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Steam Machine IV

This was the last of Ian Berne's A class flash steam boats. The plant held the record at 118+mph for 11 years, whilst the hull was a new and lightweight version built by Norman Lara. Sadly, ill health prevented Ian from ever running the boat although Norman and the late Terry Everitt did run it on a number of occasions. Remarkably, there is no facility for a starting cord, so flicking the prop was the only way to get everything running.

Thanks to Ian for this item. OTW photo Dec 2014



We know this boat was owned and run by Mr Perkins of the Wicksteed Club from around 1933 onward, although we believe his initials to be HR. It is seen here in an Edgar Westbury photo with the later modified Bond's motor. It is hoped to feature both of these boats (see below) in a Pitbox special as their renovation progresses.
Thanks again to Mark Russell for photos.  Nov 2014


A 'Wicksteed Mystery'

All we can ascertain so far is that this boat was one of the very first to be run at the newly formed Wicksteed Park Club in the early 1930s. It is shown in a photo from 1934 in a line up of club members and the only clue we have is that it is with another boat that we can identify and will feature next month. We believe that they belonged to the same person. This is due to the motor seen here being in the named boat in the late 1930s.
Thanks to Mark Russell for this item and super photos. October 2014


JWJ. 'Jump With Joy'

This was Tom Clement's first hydro, with a motor that he had built. The 10cc engine was constructed from a set of  drawings, patterns and castings based on a 1066 Conqueror given to him by his mentor Jimmie Jones, hence the name of the boat JWJ. Tom ran this boat from around 1971 through to 1978/79 when he moved up a gear with an OPS redhead. JWJ was good for the mid 50s and won the Birkenhead Open Regatta in 1978. Jim Jamieson has done another superbly sympathetic restoration on this boat as it was in something of a state when we featured it in September 2012.

Thanks again to Jim for photos.   Sept 2014


'Gladys May'

This was the late Tom Clement's D Class hydro, built to the Lambert Hyder design and powered by an ETA 29, which he ran from 1968 right through to 1980.  This was the only one of Tom's boats that he 'could not find' when OTW visited him a few years ago so we are delighted that it has been re-located.  Following Tom's death, the boat, named after his mother, has been sympathetically restored by Jim Jamieson.

Thanks to Jim for photos and Peter Hill for details. August 2014


'Sparky' derivative.

This boat, based on George Lines' Sparky, was raced at the Victoria Club in the late 60s by a Mr J V Chandler of Southend. The 15cc  motor was originally built by Mr Dixon and has the same arrangement for varying the compression as did the original. The boat was offered for sale on eBay and attracted a great deal of interest, with the final price taking everyone by surprise.
Thanks to Keith Shepherd for this item and photos July 2014


Steam Machine II

Ian Berne broke the A class flash steam record for the first time in 1998 with this boat so starting decade long battle with Bob Kirtley. Steam Machine II was also the first steamer to break the 80mph mark. The boat appeared on eBay in January 2014 but failed to sell. The story of this boat and the fascinating battle for flash steam honours between Ian and Bob is a subject for a future Flash Steam Gallery edition

Thanks to Norman Lara for this item and photo  June 2014


'Bill Barnes'

A much sleeker version of the twin hulled design with sponsons outboard of the hulls, although still an integral part of the construction. The rear area between the hull is also faired in, unlike 'Babs' or 'Rodney'
Another photo courtesy of James Stone May 2014


Lady Cynthia

Again far from conventional, although an outrigger hydro, but with adjustable sponsons. The back end of the boat is most interesting with an after-plane, enclosed propshaft and vented prop blades.

Thanks again to James Stone for photos. April 2014


The boat that changed the sport

George Stone and Lady Babs set a new outright hydroplane record in 1949 just on 20mph quicker than the existing record, adding another 5mph two years later. This feat changed the sport forever, as the motor was a 10cc Dooling two-stroke rather than the home built 30cc four-strokes that had previously held the record. From then on the sport became dominated by the 10cc class, and apart from two notable exception, by commercial motors. Unfortunately, this change was not without its critics and we hope to bring you the full story of George Stone and the influence he had on the sport at a later date. Now available.
Thanks to James Stone for this item and photos. March 2014



Vic Collins started racing hydroplanes just after the war and continued until ill health overtook him. He persisted with four stroke motors throughout his career, working them up from a very pedestrian 30+mph to a fraction under 100mph. The elderly Sharkie was superseded by a modern hull, which demonstrated the speed obtainable by the venerable Westbury designed, but much modified motor.
Thanks to Norman Lara for this item  February 2014



Jean Menant was one of the many French competitors who used to attend the International and other regattas in Britain on a regular basis. His needle nose 'Spido' design was copied with much success, especially by those in the Portsmouth and Southampton clubs.  This boat had two successful careers, only being retired when it was feared that metal fatigue would wreck the extended skeg. This boat was built around 1960 by Mario Ostroska.  Thanks to Peter Hill for this item  Jan 2014