Monday, September 15, 2008

Sooty sails !

Sooty on the lake
Originally uploaded by Phil_Parker.
At yesterdays KMBC Sunday Lunch we had some superb weather, sunny and mostly still. Just the sort of day to try my Fantail steam launch, Sooty.

Having grabbed a frequency. I loaded up with 60ml of water and 2 whole tablets of solid fuel, lit this and took the boat down to the landing stage. Raising steam seemed quicker than normal, certainly not the five minutes I've waited in the past - or maybe I was just chatting so didn't notice !

On the water the engine ran well with the model pootling around within reach of a boat retrieving pole. I did make a few trips further from the bank but decided discretion was the better part of valour on the first run . The controls were passed to Derek while I filmed the model and took some pictures.

After 15 minutes or so I brought the model in and checked the fuel - still about a quarter of each tablet was left but I blew these out and let things cool.

Once we packed up I tried a more ambitious trip around the edge of the lake on both directions with no incidents. Again, the engine ran well with no problems and most importantly, no stalling. I left the lake a very happy model boater.

During the sail it became apparent that there are a few jobs to do:

  • The model has a slight list. A bit more weight on the side with the figure should sort this. The hull is buoyant enough to handle this with ease.

  • The trim needs adjusting again. We still pull to the right a lot, more than the trim on the transmitter can deal with.

  • The locating pins in the baseplate have been sliding down, making the boiler unstable. Some glue able to take the heat is needed.

  • One member who knows a lot about model steam engines suggests that for single cylinder oscillators, a very weak spring to pull the cylinder over can help if the model stalls. The spring pulls the cylinder to the point where it will restart. I'll investigate this IF I have problems. For the minute I'm happy with the way its running so I'll leave well alone.

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