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Life-like . . . Don Speden will take Shamrock out on the moat at Riverstone Castle. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

What better setting for model boats than the Riverstone Castle?

The man-made moat around Dot and Neil Smith’s castle will host the South Canterbury Model Engineers boat regatta on November 7.

Oamaru model boat builder Don Speden said he was looking forward to seeing his 12:1 replica Shamrock in action in the idyllic setting.

The boat is fully functional, powered by an electric motor and remote-controlled.

Mr Speden built his first boat two years ago, the process reigniting a childhood passion.

“For me, it is about making it as realistic is possible,” he said.

“I like the fact it is creative [and] you need quite a bit of patience.

“You are always learning and it’s a lot of fun.”

Mr Speden started by building kitset models and has since moved on to designing and making the boats from scratch.

His current project is a replica of a Canadian tugboat used to push logs.

South Canterbury Model Engineers boat regatta organiser Robin Jacobs said the idea to host the boats on the moat came to him when he was visiting Riverstone Kitchen.

“The first thing I did was see this lake and say I get my boats on here?’,” Mr Jacobs said.

“It’s absolutely pristine .. where else are you going to find that?”

Mr Jacobs said he was very grateful Mr and Mrs Smith had allowed the club to use the moat.

Model boat builders were travelling from as far away as Christchurch and Dunedin to make the most of the setting, he said.

Members of the public were welcome to attend and Mr Speden said it would be a good opportunity to learn more about the model boats.

“There will be lots of people there who know a lot about it and are more than happy to share their knowledge,” he said.