Quicksilver

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quicksilver-wsr
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:04 pm

Hello, Mike. It's mainly pressure of work that's kept me off the site. I was contributing to some of the other threads on the forum for a while after I put my last post on this thread, but what with one thing and another I've been unable to concentrate on anything other than running the project.

I have, however, kept an eye on the site and have enjoyed the to-and-fro on the forum and seeing the pictures in POTD. It's coming on great and you must be enjoying it. Keep it up.

I am hoping to get back onto this thread soon - hopefully with some pictures here and there to add colour.

We had a successful test of our air-start system at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground yesterday. We wanted to test our pipework and valves on a Buccaneer there before we go ahead with installing it on the boat. The Buccaneer started first time with our gear, so we were pleased. I wasn't there myself, as we had a supporters' club event at our HQ yesterday, but it was another small milestone among many still needing to be passed.

Best wishes to all,
Nigel

dave
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by dave » Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:41 pm

The Quicksilver project has been "on the go" for much too long (well over 10 years) Bluebird was built and floated on the water in approx 18 months, now there is commitment.
The configuration of quicksilver has been changed too many times; I feel that the technical competence and leadership has long since evaporated since Ken Norris left the project. He must have seen where the project was heading when he left. After all he had similar experience with the Hanning-Lees “White Hawk K5”

How can one go from:-

1 Four pointer/ rear mounted sponsons (Ken Norris configuration)
2 Three pointer with forward mounted sponsons. With aerodynamic lift forward of the c of g.
3 Forward engine intake positioned low to the water similar to the Bluebird car (Ingesting water not air).
4 Repositioned intake high above the water line (Similar to Bluebird).
5 Drivers cockpit now housed within the Stbd. Sponson, reason stated to position the engine as far forward as possible, c of g is shifted forward.

All in all I think that Nigel has lost the plot, and is making a business out of continuous change. With no intention, of ever completing the task, which he launched.
He may be hoping for what little backers are left to pull out and there is his exit card.

polo
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by polo » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:32 pm

Sorry Dave but Nigel hasn't 'lost the plot'. It is always very easy to critcise others when you are on the outside, if you think its easy, have a go yourself and find out the problems first hand. Nigel is putting loads of time and effort into QS and she is moving along, albeit slowly. It takes loads of Money to do things quickly and Nigel doesn't have that luxury. As the BBP team have stated, to get things right, a lot of hard work has to be put in because what you put in you get out. How long have they spent bending and shaping little bits of metal just to get a tiny part of BB right? Getting it right is the most important part not the time it takes.
Any looney can draw and build a boat and then stick a big engine in it, but will it work?
You can get the best brains in the world on the project, but will they get it right?
Alledgedly Lee Taylor had a multi million pound budget and look what happened when the sponsors put the pressure on him to get the record.
Nigel appears to owe nothing to any sponsor but himself, he goes at his own speed and is trying to get everything right for the first time on the water and then [hopefully!] QS will run correctly. If he gets it wrong it will be longer and more costly to redo her.
Worse still if he gets it wrong, he may get the chop.
I think the silent majority still support Nigel and QS and wish him well with the project and I count myself as one of those[but not so silent!]
If you have a problem with the project give Nigel a call, his number is on his website, I am sure he will be only too happy to speak to you and answer your questions when he has time [ he did with me]

quicksilver-wsr
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:15 pm

dave wrote:The Quicksilver project has been "on the go" for much too long (well over 10 years) Bluebird was built and floated on the water in approx 18 months, now there is commitment.
The configuration of Quicksilver has been changed too many times; I feel that the technical competence and leadership has long since evaporated since Ken Norris left the project. He must have seen where the project was heading when he left. After all he had similar experience with the Hanning-Lees “White Hawk K5”
You certainly are opinionated ... but do you have any real knowledge of the facts to back up your pub-talk?

One thing I can agree with you - as I always try to find common ground where possible - is that the Quicksilver project has gone on too long. But that is something I cannot change. It is a fact. It has taken a long time. That's it.

But, as for your other statements of "fact", they belong on Jackanory.

First of all, you need to know that Ken Norris did not leave the Quicksilver project. Ken was only too keen to move ahead with the venture and even spent his own money employing John Ackroyd, in the early part of 2001, to help him get a design sorted out.

But by then it was too little, too late. I had already started working with other people - almost all of them former ThrustSSC project people - to move on without Ken, as to do otherwise would have been to watch the project sink into oblivion along with Ken's health.

I knew Ken for 30 years. He knew more about this kind of boat than probably anybody. But, at that stage in his life - he turned 80 that year - he was, in direct contradiction to your perception, (a) utterly technically incompetent, and (b) exhibiting no leadership qualities whatsoever.

I used to believe that it would be impossible to achieve the record without Ken. What I came to realise, after 12 years of continuous effort helping provide Ken with everything he believed he required - was that it was going to be impossible to achieve the record with Ken.

No-one left the team when I left Ken. Everyone knew the reasons. None of the sponsors left. None of the team-members left.

You refer to White Hawk. Not a good choice. It was not Ken's finest work. It didn't work.

I will be happy to put you straight on your other misconceptions in upcoming posts.

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Renegadenemo
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by Renegadenemo » Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:02 pm

Not doing your due diligence on a topic before letting go with both barrels is an interesting and effective way to make yourself look stupid, methinks. Disrespectful too...
I'm only a plumber from Cannock...

"As to reward, my profession is its own reward;" Sherlock Holmes.

'Sometimes you gotta be an S.O.B if you wanna make a dream reality' Mark Knopfler

quicksilver-wsr
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:14 pm

It's a difficult conundrum. It's a free country, and people therefore ought to be able to say what they want ... "dave" included. I would certainly never wish to consider myself above criticism. Let's have the debate, by all means.

However, it is always better if people can be more respectful of other folks' situations. It's difficult to get at the truth if people - and I include myself in this - start feeling the need to become defensive and therefore hostile.

Do people think I like saying mean things about Ken Norris? Of course I don't! But I'm not going to sit back and be everybody's punch-bag when I know that things didn't happen the way certain people have been saying they did.

I accept - as you said, Mike - that I should have put out more information a long time ago. But part of my problem is that we had a lot to hide on the Quicksilver project and I felt a lot of it was better kept hidden. The fact is that we were struggling right up to the beginning of 2005 with not having a proper design. So we started again, effectively, at that time - but I couldn't at that stage start distancing myself from all that had gone before, because to do so would have been to disregard the huge efforts made by other people on the earlier (Norris) Quicksilver designs. And, also, did people really want to know what a mess we were in, pre-2005?

"Polo" makes a good point. I am accessible! My mobile phone number, my home address and my e-mail address - e-mails come straight to me - are all in the "Contact" section of the Quicksilver website, and that has always been the case. If people want to know the answer to a question, or have a gripe, then they should ring me or e-mail me and I will discuss it openly.

I have certainly made mistakes - no question. But, generally speaking, the things I have done wrong are not the things that people are beating-up on me for. In other words, they are attacking me for things I didn't do.

I have been too busy to post on this site for some time, but I will try to get more material on here again and at least try to fill gaps in people's information.

The people who know me know I am an extremely open person. Some of the stuff I read bears no resemblance to the reality.

Russ
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by Russ » Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:11 pm

I can echo the comments about Nigel's openness and willingness to inform through personal experience. I contacted Nigel via email to ask a question about the Quicksilver design. After an exchange of emails and phone calls it turned out that it was convenient to call in at the Quicksilver site and meet Nigel to talk through my query.

I was treated to a guided tour of the boat, the components, the corporate presentation; given the history of the design, the decisions that had shaped it and caused previous designs to be discarded. Nigel willing gave up his time to ensure that I had a full understanding of the QSR project. I expect that anyone who approaches him with interest and requesting information on the project, rather than simply throwing rocks for the sake of it, will receive the same courtesy as I did.

If you do dig into the project, you may be surprised to realise how many world class (British) engineering experts are lending their support and giving their expertise to the project, including experience of Thrust SSC design and build. They're people with huge demands on their time, it's too precious to donate to a project that's going nowhere.

As for taking the time to get the design right, here's a quote from the Wikipedia Water Speed Record page: "With an approximate fatality rate of 85% since 1940, the record is one of the sporting world's most hazardous competitions." In Nigel's position I'd take my time too; at WSR speeds you only have an accident once.

On dress down days I wear my BBP sweatshirt at work with huge pride, and I plan on wearing it at Coniston when Quicksilver is running; just as I plan on wearing a Quicksilver shirt at Coniston when K7 runs. Donald and K7 inspired me as a youth; I hope that Nigel and Quicksilver will inspire my children just as Richard and Andy, Thrust SSC and Bloodhound already have and do.

Quicksilver, like Bloodhound, like K7 is technology at the edge, and shows that we continue to be an inventive, determined and downright brave race of people when we have a challenge that engages us.

Rather than just throwing out vague, unsubstantiated and inaccurate assertions, why not make contact and find out what's really happening?

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rob565uk
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by rob565uk » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:37 am

quicksilver-wsr wrote:Do people think I like saying mean things about Ken Norris? Of course I don't! But I'm not going to sit back and be everybody's punch-bag when I know that things didn't happen the way certain people have been saying they did.
Nigel, I don't agree with Dave's posting - he should have got his facts straight about what is a major and complex British project to re-capture possibly the most challenging and dangerous record in the world - and I can see your predicament. I accept you have a perfect right to set the record straight and voice your perception of Ken Norris' eventual contribution to the QS design. However, in my humble opinion, this whole line of argument should now be closed. Ken Norris is not here to present his side of the story and for that reason I honestly believe that further discourse on the subject could actually end up harming the QS project. If anyone else voices uninformed opinions in future, I would simply treat them with the disdain they deserve or at best, point them at this thread and suggest they read it.

1 in 10 people understands binary. The other one doesn't

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Renegadenemo
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by Renegadenemo » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:17 am

I think it's only fair that we don't lose sight of the fact that Ken was just an ordinary bloke at the end of the day with his own set of foibles just like the rest of us.
Brilliant engineer, there's no doubt, but I can't help wondering whether working with the impetuous and determined DMC wasn't his finest hour because Ken was a ditherer, par-excellence. In the short time I knew and worked with him he couldn't make up his mind about anything but that doesn't in any way detract from his achievements or the fact that he was a wonderful bloke whom it was an absolute pleasure and privilege to have known. He'd drive you crackers though...
I'm only a plumber from Cannock...

"As to reward, my profession is its own reward;" Sherlock Holmes.

'Sometimes you gotta be an S.O.B if you wanna make a dream reality' Mark Knopfler

sutol
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by sutol » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:54 am

I have been reading the last few posting with increasing irritation on the direction of discussion.

The “Dave” post that has prompted the responses is perhaps curt and not really adding any new thoughts into the debate on the progress or lack of it on the Quicksilver Project.
In response to the ill-conceived attack from “Dave” Nigel has responded with some disappointing “facts” about Ken Norris.
Quote: Nigel
I knew Ken for 30 years. He knew more about this kind of boat than probably anybody. But, at that stage in his life - he turned 80 that year - he was, in direct contradiction to your perception, (a) utterly technically incompetent, and (b) exhibiting no leadership qualities whatsoever.

I used to believe that it would be impossible to achieve the record without Ken. What I came to realise, after 12 years of continuous effort helping provide Ken with everything he believed he required - was that it was going to be impossible to achieve the record with Ken.

Not only do I feel this kind of comment is unnecessary but for me it sums up some if not all of the reasons why the QS Project is taking so much time to come to fruition. It is difficult to comprehend why the leader of a project would allow 12 years to pass working with an engineer who eventually ended up technically incompetent and failing to display leadership qualities. Nigel with all due respect you should have made the decision earlier in the projects life to dispense with Ken Norris. Having not done so and now making statements about his competence after his death is not appropriate. I offer as a “theory” that you did not because you wanted the kudos of the Norris name and if any of the Ackroyd statements are correct some of his funding.

Let us all remember Ken Norris for the brilliant engineer and person he was
Quote Richard Noble:
Another good move was Acker’s idea that Kens Norris should come on board to run the project on the desert. That made very good sense, because I could be relieved of all the hassle. Ken is absolutely brilliant, and he’s very sensible, practical, humble person. He is a very good communicator, and is never frightened of saying what he thinks.

As to
Quote Renegadenemo.
Brilliant engineer, there's no doubt, but I can't help wondering whether working with the impetuous and determined DMC wasn't his finest hour because Ken was a ditherer, par-excellence. In the short time I knew and worked with him he couldn't make up his mind about anything but that doesn't in any way detract from his achievements or the fact that he was a wonderful bloke whom it was an absolute pleasure and privilege to have known. He'd drive you crackers though...

Come on he was an old man. The death of Donald Campbell was a heavy burden for him to carry for many years. It had all been brought back into focus.

Please no more of the ditherer, incompetent man. History and others show him when in his prime he was a humble brilliant engineer and trusted friend.

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