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Our  Models

Virgin Atlantic Challenger I

Everyone was disappointed when the news broke that Virgin Atlantic Challenger I had hit an underwater obstruction and sunk, just a few miles short of the record. [Read more...]


Virgin Atlantic Challenger II

Inspired by Mr Richard Branson crossing the Atlantic in record time, we thought it would be nice to have a model of the Virgin Atlantic Challenger II. [Read More...]


H.M.S. Norfolk.

F230 Duke

Class Frigate.

A world record holder.

[Read More...]



Motor Torpedo Boat  [Read More...]


The 2nd World Record Challenge (2013)

H.M.S Norfolk.

Day 1 - Friday 21st June

I was up early as I had slept on the rear seat under the canopy (Ouch a bit squashed) then I ventured into the cabin to find Richard and Peter also getting up with some aches but cheerful all the same. We had a light breakfast as there was so much to do that morning before the off.

Battery Talk

Here you see on the right the formidable battery charging station. When we all arrived we erected the gazebo so that I could get the batteries on charge for the next 18 hours as this would keep them at nearly 100% fully charged.


I decided to give the Scrutineers and the back up boys a talk on how to charge and keep charged all the batteries.

The batteries have special connectors and I had to make sure that they understood how to use them.

This done I moved on to replenishing the model with batteries and how to install them correctly.

I had given a lot of thought about what type of connectors to be used and I decided to use the following types, EC5 & XT60 type.

Also we had to install the  batteries correctly and have the weight balanced every time we charged them. We had used soft foam to keep the batteries in place but I threw out that idea as they still could move around, so I made wedges from balsa wood and these seemed to be spot on!


Safety talk!!!

The Broads Authority required me to give a safety talk.

This was about wearing Life Jackets at all times on my cruiser and by the quay headings, also about Weil's disease that you might get if you had an open wound on your body, so you had wear gloves or use alcohol based Hand Sanitizer for your hands.

Also I had made up for all our personnel name tags on lanyards that had to be worn at all times. Well I knew I had gone white but I look like an old Friar Tuck from the back view!!

Last minute checks

What's to do then? Well it's the last minute tearing your hair job, that's what is!  Checking out my cruiser for water, drinks, food, fuel, clothing, life jackets and they should be on now. As the time of off is fast approaching. The next thing to do was to fire up my cruiser and moor it on the main quay heading and then put the HMS Norfolk into the water and install the batteries ready for the off.
Dave Leatherland had brought us 2 soft material type lilos for us to sit on at the bow of my cruiser.
The last minute check on the transmitter and Oh Boy it would not transmit to the model and Dave was looking VERY perplexed at this precise moment in time and he said "OH NOT AGAIN" and something like BL--DY electronics under his breath. So we had to do a systems RESET and then reset all the instructions for the model and this an took extra 15 minutes to do. So the start was delayed by 15 minutes much to the annoyance to everybody in the team. So the start was 15 minutes past Noon prompt.


We're Off!

As you can see Richard Flatt is flat out hanging on for dear life and Roger Black is holding a battery waiting for me to install the rear one.

This done the model was floated out to see that we had it trimmed out correctly and the batteries in the middle and that it was not leaning to one side, so we pushed it out for Dave Tedstone to take over.

It was up to Dave now as Peter Dorsett & I legged it to my cruiser.

Dave now controlled the model over to my cruiser and embarked.
We also had on board the Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club's photographer and he is John Skinner who would be busy filming,  taking photos and drinking tea & coffee.

Our Number 1 Driver Dave TedstoneOur Number 1 Driver Dave Tedstone

Our Super Phographer John SkinnerOur Super Phographer John Skinner

The Attempt now Starts

We're off with Peter guiding the model out into the river keeping just in front of my cruiser with CHEERS  from the crowd and Dave Leatherland at the helm of the cruiser for the first 2 hours 47 minutes.

HMS Norfolk awaiting the startHMS Norfolk awaiting the start
Dave Tedstone sat on the starbord side on the bow and Peter on the port bow side.

The first run was a VERY STEEP learning curve re the model boat speed and its distance from the cruiser. 

The model could not be too far in front and not too close, plus we had to watch out for other cruising craft, tide, current and wash.

Peter found it difficult for a while and made slow progress but with the guidance from Dave T he got there.

The model seemed to take the wash very well indeed, so this makes me think that Peter & I built it correctly.

The weather was overcast, breezy but not cold. A little later up the river it began to drizzle. There were a few cruisers near Waveney River Centre only.

The First lap.

Graham became the main dogsbody/Tea Boy for the 24 hours and with Peter doing his bit and I got the kettle on for tea and coffee!!

When there was no traffic on the river we kept mainly to the middle with a SHARP look out for other craft, hoping the other users would see our flashing orange light on the roof of the cruiser and slow down!!

Peter Dorsett on dutyPeter Dorsett on duty
Peter was made aware of the VERY hard old railway pier pillar in the middle of the river as we did not want anything to happen.

He sailed through without hitting it and on up to Boater's Hill Quay where John Morley recorded the time and this was 1350 hours.

After we had started on the return lap John phoned HQ to let them know we were on the way back.

The return was uneventful and we returned in 2 hours 47 minutes 56 seconds and 12.4 miles for that lap.

After a bit of trouble negotiating the narrow entrance to our quay for the battery change Peter made it.

We arrived back at 3.02 pm. It took 14 minutes to moor up and change the batteries and we hoped to get better and quicker as time went on.

Also we pumped out water that had come up the prop shafts. It was 45mm deep in the motor compartment and dangerously near our 24 volt motors.

Peter had come up with a SUPER idea of using his hand operated fuel pump as a bailer and this worked brilliantly!!

I said to Peter perhaps we should grease the prop shafts every time that we came in.

Peter now was on battery changing duties and Ken Stevens on Scrutineering duty.

The Second Lap

We got away at 3.23 pm after about 21 minutes changing batteries, greasing prop shafts and pumping water from bilges. 

It was on this battery change that we lost my little front radar arm that decided to fall off into about 5 feet of water NEVER to be seen again.

Oh what a sod!! 

Now Graham was at the helm of his cruiser Blithe and Richard Flatt controlling the model with Dave Tedstone by his side.

At this time the river was kind being flat and gentle with not many other cruisers. We recorded seagulls and swans that did not threaten the model and canoes.
Dave Leatherland said, "Where's the malt whisky?" and I said he would have wait until later so he said," That's not good," but I said it would cloud his judgement in everything.

Richard Flatt found the going good and he seemed to keep a good turn of speed.

When we arrived at the railway bridge pier he said, "That's not nice to meet on a black night". 

Little did he know that he would meet it that night.

Richard F turned at Boaters Hill Quay at 4.42pm for the return trip, arriving at HQ at 6 pm and now 24.8 miles were completed.

This lap was scrutineered by Roger Black.

The Third lap

At 18.00 hrs I had a very nice and friendly chap called Steve Wright to help me helm Blithe for the next 9 hours approx.

He liked lots of tea and lots of biscuits which we supplied with pleasure.

We started off again at 6.13 pm and David Tedstone said it had just started to thunder. "Oh Good I said!!!!"

The going was good with one or two cruisers going by, mostly slowing down when they saw the model and the orange flashing light on the top of the Blithe. We also came across one or two canoes as you see from the picture on the right.He didn't see us coming!He didn't see us coming!

We arrived at Boater's Hill Quay at 7.20 pm. 

An hour later we had a major power failure with the model stalling in the water just past North Cove.  It seemed we had low batteries.

Dave Tedstone had to get into his rib that was being towed at the rear of the cruiser and he paddled around to the model and proceeded to change the main batteries and this was a feat in itself, with Dave Houseago controlling the model.  I had to lean out of my cruiser with the heavy battery in one hand and holding on for dear life with the other and pass it to him. It was not easy at all!!

This took a little time to do but soon the task was completed and we were off again.

We also came across sea gulls, swans, cormorants and lots of little brown jobs flitting about.

David Houseago and Dave TedstoneDavid Houseago and Dave Tedstone

The Seagulls!!

It's about this time we came across a flock of seagulls sitting on the river in our path at Seagull Reach so I cried out to Dave T to "Man the Gun" and shoot at them  (Oh it's a water powered gun not a real one.) 

So he put a volley over their heads and with that they all suddenly took off. (it's on our DVD that was made for us by John Skinner, our photographer and it's a SUPER DVD).

We all arrived back at 9.04 pm.

The Fourth Lap

As we started off the onlookers and our crowd sounded VERY MERRY indeed, the booze must have been flowing well.

All right for some I thought!! 

The time was 9.25 pm when we moved off on the water, with Peter Dorsett at the controls and Richard Thurston by his side and they found the going good. The river was smooth and quiet, but punching the tide and going at a steady 4.5 mph.

The moon came out for a very short time to shine on Blithe, HMS Norfolk and the crew.

We were also taking up Nick Ward and Stephen Swanson who would be taking over scrutineering duty at Boater's Hill Quay through the night. We duly arrived at Boater's Hill Quay at 10.40 pm where we dropped off the boys and then turned to come back. John and Ann welcomed them to his narrow boat.

About a third of the way back Peter Dorset had problem in seeing the model in semi darkness so he asked Richard Thurston to take over from him. We also had seen a Barn Owl, a Reed Warbler, a Grey Heron and we heard a Cuckoo earlier in the evening. It is nice to spot the Cuckoo. We arrived back at 11.59 pm.