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Who’s who in tethered hydroplanes.


Stuart Robinson

Stuart is well known in both the tether car and hydro world, having been involved in all layers of both disciplines. He has held World and British records, was secretary of the Hydro Section of MPBA, Vice President of Naviga, and President of the MPBA. Stuart currently works as the British International Secretary, and also as an International judge, a position that has taken him to Europe, the Eastern Block and China.  Apart from last year, he has attended every meeting since 1967 either as a competitor or a judge.

How did you start in Hydro’s?

It all started with my dad taking the family to Eaton Bray.  Real interest in the modelling started when I was 11 and bought a Nordec. Bedford ME Soc arranged a coach trip to Victoria Park Lake, which was the first time I saw hydros. Visited St Albans and spent about 18 months going round all the regattas. Dick Phillips sold me his home built C class boat and engine named ‘Foz’. The challenge was to get it to go quicker than Dick had. Spent a lot of time hunting for a McCoy 60 engine, found one eventually in Graingers in Walsall, cost me £12.10 shillings. Arthur Wall joined the same time as I did and it was a battle between us to see who could beat the 100mph mark. Managed a 98mph in Germany with a Super Tigre and then three weeks later at Woburn I clocked the 100 but Arthur had beaten me a few weeks before. He was the first to reach 100 mph.

What made you choose the A3 class to compete in? (C restricted is now A3)

Regard it as the Formula 1 of racing.
Also raced A2, put up a £5 reward for first to 100mph, which I then won.

What engines do you run?

McCoy, Picco, OS Max, Super Tigre, and Rossi

Hulls, built to your own design, or based on someone else’s plan?

My own design and build, the Russians have influenced me however. As far as I am aware I was the first to put a wing on the back of a waterscrew boat in this country. You can shape the hull using the same principles found in car design.
I also introduced the Bulgarian bungee launching system to this country.           

Which win has given you the most satisfaction?

1978/79 the British Record I won at St Albans with the OPS at 128mph. Set the world record at 128mph in Bulgaria a week before, but they wouldn’t allow it to stand as “the powers that be” in Naviga said that the necessary judges were not in attendance when the record was set.

Do you have an engineering background?

At school I won the Allen prize for Engineering Drawing 5 times and built a “special” sports car when I was still at school. Father ran a garage, so I worked there, then joined the Army, came out and took over the garage business and went full size car racing with small sports cars and Formula Junior, so I’ve always been involved with engines.

Current ambition?

Is to get my car going faster.

What do you consider to be the most crucial element in getting a boat to run quickly?

Preparation is everything, having the right props and engine play a part of course.  I make my own props, Prop Shop use one of my designs.

Is there any boat from the past you would have liked to have raced?

Faro’ the very size of it thundering around was quite spectacular.

Thanks to Stuart for finally submitting to my interrogation.  Thanks to Terry Everitt for additional photos

Ken Williams 'Faro' 1935 Hydroplane racer Car racer Chief Judge