Day 11, Sea Day…
Another sea day today.

Again, I woke up to bad news. The Scrap Heap Boat Challenge was going to be today. We were led to believe it was going to be on the LAST sea day (day after tomorrow), and we were going to do our testing today to get out the kinks. Not to happen. Let me go back and explain a little.
A number of days into the cruise there were sign-ups for a challenge to build a “sea worthy” craft to transport a six pack of soda across the pool. Specific requirements were that safety floatation devices on board could not be used, other parts of the Diamond Princess could not be damaged in their use, and the craft must be self-propelled. The three criteria for success were: could it float at all; could it float with the soda on board; and could it move across the pool. There were also bonus points for artistic flair.

I didn’t sign up for the contest, since I already was involved in so many other things. Some time last week I was talking to Grace, a woman who was always in trivia and with whom I teamed up with on a scavenger hunt one day. She mentioned she had entered the boat thing. She said she had a guaranteed floating platform from some Styrofoam packing material but wasn’t sure how to get it to move. I thought back on when I saw another team testing their craft in the pool, and I had an idea. I told Grace I would design the propulsion system if she took care of the rest.

Again, I drew on things from when I was a kid. I remember having a Balsa Wood airplane with a propeller driven by a rubberband. When I wound the rubber (stretched from the propeller shaft to the back of the plane) it stored energy. When let go, it released the energy by unwinding thus turning the propeller. I did the same thing for the boat. I suspended the rubber band(s) top to bottom inside a water bottle. I thought I had taken a picture of the system, but I guess not – or I lost it. I had in mind a great little propeller, but when I saw the size of the craft I did a quick re-design. I ended up using a cut water bottle instead.
I developed the drive completely separate from the craft, and except for a brief encounter to figure out how to mount the motor, the two did not meet until today when we were going to test them. The announcement of the contest being today sucked. Had I had a chance to try it first I would have realized I cut the propeller the wrong direction sooner, rather than 15 minutes before the contest started. I ended up having to wind the thing backward which led to the possibility of the propeller unscrewing itself from its cap. While the thing worked, it was not as impressive as it would have been had I not messed up. The boat just kinda went here and there.

It did go though… My friend Margaret unfortunately had her camera set on some kind of time lapse. Bummer.
We took third after all that because ours floated the best and actually worked. Other teams got a LOT of bonus points for the artistic stuff. I only have a picture of the “Nineteenth Hole”. The other one was done up like a miniature cruise ship. One of the teams said it took them between 20 and 30 hours to put together their boat. With 6 members on the team, that’s 120 to 180 man hours! Seriously??? For a game/contest??? Grace and I spent probably a combined 10 hours, and we took third.
The weather has improved tremendously over the past number of days. The sun has been out, and it has definitely warmed up! I watched a movie out on deck tonight: X-Men: First Class. It’s a pretty good movie and was only marred when a group of 6-8 people came out and started chain smoking not too far away. I should have moved, but I was too comfortable where I was. Oh well…
Tomorrow, Busan, South Korea! More after that..