In August 2002 I was driving through West Drayton in Middlesex when my my eye was caught by a model boat in a junk shop window. I pulled over to look, to discover Bobby. I ended up paying £4.00 for her.
I suppose I ought to let you in on who or what Bobby is... Bobby is a semi scale Police launch.
She, was built from the plans that came in a 1977 copy of Model Boats. For any Model Boat enthusiasts it was the July 1977 issue. The boat was in a sad condition with faded paint work and in a little need of some TLC. Inside the motor cavity, accessible by lifting the cabin from the main hull, were the plans, the copy of Model Boats and a Varispeed motor control board - still sealed in its original packaging with instructions and fittings. There was no motor, electrics or any other form of propulsion. Mind you, looking at the cavity, Bobby looked like it had never been on the water let alone under its own steam.
Almost immediately I bought a suitable electric motor, a sealed lead acid battery (6 volt 4.5 amp) and another prop, apparently the one fitted to Bobby had too steeper pitch and the new motor would struggle.
For some time Bobby just sat in my office and wasn't touched. However in July 2003 I suddenly decided to finish her off.
I mounted the motor connected up the battery and filled the bath. For the first time in 26 years she moved under her own power... even if it was just a matter of two feet!
The following day I went back to the model shop, Mantua Model (UK) Ltd of 179 Dedworth Road, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 4JN, Tel: 01753 856321. I actually wanted to buy some navigation lights but they didn't stock them so I bought a 2 channel Saber Dash radio control kit. My wife, Sophia, wasn't too impressed, but she forgave me ;-).
A few hours later all the kit was installed, the Varispeed controller in place and everything was working..
Click on the images above for a more detailed view.
26 years after first being made, today Bobby was launched out on to a local lake. The temperature was in the high 20s and with absolutely no wind, today was a perfect day for a maiden voyage.
At Black Park near Slough Berks, Bobby was set free, however, after 3 seconds it had to be rescued because some weed got wrapped around the prop.