Ice Melter 2006: Bob Hoernemann

Early this year we picked the date for our Ice Breaker battle. We tried to avoid several different people's busy weekends and vacations. We ended up picking a date the that is traditionally a NATS weekend. I was hoping to get anyone who could not make NATS to come over and battle with us. We had several outstate captains lined but for a lot of different reasons all but one person dropped out.

Tom Palmer would be our lone outstate captain. We first meet Tom at the Farmington battle this spring. He had bought the last Swampy Brooklyn kit. At that battle he had it still in the box and had not started it. He got to look at our ships and steal some of our building techniques. We also went over all the parts in the kit and gave him an idea what they were and how they went together. Tom battled the Minneapolis at Farmington and almost lost her in the deep water. He was very concerned about it and asked me how he could pay me back. I told him "Get you ship done and come up to our battle this summer." True to his word Tom worked on his ship every chance he got. I sent him some photos, had a few e-mail chats and several phone calls to get questions answered. We found out we were both big baseball fans. I got some Twins tickets for the Thursday before the battle. Tom and his wife both came up to Minnesota and made a short vacation out of it. We took them to the baseball game (The only one the Twins lost on that home stand) and Friday Tom and I got his ship into fighting shape. We had to replace the pump motor as it was causing strange glitches in everything. He had done a very good job getting everything together in his first ship, I was impressed.

Friday was already hot (95) as Minnesota was hit with our first and hopefully last heat wave. Saturday was supposed to be worse (100). Tom, Ryan and Ron came over to my place to help pack up. We started hauling things down to the pond about 8:30 and found our first spectator waiting for us. Mike helped me set up my cheap tent (Should have got the spendy one) and I got the tables and ships ready to go. We had been in the paper announcing the battle again this year and had more and more people stopping by to see us. Ron had his Lion on the water letting people drive it around. I had found Andy, Mike and Casey to drive the three cruisers I brought for spectators to run and was giving them the training sessions. During this time I had my lap top running with past NATS videos and was hearing lots of oohhs and aaahhhs coming from the people watching them. We finally got on the water around 10:30 ready to battle. Teams were Warspite (Bob) & The Bike (Andy) vs Lion (Ron), Honolulu (Dave), St Louis (Mike), Nashville (Tom) & Ellison (Peter). Ron and I decided to slug it out for the crowd before the battle. This normally a bad idea for Ron but we wanted to give everyone a good show. Ron also felt his ship was losing power from all the people driving it around before the battle. Peter and the cruisers came in to take shots at me and Andy had plenty of things to shoot at with the Mpls. After Ron and I traded sidmounts he pulled his ship because the pump was barely working and he was losing all power. I started chasing after the cruisers. It was not too hard to corner the inexperienced captains or chase them down with my new super reverse. Tom got too close to me and took quite a few bellows but did make it off his five. In the second sortie Ron and I again slugged it out to start off. Then I went after Tom as he was pumping very hard and had lost his drive. He sank on a nice even keel and went out to get his ship for this first time. Right after this the Honolulu went down, Dave had forgot to turn the pump on. I got the ship out and dumped out the water so he could fight some more. Ron was again looking very slow and I pulled in for some more sidemount action until he sank . Andy was on the other side of him getting some good stern guns shots. Casey and the St Louis had lost forward power early in the battle and was a sitting duck. Normally he would have made it off his five out of control but he did know he could call this, he also didn't have a timer. I lined up and put enough holes into him to sink him. There were now no more ships on the water to shoot at so Andy & I pulled out our ships. The St Louis had the forward drive switch break off the servo and would be done for the rest of the day. When I pulled it apart that night I found that the first owner had used hot glue to attach both switches to the servo. It was so hot out that the glue had melted. Remember hot glue is bad. Scores were Warspite 17-0-1, Mpls 7-0-1 vs Lion 74-7-12 sink, St Louis 47-4-17 sink, Honolulu 12-1-6 sink, Nashville 50-12-28 sink, Ellison 0-0-0.

On Friday when we replacing Tom's pump motor I told him Paul and I had used the same drive motors in Mpls and Honolulu years ago and had them burn out all the time. To help this we use to put ice on the motors before battle. Sure enough that was Tom's problem, no more drive motors. He took his ship back to my place to replace them. I had two spares left of my cruiser motors for him to use. We got all the ships patched and reload and started the 2nd battle before Tom got back. By this time Paul Coffee had shown up with his beautiful Rividavia. Steve Smith also made it to the pond but his ship was still not in fighting shape. For this battle it became an everyone vs Bob event. Ron had used both his sets of batteries in the first battle and tried to get some charge into them over lunch. We knew he did not have a lot of time on the water with his dieing power supply (Something is wrong with our bloody batteries today). The everyone fleet was Lion (Ron), Nahsville (Tom), Ellison (Peter), Honalulu (Ryan), Rividavia (Paul) and Mpls (Steve). Ron and I started slugging it out again as he quickly lost power. He drifted next to shore and I pulled in with the haymaker to see if I could get a few shots into his stern. The way Ron's ship sits there is not much stern to shoot at. After he sank and pulled his ship we found 7 holes in a very close line connected by a nice big crack. The Rividavia was an unarmed target ship, he has not had time to install his guns yet. I took some shots at him as I pasted by. His ESC over heated and he lost power so I gave him a few more cooling holes to get it to start back up. The home made pump never did get enough water out and Paul went down for the first time. I chased around the cruisers to try and sink all of them again. I managed to turn at the right time and find Peter's DD behind me. As he turned to get out of the way I blasted out with my sterns and a three hit home. It does not take much to sink a DD and three was enough this time. Peter went down next to shore. Ryan was having problems getting the Honolulu's pump to start. She sank again with little damage. I started to think the impellor had come lose. Testing at home showed the pump was in good working order. I think it had tipped over as we put the deck on. I chased Tom around and got him pumping hard with some sidemount shots. I was surprised he was not sinking and thought I was missing more than I should be. Ron did not make it out for the 2nd sortie as he was out of batteries and starting himself to lose energy in the heat. I started after the Mpls and got her to sink next to shore. Ryan had the Honolulu out again and the pump was working this time. As we all chased around once again I found Peter listing just right behind my sterns. I could see a group of them hit home below the water line. Peter must have seen this also and called two right away. He made it about 50' before he went down. Tom was pumping hard and I chased him around and tried to prop wash him under but he stayed on the water and made it off his five. I gave the transmitter to one of the kids watching the battle and he sent the last few bbs towards the Honolulu. Scores were Warspite 11-3-2 vs Lion 19-0-11 sink, Rividavia 16-1-7 sink, Ellison 3-2-5 sink x2, Honolulu 18-5-3 sink, Mpls 32-2-6 sink, Nashville 20-8-30. I talked to Paul C about getting the guns into his ship and finishing it out for awhile. We noticed that the interior armor he used was getting blasted apart. The plastic lens from light fixtures will not stand up to bbs. Peter had a big sheet of shower pan liner and offered to give some to Paul tomorrow. We were all beat after the day running around in the heat. We packed up our stuff and walked it back up the hill to the cars. Back at my place we unloaded, showered and got ships ready for Sunday's battle. Ron, Ryan, Tom, Peter and I hit the Chinese place for dinner. We started the new guys in the best/worst five tradition and shared a few storied of past battles. Back at my place we got ships patched up and fixed the drive servo on St Louis for Sunday. That evening Ryan and I talked a lot about his Yamato he is scratch building and how starting with a smaller ship might be better.

Sunday saw the same group of captains with Paul Erdman added to run his Honolulu that he had load us for Saturday. We had decided it was going to be too hot to battle in the afternoon again and wanted to close up around noon. We did not bring any of the tents with us. Luckily Paul Coffee did bring his as we had to sit out a rain storm for about an hour before we could start battling. Unlucky for Paul was forgetting his transmitter at home. I offered up the St Louis and he let his daughter run it. While Saturday and seen about 50 spectators the rain must have kept them away Sunday. We only had two of them come by. The first sortie started as everyone vs Bob again and broke down into a free for all. Warspite (Bob), Lion (Ron), Honolulu (Paul E), Nashville (Tom) Ellison (Peter), St Louis (Shellby) and Mpls (Ryan) all hit the water. The Honolulu did not have rudder control and we put a few shots into him. The pump also failed again and Paul quickly sank. We found some water in the rudder box and could not get the servo to come back so he missed the 2nd sortie. Shelby had a leaky tank feeding her guns and also had a hose come lose. This was a great site as CO2 poured out the deck and turrets. The humid air made it look like the ship was on fire. Ron and I teamed up on the Mpls and St Louis for the rest of the sortie taking a few shots at each other when we felt like it. Ryan did a very good job avoiding us and getting some hits in return for our stern chasing. Tom was not as lucky and took quite a few sidemounts on his port side. Everyone made it off the water for sortie #2. Ron and I again went after the cruisers. First to go was Tom. He had taken a lot of damage and tried to run and ended up driving himself under running from us. Next was Shelby. She ran as we sandwiched her and sank after taking some good groups of sidemounts. Peter once again appeared behind me for a quick shot. Like Saturday three holes was enough to put him down. Ron and I tried to get the Mpls to finish off the last of the ships. Ryan was good enough to stay away from the slower ships. Ron was now slower then me as his batteries to drain down. Scores were Warspite 20-1-1, Honolulu 11-1-4 sink, St Louis 27-1-14 sink, Mpls 11-3-1, Lion 39-5-4, Ellison 1-1-1 sink, and Nashville 9-7-22 sink. We handed out trophies (Powered blue and white trim this year) and headed home just as it started to get really hot. Class 1 Peter, Class 3 Tom, Class 4 Ron, Class 5 Bob, Best of Scale Paul C, Most Generous (For loaning Honolulu out) Paul E.

All around it was a good event. We had a lot of people come by. I had printed out 30 flyers and 30 lists of hulls for sale on the net and handed all of them out. I found out Monday that one of the spectators (Andy) has already ordered an NC hull. Hopefully next year he'll be running it at the Ice Breaker. If you make it maybe you can sink him for the first time.