U-3 Getting ready for this seasonPosted: Updated:
For the first time in almost 10 months, the Big Red Turbinator is sitting right side up. Since being damaged after throwing a prop at the season ending Thunder on the Ohio race, the U-3 had been turned over on it's top side. The crew repaired the broken transom area from Evansville and made other repairs and improvements to the bottom of the hull as well. A majority of the work has been complete for sometime now, but the team is still putting in long hours in preparation for the 2010 season.
It's quite a sight to see a 28 foot, 6800 pound Unlimited hydroplane being flipped over inside the team shop. Lots of patience, measuring and muscle power is need to get Big Red back right side up. At the peak of the flip, the hull just barely eased under the lowest point in the building---the garage door opener. But, the task was accomplished. She was right side up again. Ed Cooper quipped, "I almost forgot what the top looked like", after being bottom side up for nearly a year.
How do you flip over a large Unlimited hydro? A large steel round beam is bolted to where the front canard is located, and goes from the front of the hull all the way to the back through a hole where the rudder is placed. Ed Cooper gets on his forklift, raises the hull to a point so it can be turned and the flip begins. Five team members with ropes are placed around the boat. Once the rotation of the forklift begins, the ropes help get the boat turned right side up, by pulling and the hull slowly rotates. The process is quick, but patience is needed to ease past the highest point in the garage and not to touch one of the sponsons to the floor of the shop. Once over, the hull is then placed on risers and blocks.
Now that the boat is right side up, the remainder of repairs to the damaged transom area will be completed. Repairs that couldn't be done when the hull was upside down. Once complete, the top side will be sanded, primed and prepared for a new coat of red paint and turned over. The bottom will be painted, flipped over and paint applied to the top. It'll look like a new boat with the repairs and fresh new coat of paint and we'll be ready to go racing!