Rugeley Model Boat Club History
Rugeley Power Station
The two Rugeley Power Stations were coal-fired power stations located on the River Trent at Rugeley.
The first power station on the site, Rugeley A power station was opened in 1961, but has since been closed and demolished.
Rugeley B power station was commissioned in 1970 and closed on 8 June 2016, with demolition starting in Autumn 2018.
Rugeley B had an output of 1,000 megawatts (MW) and had a 400 kilovolt (kV) connection to the national grid.
The B station provided enough electricity to power roughly half a million homes.
To construct the newer B Station the contractors had to raise the ground level to avoid flooding from the River Trent. Two borrow pits were used,
and the smaller one became the lake used by the modellers. See the picture on right. The Midlands Electricity Generating Board built a Sports
and Social Club alongside the smaller pit in the early 1970's. This Midlands Electricity Sports & Social Club was established for
employees. In the early days the number of associates was strictly limited to only 10% of all staff, giving only 125 associates
(including the wives of members!) ; As you can imagine there was quite a waiting list for membership from people outside
the power station.
The main club established subsidiary sections such as fishing, modelling etc.. but you always had to join the main club first. The Social Club ran
its own licenced bar and lounge area, had a snooker room with two full sized tables, a ballroom with stage, a games room, and after a few years,
expanded the facilities and added a small kitchen and food became available. See the pictures below A model railway section built and operated a
raised off the ground 5" gauge rail track about ½ mile long. They built and operated beautiful model steam engines.
Rugeley Power Station Model Club (RPSMC)
The Operational Engineer started the model club in about 1976 with Brian Machin and Alan Stewart as founder members. The Model Boat Club built
and sailed both model yachts and scale models.
In September 1981 they hosted a national MYA (Model Yacht Association) meeting on the much larger fishermans pool at the rear of B station.
Most early models were cabin cruisers or fast patrol boats (Keilcraft, Norstar kits) as the b/w picture circa mid 1980 s shows.
One early member scratch built a steam tug, but after obtaining the boiler and engine found he had to increase the bulwarks by 2" to increase the
buoyancy so it would actually float! Although many members found it amusing, once the teething problems were over it was a model that sailed well.
Scale models and early electric radio controlled models developed with the occasional "fun boat" operated ; As technology
improved, so did the electronics in boats - perhaps one of the biggest changes being when transmitters changed from using crystals
on 40MHz, requiring everyone to be on a different channel, compared to the multi-channelled 2.4GHz transmitters now used.
Club meetings were mostly on Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons, always sharing the lake with the fishing club. Members also built and operated
land models, such as cars, tanks, and articulated lorries etc.. In the last few years of the club we flew model indoor helicopters and drones in the
winter evenings in the main ball room - but were banned when the Christmas decorations went up!
The Power Station had annual "Open Days" when many members of the public came into the grounds. The Model Club always put on very popular
good displays, see picture, and would exhibit member's models, have raffles, boat competitions, races, even a public "blind sailing"
event described as follows:
(One person sits on chair blindfolded or looking other way with the transmitter, while the second person issues seaman-like verbal
instructions to control the boat on a fixed course, usually involving docking!)
The Model club was always appreciated by the Station Management, and with such a large staff at the two Stations, there was always a good crowd in
attendance. The Brass Band would play, the model steam trains were carrying children, and lots of activities for children and adults were made
available - Great fun was had by all.
At its peak the Rugeley Power Station Model Club had about 45 members and associates, but as few youngsters had the skills, or patience, to build
models, the numbers had reduced to about 17 members when it moved in March 2017 to Manor Park.
The Model Club always had a full calendar.
In 2011 the club started regular fortnightly yacht races using kit built Victoria Yachts
for the "Brian Roger's Challenge Trophy". Click on Yachts & Racing on left for more information. The Victorias are not the
easiest model yacht to sail, and members all tweaked the basic design, butwe ended up with an inexpensive yacvht class that continues to give members
great fun - they are all very evenly matched, even the newcomers have fun!
Yachting alternated with fast 500 electric boat races for a Challenge Cup. RPSMC often had inter-club events with other local model boat
One of the more spectacular events was the annual "Sunset Cruise" where after sailing models in the afternoon, followed by a beer and
meal, when the sun set, we would return to the poolside to sail models all with the boats illuminated - prizes were given for models with correct
scale navigation lights, as well as for the most adventurous fun boat built with spectacular flashing LED light shows! Always a memorable event.
The last few years at Rugeley saw the club sail on Wednesday afternoons, followed by a beer and meal, excellently cooked and served by Lorraine,
concluding in evening, either by sailing again in the summer, or helicopters in the winter! They were idyllic times, and we were all saddened to
be evicted at end of March 2017 as the Power Station and Social Club site closed. The members still have the memories, and many still keep in touch.
Rugeley Model Boat Club (RMBC)
In advance of the closure of the RPSMC, the club searched for an alternative location in late 2016. Some fifteen venues in the area
were visited and considered, and at that time, only one was deemed suitable, so the Club moved and re-established itself to be
affiliated with Manor Park Sailing Club at the large river-fed lakes at Kings Bromley -within sight of the Power Station
Note that when we decided to move to Manor Park, the Aldridge Model Boat Club had NOT been formed and they only started building it's
jetties suitable for scale model launching etc. in early 2018. Mind you, they suffer with serious weed problems and have to suspend
sailing in hot weather! in contrast Manor Park being River fed doesn't get a weed problem.
Although we still have access to a modern club house, toilets, galley and lakeside patio, unfortunately there is no alcohol licence and
no food available. We now meet Monday afternoons, but because the lakes are so large, we can really sail anytime and not bother anybody.
We officially changed our name in 2017, preferring to drop the Power Station association bit, and adding Boat as we rarely now use land models
or helicopters etc - it's nearly all boats.
Our new lake is SUPERB for model yachting, with good access, excellent clear water and large enough to almost always get wind!
It is regarded as one of the better MYA lakes in the UK, so there is another model yacht club on the site, see link on left of this page,
as Manor Park Radio Sailing Club (MPRSC). They sail much more expensive model yachts from a seperate clubhouse on the site, usually Wednesday and Sunday mornings, and keep to the
official rules of MYA and RYA when racing! They are MYA affiliated and members compete in both National and International events,
hosting some events at Kings Bromley. We are good neighbours, and share a rescue boat.
Sailing of RMBC scale models is more limited, and having more open water than previously at Rugeley, it is very dependant on the weather,
but we do have suitable launching areas for models, and allocate specific days for scale models. See our Timetable.
We remain a small friendly club who just enjoy sailing, without too many rules - we sail for fun.
Our yacht sailing took on a new dimension in 2019 when we started to include the popular DragonFlite 95 yachts - more
expensive to buy than the Victoria, but a beautifully balanced yacht for sailing in most weather conditions.
We still get a lot of enjoyment out of our weekly sailing meets, keep our "business meetings" to a minimum, and maintain
the spirit of the original club - it is alive and well and thriving - our eternal thanks must go back to those founding
members who had the foresight to start this most enjoyable club.
If we've interested you, then why not come along and see for yourself! Follow the links on left.