Sunday, June 26, 2011

Errol saves the day

Errol saves the day

Racing is dangerous. We've all seen Formula 1 cars flying apart after a little touch with the track side wall or another competitor. It's no less hazardous (OK, perhaps a little bit) in the world of model boats and Club 500 racing.

On Thursday I was testing my newly mended boat on the lake. There was another 500 doing some laps and while we weren't racing properly, we did try and keep pace with each other.

Also afloat was a grey boat of some description. It's owner was pootling around for pleasure but often crossed our paths. Not that this was really a problem - we just steered around or slowed to let him out of the way. This was fine for a few minutes and then during an evasive manoeuvre, I clipped a buoy. Not a full bodied thump, just a glancing blow. Enough to roll my boat over.

For a couple of minutes it stayed upside down and afloat. Too far from the bank of course for reaching with any of  the poles available, but at least on the right side of the waters surface. This continued for a while and then the model rolled over. It stopped with a serious list but at least the propeller was submerged. Sadly the electric were dead and any hope of driving to shore was lost.

Then things got worse. The boat rolled forward and sank. Not completely, the back end and spoiler stuck above the surface. I couldn't watch at this point and assuming my model was lost, went and packed up my stuff including a now surplus boat box.

This wasn't the end though. The boat stayed floating like this. Attempts to reach it with poles failed, as did a member with a fishing rod and lure - mind you is was glad when he stopped as those hooks looked a bit big and I was worried he might catch another club member !

Finally Errol, our resident water rat, ignored our suggestions and pushed out the rescue boat to go on a salvage mission. It's not a big boat as you can see, and it had no oars. The idea is that you haul the seafarer from the bank using a rope. This should stop solo use of the boat and hopefully keep people out of trouble.

As it was Errol used his hands as paddles and quickly grabbed the orange casualty. It was full of water and he said it was difficult to get on board. Emptying it out a lot helped, but even when I got it back on the bench I recon to have poured 4 or 5 pints out.

What saved the model (apart from Errol) was the slab of polystyrene under the lid. This kept just enough above the water to trap some air.

The results looks promising. The speed control is fine and the steering servo looks savable. Only the receiver appears to be borked and I'll even withhold judgement on this until it has had a few days to dry out. The motor has been sprayed with WD40 so it might survive - if not replacement is reasonably easy. Once I've done this though, there's a lot more polystyrene going in this hull - and those of the people watching I suspect !

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