Green Sea Shipbuilding Establishment

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Queen Mary and Zuiderdam sail together

Yesterday, in Scottsdale, the Queen Mary sailed with the Zuiderdam on her second official voyage. I got the voyage on video and pictures. Things went very well until after maybe 20 minutes, the Zuiderdam's rudder BROKE OFF, leaving her to beach herself on the other side of the lake.

The legend of the "brokedown boat" continues...

Saturday, May 27, 2006


7 months of conception, 4 months of construction, and 2 weeks of testing, came to an end today, as the Radio Controlled Ship "QUEEN MARY" made her Maiden Voyage!


The days before the maiden voyage were marked by a feverish pace of construction, testing, and shopping. In preparation for the big voyage, I made an invitation on my computer for the MMYC boat club members. I made it as a text/image file and emailed to the the members whose email addresses I had. In the invitation, I promised free doughnuts and beverage service. This jesture represented a heap of more work when I was already running late on finishing her. You see, as early as this March, I wanted to have at least 1 week before the Maiden Voyage to relax. I wanted everything to be done by the weekend of the May 21st. Well, that went out the window REAL fast. Even last night, her hull was still white! She had her final trial voyage on Friday the 26th, and passed thankfully. I still ran out of time to do the lifeboat davit arms and the name and registry on the stern. Those will have to come later. Finally, I got the doughnuts, juice, cups and ice cooler this morning.


Beginning in the middle of this past week, the local weather reporters were forcasting high winds for (wouldn't you know it) Saturday and Sunday. Anyone who knows my ships knows that they don't like wind! The Zuiderdam, for example, would capsize quite easily if caught broadside by a relatively minor breeze. After all, that's how I lost my Queen Mary 2.

The time will never be right to lose the new Queen Mary, so I didn't want to hear about wind on such an important day. May 27th is important because this is exactly the 70th anniversary of the maiden departure of the REAL QUEEN MARY in 1936. Anyway, the wind usually picks up in the later morning hours, so I figured Saturday morning would probably be safe.

So, imagine my frustration when at about 7:00 last night, the wind REALLY started to pick up! I mean it was gusting! I felt 'oh shit! Here it is! The wind for Saturday is here NOW'!

Then imagine my relief when I woke this morning and there was absolutely no wind. But it was just the wind catching it's breath. By the time I was leaving the house, the wind was nearly gusting! Very discouraged, I began to resign myself to possibly not sailing at all this day.


A funny thing happened on the way to cancelling the Maiden Voyage. I floated the Mary in the water some distance away from the main staging area, to test her handling in the wind.

I can say without question that this ship is my best big ship for wind. Arguably my best ship PERIOD for sailing in wind. You see, the Mary is big and long, but she's not TALL like the Ecstasy or Zuiderdam. She is the only large ship that is wider than her own height! Sure, she bounced around a bit because the water was choppy, but she never came anywhere near capsizing! I finally have a great big boat that doesn't have to fear the wind!

One humorous moment came when I accidently knocked the juice cooler into the water! It landed so far out that I couldn't reach it! I had nothing to do but sit there as this red cooler bobbed its way further and further out into the lake. Not funny if you are thirsty! Still, I look at the pictures and chuckle. You can see the cooler floating in at least one of the pictures above. I finally recovered it after half an hour on the other side of the lake.

I got a few minutes of good video as well. I am thinking of making a copy for others.

The Mary also experienced an unusual drain on her batteries. It's possible that either the charger didn't do its job right, or the Mary is so heavy that she really taxes her batteries.

Nevertheless, I got some great action out of her, and everyone was able to see her.

When it became clear that I was not going to get through the morning with the batteries I had, fellow boater Dennis did something incredibly nice for me. He went home, picked up his charger, and came back maybe 20 minutes later!

For this reason, I was able to recharge one of my batteries and sail again from about 11:00! Thanks Dennis!


As the R/C season is officially over for MMYC there wasn't a huge turnout today. But I was impressed that the people who did come were REALLY interested to see the new ship! I got compliments from people who had never commented on my ships before. Dave Acree even brought a very nice camera of his to take pictures of her! He is talking about doing an article on my ships for a British model boating magazine. Only 2 people brought boats today, as mostly, they seemed to come for the Mary (and the free doughnuts). While I wish more people had come (I love to get pics of my boats with lots of other boats), I was please with the QUALITY of the turnout. Hell, only Nathan and I were there for the Ecstasy's Maiden Voyage!


My motto for my boats is "bring 'em home safe", in referance to the dangers of stranding and capsizing. On a day when the greatest ship I ever built sailed for the first time, and the wind was SO threatening, living up to that motto is more gratifying than ever! Please look forward to future sailings and updates of this, my most wonderful ship!

Barrett Harmon Hochhaus

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Successful Builder's Trials sends Queen Mary into final stage of construction!

I am very pleased and relieved to report that the R.C.S. Queen Mary has passed the most critical point of her construction- the Builder's Trials!

The final push to pass came on the evening of May 22nd at Lake America (northside) in Scottsdale. What finally did it is that I switched the speed controller with a new (and much cheaper) unit. These are not the best pictures I have taken of her, but what's important is that she passed. Let's hope this is not an illusion.

Also, I tested the CD player/speakers again, and boy does it put the sound out! When I brought her in, I almost felt it was TOO loud!

I am planning another trial voyage, probably Thursday, just to confirm she is ready for Saturday!

In the meantime, I have finished the airvents finally, and she is really looking complete!

Back to work.

Barrett Hochhaus

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Queen Mary limps home from unsuccessful Builder's Trials

The Queen Mary had her builder's trials this morning at McCormick Lake at 7:00am. Initially, everything looked good. But after a couple of minutes, the pesky control problem returned same as it ever was. Frustrated, I grabbed the speed controller from the USS AMOS HATHAWAY and plopped it into the Mary. The problem CONTINUED!

I now no longer believe it is the speed controller. I believe it is the motor. I had previously believed that nothing could go wrong with the motor, but signs seem to point to the motor. As evidence, last night, I ran the motor at full speed out of the water. There was no hesitation in the power of the motor. Now, when it meets the resistance of water, everything gets screwy! The speed controller doesn't care about water or air. The speed controller can't tell if it's in the water. The MOTOR can. Additionally, this problem never occurred on the Hathaway (the ship whose speed controller I swapped.

My next step will be to swap the motor later this week.

On the bright side, this was the first test of the new 4-speaker CD player system, and the sound was GREAT! Much better than previous ships. Also, I got some nice pictures as you see.

Well, back to work.

Barrett Hochhaus

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Queen Mary Builder's Trials set!

With 9 days remaining before the maiden voyage of the new R.C.S. Queen Mary, I am happy to report that the Builder's Trials have been scheduled for this Sunday moring, May 21st!

The trials are to be held at McCormick Lake in Scottsdale. I am hoping to begin the trials no later than dawn, to avioid attracting attention to myself. It is hoped that few people will see the Queen in action before the Maiden Voyage.

This will hopefully also be the first successful test of the speed controller. In the previous 2 motor trials, I found the speed controller to be very irratic. At times, it stopped working more than it worked. With the help of someone at Hobby Bench at P.V. Mall, I think I have programmed the controller, and it is ready to power the Mary for real.

As you can see from the pictures, work is progressing nicely and I am hoping to have all lifeboat davits, the masts, and airvents in place before the trials.

Most notably, the hull will remain white during the trials. This is for two reasons; I want the black paint to be as fresh as possible for the maiden voyage, and also because I want to see what the Mary would have looked like underway with a white hull, as is common for cruise ships these days.

Please look forward to further updates no later than Sunday.

Barrett Hochhaus

Saturday, May 13, 2006


I am very pleased to announce that the R/C/S Queen Mary has completed her first motor trials as of today, May 13, 2006. Though not without problems, the voyage proved that the Mary will be a perfectly viable and maneuverable radio controlled ship when completed later this month.

The voyage began just before 6:00pm when I put the Mary into the water at Indian School Lake in Scottsdale. I tapped the throttle lightly as I eased her out into the deeper water. Then, at full speed, she displayed moderate-to-high maximum speed. I suspect she will not surpass the Sovereign or Zuiderdam in speed, but she does well for herself. Most of all, I was impressed by her RUDDER. You see, in an effort to secure the best possible rudder, I transplanted the rudder from the QUEEN MARY 2 (which itself came from my old 8-foot USS ARIZONA) and put it into the Mary because I knew it was a very good rudder. However, I was worried that the Mary would not have good turn maneuverability because the rudder is so far FORWARD in her hull. The rudder is about 1/3 of the way forward from her stern because I had to put the aft CD player and speakers where the rudder should go.

Still, because of the quality of the metal rudder construction, the rudder did an excellent job, and actually, the Queen Mary has the BEST turning radius of any of my 2-channel boats!

Problems arose however, when after 5 minutes or so, the motor no longer seemed to work. Bringing the ship in, I discovered that a large amount of WATER was getting into the hull and actually touching the bottom of the plastic-encased speed controller. I think the speed controller is fine now, because I dried the bottom off and it ran again. However, the real problem is the water. After further examination, it was discovered that the water was getting in through the prop shaft. I failed to give it enough epoxy. I am hoping to rectify the problem and get her back into the water as soon as tommorrow. Please look forward to further Queen Mary updates later in the week.

Maiden voyage is May 27, 2006 at Dobson Lake in Mesa.

Barrett Hochhaus