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Eight year model boat project makes its way to Beccles for charity

Graham Davies, right, and Pete Dorsett with their scale model of the HMS Norfolk type 23 frigate. They are hoping to break a world record of sailing for 24 hours duration on a river.  Picture: Denise Bradley

Graham Davies, right, and Pete Dorsett with their scale model of the HMS Norfolk type 23 frigate. They are hoping to break a world record of sailing for 24 hours duration on a river. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant copyright 2011

A MODEL boat maker is set to put his eight-year project onto the water and motor it to Beccles in a challenge to raise money for charity.

Graham Davies, from Catton Grove in Norwich who has been model boat making since the 1980s, spent eight years building the HMS Norfolk in his garage with his friend Pete Dorsett.

He is now hoping to motor the boat from Brundall to Beccles to raise money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

The pair started making the stand-off scale model of HMS Norfolk around the year 2000.

The model boat has appeared on the real Royal Navy HMS Norfolk for special occasions and Mr Davies was affiliated to the Royal Navy as a result.

Although there is still work to do on the electric system – he has just bought a new speed control interface – Mr Davies hopes to get permission to complete the challenge in October.

Since he retired last October Mr Davies, who also has a full size cruiser on the Broads, has got back to working on his model boat.

The trip will be 38 miles on the rivers Yare and River Waveney from Brundall to Beccles and back. It is expected to take around three-and-a quarter hours each way.

He said that, while his strengths were engineering, it was his friend Mr Dorsett who had an eye for details on the plans.

The HMS Norfolk F230 type 23, which is 9ft 3in long is run on two 12 volt, 24 amp hour batteries. The boat has £1,500-worth of electric equipment.

Although this challenge will not be a world record attempt, he hopes one day to break a current model boat record for covering 130 miles in a model boat in 24 hours.

“It would be nice for people to see but it is very difficult on the river,” he said.

He said there were places to watch the boat along the way, including Cantley, Reedham, the Waveney Centre and in Beccles itself.

“I am doing it for the East Anglian Air Ambulance because they do a fabulous job”, he said. “If I had an accident in the Broads and they couldn’t get a land ambulance to me, they would use the air ambulance. That costs thousands of pounds. “I don’t know how much I can make but it is about raising awareness of the charity too.”

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