Craft’s first outing at Claydon House

Claydon house is the venue where my first craft made its debut three years before, the course is set in the grounds of a stately home with the water section along the moat of the house. After arriving on the friday night through thunderstorms the pits were setup and none of the work that was needed was carried out on the craft thanks to the rain.

It was an early start the next morning and the craft got through its initial scrutiny without any problems which was surprising considering its novel design. The next hurdle was the flotation test where the craft has to float with its engine off for 5minutes. At this point we had realised there was some sort of electrical problem with the engine which meant it only ran at half power or not at all and was difficult to start. Three coils were swapped in and out and in the end the craft was flown to the lake while only revving to around half power in a break in the racing program (i had missed practice and the first race by now). Even with the engine problems the craft was nearly as fast as the old craft which wouldn’t even have lifted from the ground at this power! The craft stayed afloat and i flew back to the pits along the water section. The craft was now effectively signed off and ready to race so it was fueled up and prepped for the afternoon race.

When the 10minute board came up i put on my kit and went to try and start the craft… which didnt want to play ball! The intermittent spark had given up completely and this meant i missed all of Saturday’s races. This gave us the opportunity to spend the rest of the afternoon sorting out lots of other bits and trying to solve the engine problem with the help of lots of other experts helping out.

It was the same story on Sunday which was incredibly frustrating, in the end the problem was two faulty coils and one with a bad connection in an HT lead! By the time the engine was running sweet and the fan blades had been optimised slightly i had missed all of my races. I took the craft upto the test area and blasted about a bit which made the whole weekend worth it- even going uphill on long grass the craft accelerated much faster than my previous craft or any i had driven before. It felt very responsive and easy to drive even though nothing was properly dialed in yet. Unfortunately the first time it got to higher revs the seal on the lift shaft exploded and took the shaft with it. This is a fairly easy fix and was due to the shaft being there in the first place- a completely different solution to stop water going through the seat will be made.

We were so busy working on the craft we had no time to take any pictures, but it generated a lot of interest from competitors and also the public. There is now 2 weeks to fix the craft and carry out a few changes before the race at Southampton- for details of the event go the hovercraft club website.

Posted in: Racing Diary on July 12th by admin

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