Park regulars, no 1

This is the first of a series of interviews of people who are Park regulars.

Allan Birkin and Ron Cowl built the tow boat Balboa

The park lake is the home of the York Model Boat Club, and so Bob Smith, along with other members of the club, regularly uses the Park lake to sail boats and to host model boat regattas. On regatta days, dozens of radio-controlled boats are launched, of all different sizes and styles, including large sailing boats, tugs, submarines, and even the famous boat with its skeleton crew. Bob says “I run a fast electric boat. It regularly hits a wave and somersaults across the water only to end up capsized and stuck, out in the middle of the lake.  So I then have the crowd-pleasing job of climbing into full-length waders and setting off into the thigh-deep water.  This is great fun (if a little weird), although there is always the fear in the back of your mind that you will get tangled in some abandoned bike or shopping trolley.  Thankfully so far, touch-wood, this has never happened.”

Bob says the park is special to him because he’s had so many happy family times there. He says the park can be quite peaceful and that local residents see it as important to them. As a model boat user, Bob says he notices that the water can get very weedy in the summer (and smelly), which he puts down to the amount of goose droppings going in, and a lack of fresh water. If given a chance to go back into the history of the Park, he likes to imagine how it would be if the open air swimming pool were still available “On a hot summer day, I think that would be fantastic – maybe it would be community-run by now, too.”

Bob is also the web master for the club, which has a great new website www.yorkmodelboatclub.co.uk including a weather forecast – so you know whether to take your brolly or your sunhat, when you’re off to a regatta in the park. The first regatta this year is this weekend, on the 25th March, with the others on 27th May, 22nd July and 23rd September, so do go along and see what the club are up to.

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