Friday, February 27, 2009

That sinking feeling. Again.

Mucky boat
Originally uploaded by Phil_Parker
Joining the throng of model boaters not currently gainfully employed at my local club yesterday morning, I took Tomsk along for a sail. Last week he'd worked well so a repeat performance seemed the least stressful option and allow me to join in the banter rather than poking about in the vessels innards.

On the water, for a change the heavy battery seemed to be positioned correctly first time letting Tomsk head for the far side of the lake with hardly a hint of list. Radio reception was fine so on the return to the landing stage I launched our towing load, a large hull decorated to look a bit like a container ship. Last week we'd processed happily around the pond so I expected to do the same again and get a bit more practise in tow handling.

At first everything was fine. Tomsk headed up the right hand side of the pond dragging the larger boat like a recalcitrant dog being taken for a walk in the rain. Turning across the the end the "dog" started to catch up a bit as the breeze got behind it but the tug has plenty of grunt and was easily able to keep the rope taught.

Turning for home and bad things started to happen. The wind was strong enough to sail yachts in, unusual on our water, and much stronger then last week. Some sharp pulls to the side stopped the tow heading for the bank but Tomsk was pointing at some funny angles. A strong list to starboard was the first sign all was not well but this quickly resolved itself and I decided to run for home.

Another gust and the list was back. Then the back of the boat went under quickly followed by the front. Suddenly there was a tow but no tug. "This is not going well" I thought.

Racing over to the bank I pulled the tow out of the water and was pleased to see the rope still taught. I gently pulled expecting to find a bedraggled Tomsk at the end. As it neared the surface though the weight dropped and I found myself holding the towing post but nothing else.

Back to the clubhouse for a rake and I started fishing around in the water with little expectation of success. A diver would describe the visibility as "Nil" thanks to all the mud. The lake is surprisingly deep at this point thanks to the winter water run off from the fields - around 3-4 feet so no chance of a paddle !

Wet boat inardsPurely by change I caught something. Gently pulling the rake in I found I had grabbed the top of the superstructure. "Oh, well, at least I got a bit of the model back" went through my mind. Then I spotted the aerial wire. It's attached to the mast and firmly anchored. Pulling this brought the hull up.

Back at the clubhouse I had a very wet and muddy boat. A syringe pulled about 1/4 of a pint of mucky water out of the hull but the Tomsk now sits in a warm room gently drying. We'll see in a couple of days how waterlogged the electrics are !

Model boast, as a general rule, don't sink that often. Any idiot can build something that floats, even me. Yet I this isn't Tomsk's first trip to the bottom. Some deja-vu here...

No comments: