This month our driver David-John Gibbs (DJ) for our jet hydroplane Longbow and myself were delighted and indeed honoured to receive memberships of the Tacoma Speedboat, which is an American Power Boat Association (APBA) sanctioned boat racing club set up by Patrick Gleason in the USA.
Our memberships of the Club were secured by my dear friend John Paramore who is one of those people who have led such interesting lives that you can just never get enough of just sitting, listening to, or reading his mails and trying to soak up that knowledge and wisdom. Specifically in relation to our project he has and continues to be so very kind and generous teaching me as best he might about his experiences of building and driving circuit racing hydroplanes, the history of all manner of hydroplanes, their construction and development, all of which I will be forever in his debt.
Looking back at last month’s website diary update it seems the video therein of us turning the hull of Longbow over went down very well with those following the venture. On the back of that we have had some very kind offers of assistance through the Blackpool Thunder Car Club and the Cumbrian Boating Group that will become apparent in the times ahead.
As for progress this month I have been busy during the evenings and at weekends with one of those jobs that not many relish, which is sanding the inside of the hull where epoxy had wept out during clamping and fixing of the outer plywood skins.
My kids suggested just leaving it as it was since it would be one of those things that would never be seen unless the engine covers are off and the total weight of epoxy I intended to remove was of no consequence to the performance of the boat. However I gave them one of those looks that only a father can give their children and one I had received from my dad and grandfather when I was their age, indicating come on that is not really good enough son. I was rightly taught that life is about doing the job right first time around and having a little pride in your work, so the right thing to do was to sand back the unsightly epoxy waste to make the area presentable before moving on to the next stage of the build.
To help with this awkward task our good friend Steve Buckle, Marketing Director of our sponsor Sealey Tools, very kindly sent us several of their brilliant 50mm diameter velcro backing pads for their air orbital sander, so that we could reach all the awkward areas between the hull ribs which a comparatively bulky palm sander was incapable of getting into.
Even then I had to combine this with a flexible drive rotary tool with tiny drum sander attachment to get into some of the smallest awkward areas.
I cannot express just how much of a joy it has been to spend hour after hour for the past four weeks, with my geriatric knees resting upon the wooden battens inside of the hull. Unable to hear a thing above the compressor as it belted away to keep up with the demand of the air sander. The only relief to the deafening noise being to swap for a few minutes to the electric rotary tool which made progress at the same rate as trying to cut all the grass of a football pitch with scissors. Breathing through PPE masks kindly supplied by our sponsor Trend was essential whilst the rest of me got covered head to toe in sanding dust as I settled to being in a little world of my own conquering one after another the endless little timber frame sections of the hull.
Occasionally my long suffering wife Gill would venture into the workshop with a very much appreciated brew, offer an encouraging smile then make a quick retreat through the haze of sanding dust back into the cottage. I would carry on sanding letting the hot beverage cool a little, then take an age trying to clamber out of the hull with no feeling in my legs to blow off the skin of dust that had by that time settled on the brew in order to gulp it down before doing battle again with the sanding.
To the casual observer I am sad to say that you will be looking at the photos and saying to yourself blimey the hull doesn’t look any different, what has he been doing all of April? However for me it has been a job that needed getting out of the way no matter how long it took, before I could move on to the other more enjoyable areas of the build.
This week Neil Morton of Progress Concepts who very kindly manages our website, dropped by for a catch up and it was rewarding to see him appreciate the time and effort I had put into sanding the inside of the hull, so I must be doing something right.
Last but not least thank you to those who contacted us about our standard poodle puppies for which they have all now gone to their forever loving homes.
So that is all for the April update folks. Thank you for dropping by and if you have not already done so please like our Facebook page to be notified of updates as our fun little adventure continues.