The Sponsons Thread

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f1steveuk
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Re: Lakeland Motor Museum/'Across The Lake' Mock Up/Sponsons

Post by f1steveuk » Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:35 pm

The culprits name may never be known, but when told, "fill those holes with what ever is lying around", someone, with no interest/knowledge of what was about, did just that, or someone with an eye on a few quid, and a friendly scrap merchant!! Either way, me thinks they are gone for good :(
Steve Holter, UK and France, and sometimes reality....................

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Re: Lakeland Motor Museum/'Across The Lake' Mock Up/Sponsons

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:46 pm

Renegadenemo wrote:
Trashed into a hole, no conspirancy there
Who would throw so much valuable scrap metal in a hole, and why?
(I wrote this before Steve's new post, but I don't think that changes anything)

I feel I have got to stand up for Ken on this one and say what I believe he would say if he was here ...

Ken Norris was a man of absolute integrity and he never lied. Ken gave me his account of what happened to the sponsons and I have conveyed this to readers of this forum at least once already, but it bears repeating.

Ken gave me his account at a time when there was not the remotest prospect of K7 being raised, and so the issue of preservation of the boat, or parts of it, did not come into it. His powers of recollection were as sharp as a tack. He told me in about 1990 (15 years before he died).

It is quite simple. The sponsons were buried by mistake. Ken issued an instruction about where to move the sponsons on-site to some building workers who were engaged in laying some foundations. They misunderstood his vague gesture (instruction) and, thinking they were doing what they had been asked to do, they tipped the sponsons into the hole of hardcore rubble and poured the concrete foundations on top of the whole lot - irrepairably crushing and sealing-over the sponsons for all time.

This was what Ken told me, at a time when he had absolutely nothing to gain by concealing the truth. I repeat, Ken never lied. He had absolute integrity.

I can vouch for the fact that Ken was a master of issuing vague instructions that could easily be misunderstood. I saw it happen over and over again during the time that I worked with him.

The sponsons are still, of course, theoretically, "somewhere". Ken either didn't tell me where that "somewhere" was, or - more likely - I didn't record it to memory, because it simply was not important at that time. Bear in mind that K7 was, to all intents and purposes at that time, gone forever - never to be seen again on dry land.

This account is non-negotiable, unless of course anyone chooses to regard Ken as either a person who lied or one who was economical with the truth.

In fact, of course, he was neither. He spoke the truth. And he had his wits about him when he told me.

It is a perfectly plausible explanation, but there will always be conspiracy theories of different kinds that muddy the water.

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Re: Lakeland Motor Museum/'Across The Lake' Mock Up/Sponsons

Post by f1steveuk » Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:51 pm

Exactly as I was told too Nigel, under the floor of RMC (AMY Roadstone's) office at Mark's (Tidy) yard.

A shame, Ken was particularly proud of the shoes, and the workmanship that produced them.
Steve Holter, UK and France, and sometimes reality....................

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Re: Lakeland Motor Museum/'Across The Lake' Mock Up/Sponsons

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:27 pm

f1steveuk wrote:Exactly as I was told too Nigel, under the floor of RMC (AMY Roadstone's) office at Mark's (Tidy) yard.

A shame, Ken was particularly proud of the shoes, and the workmanship that produced them.
Hi Steve,

I attract enough controversy on this site without adding to it by discussing the "where" - as I honestly don't know (possibly I didn't ask Ken, but more probably I was told but almost instantly forgot because it seemed irrelevant at the time) - but to pick up on your second point; yes, Ken was always marvelling about those planing shoes.

I'm sure you heard Ken tell the story of how there was a dollop of Araldite on the surface of one of the shoes that stayed there resolutely year after year, record after record, and was still there when the sponsons were recovered from the lake in January 1967!

A good advert for Araldite, don't you think! :)

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Re: Lakeland Motor Museum/'Across The Lake' Mock Up/Sponsons

Post by Renegadenemo » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:42 pm

That's pretty much what Ken told me though I always thought a man so meticulous would not have been so vague about precisely what happened. He'd have drawn the size and shape of the hole and calculated the volume and mass of material that would come out of it. Never mind, and never doubting, I suggested borrowing a ground penetrating radar from a law-enforcement agency I was teaching sidescan sonar techniques to and going for a look-see. I was deadly serious but in so doing I unknowingly put Ken in an awkward position. You see, he knew the sponsons had been scrapped, he also knew that I'd relentlessly searched for K7 for the previous four years of my life so I was unlikely to give up the sponsons easily.
Our discussions on which part of the building hid the sponsons didn't go far before he put his hands up and admitted that he actually believed the sponsons to have been scrapped long ago.
He said they were the one part of K7 that had never been modified throughout the life of the vehicle and the first he knew of them being missing was when he went looking for them at the outset of the QS project. (When would that be, Nigel)

It all ties perfectly with the yard manager's (Sid Wright) first-hand account of the sponsons being outside at the old drying shed due to a comm's error when half of Tidy's yard was sold off and last being seen still lying on a rack once used to store lengths of steel beyond the fence when RMC began clearing the site. Soon both sponsons and building were gone and as the RMC lot weren't chatty with the ex-tenants no one knew for sure what had happened to them.
Sid's job was to relocate the tenants of the yard from the side being sold to the side kept by Tidy's and he was told to leave the sponsons because Ken was coming to get them. In the years previously they'd been pushed from workshop to workshop because they were bulky and useless and finished up outside on a rack beside a building used by one of Lew's companies, Worcester Valves.

Now I didn't make any of that up either.

Ken was extremely keen to see K7 rebuilt so he had no reason to derail any attempt to locate the sponsons and I personally interviewed Sid Wright who was also sharp as a tack. I can't see that he would have any motive for hindering the process either.
It's my personal feeling that Ken was very upset at having lost the sponsons (those who knew him better than I can maybe comment on that likelihood) and the burial story spared his embarrassment - wherever it came from. The problem arose when we got chatting about rebuilding his beloved K7 and he came clean and told me they'd been scrapped to save me a world of pain looking for something he knew simply wasn't there.
Ken told me those sponsons had been scrapped and you can stand me up with a bible, a Koran or anything else that's holy and I'll swear on the whole lot of them that that's true.
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Re: Lakeland Motor Museum/'Across The Lake' Mock Up/Sponsons

Post by Terminator » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:47 am

Hi Mike and all
I have heard both off the recent reasons before posted by Nigel and Bill above and Bill makes a good point regarding Ken being a meticulous kind of guy. However our friend states he known's the reason WHY the sponsons disappeared as told by his acquaintance. Whatever! Then we get all this drivel about knowing Ken when he stated clearly in the Rainbow book he put together sometime ago to having only spent an hour or so in Kens company all those years. I reckon it is this acquaintances wishes and thoughts on matters and not Kens a man whom was pestered time and time again by our friend for his autograph when the bloke could hardly even walk towards the end!!! Even though he was told not to on many occasions!! He just seems to carry on regardless of anybodies wishes even Kens family which was also clearly evident at the Celebration of Kens life on the 15-11-2005.

Furthermore why does a chap who does not wish to see K7 run again support the project by buying D.V.Ds for instance and then thinking back is kindly allowed to work on K7 by Bill! I'm sorry but this man who claims to be whatever just takes the biscuit I'm afraid!!

Novie
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Re: Lakeland Motor Museum/'Across The Lake' Mock Up/Sponsons

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:25 pm

Hello Bill,

I have no reason to doubt that what you have written is accurate within the context of the knowledge that you have, just as my account is accurate within the context of my knowledge.

Somewhere there will be a "unifying theory" that actually pulls both of those two accounts together and makes them both accurate - but I suspect that we will never arrive at that happy position, and the fate of the sponsons will always have something of a question-mark hanging over them.

For Ken to have "come clean", as you say, he would have had to have told some polite porkies to start with, and somehow I cannot see Ken doing that. He had no reason to tell me porkies about the fate of the sponsons when he and I discussed it around 1990-time. There was not the faintest prospect of K7 ever being raised then. The boat was dead and gone - but not forgotten, of course.

To answer your question about the start of what became the Quicksilver project, it was November 1988. But it took about a year before we were in a position to do any windtunnel work. Ken's first design for our project was the "flying-wing boat", as I call it - which started off in life as a design concept for Donald, of course. This boat was a monohull - it had no sponsons - but it did have four sets of planing shoes/skegs ... one in each corner ... so maybe Ken sought-out the K7 sponsons as a pattern for those.

Having said that, I find it difficult to understand why Ken would say that he did not discover the loss of K7's sponsons until he looked for them for Quicksilver. Why in heaven's name would he take 20 years to discover he'd "lost" something as important as Donald's sponsons?

One thing I will mention was the difficulty Ken had in sourcing drawings for the K7 sponsons. When the "flying-wing boat" turned out to be unsuitable - we had spent three years on it - Ken wanted a set of scale K7 sponsons on a new towing model we were building called "The Stick Model". It was called that because it had a thin "stick" for a hull, so that the wakes and other effects from the four planing surfaces could be clearly seen, filmed and photographed as the model was being towed along.

Cue a huge search for drawings - this was before we secured the release of the original K7 drawings from the Science Museum - and this search drew a blank. I was amazed to find that we were in a position where we had to track down someone in the speed-record modelmaking fraternity in order to get K7 drawings! Ken didn't have any.

A couple of final points ... yes, Ken will have been pretty embarrassed that the sponsons disappeared whilst on his watch. Second, yes, he was a mega-meticulous person - but his interest in the dimensions of the hole the sponsons ended up in was minimal ... hence his vagueness about it ... because the hole wasn't made for the sponsons - they were put in there by mistake.

Novie is right in saying that most, if not all, of what you wrote in your last post is a repeat of what you have written before on this forum - and so is my account of what Ken told me. It's all there for the sleuths to mull over and maybe someone will come up with some new information.

But I strongly suspect that the whole story will never come out. There are some mysteries that can't be solved, because too much time has elapsed and too many of the key people are now deceased. :(

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Re: Lakeland Motor Museum/'Across The Lake' Mock Up/Sponsons

Post by Renegadenemo » Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:55 pm

Another interesting point about the sponson drawings. Ken sent me a complete set along with material spec's very early on in our relationship - in fact it was about the time we discussed the missing ones from K7. I didn't appreciate the significance of this until the rebuild proper started after Ken's death and I discovered that only vague GA's and sketches of various, never-built designs seemed to exist. I'd been sat on the real deal for about five years.
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Re: Lakeland Motor Museum/'Across The Lake' Mock Up/Sponsons

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:31 pm

Renegadenemo wrote:Another interesting point about the sponson drawings. Ken sent me a complete set along with material spec's very early on in our relationship - in fact it was about the time we discussed the missing ones from K7. I didn't appreciate the significance of this until the rebuild proper started after Ken's death and I discovered that only vague GA's and sketches of various, never-built designs seemed to exist. I'd been sat on the real deal for about five years.
Yes, interesting stuff. But remember that we are talking about two completely different times. I discovered that Ken didn't have any K7 sponson drawings around 1990, when he wanted a scale set making for "The Stick Model" of Quicksilver. This was around a decade before the time you are talking about (late 2000/early 2001?).

I must say it came as a big shock to me to find that Ken was having to resort to asking around the ranks of speed-record modelmaking enthusiasts to find K7 drawings!

My critics will say I'm on a Ken-bashing exercise again, but I'm not. I'm just wanting to point out that we were confronted with some pretty wacky situations back in those days when trying to do certain things that I had assumed would be fairly straightforward.

In the end we found a modelmaking enthusiast - I can't remember who it was now - who supplied drawings and we got the scale sponsons made (I've still got them - attached to yet another model! A ducted-fan test model), but the whole process was fraught with frustration for Ken and everybody else.

A few years later we had the two full sets of K7 drawings reproduced from the originals that we secured on six months' release from the Science Museum - again, after much distress and energy expended, due to a dispute which arose between Ken and the Science Museum, which I eventually managed to sort out (see earlier posts on the Quicksilver thread).

For the record, I think Ken was in the right in that dispute, but possession is nine-tenths of the law and the Science Museum dug their heels in and weren't going to let him borrow the drawings, which made Ken apoplectic.

Many years later - nearly ten years later, in fact - Ken asked me if I would donate my set of K7 drawings (one set was mine, the other set was Ken's) to you guys to help with K7, and I said, "Yes - certainly" ... and that led to yet another rigmarole, because Ken then couldn't find the drawings!

I found myself in the odd position of having both you, Bill, and Ken, ringing me to ask me where the drawings were, and I kept telling Ken, "Ken, you've got my set - remember? You've got both sets. I never took mine away from Bournemouth. I left my set with you - so you had two sets," whilst at the same time saying to you, "Ken's got them - definitely" ... to which you were replying, "Well Ken says you've got them!"

Fun times, indeed. But I understand it all got sorted in the end and you got the drawings, and in fairness to Ken I hadn't appreciated at the time how much upheaval there had been with Ken moving all his stuff from place to place after his aviation business went belly-up. I kept thinking, "How can he lose two full sets of drawings?" - but, of course it is very easy when there's a big upheaval and everything gets moved from pillar to post.

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Re: Lakeland Motor Museum/'Across The Lake' Mock Up/Sponsons

Post by Renegadenemo » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:50 pm

We never did get a full set of drawings and, ironically, the missing ones all came from the pointy end where we most needed info. The first drawing Ken ever sent was for the recovery cradle. That was early 2001 and discussions about rebuilding the boat started in November 2002 so the sponson drawings arrived around that time. The rest we were sent by John Norris in 2006.
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