Proving Tests at the Benicia Marina, March Ė August 1991
Float Test #1 was scheduled at about 0500 in the morning, because thatís when the tides would give us enough water on the ramp to float the sub off the trailer, and because we wanted to minimize spectators.
The objectives of the first test were to see if the submarine would float, and to make sure it didnít leak.†
Pat with the sub on a jack, prior to hooking up to the van after the second float test.
Trailering the NAUTILUS home after the second float test.† The sub sits nose-high and backwards on the trailer, but this enables it to enter the water straight forward and level on an inclined launching ramp.
It wasnít long before people were talking about the house with a submarine in the front yard.
Lynn checks float and stability during the early morning launch for Float Test #3.
Pat piloting the NAUTILUS on the surface with the tanks dry during the third float test.
A 50-foot cable enabled us to get the trike-trailer deep enough to float the sub without getting the van wet.† This was the Fourth Float Test, done in the afternoon of the same day we did FT#3.† It was also the first time we operated the submarine with a large number of spectators looking on.†† Though we made no announcements beforehand, word spread quickly and quite a few people showed up to watch.
NAUTILUS MINISUB entering the water on the ramp during Float Test #4.
Pat closing the hatch at the start of the fourth float test.† This was the only time we tried a dock entry; we learned itís much easier to enter and exit the sub while itís still on the trailer.
Lynn guides the NAUTILUS away from the dock at the start of Float Test #4.†
A closeup of the pilothouse as the NAUTILUS MINISUB motors away from the dock.
Running on a 24-volt electric motor, the NAUTILUS MINISUB heads out into the Benicia Marina.
This was a surface maneuvering test.† Running with the ballast tanks dry, the submarine sits a bit high in the water, as expected.† Design weight-and-balance calculations proved accurate to within one pound.
Lynn takes a moment to smile for the camera at the end of a very good day.
Pat and Lynn securing the sub on the trailer prior to extraction after Float Test #4.
Surface run with the ballast tanks flooded down to normal waterline during Float Test #6.
NAUTILUS spouts a plume of water vapor as Pat purges the ballast system during the sixth float test.
NAUTILUS at sunset.
Lynn guides NAUTILUS backwards onto trailer during recovery.
Lynn steadies NAUTILUS on trailer while Pat opens hatch from within.
Pat emerges from NAUTILUS after successful ballast system test during Float Test #6.
NAUTILUS MINISUB††† begins to submerge during first dynamic dive, Float Test #7.
Completely submerged except for the tail fin, first dynamic dive test.
Friends help with launch while spectators observe during Float Test #9.
Sub enters the water straight and normal during the launch for ninth float test.
Safety Diver Lynn makes a last moment directional check as the NAUTILUS MINISUB, ballasted down to dive, begins what will be a submerged run across the Marina in zero visibility water.
The NAUTILUS MINISUB picks up speed and begins to dive.
At this point I was running on instruments and instincts: using dead reckoning, estimating time-and-distance, and holding a course calculated to bring me up near a buoy on the other side of the Marina.
The NAUTILUS pitches steeply down and dives at the start of a submerged run.
I came up right next to the buoy, and was joined by Lynn who stood by while I purged the ballast tanks.
NEW!† This picture was shot on color slide film, but the lab got the developing process wrong so the roll came out looking like color negatives instead of slides.† L† Recently, I scanned this slide and then reversed the polarity to create a positive image from the negative.† This is Lynn relaxing in the water alongside the sub, after a successful test.† The Nautilus is sitting with a high waterline because the ballast tanks are empty and the pilot (me) is on the dock, taking the picture.† Note the ramming spur is visible underwater.† J†
Safety Diver Lynn and friend Paul Silva steady the sub during extraction after a successful test.
Pat Regan and the NAUTILUS MINISUB: Benicia California, USA, 1991.