K3 BACK IN ACTION
At last the 24th of September arrived. With perfect weather conditions. After an early load we were on are way to Bewl Water and on time!
A magical mist hung over the reservoir as we arrived. Not to worry as the strong sunshine would soon burn the mist away.
It was all going to well. When it was time to unload the winch decided to pack up. No matter what was tried it did not want to play any more. So a very tricky and slow unload using straps and tow vehicles began. Finally when K3 was on the slip we had a quick photo session with the 1938 Ford Woodie which had been the support vehicle on Sir Malcolms last record outing with K3 in 1938 at lake Halwil Switzerland. It was the first time the two had been re united since 1938, another small piece of history. The Ford is owned by the car publication the Automobile who will be doing an article about the car and its link with K3.
On with the test. It was decided to get as many runs in as we could to prove reliability and test the shear pins now fitted in the new prop shaft. After the initial engine warm and static prop shaft test, which was successful we were ready to go.
We were towed into position and faced another moment of truth as I engaged the dog clutch, switch all pumps on, mag switches on and pressed the starter. K3 fired first time and we were under way. A medium pace run over and back and then a check up at the jetty. All temperatures good. Nothing getting to hot or on the move so we decided to keep at it and go for more runs. Instead of just going over one way and back then returning to the jetty I stayed out longer and did six passes before returning back for a check up. Although there was now more heat in all the transmission there was nothing to worry about so the whole process was repeated two more times without problem. The reservoir felt busy with anglers, support boats, and the Bewl cruiser all on the water when I was testing. On one run, I turned on the far side of the Bewl cruiser that was full of passengers. That must have been quite a site. I hope they appreciated it! With plenty of other boats wakes as well as mine I was keeping speeds down and just concentrating on getting time in the boat and on the water.
As ever team and spectators were wanting me to go faster, so as the reservoir was going quiet we decided that a faster run may be possible.
All puffed up we headed out but Bluebird refused to fire. After what seamed an age and trying various different settings K3 fire with a blast and off we went, about ten seconds into the run there was a slight vibration followed by the engine revs rising rapidly. I hit the mag switches and we came to a silent halt. I shouted to the support boat, I think the two shear pins have had enough! I was right. The two pins had sheared under heavy acceleration.
Andy and Richard came aboard eager to fit three shear pins to carry on the test but unfortunately the spigot had picked up and we could not re align the flanges to put the pins in. After about 30 minutes we decided to end the test, but the shear pins had worked perfectly. We now have a viable safety net.
In general it was a very successful day. We got towards half an hour of under power time and we have proved the shear pin system will work.
The new prop shaft was great and the Ki Gas for starting has worked when we have used it, so all the work we did over the last winter has paid off, and we are gradually proving K3.
Many thanks to Howard Mackenzie and Mike Wilcock at Bewl. Well done to young Hugh for piloting the Bewl rib, Southern Water, Bewl Valley Sailing Club.
My team for the day Andy Taylor, Richard Millar, Dan Foulkes Halbard, Mick Waller, Dick Heyden and Jonnie.
The CMBA team, Steve Carpenter, Geoff Allchorn, David Knight, Mike Tarry, Clive Boggis and Phil Bywater, all of which I could not run K3 without their help.