Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy 2006! And what better way to start the new year than playing with new toys?

Toys, yes. For Christmas I got a toy. Games I have aplenty, but this is the first time in a long time that I got an actual toy. A Century 750 remote-controlled model sailboat.

The reason why it has taken to New Year's day to start playing, is quite simple really. The boat came 95% assembled, which meant we had to finish the job and do the other 95% of the assembly. This comprised putting the keel on the boat, assembling the mast, attaching the sails and checking that the remote controls all worked.

Not quite as simple as it sounds. For a start, the manual came in German. Ja, nicht sehr gut. I did study German once upon a time, a long time ago, but my command of the language does not stretch to boat assembly.

First we started out by searching for an English manual on the Internet. For once, this proved an entirely futile exercise. We did, however, find the German manual on the Internet, and Paul bravely copied it, paragraph by paragraph, into Alta Vista's Babel Fish Translation page, and got a working translation, along the lines of:

Connect first the large tree (1), which at the lower end of the rear sail (grosssegel) (2) are pre-mounted, with the lower mast part (3). Do not tighten the fixing bolt too firmly, with it the large tree easily to the side to swing can and secure you the nut/mother (4) with screw stor varnish. Subsequently, you remove the large tree at the mastfuss. The small carbines (5) can be opened and closed best with a fine spitzzange. The clamping slidegate valve (6) is only adjusted after the final sail assembly. Put now the upper mast part on the lower and hang you the line (Baendsel) at the upper point of the grosssegels

So, we did all that. However, we lacked some fixing lacquer to put on the nuts to stop them coming off, adhesive glue to put on the sail knots, and servo double-sided tape to fasten the batteries and the receiver inside the boat. Off I went to the model shop on the 27th of December to get these essential bits, but they didn't have any. They did give me some other model shops to contact.

Next day, I went to the hardware shop. He gave me the servo tape and told me to use nail varnish for the other stuff. Cool. Got all that.

Except by now the canal had frozen over, and I have a yacht, not an ice-cutter. And then it snowed. And then it rained, and melted all the snow, and today the ice in the canal has mostly melted.

So we played. The boat did get stuck in a small floe, and there wasn't even wind to get it out of trouble. But at least we got an idea of how the basic things work.

Now I just need the weather to warm up some. Roll on summer!