This month saw our good friend Dave Warby and his Team back at Taree on the Manning River, NSW, Australia for the latest round of tests of his jet hydroplane Spirit of Australia II. 

The amount of time and effort required along with the considerable costs associated with undertaking these tests should not be under-estimated. Likewise it is to their credit that Dave and his Team consistently show professionalism with safety of the public and all those involved a number one priority. 

As you may appreciate running any high speed vehicle, be that car, motorcycle or boat is dependent upon calm weather. Permissions from the relevant authorities have to be booked weeks in advance and it was unfortunate that this weekend of Dave’s latest tests was marred by 25kmh cross winds severely limiting the speed SOAII could be safely run up to. Nevertheless it was good to see Dave and his jet hydroplane back out on the water for all to enjoy as a terrific sight and sound experience for both the public and the sponsors supporting Dave’s attempt upon the Outright World Water Speed Record (fastest boat in the world). 

Dave reports that it is looking like February next year before he and his Team will return to Blowering Dam, NSW to undertake further testing of SOAII given Christmas is fast approaching and then the school holidays in January that they have there.   

Back here with Longbow it was nice to have a visit this month from Colin Fletcher, Area Sales Manager for our sponsor Wessex Resins & Adhesives Ltd for a catch up and discussion about forming the composite cockpit for the craft incorporating their materials. As part of that I have also been in discussions with our local University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), specifically their Engineering Innovation Centre, Preston about their student involvement with the Project.

This following on from last month’s Longbow feature upon our local Blackpool & The Fylde College (B&FC) Advanced Technology Centre partnering this venture as an education platform under the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) umbrella inspiring their engineering students.

When we speak of how the world benefits from such advanced technology it is somewhat comical to contrast that with the following little turn of events. At the end of last month you may recall we had received the T45 steel tubing to form the twin jet engine cradle for Longbow from our sponsor, Josh Paige at JP Cages Ltd who had kindly notched the ends of those tubes for us. Whilst I was dressing the ends of these tubes up at my cottage workshop in preparation for them being welded (see the following photo), Josh informed me that we were a length of tube short on the order. Not to worry as he would send it to us by courier that day from their premises in the south east of England for which he assured me we should receive it within 48 hours. 

A week later I queried with Josh that we had not received the tube. Upon querying it with the courier the tube had been delivered to a sorting office of theirs 20 miles from my cottage but then had been redirected up to Scotland. 

In fairness to Josh he sent us another tube with the same courier and in the greatest of British traditions both tubes arrived at the same time with the same courier a fortnight after the first tube had been dispatched. This of course being after last month where you may recall that Josh himself was delayed with receiving the tubes when the lengths were 100mm too long for the courier to transport from their holding depot and accordingly the courier sent them back to the supplier to have 100mm (4″ removed). 

So when people ask me when Longbow will be ready to run it won’t be down to those working hard on making the venture happen; it will be at the mercy of situations cropping up such as this where all you can do is smile, accept the delay is out of your control and carry on regardless.

Finally after what seems like an eternity I could take the material for the engine cradle comprising the notched and prepped T45 steel tubes, along with all the cut bits of steel plates over to Huddersfield for our welder Steve Charlesworth to begin fabricating it all together. Along with all of that I also took our Tig welder, welding rods and Tig torch spares from our great sponsor ESAB and also a bottle of shield gas from our sponsor SGS gases. In case you were wondering why I didn’t just send everything by courier over to Steve, he lives in the middle of nowhere on a farm up on the moors so after all the hassle we have had with couriers delivery in person was the only option to avoid further delays. 

Whilst that is going on I can now at last turn my attention back to working upon the hull of Longbow and await Steve doing his magic on the welding front, with the engine cradle. Apologies for what has been rather slow progress over the last couple of months whilst we have been at the mercy of couriers, etc but hopefully we can move along a bit better now. 

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