Show us your floats!

Discussion in 'Construction' started by NickMyers, Jun 6, 2009.

  1. NickMyers

    NickMyers Admin RCWC Staff

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    As was discussed over in this thread show us your float / recovery system!
    Pictures appreciated, along with some information about how it should work, how well it actually works, and if/how you would change it given time for a do-over.
    I'd start us off with something, but the Suffren doesn't have a float and the little oiler I'm working on hasn't reached that stage of construction. (I'm slow) :( I'm personally interested an in-superstructure spool system for it though.
     
  2. eljefe

    eljefe Active Member

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    The title of this thread sounds like the kind of command that would get you slapped by a girl.
     
  3. Kotori87

    Kotori87 Well-Known Member

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    All right, I'll lead this thread off then. Here is my most recent float design, used with much success in the 2008 season in my four transports. All four ships got sunk on numerous occasions, and the float deployed with a very high degree of reliability. There were only two failures, and I know exactly why they failed and how to prevent it in the future.
    The float is a modified "hidden compartment" style float, with several changes to improve reliability of deploying. The system consists of a fishing bobber concealed inside a modified PVC coupler, which serves double duty as the ship's smoke stack. The modification applied to the PVC coupler is a number of vent holes cut in the bottom, to allow water to flood in through the bottom of the smokestack and lift the bobber up and out of the ship as it goes down. If all goes well, the bobber stays on the surface the entire time. The vent holes modification was introduced after I observed that, when a ship sinks, water can flood in through the tops of smokestacks, trapping your recovery float until after the ship hits the bottom of the pond. By that point, it's too late and any number of obstructions may prevent the float from reaching the surface. By cutting vent holes in the bottom of the smokestack, I allow water to lift the float up and out of the smokestack, rather than trapping it inside. Unless the ship is rolled 180 degrees by a ram (actually happened once, first known failure), the float will deploy immediately with a high degree of reliability. The following series of photos show the float in action, and also demonstrates the second time this float system has ever failed to deploy:
    SS Henry Kaiser, mossed, torpedoed, and pumping, waits for assistance near the Allied Convoy Buoy
    [​IMG]
    SS Ou Maru fatally rams the Henry Kaiser, finishing it off
    [​IMG]
    The last moment before the float system's vent holes kick into action
    [​IMG]
    The vent holes did their job perfectly, as water lifts the float up and out of the smokestack
    [​IMG]
    Alas, the radio antenna strung between the two masts catches the float before it can finish deploying, trapping it in the mast
    [​IMG]
    Henry Kaiser, float still trapped, rests on the bottom
    [​IMG]
    As you saw in the photos, the float failed to deploy because it got trapped by the antenna wire. Since then, the antenna wire has been loosened and repositioned, and the float has never failed since.
     
  4. crzyhawk

    crzyhawk Well-Known Member

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    Don't use floats personally.
     
  5. Kotori87

    Kotori87 Well-Known Member

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    Why not?
     
  6. rarena

    rarena Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    This is the bottom of the superstructure. My float clips to the inside of the boat and lowers the boat to the pond bottom. It doesn't get tangled and has worked flawlessly on all three of the ships I have them installed on. I also can retrieve them with this.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. crzyhawk

    crzyhawk Well-Known Member

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    "Why not?"

    Seem more hassle then they are worth. I keep an eye on my ship and accept truth when she's starting to sink and come in close to shore.
     
  8. BoomerBoy17

    BoomerBoy17 Active Member

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    plus, being british he's used to swimming
     
  9. Kotori87

    Kotori87 Well-Known Member

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    True, very true.
    From the Big Gun perspective, I have seen a number of large battleships go from "hale, healthy, and hearty" with several inches freeboard to "glub glub" in less than a minute, even with pumps on full. What happens is a large amount of damage accumulates in the grey of one panel, eventually blowing the whole mass of wood out, just above the waterline. The ship continues like that for a minute or two (or five, or more!) without the skipper (or other players) realizing, then suddenly a bump or a wave hits the ship the wrong way, the blown-out panel goes under, and the ship drops like a rock. This type of damage is the #1 killer of capital ships in the WWCC. Combine that with a 7-8ft deep pond with several feet of moss on the bottom, and floats become an important feature of ships 'round here. I believe this thread is to help people who battle in similar situations, where a sudden sink is possible and the pond is deep enough to make recovery difficult without a float.
     
  10. rarena

    rarena Well-Known Member

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    My Arizona dropped with a pump failure and three bb holes. I nearly drowned trying to recover it. I was 50 feet out in 8-10 foot of water, I dove and found it on the third try. I looked up with this 30 lb boat and thought, I'm never gonna make the shore with this. It took us 40 minutes with 5 people diving to find it again. They found it because the motors were still turning and they heard it underwater. I will never go with the theory "I will sink close to shore" again. This led to the devolopement of the float system I have.
     
  11. Kotori87

    Kotori87 Well-Known Member

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    The WWCC has a very highly-evolved ship recovery program for ships in deep water. Shallow water is easy, one or two people wade out and pick the boat up. For deeper water where wading isn't an option, Gascan and I are the front line of the search and salvage operation. We're trained lifeguards, in great shape, and we bring mask and fins to speed the search. Usually, we each have a big red rescue tube (standard issue for lifeguards) to help, as well. On shore, all the skippers who saw the sinking call out directions to us, using the line-of-sight technique.

    When a ship sinks, every skipper who sees it sink takes note of where they are standing, then spots some object on the other side of the pond, that is directly in line with the sinking ship. Later, they can return to that position and guide us onto that line. With multiple skippers in multiple locations, we can triangulate the location to within a 10-foot radius or so. In very rare occasions, a ship will travel more than 10 feet on its descent, but the line-of-sight technique helps narrow down the search pattern tremendously.

    Once Gascan and I know where to look, we start a search pattern. This involves swimming fast and deep, just above the weeds at the bottom of the pond, looking and listening for any sign of the ship. Often, we can tell if we're in the right area by the sound of motors, bilge pumps, or servos twitching. In rare occasions, a trickle of bubbles reveals the location. We have to be careful not to stir up weeds or silt. Fortunately, if we get tired, several other club members are SCUBA divers and own their own gear. That's only a last resort, and has only been used once since I joined.

    Upon finding a ship, I then collect my fee. I spend several minutes taking underwater photos with my waterproof camera. I can imagine no greater shame than to have underwater photos of your mighty battleship posted all over the internet. I've got quite a collection, by now :) My price paid, it's time to bring in the ship. Ships under 20K tons I can take in by myself using a lifeguard rescue buoy. Bigger ships require a second person, dropping the ship several times along the way, or a person in an inflatable raft helping.

    I like floats because they can save a lot of time in the recovery process. once the float deploys, I no longer have to spend 15-30 minutes sweeping back and forth across the bottom of the pond trying to locate the wreck. Other skippers no longer need to remember their lines-of-sight. It's a heckuva lot safer for me, and anyone else who goes swimming. If ever a float fails to deploy, or is not installed on a ship, I make sure that ship's skipper goes swimming, too. Not having a reliable float significantly increases the danger to me when I swim for ships, and I don't take it lightly when others force that on me.

    Of course, if you only battle in shallow water, a float is not necessary. The portable pond we used at the Maker Faire, for example, was only one foot deep. No problems with ship recovery there :)
     
  12. Anachronus

    Anachronus Well-Known Member

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    So floats for location only or for find and lift? I should think the latter would work for smaller boats but be ineffective for the bigger boys.
     
  13. Kotori87

    Kotori87 Well-Known Member

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    depends on how strong your float line is and how securely it is attached. I always ask a skipper before I swim, if the float string is enough to lift the ship by. In our 8-foot deep pond, swimming down to the ships isn't a difficult proposition, so most skippers don't worry about the lifting capability. In a 20+ foot deep reservoir, like some of the other clubs battle at, it's a different story.
     
  14. Knight4hire

    Knight4hire Active Member

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    I know of a destroyer that had a sewing spool with fishing line inside the hull. This was attached to the bottom of the smoke stack.
    The line always got tangled, and the smoke stack would never travel more than a few inches!!!
     
  15. Kotori87

    Kotori87 Well-Known Member

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    I'd have to see a photo or two of the setup to make specific suggestions, but if the design is having problems, it's time to pick a new design. Sticking with something you know is going to fail is simply asking for trouble.
     
  16. DarrenScott

    DarrenScott -->> C T D <<--

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    The problem is probably the fishing line, it's really not a good choice for a float line. I personally use a bright flouro braided line meant for builders. It's strong, light and less prone to tangling, and if it does happen to snarl, it's colour makes it more easily found underwater.
     
  17. Bryan

    Bryan Member

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    Bismark normally (read now) will always be going out with 2 floats on board and there will be a 3rd back up later also.

    1. A Piece of deck that is a hatch for the rudder servo floats off
    so it has had a 50lb test fishing line attached to it and it is attached
    around the prop shaft in the bottom of the hull. Snap swivel on end
    of line to make putting in and out easier for maitenance.
    [​IMG]

    2. A standard Float with a dowel with wound fishing line on it, these can be attached
    inside the hull if you have float off super structure or placed in a funnel or just layed on
    the ships surface or disguized as a range-finder or something similar. 50lbs test
    fishing line and snap swivel on end of line, and float tied and glued to the line.
    [​IMG]

    3. That superstructure that floats off, tie a line to it also and it is used as a back up for
    any of the other floats on your ship, it does not hurt to have more than one, I had just removed
    my float system before my Bismark sank, what would have been a 15 minute recovery if there
    was a float on her turned out to be almost a week of worry etc about a ship stuck in the mud
    under 14 feet of murky water in a stinky, cold, pond.

    Use a float - Save a Boat:D
     
  18. rarena

    rarena Well-Known Member

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    It only took me one bad time also, my boats always sail with floats, everybody else is on their own :eek:
     
  19. Knight4hire

    Knight4hire Active Member

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    Hmmm.
    I did not realise that some folks thought that floats were optional???

    From the first day that I took up this hobby, building a ship with a recovery system has been the rule.
     
  20. Tugboat

    Tugboat Facilitator RCWC Staff Admiral (Supporter)

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    It's a good idea, but I'm not sure how many clubs have it as a rule... I know MWC & Battlestations! don't.