Some two months after first flying, the tide state, wind conditions and, most important of all, the availability of the local sailing club's rescue boat, all came together and we were at last ready to explore the middle part of the "Air Sea Land" logo which features on the model's artwork.
We arrived to find Mudeford harbour looking like a mill pond. Except that millponds generally have a few ducks and are not full of sailing boats, marker buoys and rather aggressive-looking swans.
Up until now, I had vaguely assumed that I would be flying from the shore but Mike (model flyer and sailor) was keen that we should go out in the boat to the middle of the harbour to find a bit more space and also in the hope that there would be less weed drifting around on the surface than by the shore. Now I generally don't do boats, especially the small rocking and rolling variety, but Mike had clearly got the taste for the water and donned his drysuit, grabbed a can of petrol, waded out to a nearby boat and very soon we were chugging our way out.
My tension was eased a little by watching Mike try to lasso a marker buoy to tie up to. Soon though, it was Mike's turn to watch, camera in hand, as I gingerly put the hydroplane into the water. The first thing that struck me was that the aerial wire, which normally streams out freely from the central fin, was hanging straight down into the water, doing a good impression of a depth gauge. However, the model sat well on the water and, with the merest touch of throttle, it skittered away smartly.
There was very little wind so, in spite of the lack of a water rudder, it was possible to steer quite well and, after a few circuits on the surface, we were soon lined up for takeoff. This was remarkably straightforward - much easier than from grass. Flying was the usual slightly surreal experience, with the added complication of the boat rolling around as Mike shifted position to try to get a few photographs (all pictures on this page are his work).
Landing was mainly a question of controlling the nose up attitude with more and more down elevator as the speed dropped. This of course is just the reverse of what one normally has to do and it takes a bit of getting used to.
After a few more sorties, the model was landed and brought alongside. On removing it from the water, I commented that it seemed a little heavier than when we started. Mike held it nose-down, and water streamed out of both sponsons. It seems I will have to have another go with the bath sealant!