Building the yellow craft 2008

12-13th July 2008 Craft's first outing at Claydon House~

About_img_08 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.

June-July 2008 ~

Putting the craft all together went fairly well since i had planned it all out and had as many of the bits as i could have to hand. It always seems like you need to buy every part twice and parts never seem to actually fit together but they all did in the end... About_img_08
The exhausts had to be cut and twisted in 2 places to fit in the craft, they were expertly welded together by Adrian at Griffon Hovercraft, thanks to everyone at Griffon for the help especially Ben, John and Adrian.
Before traveling to the Claydon House race meeting the engine had around 5mins running time and had not behaved properly, typical 2-strokes... There were a few last minute guards still to be fitted and plenty of adjustments to be made to set the craft up like tuning fan-blade angles, skirt pressures etc so i wasn't expecting to actually 'race' the craft- more to test it out.

May 2008 ~

A lot has happened since the last update but i have been too busy building hovercraft to update the website! About_img_08
The plug was finally finished by mid may and after being waxed up was moved into the laminating hangar at Marine Concepts. I took a few days off work and with the help of a few guys the mould was laid up in 2 days! Gelcoat and 900g/sq m chopped stand mat one day and the next day special quick- tooling resin was used to create a 7-8mm thick layup which is very rigid. Cheers to John the foreman and Dan, Alex and 'Borat' for helping out.
The mould was prepped- i used 2 coats of sealer and 2 layers of wax which was wiped of as soon as it was put on- this is what is used by the pros and it worked perfectly... Much easier than 6-7 layers of wax!!!Then the actual layup started with a thin as possible layer of golden yellow gelcoat followed by sparing amounts everything else. (The gel did pickle in places but not too badly) The layup is mostly 300Chopped strand mat and 300 woven glass but there is some carbon-kevlar and kevlar in places. It was tempting to borrow some of the boxes worth of carbon mat in the workshop... In the end the hull released perfectly and was not too overweight, plently of room for improvement for the next one...About_img_08
See in the gallery for some of the work on the hull. Pics will be up soon of some real progress if i ever get around to it... And thanks for the words of encouragement and advice from everyone, i hope to come to Claydon house to test the new craft. About_img_08

19th MARCH 2008 ~

About_img_08A few tins of filler, gallons of primer and days of rubbing down the plug is finally ready for its topcoat which is getting sprayed tonight. (You cant really see from the pictures the improvement but hopefully it will have been worth it! The plan is to have the mould and first hull laid up next week..!

I have come across some really good rigid foam, tricast 6, that will be used for the structural foam core bits and if i have time it will line the swept area of the lift fan to keep the tip clearance down.

10th MARCH 2008 ~

About_img_08The plug has been transported on the new trailer to Marine Concepts, a company that builds plugs and moulds for Sunseeker yachts. Thanks to Pete and Terry at Marine Concepts for letting me use their facilities- I will be finishing the plug, laying up the mould and the 2008 hull there (and eating a fair amount of dust...). The plug looks quite small with a 100' Sunseeker mould behind it!

1st MARCH 2008 ~

The Plug of the new hull (a mock-up) is nearly complete and I am now ready to take the mould.


CamRacing is registered for the World Hovercraft Championships in Stockholm, Sweden this August- see the links page for the WHC website. Now the craft just needs to be built!