a NAMBA sanctioned Fast Electric R/C Boat Race
By Donnie Wollard

            Six months ago, our racing team (Donnie, Daniel, Don (Dad) and Brian ‘The cool hand’ Vega) debated which out of town race to attend, this year. This was not an easy decision. Generally, the answer would have to be the NAMBA Nationals. This year, the NAMBA Nationals are being held on a date in which we could not attend. At least not all of us. Team member’s Tony Colarusso and Rob Michaels were unable to make the trip. 

            The question then became, “How do we find Nationals level competition without actually attending that Nationals”? There was only one choice. The Spring Splash in Seattle. 

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Spring Splash race site at, Wild Waves park.

            For years, the Puget Sound Model Boat Club (PSMBC) has held this annual event to kick off the Fast Electric racing season in the North West. Racer’s traveled from all corner’s to attend this event on June 10th and 11th. Points of origin included Florida, Michigan, Alaska, Canada and California to join the fun and excitement of racing Dick Crowe and his pals at their home pond. 170 plus boats came to race. The race site is located at a water theme park called Wild Waves, near the town of Federal Way, in Washington State, just south of Seattle. 

            On my 2400 mile flight home, as I made notes for this article, I reflected on the highlights of the trip. The weather for the race was not what I had expected. It rained. The sun came out and then soon, it rained again. I suppose that could happen anywhere. Except, in June its unusual to have cool (cold to me) weather where I live. Did not matter. Snow would not have stopped this race. The water was almost calm which made for fast racing.  Floating debris in the pond made things interesting and lively from the very first heat. Many racer’s suffered mystery problem including our team. My favorite was the large 3 foot long Carp (fish). There were hundreds of them. They really added a special flavor to my usual pre-race jitters.

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Our "Friends", The Carp!

            The home club’s specialty is scale hydro’s. Without a doubt, the most beautiful fleet of hydro’s in North America. Also, PSMBC is the home club to such noted racer’s as Dick Crowe, Scott Bickford, Larry Kirby, Doug Filer and internet hobby supplier Ray Fuller of Fuller’s Fast Electric’s. 

            Charlotte Yordie assisted race commodore Dick Crowe with all of the first day details and kicked off the racing. Event MC Don Mock was assisted by score keeper Harry Gatjens. Great Job, guys! And a very smooth event launch. 

            N-1 Mono and Crackerbox where scheduled to race first, right after the announcements and the driver’s meeting.

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Crackerboxes just after launch

            Both Crackerbox and N-1 Mono require stock 05 can motor’s running on a limit of 6 cells. The Cracker’s went first. These boats must follow a very strict design and look as close to the full size counter-parts, as possible. They are even judged for the owner’s skill preparing his boat to look real. They even run like there full size counter parts. Bucking, Jumping, Zinging and Zagging. Scott Bickford showed the way with 3 perfect heats. Second place Kent Kornegay of Alaska and third went to Brian Vega from Florida. All three driver’s used the DPI boats for their wins. 

            N-1 Mono’s fielded the largest class of the event. This 19 boat field was very diverse. New boats from Bandit, BBY and home build’s hit the course to battle the venerable Maus Micro Bullet. What was specially evident at the race was the added horse power of the new stock motor’s. Even though every driver seemed to have there favorite, the Trinity and Reedy motor’s seemed to be among the most popular. The Mono Master showed the field how it is done. Greg Schweers blistered the water with his gray Maus Micro Bullet. Ever wonder if hours spent setting up and testing actually pays off? If you ever observed Greg, you would know the answer. Be sure you see Greg’s great article about setting up a Micro Bullet in Rum Runner’s archives.

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N-1 Mono heat

            Second place was snatched by a 3 year old. That’s right, a 3 years old. Young Colten Crowe (Dick and Beth Crowe’s son)  actually drove his dad’s boat to a second place finish. What a guy! Colten was so excited with his win that he took his trophy to bed with him that night. Dad (Don Wollard) offered to trade his 12 cell rigger (before he wrecked it) for Colten. So far, no deal. Following Colten and capturing third position was local racer Rick Ramus. Rick had an expertly prepared Bandit Pistolero. A great handling boat for this class and very nicely set-up by Rick.

            N-1 Hydro came next. This is a Hydro class which again, limits the power to a stock 05 motor and 6 cells. However you can run any type of Hydro you can build. A neat class which requires the racer to work hard on there equipment to be competitive. A boat of special mention and one with a lot of future potential was an shovel nose hydro custom built by Terry Treichel from Canada. Terry designed the boat himself and constructed the entire boat from sheets of styrene. Watch out next year for Terry’s hot outfit. First place went to Dennis Whitt who resides in Michigan. He was really moving with his bright yellow BBY rigger. Second place and tight on Dennis’ heals was Chris Harris from Florida. Chris’ beautiful black, blue and white Hammerhead rigger was a sight scooting around the pond. Trailing in third was Alaska’s champ Larry (the Big Dog) Larson.

            By mid morning, 1/16th scale Hydro’s with 17 entries were ready for battle. This very popular class features scale like appearance hydro’s which can be no larger than 24 inches. A maximum of 8 cells are allowed with no restrictions on motor and hardware used. These boats are also judged for finish and scale appearance. I must say, they were all painted and decorated well. Except my boat. I launched my brand new UL Light by RC Hydro’s two days before we left for the race. Not sure, maybe it was the bad paint job that made it run so fast. 

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Dennis's RC-Hydro

            If you have never seen this class race, you must. The scale looking boats look so real racing it is truly amazing. They bounce, turn and flip just like the big ones. The best part is the driver’s is on the shore and not in harms way. The 17 boat fleet had all the racer’s and spectators at water’s edge each time a heat started. The clock counted down, spray flew and the whine of highly tuned motor’s pierced the air. The whole fleet pounded the pond for lane one. National class champ Dick Crowe drove to three perfect first place heats. This Guy is amazing. He sprung his right knee a few minutes before the first heat. Dick was in real pain. Nothing could be done except send him to the hospital. Well what can I say? Dick is a champion and a true racer. He iced down his knee, took two aspirin and hobbled to the driver’s stand. Actually I mistakenly thought the pain would distract him so I could slip by him in the heat. Not a chance. Dick drove his expertly prepared Maus Shovel nose with Aveox power to a new NAMBA 1/16th Scale Oval Record of 1:06.90. A very fast boat. This guy can really set-up a hydro. 

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Greg, Donnie with his RC-Hydro, & Jeff 

            Nipping at Dick’s heals all the way was Donnie Wollard (that’s me) driving my UL Light. My boat is actually a larger 12th scale boat and was designed in race with 12 cells in 1/12th scale P-Hydro. For me, this boat was just what the doctor ordered. Its large and stable yet able to be set-up for 1/16th scale competition. I used a Plettenberg (German) motor for power and choose 2200 (NiHM) cells for power. I will do a story for Rum Runner soon featuring this boat and explaining my speed secrets. Third place went to Scott Bickford driving a beautiful Bandit Shovel nose.

            Competition in this class was very intense. There were so many fast boats and good driver’s the outcome could have gone any-which-way. I made special note of Brian Vega’s DPI hydro. This boat comes in kit form which anyone with a couple of weekends to invest could be competitive with. I do believe Brian’s boat was the fastest 1/16th scale hydro that I have ever seen.  Brian used a Plettenberg motor for power. Brian promises to keep his boat right side up for the National’s. The hard luck trophy (if there was one) would have gone it Jeff (Mr. Aveox) Vasquez. Jeff posses tremendous driving skills and owns one of the fastest 1/16th scale boats in the country. 

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Brian Vega's DPI 1/16 scale

            The Hydro guys got a breather while the OPC class got wet. These are scale Tunnel boats which require 12 cells for power. Voted an official NAMBA class just last year,  OPC is gaining a lot of attention and popularity.  

            These boats are powered by an outboard motor. An electric motor is mounted on an outboard type lower unit which in turn is mounted to the boat via a bracket. A neat set-up.

            Racing was fast. Alaska’s Larry Larson was award first place and a new record with his Plettenberg powered Stark’s Tunnel. I do believe the fastest boat to race was Chris Harris Bandit Tunnel. A beautiful boat he named “Killer”. Third place went to Dennis “Mr. Creative” Whitt. Dennis choose to custom mount an Aveox onto his outboard unit. A very nice job. Dennis reconfigured the ESC in such a way that it could be placed under the motor’s hood. Look for a lot of trophies out of this boat in the future.

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Dennis's OPC Outboard w/ Aveox power

            Mid afternoon we had a special surprise. A floating island broke loose and quickly floated through the course area past the driver’s stand. Dick Crowe and Larry Larson jumped into retrieve boats and quickly towed the menace out of range. Quite a sight. Thanks Guys.

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Dick and Larry pushing the island away from the front stretch!

            12th Scale Hydro (also called P-Sport Hydro). These are the largest scale hydro’s raced in NAMBA. Similar to the 1/16th scale boats in that this class is also judge for scale appearance and finish. I was very impressed with the time and quality invested by the contestants. These boats range in size between 24 to 28 inches long. Any Hydro scale or sport hull is legal as long as you don’t exceed 12 cells. 

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1/12 and 1/16 Scale Concurs

            Racing was fast and furious. The Aveox 1412 series motor seems to have become a class favorite even though I saw plenty of Plettenberg’s. Prominent boat hulls include; Bandit, Maus, BBY, RC-Hydro’s, DPI and of course home builds. Larry Larson with his home built Dave Frank design Hydro took top honors. What a nice handling boat. Be sure you review the great story Larry wrote about building his boat. Its located in the Rum Runner archives and is called "Setting up the 1/12 Scale O'boy Oberto".

            Second place was awarded to Randy (Mr. BBY) Naylor with his ‘Big Splash”. A well set-up and nice handling boat. Third place was earned by Mark Ferreira. Mark drove his custom painted Bandit shovel nose. This boat is fast enough to win any event. I am sure you will see Mark with the big wood at future events. Watch for Mark at the Nationals in September.  

            The final event of the first day was called Anything Goes. As the name implies, you can run what ever boat and set-up you so choose. No limit on size, number of batteries, boat design or motor. For the most part, this event is paramount to a drag race. The top boats were driven by Larry Larson, Jeff Vasquez and Dick Crowe. All three driver’s used custom built rigger’s. When the points were tallied, Jeff Vasquez had the top points. This was another event that was so close the out come could have gone any which way.

            Rick Ramus joined the fun with his absolutely beautiful BBY War Eagle. With 18 cells this boat was a sight to see in competition. Good luck at the Nationals, Rick. 

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Rick with his BBY War Eagles

Day 2 (Sunday). 

            Early morning chill and dampness quickly gave way to anxious sounds of racer’s preparing for battle. What promised to be a day of very competitive fast racing was subject only to the weather. Would it rain? Could wind ripple the pond? Would the floating island stay put? Could the racer’s navigate through floating debris?

            NO PROBLEM! The racer’s charged batteries, tuned radios and got ready to field their fastest boats. By race time, a heavy drizzle rain kept the pond almost smooth. Racer’s dawned whatever they could find to protect themselves from the rain and covered there radio controller’s with plastic bags. And....the action began!

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Chris and Toby getting ready to race in the rain

            I want to add a quick note how impressed I was at the speed and handling of the Mono racing at the Splash. Every class and every race was entertaining and action packed. Most heats started with 6 boats. Nose to nose they would creep to the start line waiting for the count down to reach the magic horn. Every start was like ‘BAM’. Hot and spicy. I really enjoyed seeing newer racer’s hit the juice along side the likes of Greg Schweers, Jeff Vasquez, Larry Larson, Chris Harris and Mark Ferreira. It was also nice to see the ‘top dogs’ upside down as often as the newer racer’s. Hummm!!!

            First to race was N-2 Mono. These hulls are usually around 22 inches long, are limited to 6 cells and use any modified motor.  Generally, the hulls are of a V-design design and made in plastic or fiberglass. Set ups varied from driver to driver however I did not see a slow boat in the fleet. This class requires a lot of driving skill along with a fast boat. Just ask 15 year old Rum Runner team driver Daniel Wollard. Daniel’s boat which was designed, built and set-up by his dad was right there with the fastest. Daniel’s aggressive driving style got him upside down and wet. Daniel is really coming along and hopes to be back next year. 

            Larry Larson showed the 18 boat field the definition of ‘fast’. Larry drove a Lehner powered Maus Micro Bullet. He smoked the rest of the field. Jeff Vasques drove to a second place with his Aveox powered Micro Bullet with Randy (Mr. BBY) Naylor in close pursuit for third place. Randy was at the helm of his brand new Oval Master. 

            N-2 Hydro followed with 11 boats in the hunt on fast water. Any Hydro hull with 6 cells and a modified motor can race this event. Most driver’s in this class seem to have chosen 05 motor’s for power and an outrigger type hydro. Brian ‘The Cool Hand’ Vega entered his speedy Rum Runner rigger to compete for top honor’s. Brian’s new boat has only been in one event prior to the Splash. He sweep that race and took fast time. 

            Sweeping his first two heats of the day easily distanced Brian from the field. When the final heat began, Brian was tied with Dennis Whitt for first place points. Brian only had to finished first or second in this final heat to land first place, overall. Out in front by almost an entire lap, Brian’s boat hopped then flipped 75 feet short of the finish line. Brian had fast time for the day but dropped to 4 place overall.

            Dennis Whitt moved into first place with his BBY rigger. Donnie Wollard (that’s me) moved into second place with my brand new natural finished Rum Runner rigger. Third place went to Larry Larson driving a Reedy Sonic (9/2) powered Twaits Cyclone. 

            O Mono fielded 11 boats for one of the toughest battles of the day. With drizzling rain falling, the little Mono’s lined up for a fast start. Similar set-ups to the N-2 Mono class except this class offer’s 8 cells for power and any modified motor. With Aveox, Lehner,  and Plettenberg power choices you can only imagine the speed of these small boats. Larry ‘The Big Dog’ Larson drove 3 perfect heats with his Schweers Electro Vee powered by a 1409 1.5 Aveox. Larry set a new record of 1:11.21. Second went to the Mono Master, Greg Schweers who masterfully drove his Aveox 1409 1.5 powered Micro Bullet to a very close second. Third place was sealed by California’s Mark Ferreira. Mark was at the helm of a brand new Fuller-Bandit El Lobo 2. 

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Brain Vega driving a Fuller-Bandit El Lobo 2

            O Hydro is one of my personal favorite classes. Any Hydro hull with 8 cells and any modified motor can enter. The hulls are not to big or small, generally around 22 - 23 inches long. 8 Cells provide just enough punch to turn these boats into electric powered water rockets.

            Team Rum Runner has spent the last 3 season developing it’s O-Hydro rigger design. The team brought 4 boats to the event and  raced 3 of them. Brian ‘The Cool Hand’ Vega’s dialed in Rum Runner rigger with a 1409/1.5 Aveox jumped on step and never looked back. Three perfect heats and a first place. This boats is the current NAMBA 5 lap record holder in O Hydro. I was award second place overall with my Lehner powered Rum Runner. Wow! I like those Lehner motors. They are fast and smooth. Just hard to find in the states. Third place went to 14 year old Chris Yoder with his DPI American Dream. This young man is a national champ in the making. I am sure you will hear his name in the future. The hard luck trophy for this class (if there was one) would have to be award to Florida’s Chris Harris. Chris lost a sponson and his day was over. Chris’ boat was easily as fast as any in the field.

            P-Mono’s got busy right after the hydro’s came in. These boats are generally 24 to 26 inches long, 12 cells and use any motor. I have had a close eye on this class for the past 3 years. To be fast, you need to take your time and set your boat up to race on the edge. That is the easy part. You still need control and enough stability to finish the competition. So how is this done? Ask Brian Vega, Mark Ferreira or Greg Schweer’s. Brian powered his Maus Bullet to a first place. Second was Mark’s dialed in Bandit Pistolero with Greg ‘The Mono Master’ in close pursuit. Another event which could have gone any-which-way. Brian was the only driver to actually finish all three heats. 

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P-Mono Race

            The P-Hydro’s began their competition. The field included Larry ‘The Big Dog” Larson who recently achieved the Q Class S.A.W. record with his oval competition boat. Dick Crowe and Jeff Vasquez both fielded very fast  Fine Design - Twister rigger’s. Dick drove Doug Twaits, Jr’s. personal boat with a specially modified Aveox motor. Most of the 12th Scale P-Hydro’s at the event joined in for a little additional excitement. Team Rum Runner fielded two rigger’s. Brian Vega piloted an Aveox powered boat and Don (dad) Wollard was at the helm of a brand new Plettenberg powered boat which used the new 2200 NiMH cells.

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Brian Vega driving a very fast 12 Cell Rum Runner Rigger

            Dick’s driving skill and the unbelievable handling of his ride gave him 3 perfect heats and a first place overall. He also set a new 5 lap record with at time of 1:01.10.  Larry Larson was close in the hunt for first place points until his final heat. Larry and 5 other boats hit the start line almost at the same time. This was an important heat for Larry because a first place could have put him into first place for the competition. Turn one, 6 boats all in touching distance to one another, began their turn. Larry’s boat bounced, tumbled several time and was t-boned by Don who was very close behind in the outside lane. Larry’s boat immediately sunk. Don’s boat was recovered but was a total loss. Several days later a diver was able to recover the remains of Larry’s boat. I understand the motor and electronics’ were saved. Larry stayed in the top points with 2 wins and received a second place, overall. Third place went to Randy Naylor with is BBY rigger.  

            The hard luck award for this event would have to have gone to Brian Vega. Brian finished his first heat in second place with a twig caught between his strut and rudder. In his second heat, Brian hit something. His turn fin was bent and the prop was missing when his boat was retrieved. Are there alligator’s in that pond? In his final heat, Brian caught-up something around his rudder. When he finally got on step he was an entire lap behind the leader. By lap 3 he had moved into second place and was closing on the first place boat when his Aveox apparently had a heat shut down. Brian is looking forward to the Nationals after all summer to tune up his ride.

            Q Mono and Q Hydro were the last events of the contest. These classes allow up to 18 cells, any motor and respective hulls. The Mono’s got wet first. Most racer’s use hulls and motors similar to the P Mono class. Mark Ferreira lead this very fast class with his Aveox powered Bandit Pistolero. Mark used 16 cells with a X442 prop. Randy Naylor was award to Randy Naylor and third place Jeff Vasquez. Amazing speed for electric powered Mono’s. 

            Q Hydro was like a Nitro race on a short course. Whew! The fastest boats I have ever seen on an electric course.  Now get this! Dick Crowe raced his 12 cell P Hydro in this class by adding two additional cells. In one heat, Dick was penalized a lap for bumping a buoy. No Problem! Dick hit the throttle and drove his boat for 6 laps in 1:01.10. Wow! 

            Rick Ramus got second overall with his BBY War Eagle with Plettenberg power. Third went to Jeff Vasquez who must have earned the Hard Luck award for this class. His Fine Design Twister was very fast. He had to pull out of the contest after suffering from an accident.

            The Team Championship award went to Team Fuller’s Fast Electrics. Good job, guys. The team included; Scott Bickford, Ray Fuller, Greg Schweers, Larry Larson and Dick Crowe. They scored a total of 4300 points.

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Team Fullers Fast Electric

            Larry Larson was Mr. Highpoints for the event. His total score of 4800 was very impressive. Dick Crowe was a tight 200 points behind.

            I wanted to add a special thanks to Ray Fuller. Ray spent most of the event assisting the racer’s and providing hardware and supplies when needed. As always, he was great help.

It was also a treat to have manufacture’s present. Dorrien and his wife, from Bandit Boats, and Randy Naylor from BBY were present. Each assisted racer’s with set-up ideas and speed secrets. Thank you for attending the race and your help. 

            And finally, there was so much activity at the Splash that I am sure I forgot to mentioned someone or something. With racing, taking photo’s and taking notes things were a little busy under our tent. On Sunday I got very few good pictures. My new camera is not water proof. My notes got wet and the ink ran. I did the best I could between heats and keeping my gear working right.

            In the event I failed to mention any racer, speed record or spectacular event, my apologies to all. I want everyone to know what a great time we all had at the Spring Splash. Hope to see you there next year.

            Please visit the attached Sponsor’s page. These are the people who make races like the Spring Splash happen. Its your patronage which keeps them motivated to help. I want you to specially note that sponsor’s of most races are small businesses. NOT huge conglomerates. Please Let these Sponsors know that you appreciate them. Its important!

            Thanks for visiting the World’s most popular Fast Electric R/C Boating Site. I certainly hope you enjoy our coverage of FE events as much as we do going. 

Happy racing.

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Saturdays Winners Sundays Winners


Ps. My good friend Dick Crowe just had surgery to repair his damaged knee. Dick will be laid up while his knee recovers. Dick would love to hear from you with Get Well wishes. His address is dcrowe@drcwebservices.com  

From all your many friends and admirer’s worldwide, our prayers and wishes are with you, Dick.


Fast Electric RC Boat Races can be held because of individuals and businesses who get involved to help.  Race sponsor's at every level make these races possible.  Please take a moment to thank them when you have a chance.  They really deserve your patronage.

The Event sponsor for the Spring Splash was Fine Design, a hobby supplier out of the North East.  Fine does not have a web presence yet so give him a call at 914-342-8697.  Who knows, your next championship boat might be there waiting for you.

Trophy Sponsors:



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