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Home Page for Tethered Hydroplane Racing


Season's bridle colour for 2019 is Brown and yellow.

All boats must carry correct registration numbers. All waterscrew boats must have effective silencers. 

Jan   July  
18-20 M E Exhibition Alexandra Palace. Hydroplane Club stand 7 Kingsbury Water Park 'Grand Regatta'
March   14 Althorne lake
17 Section Lunch.  21 Victoria Park Midsummer Regatta
April   29-04 Pazardzhik World Championships
7 Althorne Lake Essex* Start time 11am all meetings Cancelled August  
21 Victoria Park. Easter Regatta 4 Kingsbury Water Park Midland & Northern Area Ch
    11 Althorne Lake
May   18 Victoria Park inc Vintage, plus special trophies
5 Althorne Lake, Essex Cancelled 24 St Albans Speed at Kingsbury Water Park
12 Victoria Park inc Vintage 25 International Regatta at Kingsbury Water Park
19 Althorne Lake Sept  
26 Victoria Park inc Vintage 8 Kingsbury Water Park
June   15 VMSC Victoria Park inc Vintage
2 Althorne Lake, Essex. 22 Althorne Southern Area Ch
9 Kingsbury Water Park  Start time 10.30 all meetings October  
    6 Althorne Lake, Essex
    13 Victoria Park Winter Regatta
    20 Conference, MHC AGM. Holiday Inn, Elstow.

*With regards to the Althorne venue, the strength and direction of the wind plays a big part in whether we are able to hold the regatta. Please check before setting out.
Norman Lara, Tel mobile 07956 423410  or Steve Poyser 07771640132

What, Who and Where?  

What is tethered hydroplane racing

Modern tethered hydroplane racing offers competitors a variety of classes and options with which to pit their skills against the clock. The tethered hydroplane is a purpose built model, designed expressly for high speed on water using either an immersed propeller or airscrew. Boats are connected via a pair of wire bridles and a line of set length to a rotating pylon. This will give a circular lap of known length, usually 100 yards or 100 metres. There is no steering or any other means of control. The boat, be it a flash steamer, sport or vintage, powered by a large capacity home-built engine, a high performance commercial two-stroke, or even an electric motor is connected to the line and the engine started with a cord round the fly-wheel.

When satisfied that the engine is producing maximum power, the competitor launches the boat, aided by a rubber bungee. The timed laps are signalled by the competitor when happy that the boat is at its fastest. The elapsed time for the required number of laps is translated into speed and the head scratching starts over adjustments needed to achieve an even faster run next time. This is the quest that has continued to challenge participants in this fascinating sport of tethered hydroplane racing for over 100 years.

Attaching boat to the cable Launching Boat running on the pylon

Information Sources

Tethered Hydroplane Contacts
Plans, Rules, Bridles,
Technical information

Current Classes & Records
NAVIGA & National Classes
Waterscrew & Airscrew
Hydroplane Related Links
Companies, organisations and individuals providing items and services

Racing Related Articles

A3 Tethered Hydroplane
Performance and Building information
Roger James
30cc Hydroplane Motors
Building and developing 'A' Class engines
Lionel Lawley
Magazines and books relating to
tethered hydroplanes


Althorne Lake
Private lake situated to the south side of the B1010 in Althorne village, 1/2 mile past Station Rd
 gps 51.652018,0.768957
Kingsbury Water Park
Country Park off Bodymoor Heath Road Tamworth. Car Park charges apply
gps 52.561078,-1.700027 SatNav B76 0DY
Victoria Park
East London
Public Park. Limited parking at St Marks Gate off Cadogan Terrace, walk to lakeside.
gps 51.539596,-0.027981 SatNav E9 5EG

MPBA affiliated clubs with active hydroplane members

Model Hydroplane Club




Formed in the 1970s to promote the building and racing of tethered hydroplanes countrywide.
Contact: Sonia Collins. 020 8590 4318
email: modelhydroclub@btinternet.com
Retro Racing Club


The Retro Club was set up in 1996, primarily to cater for the vintage interest and incorporated the Rushden Club. Members running all classes of hydros.
Contact: Peter Hill. Ivy House. Main road. Great Carlton. Louth LN11 8JU
email arty.pole@gmail.com


Small group formed in the 1980s, solely to run tethered hydroplanes nationally and internationally, primarily NAVIGA classes.
Contact: Stuart Robinson 13 Church Road. Stevington. Bedford. MK43 7QB



North East


The club celebrates its centenary in 2010 and while not being able to run hydroplanes at their lake currently, still has a number of enthusiasts of long standing who compete regularly.
Contact:  heatonmodelboats@aol.com
South Shields

North East

Home club of Bob Kirtley, one of the world's leading exponents of high speed flash steam tethered hydroplanes and the current outright record holder.
Contact: Robert Kirtley 2, Datchet Road, Whitley Bay NE25 9UR


Formed in 1975 to take advantage of the newly opened water park. Members from other local clubs starting running hydroplanes in 1990.  High profile members, include Arthur Wall and John DeMott.
Contact: John DeMott, 3 Peckleton Rd, Kirkby Mallory, LE9 7QH


Welwyn hosted the last world championships to be held in this country, but have since lost their lake for hydroplanes. Home Club of John Hyder, current 'A' Class record holder
Contact: Philip Radford, 21 Home Close, Stotfold, Hitchin, Herts SG5 4DJ
St Albans


St Albans MES has a long history of involvement with tethered hydroplanes. Lake currently unavailable.
Contact: Roger Lane 27, Marten Gate, St Albans, Herts AL4 9NB


London E


Founded in 1904, The Victoria model Steamboat Club is one of the oldest in the country. A wealth of tethered hydroplane experience exists amongst the members, including current outright hydroplane record holder, Norman Lara and double record holder Ron Hankins.
Contact: Keith Reynolds email: VMSCvictoriapark@talktalk.net


London SE


Long established club with straight running and tethered hydroplanes remaining its primary interests. The Prince of Wales pond is no longer available so activities have moved to Victoria Park
Contact: Phil Abbott email: Blackheath-mpbc@hotmail.co.uk


One of the primary venues for many years, run by a core group of highly enthusiastic engine builders and competitors, now sadly without a local water.
Contact: Mike Rose. email: mikerose.cw52@btinternet.com
 B1 and B1 Sport Airscrews Three A Class flash steamers A/BR and B Class IC boats

Club contacts and web addresses correct as at 1/02/2018