Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum

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Blaster Update by Phil Lampman - Nov 17th

Today turned out to be nothing short of amazing. Every day I spend working with the team on the 'Blaster is special, but some days are better than others. Like today.

I knew we were going to attempt to reattach the right side sponson to the new airtrap. Don and our team spent a great many hours making sure everything was ready. I believe the sponsons are the only major sub-assemblies we removed intact (more or less) from the original hull, yet every part to which the sponsons reattach are new, or reworked, strengthened and reinforced. We've spent several months restoring the hull, with particular attention to the air traps and the front of the boat. The sponsons have been pretty much just sitting on the table with some attention to the cleaning off old "gunk" and removing a few bolts and grinding away on the original frames. Although we had placed the sponsons atop the new air traps, while still on the shop floor, no one knew for sure if everything was going to fit together without some, ah.. adjustments.

Oh, let me back up a little. Don, as you may know, recently discovered that with the hull located where it was in the jigs, remounting the RS sponson was going to compromise the space between the 'Blaster and the lengthy work bench along the south wall. We might have still been able to work on the boat's right side, provided some of us ‹ myself especially ‹ lost about 30 lbs, or could work on the boat while suspended from the gantry crane. Don felt the solution was moving the table, not the boat. Several of us tried to convince him otherwise, but he persisted. It then became apparent if we didn't do something, access to and from the engine shop was going to be "detoured" to the museum floor entrance.

So we moved the bench. In the opposite direction from that Don had in mind.
I've included a couple of photos, hopefully, that show Don and his ever-present saber saw, cutting out "reliefs" in the top surface of the workbench which allowed us to move the bench back against the wall by at least 6". Well, plus or minus 1/16". It worked.

Back to the sponson. We rolled the gantry over the front of the hull and then carried the old sponson over to the side of the boat. We attached the lifting straps, hoisted the assembly up and gently pushed it against the new airtrap... AND IT FIT! Almost perfectly. Rather than stand there and celebrate, the "Gang of Five" (Don, Randy, Gail, John, myself and Bob Burd) ran off in different directions to mix Hysol, get cleaning materials, stage tools and fasteners and simply set about mounting the sponson. Truly amazing and a tribute to Don Mock and his team for their precision work.

Tomorrow we mount the left side sponson and have no reason to believe it won't be as easy as the job was today. This is all going too quickly now.
Hope the photos are useful.

This journey just gets better and better.


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