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Our  Models

Virgin Atlantic Challenger I

Everyone was disappointed when the news broke that Virgin Atlantic Challenger I had hit an underwater obstruction and sunk, just a few miles short of the record. [Read more...]

 


Virgin Atlantic Challenger II

Inspired by Mr Richard Branson crossing the Atlantic in record time, we thought it would be nice to have a model of the Virgin Atlantic Challenger II. [Read More...]

 

H.M.S. Norfolk.

F230 Duke

Class Frigate.

A world record holder.

[Read More...]

 

MTB488

Motor Torpedo Boat  [Read More...]

 

The Great Challenge (1991)
Virgin Atlantic Challenger II
Page 2

We also had 10 hour's sponsorship from a 3 man Anglia TV crew that also was feeling the cold. 

Our time and lap friend also had arrived and was setting up.  This gentleman is a staunch fellow and his name is Clive Roulston. I had made a special dump tank for the fuel as time was tight as we were only allowed 5 minutes in the hour for re-fueling and other things.
 The dump tank had a capacity of 5 litres with a large 1/2" stop valve and a piece of 1/2" silicone tube attached.  You could dump a gallon in about 90 seconds flat.
 We also had a jerry can with 41/2 gallons of fuel ready to top up the dump tank.

Practice Time

 

 

 

 

On Saturday we had an extensive practice with my starting the engines up and launching the model.
As you see from the photo on the left the model was heavy and it put a lot of strain on my lower back and that was not good.  Peter was always near at hand with the radio control whilst George and his son Phillip were manning David’s rib and David looking on. Fortunately the lake was calm and not much wind.

 

The start

It had taken us a long time and a lot of money to get to this point in time, so we all hoped it would go well.  So on a cold morning that was also bright we all prepared for the OFF!


David was driving George's rib and was out on the lake and was fuelled up with Clive by the side of the course waiting for the start.
I had freezing cold hands and was a bit jittery and just finished fuelling up both tanks.  

When you have a large camera stuck down your neck you tend to be a little nervous at times.
Then I went through a set pattern of checks. You MUST have these as thing tend to go wrong at the most  inconvenient times.
Peter had installed himself besides David waiting for me to start the model and launch it.  They also looked absolutely FROZEN but ready to go.   
I started up the starboard engine closely followed by the port engine with my quickly checking all the water and fuel pipes.  Making sure that everybody was at a safe distance from me I picked up the model ready for the launch.  
The model was about 50 lbs in weight and was a lump to throw in. Peter had the engines at nearly maximum revs as when you launch a heavy model you sometimes can stall the engines!  That can be a real SOD you know.

 

I put into the lake and Peter took control. He whizzed around the rib boat a few times to make sure everything was ok. Then they were off.

The film crew were going about there tasks with Clive Roulston standing mid way watching and counting the laps.

The model had a full gallon of fuel on board but challenger took it in it's stride.

The lake was ok and not to choppy. As you see from the photo on the left the challenger was going at a good pace about 24 mph. Sorry about some of the photo's not being great but still are viewable. The rest of us stood and watched the on going thrash. We were all getting very cold with a north easterly wind cutting through us. So what it was like out in the lake must be bringing tears to there eye’s with fingers and other extremities just about to fall off! The girls were making lots of sandwichs with tea and coffee to try and keep us all warm.

 

As you see from the photo below there were bumbling pins here and there and had to be avoided at all cost. As you can see the challenger was about 30 yards in front of the rib but became shorter when turning around the dog leg of the course. This where the fun came in (I DON'T THINK SO), Suddenly Peter and David came to an extremely quick stop because they had snagged a 56lb weight of concrete with rope attached that had in tangled the outboard skeg but had not gone around the prop fortunately.
They had an extremely LUCKY escape as they had got near VERTICAL before dropping back into the water.
That was Mishap No. 5 so we thought. They said when they came in they both nearly had heart attacks!

 

 

 

 


 

Mishap No. 6 came when they came in for more fuel and Peter said hat there might be a problem with the engines, so with George looking on the challenger slowly drifted in where he and Peter got it out and into my hands.

I took the cabin top off and had a look at the engines and they seemed to be alright so I re-fuelled the tanks and tried to start the port side engine but I could not so I tried to start the starboard engine but could not.

We took out each glow plug and tried again but they would not start so I removed the port from the boat and took it apart and when it was in pieces we found that the front bearing ball cage had come apart from the outer grease casing and there were metal bits and pieces floating around the engine and had gone up the cylinder and destroyed the lining so that was that for that engine.

I did have a spare engine and we installed that pretty quickly. We did a quick start up of this engine and found it ok.

So we removed the other engine and found that also had the same problem and that was that. No second spare engine. 

THE CONCLUSION!

Why you all might say did both engines blow up. Well we did use them a lot when we were making sure that they would run up to 70 minutes with out stopping. Plus when we checked them out for bearing wear and found none we did not think to change the bearings.
HOW WRONG we were but my dad said if the engines were alright why change anything. Considering the engines rev to about 16,000 rpm each perhaps it’s a big ask and perhaps we should have had two spare engines. That’s ok but I did not have much money and felt that three engines would be ok.
With a heavy hearts we slowly packed up and all returned home. There was a last Mishap No.7 and that was when George backed his mobile home into his garage wall and that was costly. So if you are think you would like to do this make sure you have enough back up engines.
PERHAPS IT WAS NOT MEANT TO BE!

SPECIAL THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE FOR ALL THERE HELP!

David Puttock, George, Jill & Phillip Robson, Nigel & Matthew Jolley, Clive Roulston, Mary Davies, Peter Dorsett, Bryan Ames, Paul Johnson, Mick Newham, David Shaw & Harry & Shirley Pinder.

THE NEXT ATTEMPT?

Hopefully we will attempt a record in 2013, 2014, 2015.  Hopefully it will take place at Willen Lake aswell. Also I now have had a new hull made.  This time we will be using a petrol engine. So I will keep you all posted!