Water Craft’s whacky Cordless Canoe Challenge races at the Beale Park Boat Show

Water Craft Cordless Canoe Challenge

A potential entry for the Water Craft CCC – very much in the spirit of the event, but the drag of that parasol may not help

Water Craft magazine has fired the starting gun on what promises to be a highly entertaining new competition for the Beale Park Boat Show, which in 2011 takes place from the 10-12th June.

The journal’s annual Amateur Boatbuilding Awards contest is well established and one of the highlights of the Beale Park show each year – but the new competition promises to be completely daft.

Inspired by a suggestion from Beale Park marketing manager Donna Hatchett, Water Craft editor Pete Greenfield has announced the Cordless Canoe Challenge, in which entrants have to use a cordless power tool to power a canoe around a short course on the lake at Beale. He has the support of power tool manufacturers Makita and the Electric Boat Association.

The boats do not have to be home-built, but can be of course, and they may be made of any material and can be modified any way entrants choose.

The only rules are that they mustn’t be longer than 16ft 3in (5m) including steering and stern gear, and have to be propelled solely by one or more cordless electric tools. A drill driving a prop shaft is one possibility, or perhaps a Thai-style long-tail rig sort-of, kind-of arrangement?

Pete suggests a jigsaw could be used to drive waggling flippers, or that an angle grinder might be fitted with a fan.

I’d suggest one of my Cinderella canoes powered by a steerable rack of, say, four cordless drills fitted with shafts attached to model aircraft propellers handing over the stern and controlled via a long tiller. But that might not be in keeping with Water Craft’s rather more sportsmanlike idea, which is that the power tools used should be things entrants already have in their workshops…

The racing will be in the form of a knockout tournament between pairs of boats drawn by lot, and will take place over the course of the Saturday and Sunday of the show. The course will likely be an out-and-back dogleg around two buoys, with some hopefully exciting action around the turning mark right in front of the beer tent (I’ll be watching, at least some of the time).

Entrants will need to slow their boat for this (if they reach any speed at all) and will likely need some kind of proper steering system.

Curiously, editor Pete also suggests the draft of entering craft should be modest, which presumably means judges will disqualify submarines. So, dear readers thinking of entering this malarkey, I’m afraid you can’t go underwater and will be stuck with wave-making resistance.

Boats invited to enter the cordless challenge will be checked for safety (you’ll doubtless need a bouyancy aid) – and crews for sanity – by Electric Boat Association stewards before being allowed to compete.

I should mention the prize to be awarded to the winning boat – a bag of Makita’s cordless power tools including a jigsaw, sander, planer, two drills and a site radio valued at over £1200!

Entrants should take a photo of their entry boat, preferably under way, and send it to Water Craft by the 1st May. More information about the comp will appear in the January/February issue of the magazine, which should appear in shops and fall through letterboxes on the 16th December.

I think it’s all going to be very amusing and, for the winner, rather profitable…

beale park cordless canoe challenge course

The Cordless Canoe Challenge course. If you know Beale Park, you’ll realise how short this is – turning ability will be as important as raw speed

9 thoughts on “Water Craft’s whacky Cordless Canoe Challenge races at the Beale Park Boat Show”

  1. What a great comp, at times I power my Outred Mac with a long shaft motor made from a brush cutter,whipper snipper or what you call it there. Great in a straight line but not so good for manourering or tight places! I just took the angled piece off the business end and attatched a small 3 bladed prop. Had to modify the exhaust as it just about suffocated me! Not so environmentally friendly but then I don't use it often. I'd love to get involved with this one. I have a model tripple expansion steam engine brought at great expense when I couldn't afford it. One day…………………


  2. Evening Gav. As I guess you intended to, you have stirred up the Hornets in the UK-HBBR Nest. It is interesting to see "Jockey Weight" come to the fore. Pete will need to write his "Rule Book" very carefully as the above mentioned Hornets are so well versed in dubious practice as to make Ferrari F1 look like choir-boys.

    Btw, does Jeff`s "tripple expansion steam engine" qualify? May be I am missing a trick here.


  3. "The only rules are that they………"

    I'm assuming there are rules others than those you've mentioned? Otherwise I'm putting my shirt on the person who has the most quality cordless drills. It doesn't say anything about (cordlessly) sawing up your opponent either………..

    I wonder if there'll be battery recharging facilities.

  4. Just looked at the course map. I would say the person starting on the left has a definite advantage. If they arrive at the first buoy neck and neck the boat on the left will get round first, and once in the lead it'd be hard to lose (flat batteries and attacks by cordless saws aside).

    1. All this talk of sawing boats up in mid race is very interesting. I would say you were showing signs that your imagination could be running away…

      Are you entering? If you did, what would be your chosen craft and weapon?

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