Friday, 09th March, the day after the lift.

We arrived at the boathouse a bit later than normal, we'd had a bit of a celebratory drink the previous evening and it took a bit of getting going that day.

What must be remembered in all of this is that there are two stories, that of the heroic life and tragic death of Donald Campbell and also the story of a group of dedicated enthusiasts whose determination to raise the wreck as a permanent monument to Donald had finally paid off. From that point of view, we’d earned a drink!

Apology

It was suggested that by standing on the rear deck of Bluebird as she was winched out of the water and looking jubilant, I was being somewhat irreverent. Although this was in no way the intention, I do accept that it may have upset some people and I apologise unreservedly for any distress that I may have caused. On the other hand, I did receive the blessing of Tonia to stand there. She was at the time the only person available whom I could ask and I would have abided by her wishes whatever they may have been. The truth is that I was simply very relieved that we had got the boat out of there without injury to anyone or damage to the boat. Ironically, it was the press who were shouting for a gesture of some kind.

I have also been asked about my somewhat unusual hat. I’ve worn it whilst on the water for almost ten years and my "searching hat" is to me what Mr Whoppit was to Donald. The idea of leaving it off my head on such an important occasion was unthinkable! I was later told by Tonia that Donald loved silly hats and there are several pictures of him in his "Noddy" hat that she bought for him shortly before his accident.

I was wearing my searching hat to cushion my head from the hangover when we made it to the boatyard that morning. We pulled Bluebird into the yard, roped off a spectator area and set about pumping about a hundred gallons of mud out of the hull. With a hosepipe flushing fresh water in and a small pump pulling slurry out, we had her washed out in double quick time. Phil and Judith from the Bluebird Café kept the bacon butties and coffee flowing as we worked. I climbed up on Bluebird’s casing and tried the quick release fasteners that held her engine cover. They released easily! Her engine cover will have to be taken off at some stage, at least it shouldn’t be too painful!

Our next job was to field a barrage of questions from hundreds of local school children. We realised the potential of Bluebird as an educational tool as we struggled sometimes for answers to their questions. "Why did it crash" asked one young lad. If only we knew. When they had gone we put bluebird away again and spent the rest of the afternoon dismantling the huge array of kit that had been assembled only a week earlier.

kids ©Bluebird Project
It's out !
Now for the questions
tail fin ©Bluebird Project

 


Saturday 10th march

Coniston’s weather finally decided that we no longer needed or deserved any help with the project and it decided to deposit a weeks worth of rain on us. Today Bluebird would leave Coniston for the first time in 34 years. She was carefully loaded aboard a truck, we slipped and slithered on the trailer getting her sorted for her journey. There were still a great many people braving the weather for a look. Finally a huge sheet was pulled over her remains (green unfortunately) and she set off for the North east. By 4.00pm she was safe in a facility where she could be adequately dried and treated.

ontrailer ©Bluebird Project


Sunday 11th March

 

Birthday of Sir Malcolm Campbell, Bluebird sat under an array of heaters designed to dry and harden vehicle paint. The Bluebird Project disbanded for the time being. There is no more that can be done on the lake bed due to the problem of weed rolling round everywhere. It fouls the ROV thrusters and confuses the sonar.

I managed to split my head open on the wheelhouse roof, I think I let it get too big! I ended up at the Doctors surgery where I refused stitches due to my absolute terror at the sight of a needle, (soft or what! Thanks Doc, I mean it)

head ©Bluebird Project


Monday 12th March

Bluebird still drying nicely, we sprayed the rudder, stabilising fin and water brake with wax because they were starting to rust, there were some areas around the cockpit that were a bit flaky too. Sprayed them for good measure. Installed a fan heater to blow through the engine, bit of moisture in there. Shovelled mud out from around the jetpipe.

rudder ©Bluebird Project


Tuesday 13th March

Things cooking as expected, still got water dripping from the hull but can’t seem to find it from the inside, engine getting drier. Removed makers plates for safekeeping. They will be returned when the boat is put on display.

plate ©Bluebird Project


Wednesday 14th March.

All's well with the beautiful Bluebird, we moved the blowers to get more air through the rear end because it wasn't drying fast enough, still got water dripping from somewhere. Spoke to several people who knew Bluebird very well and got thorough instructions on how to remove the engine cover. It's going to take a bit of doing, there are hundreds of rusted quick release fasteners and screws but it'll have to be tackled.

Started working on the issue of housing the boat at Coniston, I am slowly pulling ideas together in the hope that they will crystallise into a plan. I spoke with various officials and we have the support of the local MP.


Thursday 15th March.

Still drying out, water not dripping any more, I wondered how much longer that was going to take! The front end is now dry and from what we've learned from the other pieces that we've retrieved we know that it will not deteriorate now. It will now be possible to spray the exposed aluminium and steel, the blue paint will polish and it can then be treated with souble plastic to fix it and make it shiny. Long job though!

Still collecting ideas on a permanent display site for the boat, keep getting asked about a certain individual who claims that he owns the wreck. Why haven't I heard from his solicitors yet? If he'd get his legal team into gear he could come and collect his wreck? I'm not holding my breath.


Friday 16th March.

Disaster, calamity, shock and horror!!! went to check on our beloved Bluebird only to discover that the paint on the tail is detaching itself in a dramatic fashion! The rest of the boat is fine, the paint stays on. That is why we lifted pieces of wreckage with paint on, weeks ahead of the salvage, just to make sure, but of course the tail was a late addition and it seems to have different paint chemistry to the rest of the boat. I lifted off several large flakes and placed them safely in a box but our first real job of preservation is going to be fixing the paint on the tail. We use a substance called "paraloid B73" which is a soluble plastic. It's dissolved in this case using acetone and painted over the surface to be repaired. The acetone flashes off and leaves a lovely strong shiny clear plastic coating. It looks like the tail is going to be first to get restored and the first job will be to re-attach the paint that's fallen off. What fun.


Saturday 17th March

Didn't do anything today except check on the paint /tail situation. It doesn't seem to be getting any worse, it's confined to a fairly small area so we should be OK. caused a bit of panic though.


Sunday 18th March

Moved Bluebird to her permanent facility, permanent that is until we take her back to Coniston. She was still on the road trailer so it was a relatively simple job to hitch on a 4 wheel drive and set off down the road. We didn't have too far to take her but within the first 100 metres we'd collected a traffic Policeman. Not having seen many jet hydroplanes that morning he was understandably curious and only too glad to point out that we'd forgotten to fit the trailer board in our excitement. After supervising our installing of said trailer board, making sure that all its lights worked properly and describing the entire contrivance as a "moving violation" he declined our invitation to provide a Police escort and left us to it. We arrived safely at our destination 10 minutes later.

Job 1 was to cut off the small feet that anchored Bluebirds recovery cradle to the road trailer, this was hampered by the fact that `our large grinder seems to have evaporated and we had to borrow another one. Next we moved Bluebird to the entrance door and fitted a winch to the trailer that would pull the detached cradle off the trailer and onto the floor.

Due to a minor miscalculation there was only 30mm clearance between the tail fin and the top of the door opening, there was a similar clearance between the outer ends of the spar and the sides of the door opening. What happened next is that the whole affair became a huge team effort as parents, sisters, friends and helpers of all descriptions joined in to fit Bluebird through that gap, everyone is captivated by the project. My Dad sat waiting on his forklift truck while my Mother supervised the fitting of rollers under the cradle as it was slowly winched off the trailer. Everyone mucked in to help and by late afternoon we had Bluebird installed on her cradle in the middle of the factory floor. I honestly think that it was as much as a job as it was to lift her in the first place! She's sat there with her blowers wafting warm drying air through the engine and her covers taken off at last. She's even more beautiful and tragic in her new setting. We can do some proper preservation work now.

half in ©Bluebird Project
Bars winches and rollers but Bluebird eventually rolls into the workshop ready for work to begin
in ©Bluebird Project

 


Monday 19th March

Two vitally important missions today, first was to sort out the Union flags on the tail. There seems have been a problem with keeping the paint on the right hand side of the tail. It's not getting any worse but we polished the little flags and painted them with soluble plastic. They won't fall off now.

Second mission was to get the engine cover off. it's held on by two strips of aluminium, one down either side of the boat and these are held by dozens of quick release fasteners. They might be quick release but there are so many of them that it's more like release eventually! Every single one of them came out, some were a bit seized but they all came out in the end. After all this time we were able to lift the cover off and look at Bluebirds' engine.

It was a very strange experience undoing the fasteners, knowing that in all probability the last time they moved, Donald or Leo was on the other end of the screwdriver. It was even stranger when the cover came off. It was like walking into a house that's been boarded up and forgotten for 34 years. We shoveled piles of muck out of there and bled the pressure out of the air start bottles to make them safe. There's engine damage but we'll have to wait for the experts from Rolls Royce and the Air Accident Investigation Branch to tell us what it means.

We will shortly be looking for volunteers to help with the clean up of Bluebird now that she's been made safe. Anyone interested can contact us via e-mail. It's 100% voluntary and we're up north in Newcastle but if you want to help us clean her up, get in touch.

bleed off©Bluebird Project

Alain bleeds the air start cylinders

Bill coats the flags with soluble plastic

tuoch in ©Bluebird Project

Tuesday 20th March.

Not too much to do today except inspection work, for some strange reason removing the engine cover started the water dripping again. Still don't know where it's hiding. Might drill a couple of small holes in there if it doesn't stop soon.

Inspected the engine, severe corrosion, all the compressor outer housing has dissolved but we knew that it would. Our engine expert from the AAIB ( Air Accident Investigation Branch) told us. One thing that we had to be careful of was the possibility of the main casing being made of a magnesium / thorium alloy. Thorium is radioactive and in the form of dust (as most of the engine now is) it's potentially lethal if breathed. This engine, we've been assured is made of magnesium / zirconium alloy so it won't kill us! The air starting bottles are not hissing anymore so we shouldn't get killed in a terrible explosion either. More to this job than meets the eye! There are some fascinating clues emerging about Donald's last seconds in that boat and the reasons for the accident but you'll have to wait a while yet, we're far from finished.

There's no more paint coming off the tail and the Union flags are solid now. When the little Bluebird logos are clean they'll get the same treatment. There's a lot of muck to clean off and a lot of paint to polish. Our rapidly growing band of volunteer conservationists have one last chance to change their mind before I start calling on them for active service.

bair tank ©Bluebird Project

Air start cylinders are now empty

Engine outer casing has turned to dust in the bottom of the hull

engine ©Bluebird Project

Wednesday

Inspected the boat today, not much to report, she's still dripping water from the front end but she's OK otherwise. I had a long chat with our conservation expert from Imperial War Museum Duxford. We're doing it right so far. I got the spec on a couple of chemicals that we need for preserving the corroded alloy so I'll order those tomorrow. They were having an SR71 Blackbird delivered at the time! so I couldn't keep them on the phone all afternoon. It was absolutely freezing in the workshop tonight, the heaters had been off only for a couple of hours but it was seriously cold in there, had to wear my searching hat!
(Found everything hat!!...Alain)

We set about Bluebird with the most powerful vacuum cleaner in the world today, it created a fantastic pressure gradient across a length of pipe and slurped about 30 gallons of mud out of there in an hour. It's capable of ingesting entire compressor blades and must be similar in power to the Orpheus itself. Must get one for use round the house!

As I dug out the mud and dissolved engine casing, Alain dug around in the bottom of the engine compartment collecting the multitude of compressor blades that have fallen off.

Not sure what to do with those because they were originally mounted to the inside of the compressor case and now it's gone.

alblades ©Bluebird Project

Alain recovers compressor blades from engine compartment

Bill Sucks!!!... the mud out the hull with the most powerful vacuum cleaner known to man

billvac ©Bluebird Project

Thursday 22nd March.

Been back in there with the super duper vacuum cleaner, she's still pretty damp inside and despite moving a huge quantity of mud yesterday I moved at least twice as much today. I can't help but think that if I contact enough experts, one of them will introduce me to a much simpler method but all they can tell me is that I have to shift the stuff by whatever means is most effective and if that happens to be a teaspoon and a sponge then so be it. We've cleaned the compartment under the engine down to the inside of the hull and it's nice shiny aluminium down there as good as the day it was made. There's still loads of mud under the turbine end of the engine beneath the tail but that part of the boat is in such excellent condition that we'll probably take the inspection plate off the transom next to the water brake and blow it all foreward with high pressure water.Then we can slurp it out as before. That work will be completed by Friday because the Bluebird Project team will be back in Coniston this weekend to dive on the cockpit section of Bluebird. The main hull will be left to dry out.

No more deterioration with the paintwork. She's behaving exactly as expected, the specimen pieces that have been out of the water for several months are dry and stable, the rest of the boat is behaving in the same way, so far so good our minor unexpected scare with the tail has confined itself to quite a small area and to be honest it could have been much worse. Waiting for delivery of a de-oxidising agent used in aircraft restoration, and a consignment of special primer for the cleaned metal. As usual our adviser from Imperial War Museum is being consulted every step of the way. However, if there are any conservation experts or museum folk out there with useful info please get in touch, it's impossible to have too much information. We're leaving the engine installation pretty much alone now until the crash analysis is complete.

Engine and hull are starting to reveal themselves from under the layers of mud we have removed

 


Weekend of 24 / 25th March.

This weekend the bluebird Project team returned to Coniston and recovered the cockpit section of Bluebird. It was smashed into several large pieces and dozens of small fragments. All these pieces were mapped a long time ago and it was a case of retrieving them. This involved some complex ROV activity and many dives but we now have structure accounting for about 80% of the foreward end of the boat. It was quite an achievement considering the problems with weed in the lake. There is one piece that we were unable to recover but we'll go back for it.

It goes without saying that each part was carefully examined before it was moved and there was no trace of Donald. It has been suggested that this project was in some way driven by a certain television company but this has never been the case. We reverted to our original volunteer team that has been working on this for several years and the cockpit was recovered without a camera in sight. Several items were lifted ahead of time to provide valuable information to help conserve the wreckage but now the rest has been recovered and the cockpit re-assembled.

Part of the cockpit floor is pulled aboard

Wednesday 28th

After today I think that if I die and go to hell, the Devil will be waiting for me with a toothbrush and the tail end of a 747!

Tonight we completely cleaned and polished the left hand side of the tail with a toothbrush and detergent, it took ages but the blue paint was gleaming when we'd finished it. On that side of the tail most of the paint is perfect with just a spattering of bare patches where the paint has blistered and fallen off. These patches were washed with solvent and given a couple of coats of etch primer as a key onto the bare aluminium. I'd taken a few pieces of paint from the other side to the local paint specialist and asked them to match it exactly. I collected a pot of blue cellulose today with "Bluebird" written in the box where it says "Colour" It's an absolutely perfect match and when the blistered bits are carefully touched in, it's impossible to tell the new paint from the old. When the tail is finished it will look fabulous. We'll have to airbrush in that piece on the other side where the paint fell off but it will be fine.

We had the rep from Tri-Mite around earlier getting an idea of what we're up against with the corrosion in the panels. We'd been recommended to use one of their products by our conservation expert but it wasn't made to deal with 34 years of total immersion. Their chemists are making us some stronger stuff. Another half a ton of mud came out as well today and the hoover from hell only got bunged up with compressor stators twice. Having said that, one of them was ingested totally yesterday by said machine, resulting in a fun lucky dip session in 20 gallons of liquid mud. I think I liked this boat better when it was a dive site!

Bill starts cleaning the tail with a toothbrush

Alain finishes the last part of the tail to perfection

Before and after one of the many spots that need touching in
Can you see the join?

Thursday 29th March

We had a visit from Gina Campbell today, she came to visit her Dad's boat for the first time since it was recovered. Gina is extremely proud of her father and seeing his devastated boat only served to increase her pride. We will publish some pictures and a more detailed account of Gina's visit shortly.


Friday 30th March

Had a lengthy visit from our air crash investigation expert Steve Moss. Steve is senior investigator of accidents for the AAIB ( Air Accident Investigation Branch) and her has been working with the project for several months. Steve came to look at the engine and also to verify with his geiger counter that there was no radiation in the casings. There was none thankfully. There is a wealth of new information that has come to light as a result of the recovery operation. We now know precisely what the engine was doing during the accident. There was a comprehensive sound analysis carried out using the software and voice analysis techniques usually employed for examining cockpit voice recorders. Bluebird's water brake gave us a fascinating insight into the last seconds of that second run. It's now very clear that Donald made superhuman efforts to extricate himself as the run started to go wrong and events overtook him. In the light of our findings is it now nonsense to even suggest that Donald was trying to kill himself or even that he was on a "do or die" mission.

We will be back in Coniston this weekend to carry out a more detailed investigation of the impact site. This is the name that we have given to the point at which Bluebird actually struck the water. We'll report on Monday.


Weekend 31st/1st

This weekend the Bluebird Project team have been back at Coniston carrying out a more thorough survey of the accident site. Up until now we have only looked at targets that were reasonably large ie. a metre or more in length and obviously made of hard reflective material. Our sonar equipment however can resolve individual fish on the lake bed whilst our ROV's can swim out and get visual with them.

Certain important bits of the boat have eluded us so far, there is no sign of the dash panel or any of the instruments. We can't find the cockpit canopy and the throttle pedal is nowhere to be seen. We've only been looking at empty plastic bottles and a couple of crisp packets though this weekend. It's a very laborious business surveying objects so small whilst making sure that we don't miss anything. It'll take a while yet but as usual we'll keep you informed. I'll try to grab some stills out of the ROV footage and post them up here.


Monday 2nd April

Yet another mud sucking escapade into the bowels of Bluebird, does anyone want to buy some souvenir Bluebird mud? It's 3p per ton and that includes delivery, guaranteed to make your garden grow. Alain spent another evening up a ladder polishing the other side of the tail with a toothbrush, it's looking really well and there's much less missing paint than we first though. I finished the left hand side of the tail and it looks fabulous, I also painted the Bluebird emblems on the side with Paraloid to stop them from falling off.

We had a distinguished guest tonight, Mark Evans came along to lend a hand. Mark is the son of "Corporal" Paul Evans who for those of you who still don't know what I'm talking about, is "Base", as in "Tango to Base"

Like Father like Son, Mark came to work on Donald's boat just as his Dad did 34 years ago. We gave him the hoover from hell and happily let him get covered in mud.

Before and after a good clean by Alain

The tail after been touched up by Bill

Mark after his first night of sucking mud out the hull


Tuesday 03 April 2001

More crash analysis today, after another astonishing quantity of mud was slurped out by Mark yesterday, we've been searching in there for the linkage that held the front end of the engine. The Orpheus is mounted in the centre on either side and is like a see saw. It's possible to get hold of the jetpipe and lift it up and down rather a long way. There is a linkage at the front of the engine that limits this travel and is adjustable so that the thrust line of the jet can be precisely set up. To cut a long story short, there are strange goings on with that linkage. We need to get more info on how it was assembled because all is not how it should be. Imagine what would have happened if the engine was free to rock about on its mountings on that final run? It would alternate between trying to lift the bows and trying to push them under depending upon what the engine was up to. Our great difficulty is that many of the fasteners have rusted completely away as has the outer engine case which mounted many of the components, there is enough left to work it out though. We need to speak with our AAIB man tomorrow.

This is the link rod that stopped the engine see sawing on it's centre mountings

04 April 2001

Lew Norris comes to visit

Today we had the pleasure of meeting Lew Norris, brother of Ken and the man behind the design of Bluebird's lower half. Ken is the aeroplane man and "Brother Lew" is the boat man. Lew also brought a colleague of his, Charlie Dykes, to look at the boat. Lew explained that he's been working with Charlie but only for the past 50 years so he's a relative newcomer.

We first of all had a look at the cockpit section of the wreck, it's mostly reassembled and in that form it gives a good idea how it once was. We discussed the problems of making a high speed boat, having the centre of gravity far enough back to make the vessel behave like a boat whilst keeping it far enough forward to prevent it behaving like an aeroplane. As an engineer myself I was enjoying all this technical talk but it's obvious that Lew has probably forgotten more about engineering than I will ever know!

We all then went to look at the main part of the wreck, of course Lew was straight in amongst the water brake and rudder, he explained that the leading edges of the rudder and stabilising fin had to be kept razor sharp so that the water would remain stuck to their sides at high speeds, if the edges weren't sharp the whole fin would run in a vacuum and make the boat very difficult to steer. He checked out the position of the water brake. Bluebird, once persuaded up onto her planing surfaces, was then quite happy to stay up there for much longer than was safe, her water brake produced massive drag when it was deployed and pulled her back down again, it appears to be in the fully down position now. We studied her engine installation and theorised on all sorts of interesting things relating to engine mounts, gyroscopic effects and thrust lines, it was a privilege to spend the day with Lew and Charlie, both obviously brilliant engineers and two of natures Gentlemen. I learned a great deal about Bluebird and collected some funny stories about Donald. Everyone I meet who ever knew Donald reckons that he was a wonderful character and that he would have really enjoyed being a part of the Bluebird Project. Maybe we should make him an honourary member of the team?

Lew and Charlie check out the cockpit

Bill meets Lew


06th April 2001

Just another day of slurping mud today and I'm sure that it's as exciting for you as it is for us. Thought I'd tell you about one of the pieces that we lifted ahead of time to assess the scale of the conservation problem. If you watch the film of the crash, there are two objects that fly out of the spray and land a considerable distance to the north. One we believe to be the steering wheel and dashboard, the other was the complete front spar.

We recovered this on 28th January 2001. It took a lot of finding but we got it in the end. It was located by moving a search pattern in towards the main wreck site from the north. It was late in the day when we got visual on a torn piece of aluminium poking out of the lakebed. We parked one of the ROV's next to it and set about its recovery.

This dive was carried out by Bill and Graham "Beanie" Woodfine. We had about half an hour of daylight remaining so we kitted in quickly. It was a text book dive, we saw the brown muddy bottom of the lake at 38m and the ROV tether stretching away into the gloom. After carefully adjusting our buoyancy so as not to crash into the bottom and so blind ourselves with swirling silt, we set off along the tether. About 30m out along the cable we saw the dim green glow of the ROV lights. There were two pieces of aluminium poking through the silt. As I clipped a set of grips to one piece, Beanie clipped grips to the other one. We then attached a lift bag to each set of grips and partially inflated them. Next we pulled both lift bags together and attached them to a line that we'd carried down from the surface. This line is attached to the boat and is used to pull the object off the bottom. As it rises the bags expand and eventually they take over the job of lifting the object.

Having rigged the lines to our complete satisfaction, we ran for the surface. Our fingers were freezing and there was decompression to do. We were on the surface 25 minutes later, it was absolutely pitch dark and foggy when we got back, we had to use our dive lights to illuminate the back of the boat so that the crew could help us out of the water. When everyone was ready we pulled on the downline, it took six of us to pull the spar out of the mud and four of us to drag it onto the jetty after we'd towed it ashore. Our lift bags were totally inadequate.

Lew Norris looked at it when he visited and said "maybe we built it a bit heavier than it needed to be?" Either way it held the sponsons on every one of Donald's successes. It landed 130m North of the point of impact.

 

Graham and Bill get ready to dive
Rebreathers at the ready

The front spar assembly back on the jetty

Good job divers have lights

Sunday 8th April 2001 We've been practising with the survey equipment again. We place a tripod on the lake bed with a sonar head mounted to it. This sonar head turns like a ships radar and as it does it fires sound waves out through the water. These pulses are returned by objects on the lake bed and build up an image. It's computer generated but it allows us to see objects in the mud up to 100m away when the water is so dark that a divers lights won't see more than 2 metres.We then send a little swimming robot down to the lake bed and when it arrives we can see that on the sonar screen too. It's then a joint effort between the sonar operator and the ROV pilot to fly the robot out to the target on the lake bed and have a look at it. If the object looks interesting we can send a diver down to retrieve it. We're now systematically mapping every single object on the crash site. We'll post some images when we've gone through this weeks data. It's amazing what you find on the bottom of the lake.It's been a day of politics, as well as looking after the boat, we're also trying to organise her permanent home. I have always said that I will deliver the boat back to Coniston. Even if her final resting place was to be somewhere other than Coniston I would deliver her there first.Good news however, is that there seems to be little doubt about where Bluebird will end up. She is bound for Coniston but there is a mountain of political wrangling and paperwork to get through. We'll get there though. We did some cleaning on the engine compartment of Bluebird today, we've finally turned the tide on the muck. Her engine compartment is cleaned out from the bulkhead to the back of the turbine. There is still a lot of mud under the tail but it's thin sloppy silt and compared to the stuff in the engine compartment which was full of nuts, bolts, stator blades and dissolved mag alloy, it's easy to shift.There'll be a proper muck slurping session tomorrow and we've a couple of very special visitors as well so watch out for that update, especially the more techie people amongst you. We've got the sweatshirts sorted so if you wanted one you can have it now. The video is taking longer because we don't know what we can use until our friends at BBC1 decide what they are going to use. After all I suppose that they must have first refusal. Good news is that the documentary is due to be shown towards the end of May.We made both BBC1 and ITV tonight as the local news in Newcastle came to see how the preservation was going. I made a nice little CD ROM for my sister who lives in Saudi, it just had a few underwater video clips and some unpublished digital stills but it was OK, if anyone wants a copy I'm sure that our webmaster (Alain Douglas) will run one off for you.Wednesday 11th April 2001Today we were visited by Tony James and Bill Vanryne. Tony was the project manager for Donald and the team when the boat was converted from the Beryl to the Orpheus.. He had to make it all fit in the hole, get fuel and oil into it and make sure that the controls were all connected. Some of the work was carried out at Norris Brothers in Heywards Heath, and the rest was done in the cold and wet of Coniston in 1966 / 67 Another of Tony's tasks was to sort the spray baffles into their final form. He worked long hours and said that Donald would often roll up his sleeves and muck in. "We would have done anything for him" Tony said while talking about Donald.Bill Vanryne worked for Rotax, a subsidiary of Lucas. His job was to get the air start system working correctly. Those two steel globes above the engine were charged to 3000psi and held 45lbs of air when they were full. The engine used about 1lb of air per second when it was cranking and the crank took 6 seconds so the whole system was good for about seven starts. I never considered what was involved in getting the start system working, Bill Vanryne normally worked on high speed aircraft but on this job he just had to turn up with a box full of valves and pipes, clash it all together and make it work. He knew every valve on the boat. He later went into teaching and had two of his pupils win young engineer of the year.Tony spent the morning trying to work out where all the pipes went to from the extra fuel pump that was fitted late in the day as Donald realised that the Orpeus was down on power. It was fascinating to meet these two engineers as they looked at their handiwork 34 years later. They had worked in harsh conditions for long hours with next to no pay in an effort to help Donald win his record. They conveyed a real sense of the team effort that went with it all back in 1966.