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Another 'Spook'

This was the wooden version of the design and has been fitted with the very last engine that Charles Booth produced, a 30cc four-stroke with an Aspin rotary valve head. The engine was rebuilt to running condition by Peter Hill, who also restored the hull.           June 09 



This was the second Spook built by Charles Booth of the Fleetwood Club and was built of aluminium over a wood frame. Following Charles' death in 1940, this boat along with 5 others was put in a loft at the family business where it remained for over 50 years. It surfaced at a recent toy fair with several modern additions including motor, ignition, fuel system, drive train and tether brackets.                                   May 09      


ITSA mystery, and no mistake.

This flash steam hydroplane has been around for a while, but no one is any nearer identifying it or its builder. The hull style, single tether bracket and single cylinder motor would suggest that it dates from around 1947. What is remarkable about the boat is the complexity of the plumbing and pump arrangement. There are two water pumps running from a worm gear on the crankshaft and no less than three oil pumps with two separate oil tanks. Twin burners are fed from a pressurized fuel tank and there are hand pumps, knock offs and pressure relief valves to complete the assembly . The motor has what appears to be a piston valve for the inlet with uniflow exhaust that ends in two short copper pipes. This fascinating boat resided in Woodbridge before passing to Malcolm Beak, and in turn to Peter HillThanks to Peter for permission to feature this item. April 09


Peter Lambert's 'Rhumba 4'

This lovely example of a 60s McCoy 60 powered hydro was campaigned originally by Peter Lambert of the St Albans Club. It passed to Stuart Robinson who ran it in 1996, appropriately winning the Lambert Vintage Trophy. There is a distinct possibility that it may be seen on the water again in the coming season. The Southend registration was the result of the boat being loaned to Ray Gibbs to run in a Championship meeting abroad.
Thanks to Stuart Robinson for this item March 09


A terrifying prospect?

Mike Drinkwater built this amazing Dyna Jet powered hydro many years ago. It was originally contemplated that it would be run free with limited fuel supply, hence the dihedral on the rear planes. The size of this creation can be judged by the genuine 1 foot school ruler.

This is certainly the most radical of the pulse jet designs as most of the others were conventional hydroplane hulls with the jet unit added. As far as is known the MPBA ban on these power units is still in force.

                                                Thanks to Peter Hill for this item. Feb 09


A Swiss Miss?

This 'Patsy' style boat was run during the 1960s by Tony Della Zoppa from Switzerland, who was living in England at the time. Originally it had a McCoy 29 motor and is claimed to be a European record holder. The McCoy died and has been replaced by an ETA 29 with  some of the McCoy parts. Tony turned up in Bulgaria for the European championships and offered the boat to Norman Lara. Norman then ran it at the Victoria winter regatta, very conscious of its age and 'flying tendency'.   Jan 09


Fairey or Supermarine.

Was Harold Puntis employed by either of these companies? This was the last of his Firefly series, built in the late 40s. The method of construction follows aircraft practice with flanged aluminium frames and tubes and a Dural skin, all flush riveted together.  Motor was derived from a Westbury Atom V bottom half and a variety of home produced barrels and heads. This must be the first ever 'blinged up' hydro with chrome trim and embellishments that serve no useful purpose at all. A similar motor is being sought and with minor work only, Firefly IV should be almost as good as new.                    Dec 08           


Now where did these come from?

Two of the most unusual hydro hulls you are ever likely to see. The grey boat is early American 'Ventnor' style, while the yellow one with its cylindrical hull is a complete mystery. Again it might  have trans Atlantic influence as it is likely they came from the same source as they were found together.

At around 30" long a 10cc sparkie would seem about right for the almost scale looking ventnor. The boats turned up recently on ebay and the vendor had no other information about them, but happily they have gone to two enthusiasts who will be able to re- engine them with something appropriate at some stage.

Thanks to Mark Russell and Nigel Mobbs for details and photos.      Nov 08.


Another American Record Breaker.

Bob Palmer held the American 'B' Class record in the early 50s with this boat and motor. The 15cc motor is from the Octura production castings of the original Watkins/Palmer design. The boat is mainly balsa built on to a ply floor, a design that both these competitors used to great effect. They shared their plans freely with British builders including Norman Hodge with 'Rita' and Ernie Clark with his record breaking Gordon 3, as well as the minute 10cc Patsy. Bill Everitt, used a similar design and building principle for his 30cc 'Melody' that won numerous trophies and individual races during the 1950s. As well as the Palmer boat illustrated, 'Patsy' and 'Melody' have both survived and will be featured at a later date.

Amazingly, in 1997 Bob Palmer and friends ran hydros in the States for the first time in many years, and also travelled over to the UK to compete in the International at St Albans.  

Thanks to Peter Hill who restored the boat and has provided the details.            Oct 08