You Sunk My Battleship!

Battle of the Grand Basin – With Paddleboat in the Background

There are many times when a visit to the park gives you something new and interesting to see. We were driving past the Grand Basin in Forest Park this week, when Anne said, stop, stop, stop. She had just seen some model warships cruising the waters there. We parked and went over to see what was up. Three former sailors were controlling three model boats, two Burke class destroyers and the pictured cruiser, the USS Rochester. We spoke with the three gentlemen as they radio-controlled their vessels, trying not to run into each other and stay away from the fountains that were spraying all about in the high wind. Human powered boats from the boathouse would occasionally sail by, checking out these oddities. Later, we saw a wedding photographer who was doing some follow-up drone photography for a photoshoot that he had done last weekend. We pointed out the boats to him and he promptly buzzed them.

USS Rochester (CA-124) – 1:48 Scale

This wasn’t my first regatta that I have witnessed on the Grand Basin. The Scouts sometimes have cardboard canoe races, where kids race each other and the clock, to see if they can complete their course before their boat becomes too waterlogged. Below is an old movie of what was probably the first regatta held in what is now Forest Park. During the World’s Fair naval battles were fought using model ships. These models were of Spanish-American warship, where all of the naval battles were decidedly won by the Americans. These boats were not radio controlled. I’m not even sure if the radio had been invented yet, but instead each boat had a man inside. Add explosions and fire and you have a fairly compelling demonstration to watch.

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