In the past 20 years of Racing Model Boats, I have learned MANY lessons on the water.
A lot of these lessons were difficult to handle and many were by some of the most well known competitors. How was I to learn how to beat these people? I found that the first thing I had to do was have equipment equal to theirs. I set about learning the fine points of hull design and engine power management. It was a slow process to say the least. I was around many of the most famous boaters in the world and included Ed Hughey, probably the most successful of all time, his brother Dee Hughey, Mike Meelbusch in Chicago, Gary Preusse in Chicago, and several others of lesser note, but of equal ability.
The guys in the Indy Model Boat Club were probably the most successful competitors in the country for many years and I had great opportunity to learn from them. The engine power development was the easiest of the variables since there were a few guys who loved to tune and develop racing engines. These included John Ackerman, Bob Finley, Ed Hughey, Jim Fetters, Tom Grannis & Fred Mc Broom. We set about a competition in engine performance.
Today for all competitors, "The Engine Analysis Program" makes this a task ANYONE can do with ease. As for the boat design and development, I purchased Crapshooter Boats from Tim Reese in 1977. Joey Albanese and I produced Crapshooter Kits for 6 years and won Numerous races and championships.
I found out very early in the game that Propellers were the " Black Art" of the hobby and only a couple people were really good at bending and tuning props. One was Ed Hughey, the one who taught me this art.
Today's competitor can take advantage of this part of the equation by buying "The Prop Duplicator" from MWD & Associates. The prop which will be bent on the duplicator will be a copy (duplicate) of my best effort at bending and tuning the propeller.
The hull and its setup can be EASILY handled by the previous technical article on how to set up a Roadrunner Hydro.
Now that we have you with the best engine, the best hull setup, and the best propeller, all that is left is how to apply this good racing boat to the racing course. I use a driving style which I belive places me in the best position to win. I get VERY good starts and drive ON THE BUOYS. How do you do this?
Milling Strategy & Driving Strategy:
I try to mill during the clock time at 30 second laps. If the course is very small or someone shadows me, I step it up to mill 15 second laps. During the final 30 seconds, I try to get slightly behind the 15 second pace to put me at 10 seconds in the middle of the backstretch on the final clock time before the start. If I am at the halfway point on the backstretch, I am in VERY good position for the start. The most ideal position is on the inside lane (Lane 1) and 10 seconds at the back stretch. I use the ends of the course to get to this point on the clock. After the start, I try to get to buoy #1 first and be very tight coming off buoy #3, the place where MOST people go wide. How do I always get close to buoy #3. Look at the figure #1 for the course I drive. You will see that I drive right past buoy #1 and make a hard turn about when I am even with buoy #2. This makes it very easy to come off close to buoy #3 and I am accelerating from the point I turn around buoy #2. This is what I consider the BEST course and I believe the fastest way around the course.
How can you be consistent on this type course? When you go the the lake to practice and test, You should ALWAYS run on the course in this manner. If you do it in testing and practice, it will be easy for you to do it in a race. Don't run all over the course, get on the buoys. You WILL hit many buoys while your are learning to drive, thats OK, keep working.
Another fast way around the course is shown in figure #2, I call this the football course. After you are in the lead, this is sometimes a very fast and safe way to get around the course quickly. Practice this course also. Remember that the race is 6 laps long and you will have ample time to pass someone using this driving technique. They WILL go wide off #3 or #6 sometime during the race - be ready. This technique shown in Figure #1 served me well this past week, as I ran 18.819 seconds for two laps, the fastest time ever run on a two lap course (as of this posting), so you can see that it really works.
Some New Items which will help you:
No Longer Available of Harris Custom Machining has 2 items which I use on ALL my boats. The first is the Water Cooled Glow Plug Head. This head has a chamber which encloses the glow plug in the water chamber by screwing a threaded plug into the head after the engine is started. I have been able to raise my compression ratio by a dramatic amount, thus making MUCH more horsepower. He has these heads available for most any engine and delivery is prompt. He also is making a waterline restricter to limit the amount of water which is allowed to cool the engine. You ask "Why limit the water to the engine"? If you read the nice article that Andy Brown wrote in the most recent IMPBA Rooster tail, he notes that there is a dramatic improvement in performance by allowing the engine to run hotter. I have been doing this for several years and I can assure you that he is correct in his theory. The smaller the engine the more dramatic the result. Both these products can be ordered from No Longer Available Direct at No Longer Available or through John Ackerman at 317-241-4724. I would urge you to take advantage of JFA Custom's (John Ackerman) expertise in engine enhancement and dynomometer testing. ALL my engines are built in JFA's Shop!
Until Next time...................