4-9-06 We had our first battle of the year yesterday. This was the earliest battle date I can remember and maybe the earliest in PPB history. The water was cold but ice free. I had the Warspite and Mpls ready to go, I also had Paul Erdmanís Honolulu along. Paul was going to come up after church but his kid was sick and could not make it. Ron had the Lion sheeted and just needed to install one gun and the pump to bring it out for battle. Unfortunately after the first battle it took a spill off the table and cracked most of the sub deck. The plus side is that it was empty and the prop & rudders did not get hit. Peter brought his DD along but had issues getting the drive gears to stay together. He had it on the water twice but could not get it to move for battle. Ben had the mighty NC sheeted and ready to fight. Moe and Larry both made it without ships. Ben & I both showed up around 11am before Ron was even in the shed. Since we had ships ready and no one else was there Ben & I went out for a 1on1. In the typical stern to stern stand off I was able to back into Ben and start blasting with my haymaker. Ben told me I was too far away and was not hitting him. Turns out I was a little too close. Ben had a nickel size hole right at the water line to go with a few more aboves and belows. The rest of the battle was typical 1on1 back and forth. Until we went side by side with bow sidmounts. After a lot of firing and splashes we both pulled away. I was pumping pretty hard and Ben was not pumping as hard as he should have. Ben sank (Close to shore) had put on the waders to get his ship. Turns out he had some sheeting left overs in the hull and clogged his pump. Ben 38-5-12 sink Bob 32-5-13. Peter showed up in the middle of this battle with his DD. After Ben & I counted and reloaded I used Paulís ship to tweak Peterís DD gun. No sense in using up his disposable CO2 tanks for this. Ben patched some of the bad holes, I didnít but should have. The 2nd battle had Ron on the bicycle (Mpls) and Peter in the Honolulu. He had taken the DD to the water but tried to get rid of the list with a little shake. This made the drive gears come apart so he grabbed Paulís ship. Teams were Ron & Ben vs Peter & I. I started after Ron in the Mpls. He was having gun glitching issues (Have to put the antenna up) wasting most of his bbs. Peter got lined up on Ben and put some nice holes into him. Ben got behind me and stopped ďWhat am I doing!!Ē Ben and I again traded sidemounts and both of us had to pull the ships just as they were sinking. Larry arrived just as I was getting the Warspite out of the water. Ben & I did not count after this battle. Ron (Mpls) 54-3-14 Peter (Honolulu) 37-3-9. The Honolulu had a drive shaft come apart so Peter went to the Mpls for Battle #3. Ben and I decided to go after Peter and sink the Mpls. We chased him around the pond taking pop shots at each other once and a while. For Peter 2nd shot the top of the Mpls blew off and I saw the magazine cap fly off into the water. Someone forgot to screw it on all the way. I got my haymaker in the starboard side of Mpls and Ben got a sidmount in the same spot a little latter. There is not much balsa left in the front of Mpls so the silk span just gave way into two quarter size holes right at the water line. Peter sank and tried to get her back out on the water to just sink a little latter. Ben & I again pulled up for sidemounts and made a lot of slashes. After the battle we looked and found both of us had 9 holes where we were shooting at each other. Even though this sounds like a lot of wasted bbs at worst we hit 18% of the time statistically above average. The shots took more of a toll on Ben than me and he sank. Scores: Ben 63-11-19 sink, Bob 56-3-6, Peter 39-7-5 sink. We made our plans for the Farmington battle and left for home around 6pm.

Out next battle will be the drive to Farmington, MO. Ben, Moe, Ron & I will be going. Moe is picking up Ron around 7pm Thursday. Then picks up Ben and then me. We should get into town around 8am Friday. Locally we will battle sometime in May. We just need to miss fishing opener and Motherís Day. Probably will have one Memorial Day weekend.

 

Illness kept Ron & Moe from going to Farmington but Ben & I had a good time. Youíll have to see my other article on that.

 

5-21-06 It was partly cloudy with a slight breeze but only 65 degs out Sunday for our latest battle. Ronís pond was very full with water over the rock enough so you could drive over them. We picked this day so Jason and Paul Coffey could fit it into their schedule. Then Paul had to work so he missed out. I pulled in at noon and found Ron putting the pump for the Lion together. Moe soon arrived without his Lutzow, he still waiting for parts and does not want borrow any. Ben and his wife Catha pulled in a little latter. She was going to take a ride on ďThe BikeĒ (USS Mpls). Peter had his freshly refitted DD along and managed to find space on the table for it. I had brought most of a task force with me. The usual Warspite and Mpls were joined by Paul Erdmanís Honolulu. This would be the second battle Paulís ship made it and he didnít. But he says he can make it next week in Chanhassen. Ron was having some gun issues and once Ben was unloaded he help get them going. I got all three of my ships ready and gave Catha the ďBike TourĒ so she knew how to fire guns and turn on the pump. We got ready and headed down to the pond. Peter had beaten us there to drive his DD around. He had said it was too slow and I was surprised to see it moving slower than my convoy ships. It looked like the first time I had the Mpls out, about half the speed it should be. I was starting to wonder why we had the battle today when the two people we had it for didnít make it. The first battle started with Warspite (Bob), Mpls (Catha) and Ellington (Peter) vs Lion (Ron) and NC (Ben). This was a little historic as Catha; I think is the first woman to battle in Port Polar Bear. I tired to stay away from Ben and go after Ron since Ben and I always end battles against each other. Ron and I made a few passes with bow sidemounts then got into a sidemount slug fest. I pulled back and swung my haymaker into his port side under B turret. As I was blasting away I reminded Ron to turn his pump on. It had been a year since Lion had hit the water and I thought he might have forgotten were the switch was. He did say earlier that he could not remember which one it was. He said it is on but nothing is happening. As he started to drive to shore the Lion went down in a deeper part of the pond. Just as Ron was going to go into the pond Peter also was sunk by Ben. I can still see Ben pulling along Peterís starboard side and firing. The force of the bb and air moved the ship sideways in the water tipping it over. Ron was prepared and had his waders on, but the Lion was sunk in water over his waders. First he got the DD then took off the waders to get the Lion. The ship was stuck in the weeds and covered with them when it came out. Ron was a little cold and had to go change clothes. The rest of the battle Catha & I tried to get Ben as we chased around the pond. Right at the end Ben managed to push me into the shore in a spot where I was afraid to run my props because of all the rocks. Ben proceeded to put the last of his sidemounts into me, good thing there were not a lot left. Back in the shed we found 22-6-7 on Peter and 32-8-20 on Ron. All but about 10 of Ronís holes were under B turret. A nice group of them close together to make a nice big hole. Ron found problem one was a set screw that came off of a drive motor. It caught the set screw in the gear and bent it over. Problem number two was another set screw on the pump impellor. Locktight is always a good thing. Problem number three was a leak in the rudder box. I took the rudder box and servo, Ben took the motors and Ron worked on the pump. After that I help Jason get a tank filled and his guns tweaked. Ron and Peter patch up and we went out for sortie #2. Jason joined Ron & Benís fleet. His Prince Eugan is also a slower than it should be and is really noisy. When he first had it on the water a few years ago it was like a speed boat skimming across the water. I found Ron again and started a sidemount slug fest. Catha and I chased him around and Ron stopped. Seams his entire ship went dead. I started to shoot him up and then pushed him to shore. I think he wiggled things around and got it to work again, I remember him sinking again latter on. I the mean time Ben and Catha had got into the weeds and were trying to pull them off their ships. Jason lost control and tried to hide in some grass. I backed in to give him a few shots and then took off. Ben had already sank Peter with a nice group of hits making a finger sized hole right below the water line. Peter then grabbed the Honolulu and brought that out. We all chased Ben some more until he ran out of air and pulled his ship. It was getting close too sinking but looked to be just holding on. Since I still had bbs left I turn on Peter and started shooting him. We had been having trouble getting air out of the big tank left over from last years Ice Breaker. We could feel the liquid CO rolling around in the tank but could not get it to fill our small tanks. We should have got most of this summer out of that tank but we just got two battles. We counted all the ships, talked boats for awhile and all headed home. Scores where Warspite (Bob) 61-3-3, Mpls (Catha)5-2-6, Ellington (Peter) 8-4-6 Sink Honolulu (Peter) 8-1-2 vs Lion (Ron) 49-8-13 sink, NC (Ben) 54-17-16 Prince Eugan (Jason) 14-2-18.

 

5-28-06 We battled in Chanhassen. Paul Erdman came to take control of his Honolulu. Peter was there with his faster DD. I had the Warspite and Mpls patched together for one more battle before NATS. Paul Coffee and his friend Bruce (?) came to watch/battle and show progress on his Rividavia. He has the hull done and cut out, just needs to put the guts in it. No small task. Ryan (Whoís last name I canít remember) came down to see us too. Moe also came to watch. It was hot, a reported 97 with a little breeze. For the first sortie we did every one vs Bob. Paul had his Honolulu, Peter his DD, and Ryan took the Mpls. Just another in the long line of bike riders. Peter had put new motors in but when he turned they pulled him under and he sank right before battle. So I chased the two CAs around the pond. Paul managed to stay away from me with his 21 sec CA, heís a little fast. Ryan did a good job until I cornered him and started sidemounting the poor Mpls once again. She managed to hang on for a long time by the shore but finally sank. Paul and I pulled our ships and Paul and the Mpls got patched up. Honolulu had 9-5-4 and Mpls had 39-3-15 sink. For the 2nd sortie I gave the Warspite to Paul Coffee and took the Mpls out myself. We chased around and I pulled up so Paul could get the feel for sidemount ranges. His ship will have to be a hunger slugger so it was a good training run. After this sortie we packed up and some of us headed to my place to resheet Mpls and Warspite. Paul E worked on the Honolulu and Peter helped me resheet until 6pm, THANKS PETER!!! If you guys have time go to the Parade of Ships 6-10 in Edina. Iíll be a NATS but I could print out flyers for someone to hand out.

 

8-27-06 We had a good turn out for the battle this weekend, even with Ron dropping out to work on his pond. Ben had his NC there, Ryan had the VDT, Paul E had the Honolulu and I brought the Warspite, The Bike and the St Louis. We had a bunch of captains still in the building stages, Mike, Dave, Andy and Zach (Who might get a ship) all came down to watch. Peter brought his in progress Sharny and Liberty ship, his DD was not in working order this weekend. Halfway into our day I saw a familiar shape walking down the hill, it looked like Lars, it walked like Lars, it WAS Lars. He found time to come by and get inspired to get his Tiger back on the water. Before battle Paul E got his Honolulu patched, along with all three of my ships while I fixed his rudder servo and resealed the rudder box. Ben was also patching his NC and helping get the other ships running. I helped Ryan get the guns hooked up on his VDT then he took it out on the water for a speed test and when he got to the shore had a tragedy. He plugged in his battery backwards and melted three servos. This was the biggest bummer of the year as it delayed the battling debut of his ship. We finally got the other ships ready to go and were trying to think of teams. Ben came up with what turned out to be a good idea. We had three fleets NC (Ben) vs Warspite (Bob) vs Honolulu (Paul E), The Bike (Zach), St Louis (Mike). Before battle Ben wanted to see my warp speed reverse. I had put smaller props on since the Ice Breaker to slow me down. I was playing around and he asked how far I could go before I sank. Well I went I didnít mean to sink but went a little too far and back under. After I pulled the Warspite back out (I also dipped my spot watch into the water again) we started battling. Ben and I did not take too many shots at each other until the end of the battle when the cruisers had got off their fives. We chased them around trying to trap them against shore or each other. They all need to work on the team work part of battling as Ben & I should have not been able to hit them and they should be able to hit us at will.The Bike got the worst of it in the first sortie, mostly from Ben. We came out for another sortie with the same set up. I think Mike gave the St Louis to Ryan so he could take some video in this sortie. The Bike was the first to go down from Ben constant pounding. As I went out into the water to get her I slipped on the shore and landed in the water. We both started to chase the St Louis around and got her to sink in the narrow bay. Several times Ryan was able to slip away from us, starting to show some good battling skills. The Honolulu was still looking good but the pump would not prime Paul parked her next to shore and I pulled in to put more sidemounts into him. Of course we both got stuck in the weeds and Ben pulled up to put some sidemounts into me. Paul sank, I cleaned off my props (There was a VERY large clump of grass on there) and put him back out in the water. The pump still did not come on and I got the last of my bbs into his stern before he sank again. Ben and I then battled stern to stern getting rid of the last of our bbs before pulling our ships. When I went over to the table Paul and I were using I noticed his motors were very hot. I put some water on them but they were still hot. Paul had a ton of weeds in his props and the motors were still plugged in and the throttle was on. Luckily the motors and switch were fine when everything got cleaned up.Always unplug your battery. We counted and patched for the next battled. Mike and Paul had to take off for home projects before the next battle. Scores were NC (Ben) 16-7-7, Warspite (Bob) 44-9-13, Honolulu (Paul E) 17-6-3 sink, St Louis (Mike & Ryan) 40-5-19 sink, The Bike (Zach) 87-9-13. After patching we went to teams of Warspite (Bob) & The Bike (Zach) vs NC (Ben) & St Louis (Andy). Since Ben & I would rather not battle against each other we both went after the other cruiser. Zach was starting to get the hang of driving the Bike around but could not keep away from Benís sidemounts. The St Louis was not doing any better and looking like she might go down. Andy made it off five and I tried to use Zach as bait to get Ben in range. Zach had moved a trim tab and the pump was not coming on and he went down sealing a victory for the ďBad GuysĒ. Ben and I used the rest of our bbs on each other and pulled our ships. Scores were NC 24-6-7 St Louis 32-2-11 vs Warspite 18-3-4, The Bike 23-7-8 sink. We gave them more holes but the trim tab gave them more points. We packed up and headed out. Lars, Zach, Ryan and Peter came over to my place. Peter and I put together five guns for his Sharny. He thinks it will be ready to battle next month. I think the next battle will be Sept 10th, hope you can make it.

 

9-10-06 This was maybe the lamest Port Polar Bear Battle I've ever been too. How lame was it, let me count the ways.

1. It was cold. Now we've battle in the spring and fall when it was colder. We've battled in 2" of snow and with ice on the pond. But nothing is a cold as that first cold day after a long summer. While 55 might seam warm in April is was cold today.

2. It was wet. It didn't really rain that much but there was this mist all day that made the 55 seam more like 25.

3. Only three ships on the water. I got an e-mail this morning that Ron had to work and the weather kept others away. This would not have been so bad if the ships had all worked.

4. My ship sucked. This happens to everyone and could have been fixed if the other items on the list did not happen. I put my old props back on and forgot that the set I was taking off were both the same hand. My motors were both spinning the same direction and I was spinning in a circle. Was kind of weird to see as I did this back up turn.

5. Parking lot construction continues. Some day they'll get the new lot finished and we will then have a short walk to the pond. But now they have covered all but the last 80' of the bike trail with dirt and it sucks carrying all your stuff across it. It's not that bad when you have a fun day of battling in between trips. But, two hours of a lame battle is not worth it. This contractor is really slow. They've been working on the area for over a year and still are not done. Hurry up!!!

6. The parking lot was full. For the first time this year there was a baseball game at the park when we had a battle. Last year this seamed to be an every battle event. They had to have a game today and make things worse. If you donít know why this is bad they players and fans fill the parking lot making things hard to get unloaded. Coupled with the long walk it makes a big bummer out of the start and end of battle.

You guys who did not make it are a lucky group, you did not miss much. There is a bright spot in all of this gloom & doom. Ryan got to battle his VDT for the first time. Moe was there for a visit and took off before we battled. Ryan had the VDT ready to go and Peter came down with his nearly ready Sharny. We also had one guest stop by, but I canít remember who he was, sorry. Peter took out The Bike and I gave the regulator and bottle less St Louis to the guest guy. Ryan had the VDT and I had Warspite. When I put her in the water and tried to move she just sat there. I could see water moving and thought I had a bunch of moss in the props. After checking that I realized what the problem was. I thought I had put one of the props on backwards, turns out the motor were set put to both spin the same way. Both Ryan and Peter made passes at me as I was able to slowly turn and still back up pretty fast. Peter took a few sterns and some haymaker shots and managed to use up his sterns on me. Ryan was having trouble finding the range with his new ship. It takes a while to get the feel of where your guns hit. He did have two nice groups of three belows on me. With a little practice heíll be a killer. The scores were Warspite (Bob) 12-1-7, Mpls (Peter) 20-1-3 and VDT (Ryan) 5-5-5, ok so I am guessing his score but I think it is really about that. After that sortie we decided to go back to my place and work on ships. We looked over the Sharny and talked about the best way to finish her off. Ryan got a little work in on his guns, getting them ready for the next battle. We should try this one again. Iím open the 16th the 25th and the 2nd, then we have the Fray October 20-22. When do you want to battle again?

I have heard some stories about Port Polar Bear battles way back when Curly and Lars were still battling cruisers that sound like worse battles then this. A bad day of battling is better then a good day at workÖ

 

10/1/06 This weekend was a much better battle then the last one. It was warm and sunny and there were a good group of captains to battle with. Paul Coffee and Peter Ellison both had there new ships ready for the first real battle. Paul had battled one other time without guns, but this time he would get to shoot back. The parking lot at Chanhassen is getting closer to done. It was close enough that most of us drove down to the pond and unloaded. We had Ben (NC) vs Bob (Warspite) vs Peter (Shary), Paul (Rividavia), Andy (The Bike) and Dave (St Louis) all ready to battle. Ron had to go take his dadís dock out of the water and missed the battle. Ryan was a mystery no show. Moe came without his ship but did have some new props. Halfway into the battle Lars came down with his chair to watch and relax. I was worried that we would not have any air for the ships as my tank was getting low and Ben had not used his tank since last year and did not know if there was any gas left in it. Both Ben and I ran out of gas before bbs but we had enough of a fill to do some good battling. Before the battle we checked speeds to get ready for the Fray in a few weeks. Peter found that he was a little fast at 19 secs. Heíll have to get some drag disk. To start the first sortie I went for sidemounts on Paul and Ben went for Peter. Both of us scored some good hits and Paulís pump would not come on. He slowly rolled over and sank. Peter took quite a lot of hits and was looking a little low but made it off of his five. Dave and Andy had been taking shots while Ben and I were occupied with the big ships. As we were chasing the cruisers around Ben & I traded a few sidemounts when it looked like a good shot. Paul had a small leak in his radio box and was out for the rest of the day. After this sortie a friend of Paulís came down and asked ďHave you battle already?Ē I said ďLook at Paulís pants, heís already sunk.Ē For sortie two Ben & I both went after Peterís Sharny to put him down. He stayed above the water for quite a while but was not able to stay afloat for ever. After Peter pulled his ship out the St Louis was next. This pour ship took a beating before hitting the bottom. Andy was driving around doing a good job staying away from the sidemounts of the battleships. He started to look a little low but the pump would not turn on. Something had come lose in the radio box and the Bike was on the bottom. Peter also had a little water in his radio box and was out. As I was hauling The Bike back to the tables I gave Warspite to Andy to drive around. I was looking at my sidemount work on St Louis when Andy called out that the Warspite had sunk. He did not know where the pump button was and had turned it off and was not able to get it back on. Ben was looking for a sink credit to add to his score, but was denied. Dave had to take off and head home. We patched up the St Louis (42-8-23) and gave it to Shelby. She went out and battled with us for sortie #3. Since we had very little air left Ben and I did not load our stern guns. In sortie two I had just used sidemounts until they were empty and then used the sterns until the air ran out. We chased the cruisers around and Shelby took a shot at me and hissed air, I had forgotten to load the guns. Paul pulled the ship out and put some bbs in it for his daughter. Andy was doing a good job staying away from Ben and I so we went after Shelby. She wan into the small bay and was not able to make it back out. For the day the scores were NC (Ben) 26-3-3, Warspite (Bob) 22-4-4, Sharny (Peter) 76-11-21 sink, Rividavia (Paul) 41-5-3 sink, The Bike (Andy) 18-7-7 sink, St Louis (Shelby) 28-8-21 sink. In between sorties Paul and Peter got lots of advice for some improvements before the Fray. Andy came over to my place after the battle and we talked about his Baltimore heís building. He has the ribs all cut out and ready to start on the sub deck.

Sunday November 12, 2006. It was a cold cloudy day at the pond. There was some ice on the water as the temp hovered around 40 deg (If we were lucky). Peter got to the Roseville pond first and I arrived a little latter. We got our boats out and started getting ready. Both of us had waders on to keep us warm and dry.We had our ships loaded and I had started to tweak my guns when Chuck and Jason arrived. They are from Wisc, about 1-2 south of us. Chuck has been battling with the Queenís Own 1/72th scale out west and now has a 1/144th scale Bismarck. Jason purchased a partially finished Lutzow. It was hard trying to get a good tweak on the guns because of the cold weather. None of my guns where at there best. I had the Warspite and The Bike along and also brought one of the CVLs, knowing we would have extra people to drive it around. Ron and his brother came to the pond but Ronís Lion had lost its rudder servo right before they left his shop. So the battle would be Ron ridding The Bike, Peter (Scharnhorst), Bob (Warspite) and Chuck & Jason with the CVL. As battle started I got The Bike with my bow sidemount. Then I tossed a few sterns at the Scharny. Warspite was glitching really bad after this for the rest of the battle. I had backed into Peter for a few shots with my haymaker and scored a good hole below the waterline. Ron had fired a few sterns at me. The CVL just wondered around at the edge of the battle. All plans of doing a ďCampainĒ seamed to have been forgotten. The Bike quickly had her bottle freeze up and was out of the fight. Peter got the Scharny in a bad spot and took a few sterns for it. His pump started working hard and be came to shore to sink in shallow water. Per the ďWinter RulesĒ he pulled his ship before it got too far under. We played around a little and the Warspite lost all control and backed up full speed. Thankfully it was toward the shore and it got stopped without losing any blades on the props. It did bend a rudder over. Both Ron and Peter felt bad that they did not have any guns left to go after me in my moment of helplessness. I had thought the glitching might be caused by the transmitter antenna not being all the way up. So I had pulled on it and pulled the wire off of the circuit board. The glitching might have been a frozen receiver battery. The entire bow was solid ice. With the Warspite out, the Mpls frozen, the Scharny sunk and the cold we called it a day. Ron and his brother went back to work at his shop and the rest of us stayed and looked at ships and told stories about past battles. We looked at Jasonís Lutzow and talked about how to finish it. Chuck as a reminder send me that list of prints you have. Next up building season. First project is fixing my radio.

 

12-3-06 Our first building meeting of the winter. It was cold, winter is officially is here. The Vikings got beat. Peter could not find Ryan so Ryan did not make it to the meeting. Not a good way to start. We did manage to get some work done on the ships. Peter came with the convoy ship and fiber glassed the bottom of it. He is using CA glue instead of resin. The ship is coming along well and should easily be ready for spring. Ron cleaned the skin off of the St Louis. Ben came without a ship to watch, talk and help out. Mike showed up and assembled the guns we started building this summer. I had the Mpls in for a major refit. Sheís getting new shafts, rudder, accumulation tanks and a rudder box. I already have the shafts in. The tanks are done but not connected. Sunday I started to get the new motor mounts in but this got pushed off to get the guns put together. We now have all the guns together but only had time to test one of them. It worked so this batch is now 4 for 4. I should be able to get them all tested before the next meeting. Ben took one of Ronís OLD guns and was using it to see how far away he could get a hole in the Mpls. At 15í he was not able to keep on target very well and bbs were bouncing all over the shop. The ones that did hit made holes in the skin. These are not world class guns so the bbs spin off in funny directions after a few feet. Another reason to keep your guns aimed close in. Weíll try and get another meeting in early January.