CLUB 500 by Dave Brumstead
Kit Review published in 'Model Boats' May 2000

I first came across the Club 500 at Barleylands Farm Country Show in 1998 when members of the Southend Club were observed coming away from the Model Slipway stand clutching plastic bags full of coloured plastic bits and pieces. Being by nature an inquisitive soul I discovered that they were Club 500 boats. I chatted to Lawrie White of Model Slipway, who told me that these were developed from an enquiry from Peter Chappell of the CADMA club, who was looking for a quick build, basic model to introduce beginners into our hobby. The 500 bit comes from the fact that the boats are approximately 515mm long. The model can be built to sail in the social sense or they can be used for club or inter-club competition. Elsewhere is the list of basic rules that have evolved in the last twelve months or so to enable racing as a 'one class' to take place. In the meantime we'll take a look at what you get for your money and how it goes together. I must at this point acknowledge the help and assistance I received from members of the Southend Club, particularly Roger Cumbers, Rob Clarke and Dale Tremble.

Everything to build the basic model is supplied, including propellor, prop shaft, rudder, tiller arm, drive motor and coupling. For club racing purposes, nothing may be changed or modified - more of this later in the rules.

THE BUILD: The first building task was to cut out the principal components - the instructions show the waste areas to remove and advise using scissors and coarse sandpaper on a rubbing block to finish. We found that holding a Stanley knife at right angles to the work and scraping was also an effective technique to trim to the line. We chose to leave a 10mm edge around the central access area to fit an inner hatch later. To ensure both sides of the deck overlap were the same, we used a piece of scrap plastic as a gauge. Starting from the bow, a series of lines were marked around each side. The depth of the overlap was measured at opposite marks to ensure they were the same dimension.

Using the dimensions from the instructions, the hull was marked accordingly. It was then packed up so that these marks were the same height from the bench and a line drawn around the hull to join them. The surplus plastic was then removed with scissors. Incidentally, when cutting with scissors, do not force them around corners as the surrounding plastic can become 'stressed' and while lines will show on coloured parts.

The next job was to trim the superstructure to shape. As material is removed, keep checking the superstructure against the deck moulding to ensure a good fit. We left the plastic protective film on as long as possible to protect the plastic. The moulding provided for the rear spoiler is at first glance a quite complex shape. Study it carefully, identify the moulded-in trim lines and decide whether you want the spoiler front or rear facing. We trimmed ours to be rear facing and by constantly checking the measurements of opposite sides, we achieved a satisfactory result.

The internal plastic parts were now trimmed - the motor mount, battery box, radio tray and rudder support. With the dummy motor moulding also trimmed, that concluded the cutting out. The brass motor fixings were made from the material supplied and fixed to the motor mount.

The rudder support and tube were now fitted to the hull. The exterior of the prop shaft assembly was roughened up as was the underside of the motor mount, and the part of the hull were it fitted. The shaft assembly, motor, motor mount and coupling were now installed in the hull and the alignment checked. The assembly was now glued in place, ensuring 40mm of prop tube protruded under the hull according to the instructions. The motor was fixed to the mount by using elastic bands. The battery tray and radio tray were also glued in place. The motor was removed and wired and suppressed and then refitted.

HULL to DECK: Joining the hull to the deck was the next job. Masking tape was stuck to the deck to prevent it getting scratched, and tape was also stuck around the edges to prevent the glue from going where it shouldn't. Tape was also applied to the hull for the same reason. With that job done, the hull was turned over and placed on its stand. A slight change to the instructions here - instead of drilling holes for the fixing pins, Velcro was used to attach the superstructure to the deck. As many of the models end up upside down when racing, it was felt prudent to have as few holes in the hull as possible. I know someone will point out he big hole in the middle - wait 'til later!

Self-adhesive windows are supplied in the kit, and they can be a bit fiddly to fit. Ensure the front window is centered, and the bottom corners equal distant from the bottom of the superstructure moulding.

RADIO: It's now time to install the radio bits and pieces. The rudder servo was fitted in place with 'Sticky Fixers'. Proprietary servo mounting tape can be used, but I have always found these stickers OK. The linkage to the rudder is made from material supplied with the kit. One tip I got from the Southend Club was to put a receiver in a balloon to keep it dry. You can make your own decision whether or not to use a simple micro switch on/off for motor control, or use a speed controller. To help to keep water out should the hull end up upside down (and it has!) I fitted an internal hatch. This has an outer frame glued in place and the hatch is sealed down with insulation tape during racing.

ADHESIVE: Glue used was good quality epoxy or you can use 'Nail & Seal' and don't forget to remove the protective film from the plastic parts before attempting to glue together!

HELP FROM SOUTHEND: I mentioned the help I got from the Southend Club, especially Roger Cumbers, their Chairman, well I got a few hints and tips, which I shall pass on. Roger has used Pro-tech mini servos, which fit into the radio tray, and a double rudder linkage. The servo activates the motor on/off micro switch. An airbag (from SHG Models) was fitted. The battery tray is lined with Velcro and a Velcro strip on the battery helps to hold it in place either when the boat ends up upside down or in a collision! A plastic strip over the prop shaft helps to hold it onto the mount. If a collision occurs, despite the rubber bands holding it in place, the motor can shift forwards off the coupling. A drop of Superglue on the coupling helps to prevent this, or as Dale Tremble has done, drilling and pinning through the coupling components.

The top of the cabin has to be able to hold a race number, and this is covered in the race rules I have added, courtesy of Roger. The numbers have a sealed plastic tube attached, to give the necessary flotation should the boat and number part company in a race. Finally, a set of rules as developed and used by the Southend Model Boat Club.

Southend M.B.C. Club 500 Multi Racing Rules: a race of at least two boats over a four minute duration. The course is a 30 x 15 metre 'M' shape, with all turns except one taken to the left.

Boat Specification:

1) All standard Kit Parts must be used. 2) No alterations to the model shall be allowed, i.e. original motor, coupling, shaft, propeller and rudder shall be used (no 'hot' motors or different props). No motor commutator additives allowed. 3) Ordinary 2-channel radio using either an electronic speed control or servo operated control, or micro switch to motor control. 4) Any Nicad or metal hydride 6 to 7.2v battery pack. 5) Buoyancy may be added, i.e. airbags. 6) No additional modifications to below water-line. Except for the addition of prop shaft thrust washers, and rudder post water seals. 7) A Velco strip (Eye Side) measuring 2cm x 7 cm must be attached to the flat section of the cabin roof, for Race Number Fixing. 8) A self-adhesive foam strip of at least 3mm thick, must be attached to the bow of the boat.

Racing Rules:

1) Race duration of 4 minutes, plus seconds to complete lap you are on. (Maximum time to complete last lap 60 seconds). 2) Race Number Boards must be attached to the cabin roof. (Number Boards will be supplied at each meeting). 3) The course shall be an M shape approx. 30 x 15 metre. Negotiated in an anti-clockwise direction. 4) A maximum of 9 boats per heat. 5) A boat may be run by more than one competitor in each event only if one is a senior and one a junior. 6) Starting Procedure: when 10 seconds to start is announced drivers must step back one metre from their boats. The start shall be to the top right hand buoy. Countdown from 10 to GO will be silent. 7) At the end of 4 minutes a seconds count will start. Boats will complete the lap they have begun, and the lap scorer shall record the time in seconds next time the boat crosses the scoring line. 8) If a driver misses a buoy he may retake it immediately, provided he does not obstruct incoming boats. That lap shall then count. 9) The Rescue Boat may only be used during a race if boats are in danger of sinking. 10) Drivers of 'Dead' boats must inform fellow competitors immediately of the position on the course where their model has stopped. Using the words 'Dead boat top left' etc. 11) Scoring: Points will be awarded for the highest number of laps and part laps from one race in a regatta. The points will be 50 for the highest lap score, 40 for second, 30 for third, 20 for fourth, 10 for fifth, and 5 for all other competitors. The end of season results shall be a total of the four highest regatta scores during the season.

© Dave Brumstead 2000

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