. With Jean out, Kelvin moved up to third by adding 35 laps. Julie and I both added 34 to take fourth and fifth places respectively. Gary added 33 to hang on to second place and Dave added 35 to make very sure of another win.
Boats were having a hard time in the unrestricted section. Keith Weller’s boat lost its top and despite the gaffer tape, the water kept getting in at the chine of Chris Hine’s boat. It stopped and was restarted several times. It was discovered afterwards that shards of the broken fibreglass had also blocked the bailer. Mike Knight also had a difficult heat, but they both added 31 laps. Shannen Wilkinson recorded the highest laps in this heat. Her 33 laps enabled her to take the third place trophy on countback. There was nearly a lot more broken fibreglass as crossing the finish line Chris Hine spun, Shannen took avoiding action and missed Mike Knight by millimetres!
For the last race the weather had calmed off. This encouraged people to go faster, but then the ferry came along! The wash caught out Steve Bond and then Paul Weller, both upside down. Spotting the danger Ted Aggett drove very carefully and managed to survive the waves. Later Paul’s boat flipped again and Steve was rather slow to get back on the water. The careful driving had enabled Ted to score a further 37 laps and take the win by nine laps! Kelvin Bird and Steve Bond added 30 laps to take second and fourth places.
Chris Hine’s boat is off to see the plastic surgeon and I must find some suitable metal props if the strength of my boat is to resist my poor driving. A new carb. for Jean gives me plenty to do before the next round.
Thanks to Bernard Holder and all those who counted laps and manned the rescue boat. Bristol is a great venue that always provides a challenge.
OMRA AA – D classes Windermere, Sunday 23rd September 2007, by Stewart Rae
This report comes to you from the Port of Funchal, Madeira. I’m aboard ‘Destiny’ one of Thompson’s cruise ships, we have the afternoon ‘off ’, a bit of a break from the many shore excursions. Time to lounge around the pool, with a beer and my notepad!
Wet, Wet, Wet - no not the weather here in Funchal (a rather sunny 28 degrees C) nor the pop group. I am of course talking about the weather conditions that faced me as I drew back the curtains at the guesthouse in Bowness on Windermere. If I remember correctly, this was to be the first wet race of the season for AA – D class boats, it was very windy as well, the direction of which would determine the state of the water down at the lake.
I said my goodbyes to the landlady and landlord and drove the few miles from the centre of Bowness to Windermere Powerboat Club at Storrs.
It was very wet and miserable and to top that, the wind was southerly and quite strong, the floating jetty looked like it belonged on a roller coaster, so it was going to be a hard days racing. Anyone venturing onto the jetty today would need to tread very carefully indeed, with the wet underfoot conditions making it more slippery than an eel on ice skates! (Where does he get them? Editor)
First job of the day was to don warm clothing, wet weather gear and waterproof boots, many gazebo’s and tarpaulins were being erected either next to or over car boots to protect the competitors and their race boat equipment. Alan Baldry announced half hour heats in each class, there would be no combined classes today as the entry was slightly down on the previous day due to breakdowns or boat hulls being damaged beyond overnight repair. Luck was going to play a part in today’s racing but more importantly would be the drivers and pitmans abilities to read the water conditions and use the boat throttles accordingly.
AA class racing got off to a good start with non other than Mark Copley leading the way with his Rossi 21 Challenger shrugging off the waves and zipping around the triangular course. Mark recorded a convincing 34 lap win, six laps ahead of second placed Andy Rennie running a sub drive CMB 21 RS Crusader 3 who was just one lap ahead of Robin Butler with another sub drive CMB Crusader set up and Alan Thompson finished in fourth, two laps behind Robin. Sarah Baldry’s Challenger gave up after one lap (if I recall correctly, it was a coupling fault) and Danny Bell was still down on his luck scoring just 10 laps and struggling to get his Challenger up on the plane, the prop just would not bite. Danny has had more than his fair share of misfortune this season, but as with all OMRA racers he takes the good days with the bad ones and comes back all the richer for it at the next race. One thing we have to thank Danny for this year is his OMRA racing videos that he has uploaded onto ‘Youtube’. The video of this race can be found in the entertainment category on ‘Youtube’ under Dannyomra85, ‘Wild Windermere OMRA Race 2007’ and was added on 30th September 2007, thanks Danny, much appreciated. Next out off the pits came ‘A’ class with Robin Butler taking the honours this time two laps ahead of Bernard Holder both running submerged drive Crusaders. Alan Thompson bettered his ‘AA’ class result by one position bringing his surface drive CMB45 RS Challenger48 home in third just a few laps in front of a fourth placed Nigel Bedford driving another sub drive Crusader. Tony Ellis popped up in fifth place one lap down on Nigel and Luke Copley was well down on his usual performance as water kept finding its way into the Challenger’s hull and slowing him down.
Just before lunch came the ‘B’ class race, the rain had eased - in fact it had almost stopped, yippee! The wind however appeared to be getting stronger.
Bernard Holder managed a very creditable 46 laps with his submerged drive CMB Magnum to take the class win and an easy highest laps of the day total, six laps in front of Geoff Thompson’s CMB powered Donzi. Tony Ellis finished in third place, one lap behind driving his CMB Challenger48 Pro which in turn finished three laps up on Richard Jordan’s CMB Warhawk. Next over the finish line came Andy Rennie driving his CMB67 Magnum followed by Danny Bell’s Picco67 Challenger48 Pro and Philip Baldry with his CMB67 Hydro powered Marlyn.
It was Geoff Thompson’s second win of the season with his Giant Apache CMB91RS in ‘C’ class with Robin Butler’s Giant Apache taking second place on countback by 0.3 from Bernard Holder’s third placed CMB90 Magnum. A very unusual position for Mark Copley was fourth place. Having checked my records for this season’s racing it is the first time that Mark’s CMB90 Evo Apache has been out of the top three in this very fast and highly competitive class. Tony Ellis’ CMB90 Challenger48 Pro finished in fifth and Nigel Bedford never made the start after damaging his Ocean52 propshaft the previous day. Bit of a shame, as this boat is now extremely quick after having had a few recent modifications.
Winding up the days racing were the ‘D’ class petrol boats, it had now become very rough and throttle control would make the difference between staying upright, flipping over or submerging under the wave crests. As it turned out, every boat required the services of rescue at one point or another. One boat made contact with the rescue and was disqualified at race end after a protest which handed the race win to Gary Pope’s Sikk27 Sigma 51 with 24 laps. Rob Gay over from Wales took second place three laps further back and Dennis Wherlock’s submerged drive Espirit finished in third. Kurt Cave, Simon Beament and John Smith all followed closely behind.
One comment I have noted on a Model Boating Forum (I think it was Model Boat Mayhem) was along the lines of ‘if the boats spent any longer in the air we would have to consider changing the radio to 35 MHz!’ I’m happy to report that everyone who entered the racing today went home with some championship points. Simon Beament accepted the Concours d’Elegance trophy for his Apache in Red Bull colours and Bernard Holder won the Windermere Trophy for the highest total of laps over the weekend of racing. Thanks again to the ladies in race control, Lesley, Sarah and Beccy, to Alan Baldry as O.O.D, Phil Hill and Alan Fawcus in rescue, Barbara Harrison for attending to our dietary needs throughout the weekend of racing and last but not least, all the competitors.
Trafford Model Boat Club
This is the ‘in’ place at the moment in Northern England, I have received the following information from Mark Wild and Kurt Cave who run the club up there in Manchester.
‘After a slightly longer wait than first envisaged, the website is now up and running at www.traffordmodelboatclub.co.uk. We have included a forum and would be pleased to see it used to its full potential. We are hoping to put on a race series next year for A-D class OMRA boats (separate from and not clashing with OMRA racing) with prize money being offered. The organisation of this is still in the early stages, but is looking promising. T.M.B.C. lake level will be lowered throughout the winter months, but should still be usable for model boating, updates will be on the website. We would like to thank everyone who has given us assistance, information and guidance over the last few months in the setting up of our new club and we look forward to seeing you there, contact details via the website, Mark and Kurt.’
One day, just one day I might make it to the Bristol Pairs meeting organised by the Pegasus M.B.C. down at Baltic Wharf, Bristol Docks. Work commitments seem to have got in the way yet again. Bernard Holder has kindly agreed to report on this event for me and indeed reports from Bristol next month - so thanks Bernard.
The ABC of powerboat bits - ‘S’
So many times boats can be seen upside down during an offshore race that it is perhaps surprising that they are not usually self-righting. Whilst mainly associated with electric racing, self-righting is possible with i/c engines – look at lifeboats for example. The challenges are to self-right quick enough to avoid blowing up the unloaded engine, maintaining the fuel flow to the engine and keeping the water out so that it keeps going afterwards.
There are two principles used to self-right boats and both make the boat unstable when upside down. The ‘lifeboat’ approach requires a relatively tall superstructure. This is the approach used in the Riptide and Z-2B boats, which have been nick named ‘double-decker’ due to their tall profile. The drawback with this approach is that a tall boat is less stable when upright, which is a disadvantage for most of the race.
The alternative approach is to use a flood chamber along one side of the hull. This fills with water through the deck when the boat is upside down leaving only one side of the hull buoyant. Following righting, the chamber empties through an open transom once forward motion is resumed. There have to be enough holes to let the water in and the air out, so that the chamber fills quickly, whilst retaining enough strength is the hull.
Keeping the water out can be achieved by having a water-tight lid with a series of water traps in the air intake that drain when the boat is upright.
Come racing and you could be a national champion!
To take part in OMRA races you have to be a member. All the information and membership forms come from the website www.omra-uk.org or just contact one of the committee: Chairman, Kevin Jones, 5 Kenrick Square, Bletchingley, Surrey RH1 4PU; 01883 743477; firstname.lastname@example.org: Secretary, Alan Baldry, 7 Hyde Way, Wickford, Essex SS12 9BH; 01268 462640; email@example.com: Treasurer, Martin Golder, 12 Norfolk Way, Canvey Island, Essex SS8 9TJ; 01268 449246; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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