We ventured out for the for the first time after 4 months of shielding and took the Rapier to the Southport Model Boat Club lake on Sunday to give it a trial run to see is everything was working OK as I had a few concerns that became apparent during the restoration.
The boat has yet to receive its final coat of paint and the windows are not yet glazed. The reason for this is that the previous owner of this boat had shortened the prop shaft and moved the rudder position forward, and although I noticed this at the time, I was later able to confirm my suspicions after I was able buy a set of plans to refer to.
If I needed to fit a new longer shaft and move the rudder and water pick-up rearwards I would also need to make the shaft angle a little shallower too so I wanted to see if this work needed doing before the final detailing and finishing coats of paint were applied.
My hope was that it should be OK as boats from a similar era that were designed for the old "steering competitions" (such as Vic Smeeds Remora) also had short shafts with a rudder further forward than "normal", and I have seen a lot of very fast over-powered Remoras over the years that did not seem to be restricted in any way by this configuration!
As it happened the boat was very fast and it absolutely "railed" its way around the lake with a very good steering response and it also looked really good on the water, but after a while I noticed that it was not quite as stable as it was and it began to "chop" a little, so I brought it in to take a look only to find the front engine compartment was quite deep in water!
I emptied the water out and dried everything but could see no obvious source of the leak, so I guessed that water had been splashing-in through the window openings, so they were taped-up and the model was launched again. Following a very 'spirited" run, I notice the chopping beginning to start coming back again so the boat was brought in to find the front engine compartment full of water again!
The chopping motion became worse as the depth (and weight) of water increased and slopped backwards and forwards in the engine bay causing the centre of gravity to move backwards and forwards too!
The water was emptied out again and as the tape covering the window openings had stayed firmly in place further investigation was needed after everything was dried out again - but nothing obvious could be seen, so I decided to run the motor as I held onto the hull from the lakeside and this is when the source of the leak became very obvious.
The new water-cooled mount (bought on eBay from a well known local performance model boat specialist) was seen to be pumping water into the engine compartment at an alarmingly fast rate!!!! Basically the new water cooled mount was faulty and leaking like a sieve - and this was why no "obvious" causes of the water ingress could be found.
When removed from the boat the new machined alloy mount actually looks OK, but when under pressure the water just pours out of it. The glass fibre side panels of the mount are firmly fixed into the hull with Araldite and then glass fibred-in so I really don't want to try to cut them out to return the faulty item as I am sure it could cause a lot of damage to do so.
The decision was made to just buy a replacement of the same type - but to check it before fitting to make sure that it has no leaks! As it happened the cost of a replacement was only £8.99 (plus postage) so I ordered a one "on the spot" from the lakeside on my iPhone and it arrived in Tuesdays post, so hopefully I can cure the only problem the boat had quite easily and for not much more than a tenner and a few minutes work. Good job!
Now I will take my time rubbing down and applying layers of new paint until I get a finish I am happy with, glaze the windows, and make some parts to detail the boat such as hatches and mast etc (non-authentic kit parts) to what has turned-out to be a nice looking model boat that has a surprisingly good (unexpected) performance.
I will also test the new motor mount to make sure it does not leak before my Rapier gets it first "proper" maiden voyage!