I've been getting a campaign started to re-instate waters used by once venerable model boat clubs to run petrol and diesel engined model boats and especially tethered hydroplanes.
During my researches, I find that there are only about 15 places in the country where you can still run an internal combustion engined (IC) model. And there are only six venues left with a tethered hydro capability.
Dozens have been stolen by councils, whose money-grabbing, backstabbing chancers have been giving it over to developers who all have that funny handshake, or are filled in to save money, when an infill operation would fund repairs to the pond for the next fifty years.
Laziness, lazy-mindedness, avarice, ignorance and downright crookedness are the reasons.
The great clubs have seen engineering developments, testing, record breaking and have sent their members to overseas venues to represent our country, often very successfully.
John Cobb was a regular visitor to Blackheath, yet that once fine record breaking venue is reduced to a couple of old farts with yachts. The council revoked old byelaws of 1932 and 1997 and simply stated that there would no longer be powered craft, meaning, specifically IC engines.
No consultation, no consideration, no advice sought, just a tatty sign next to the pond, which should, by rights, have been torn down and thrown away every time it appeared. The reason for all this? The council had passed responsibility for the place to a private company, no doubt some under the counter deal done with the funny handshake brigade...it usually is.
The clubs are now populated by well pensioned old fools who just won't get on their hind legs and fight. So the only conclusion I can make is that they deserve what they get.
For my part, whilst I can't organise a tethered hydro meeting on my local river, I can certainly run what the hell I like on it without having to pay up to £60(!!) for a club annual membership or bother with a pointless insurance for public liability, much less a hire fee for a pond that was built for my kind in the twenties.
My Grandad was a founder member of Victoria Park Model Steam Boat Club in 1904, the world's oldest model boat club, yet even they have had serious threats to their existence. You can bet your life it wouldn't happen to a golf club, where most of these dodgey deals would have been done in the first place.