Another day of insanity, but also in keeping with our two main themes for the year: going in a straight line, and doing it all at the last minute.
From the beginning: after another late night before, with everyone falling asleep sitting up while working, I awoke in my bed with my laptop on, still fully dressed, and an alarm clock screaming in my ear. Time to get the ball rolling. Today was a big one for two reasons; one, it was our last day to qualify for a semi-finals spot and two, we had to give our static presentation, which was still somewhat incomplete.
So again, it was off to the TRANSDEC with little more than a cup of coffee and the drive to get that semi-finals spot. Knowing that with some minor modifications to the electronics, we could reliably control our thrusters, I set to work with Lee’s help making the necessary changes to our motor controllers and main board. Lee also went about putting the finishing touches on the Sonar board. As he did so, however, he discovered a fatal flaw in the design, rendering the board unusable in it’s present state. Knowing that we had more pressing objectives, we scrubbed the Sonar system for the time being, and focused on re-installing the electronics in the hull for a test in the dolphin pool.
We came down to a half-hour before our 2:30 run, and we began running tests in the pool. Tensions were high, Lee and Scott were attempting to statically balance SubmURSA, and Veselin was concurrently trying to test the heading controller. Getting frustrated with the delays they were causing in testing the heading control, I snapped at them to ‘set the bleeping things where they are and forget about them for now’. There simply wasn’t time for delay. We managed to get SubmURSA to track in a reasonably straight line, and the timing couldn’t be better. It was time for our run.
We nervously waited for our turn in the pool, as our country-mates, ETS, were finishing their run. After some genuine approval from the dock supervisor on Scott’s simple, but effective, lifiting mechanism, SubmURSA was in the pool and ready for her run! It was go time!
After a few preliminary shots at the gate, and a few tweaks to SubmURSA’s program, we decided we had the winning configuration. I engaged the kill switch and SubmURSA chugged towards the gate…closer…closer…closer…and right down the middle!! She scores!! We qualified!!
Or did we…?
Because, apparently, Dave Novak wasn’t watching…
Or was he?
As we were supposed to call him over if we planned to qualify, and through some miscommunication, we didn’t, our run would technically not count. After some grovelling to Dave, he informed us that because he didn’t see it, it didn’t count…sorry.
Then he flipped the page on his clipboard to show me…Slot 21: ARVP.
What a guy!
After congratulations and fist-bumps all around, we headed back to the tent to finish off our presentation speeches and change into our ARVP hockey jerseys. Our presentation went reasonably well, there were many positive remarks on our jerseys, and our confidence was high. Things were looking up!
A successful day, all told. Presentation: done. Qualifying: done. After an unhurried packing session, Veselin and I went to claim our spot for tomorrow. As the 21st out of 21 qualifying teams, we ended up with the worst possible slot – 7am – so needless to say, it’ll be an early night!!
After picking up some dinner on our way back to the hotel, we scarfed it down and headed to the hotel pool. Somewhat surprisingly, we were the only ones there, but that didn’t stop us from spending the next 2 hours fine-tuning SubmURSA’s heading and depth control, until we were confident that we can take another crack at the gate. So, needless to say, that’s all until tomorrow. Good night!