The Mid-Thames Model Boat Club was founded in 1980 and has since developed into one of the largest clubs in the South of England, with over 150 members. A good proportion of these are scale boaters and there is a flourishing yachting section. Model boats powered by steam are becoming more and more popular, and the occasional fast electric boat is to be seen, but our home waters in the Child Beale Wildlife Park – by the river Thames at Pangbourne, near Reading – does not normally permit i/c powered craft. Members may sail on an inner formal lake whenever the Park is open, with no entrance charge, or on the two outer lakes at any time. Club subscription fees include 3rd party insurance cover.
A series of monthly regattas are held over the summer devoted to yachts in the 590, Fiesta and 1-metre classes, and a number of additional handicapped open class events are also held, in which all types of sailing vessel are welcome to join. See the Yachting pages and Diary for more information.
Several steering competitions for the scale side (though anything remotely steerableis eligible, and it is not unknown for yachts to enter!) are also organised during the summer season. Some of these steering regattas are serious only in the sense that there are trophies for the winners, whilst others are just for fun – see the Scale pages and Diary for more details.
All members are encouraged to take part in these regattas – the courses are not difficult, and all points won for both yachting and steering (including a point just for taking part) contribute to a Boater of the Year trophy.
However, he club is not about competition, but exists for enjoyment, and free boating with any type of vessel may be a relaxing pastime for you. Members may free-sail at any time (except during regattas), although a Sunday once a month, Bank Holiday Mondays and an ‘Icicle Meeting’ on Boxing Day are declared ‘Free Sailing Days’ so that a larger number of members are likely to get together, and have the rescue boat on standby. Some of the Sunday days may be themed, such as warships, tugs, lifeboats or fast electrcs/Club-500, or a special for Juniors – watch out for announcements of the News & Diary pages.
Apart from our own ‘home’ events, Club members assist in running the established and well-known Beale Park Model Boat & Trade shows and the Club hosts open events for the Working Scale Sail Associations. We also attend other shows, fêtes and steam rallies etc, both promoting the hobby and assisting in fund raising for charity, notably for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Volunteers also assist in manning the Beale Park’s Model Boat Museum.
Evening club meetings are held monthly through the winter, with a Christmas buffet and trophy presentations in December, the AGM in January and a Concourse D’Elegance (democratically elected best-looking boat) at the March meeting. Most winter club evenings include a talk, display or demonstration on topics related to boating, models or the real thing.
Members receive four or five Voice Pipe newsletters per year, and most of the Newsletter content, and much more, is also to be found on these Internet pages. More details of club activities can be found under other main topics on this site.