Page 7 of 69
Posted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 4:25 pm
I do recall the big white model of the "CN7" boat, Nigel, I helped Ken with a talk at Southampton, when the model had the twin sloped fins, and recall Ken explaining how the fairings for the wheels became the points. I also remember asking Ken if all that surface area would create a problem in getting the thing unstuck! I aslo recall Ken's sloping wheel car
which WAS an oddball! Sadly these ideas of Ken's have been absorbed into the archive at Beaulieu, and it's quite difficult to get to see them. As for Ken's proposal for both records with one vehicle, it always struck me that was just a device to keep DMC excited/interested during one of his "down" periods, but who knows!!
Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:01 pm
Posted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:49 pm
A nasty, but thankfully brief, bout of flu has kept me from responding to the points and queries kindly raised by Bill, Steve and Mike.
First off, Bill, your query about how Ken Norris proposed to run sponson-arms through boats that would have their sponsons at the back. The engine and/or jet-pipe gets in the way, as you say.
Running the arms under the engine and/or jet-pipe was considered a no-no, on the basis that they would be so low as to incur massive hydrodynamic drag when the boat is attempting to transition from the displacement condition to the planing condition. Running the arms above the engine and/or jet-pipe was also a worry for Ken, though, because he was keen to keep the CG of the boat as low as possible, and sponson-arms do tend to be heavy, so he would want to avoid having all that mass high up (although there is an interesting counter-argument, which Ken himself came up with, which says it can be a good idea to balance the above-CG and below-CG masses).
Anyway, skipping over that, because it’s a whole different issue, Ken’s answer to the sponson-arm issue was to incorporate a circular ring into the middle of both the front and rear arms, thereby carrying the loads around the engine and jet-pipe, which would of course run through the middle of the circles. The problem with that, though, was that it meant having two pretty beefy circular structures within the hull. More weight!
And so you chase the problem round and round, and in the end you get into the position, which Ken ultimately did, whereby you cannot really be entirely sure whether it is better to have the sponsons at the back or the front.
That’s one thing I’ve learned over all the years of doing this; there is a very thin dividing line in that call. It is very marginal call indeed, once you really get deeply into optimising the design, between having the sponsons at the back or having them at the front. Whereas you would think it would be a clear-cut decision, with those configurations being diametrically opposed, but it’s not. In fact, it’s a thin grey line.
We finally went for a front-sponsoned configuration with Quicksilver. A decision had to be made – in this case, after I had stopped working with Ken – and at that point, once you have made that commitment to a particular configuration, you have to just make sure you make it work.
Posted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:44 pm
"What a fascinating idea, having an engine run THROUGH your sponson spars...you know, I bet there's a way of doing that with modern materials that would work. (Or get a Geordie with a big hammer!)"
Worked on Crusader, I'll post some pictures later, though it's a shame they didn't put the same idea into the fron shoe support!!
Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:44 pm
Welcome Nigel, good to hear that Quicksilver is back on course.
Posted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:31 pm
Its not a new idea to run the engine through the main sponson supports, John Cobb did it with Crusader back in '52, unfortunately I cannot attach the photos I have as they are too big to send on this site.
Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 6:03 pm
Greetings of the Season! I’ve been snowed under – with work, not snow – but hope to start catching up with responses to comments raised lately.
First of all, though, I’d like to add my voice to the chorus of appreciation and approval which followed the successful conclusion of a great year’s restoration work on Bluebird K7. Everyone involved in the project can be mighty proud of what has been achieved. And next year is sure to bring further huge progress.
Mike, to answer your question – Yes, I reckon I’d have to put my illness down to “Man Flu”, because they say that it’s only real flu if you end up confined to bed, whereas I spent the worst day of my illness feeling absolutely grotty, but driving a 250-mile round trip to collect the fuel system for Quicksilver.
With help from fellow team member Graham Pool, who handles the propulsion system side of our project, the fuel system was duly collected from Advanced Fuel Systems in Newport, Essex, and delivered to our HQ at East Midlands Airport. Anyone wanting evidence of our commitment to the project, and the commitment of our sponsors, would do well to consider the fuel system. It represents an investment in excess of £20,000.
On our website there’s a side-view of the boat under construction and a silver fuel tank is clearly visible in the back of the spaceframe. This tank was scrapped last year, sadly, as it fell victim to the design changes we made after we abandoned the earlier rear-sponsoned craft concept some time ago. The new tank – actually, it’s a flexible fuel cell similar to those used in Formula 1 cars – is tailored to the front-sponsoned layout we finally opted for.
Turning to the earlier discussions about how Ken Norris proposed to incorporate circular structures into the hull to carry the sponson-arms around the engine in the rear-sponsoned boat concepts that he and I looked at, it is perfectly true that John Cobb’s design team got there first with Crusader. I am sure that Ken will have been aware of this, and possibly borrowed the idea from that source. By the same token, though, I am sure Ken will have wanted to do it a different way – his own way – and would not just have slavishly copied the Crusader method.
Mike, you are certainly right to say that, using modern materials, a really nice solution could have been found to making those circular structures today. Modern composite materials would certainly bestow more strength and incur a less punitive weight penalty than their metallic counterparts, but Ken was wary of carbon-fibre and other modern composite materials for this particular application – primary structures on a World Water Speed Record boat – and with good reason, as it would be highly risky to go into the 350-mph-plus realm on water with materials like that, unless you could do a huge amount of structural testing beforehand to validate the performance and safety margins. With speed-record projects typically functioning on shoestring budgets – and Quicksilver is no exception – it is more prudent to go the conventional metallic route, employ tried-and-tested methods and materials, live with the weight penalty, and sleep more peacefully at night.
For secondary structures, however, it’s a different matter, and we intend to incorporate composites into Quicksilver in some of the less critical areas.
Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 7:35 pm
We have tended to neglect our website, Mike, over the years. There have been little flurries of activity here and there and then it's put to one side - out of sight, out of mind.
Lately, there's been more of an effort made, in-house, to think about the website and the impression it conveys to the outside world. For many people, the website is the project, because that's all they get to see of it, so it's important that the website reflects what's really going on.
Part of the problem has been the long time it has taken to get our project moved forward. The website loses impetus if things take too long.
Anyway, on a more positive note - to end the year - I'd say the Quicksilver website is on the up-and-up. There are, as I'm sure you've noticed, quite a few new images and words that weren't there a few months back. I know for a fact that there are some good pictures of the fuel system just waiting to go on the website when people emerge from the Christmas/New Year break. I think there is a real drive, now, to make the website much better than it has traditionally been.
Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:23 pm
I'd say in this day and age a project can live or die by its website. The website is all there is to see unless you're actually in the workshop cutting metal. And don't worry about lack of impetus or activity, there's always the option to write football reports or rant about the silliness in the world. And don't forget the power of the website to help fund the venture either. Our project is funded entirely by the website whether it be directly via merchandising and donations or indirectly by offering a presence that sponsors can interest their clients in. Don't know how you're fixed for webmaster types but if they're thin on the ground at that end I'm sure if you spoke nicely to Alain or Mike...
Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:46 pm
I think I might take your advice, Bill, and ask if help is available. The people who have contributed to our website over the years have done a good job, but they have all had a lot of other responsibilities that took up most of their time and as a result Quicksilver has not had the best presence on the net.
When I say "The people," I mean myself too. I've not been the best at pushing the project through the website. Our mainstays for communication have tended to be the Quicksilver Corporate Club and the Speed Night dinners, plus the dozens of talks I've done up and down the country (the most recent being just this Monday evening, at the Messier-Dowty works in Gloucester for the Royal Aeronautical Society).
Apologies to one and all for the fact that I've not been contributing to the BBP forum this past couple of weeks. It has been a combination of pressure-of-work followed by a major PC crash that left me out of e-mail contact, until today, for eight days.
Anyway, I'm hoping to catch up now.