Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring day sailing

People SailingWhat a lovely day for a sail !

The morning started a bit grey and surprisingly chilly but as the club had organised a "Footie" yacht sailing day with members of Wickstead Park Model Boat Club, it seemed worth a trip to the lake. I charged up the batteries for Pigeon Pie and my Slingshot and headed to the water.

By the lake the weather hadn't improved but at least there was plenty of convivial company. The Wickstead guys started to arrive with some very impressive boats - it seems that they all built large, well detailed tugboats. When I say large, I mean around 4 feet in length. Most arrived on trolleys and needed to be launched in two parts, hull first then superstructure plonked on top. Sound units were also de regur and very effective. In a larger model boat you can generate the kind of base that always seems to be lacking in model railway engines in comparison.

My day wasn't perfect of course, the Slingshot battery was plugged in and... nothing. So I tried another battery with the same result. And another. And another.

Rather than try and fix things on the bank I stuffed the boat back in its box and sailed Pigeon Pie instead. This gave me time to think and with that boat back on dry land I had another poke around. Squeezing up the connections in the battery plug I managed to get some life and so gave the boat a few circuits of the water. I needed some practise as we've got some new buoys which look like the balloon from "The Prisoner" painted orange. Nice but a bit larger than the old ones. Bouncier too as several members discovered when they tried to park boats in them.

Half a dozen circuits later the boat died. Not entirely unexpected as I knew the battery hadn't taken the greatest charge, saving the good batteries for racing seemed like a good strategy. Back on dry land the model wasn't to be revived though so I'm going to have to look further at this. After last years efforts I want to have a reliable boat, not something that needs constant fiddling.

Anyway a bacon buttie and some more sailing fun made me feel better. The sun came out and by the end of the day a "couple of hours at the lake" had become over 5 hours. We'd seen some fantastic powered models and very mediocre yacht racing thanks to a lack of breeze. I am now convinced that boats should have engines for propulsion and not bedding on sticks !

In a few days time I'll update the KMBC web site with some pictures from the day. In the meantime, I'm a bit pleased with this shot of a scratchbuilt RAF rescue launch at speed:

Rescue launch

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