SSS logo: Blue Dreadnaught on gold, surrounded by three golden crowns on blue.

Seatrials of the first SSS Liberty Ship

by Per Hamrin

Finally the time had come. one late sunday evening we threw ourselves in to the family VW-bus after carfully loading it with cameras radio gear and The Ship.

We set off to a pond in the outskirts of the city. Earlier reconpatrols had guessed that the pond would be suitable, almost circular with 30 m diameter and a small island in it, grass slopes and a low fence around it. The depths was however unchartered.

After radio testing (and finding out that I wired the rudder servo to the wrong Rx-channel) it was time to launch. The ship left the shore nicely and responded good to rudder. I kept full speed and made a turn to port.

As the ship was comming towards me I was giving it inversed rudder-commands and she soon ran a ground near the island in the middle of the pond. (Where else?)

I tried to jog her off with her own motor but she stood on to hard; I had walk in to the water to free her. It was not more than 20 cm deep and fairly warm for the season (approx 15 deg above freezing).

I took her back to shore and opened her to check if she was leaking. There were only a few drops of water in her which had entered near the rudder, I guess the tissue-coating was not perfect there.

I rearranged the channels in the Tx and set her out again, this time with the rudder on the left horizontal stick (previously vertical). After a sudden turn one battery rolled and she started to list.

It was not to bad so we continued to run her around in the pond while shooting some video of her. Then I drove her back to the port.

In summary, we gained the following knowledge:

  • Make sure the channels are correctly connected, it is hard to control a ship if the sticks are controlling the wrong function.
  • Make sure the batteries are fastened in the hull.
  • The ship moved nicely in the water, perhaps a bit fast but that is easier to fix than a bit too slow.
  • The ship was not deep loaded enough (she was nowhere near her Plimsoll mark), which will be better after putting in the pump and another battery.

    The tests are were regarded successful and we went back home.

    (Sorry for the low picture quality, the pics are framegrabbed from a videotape of the event...)

    Copyright © 1998 by author Per Hamrin, Västerås, Sweden.
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