The clock struck 6:00 and the alarms started ringing. Exhaustion was in the air as everyone dragged themselves out of their beds, getting ready for what the day would bring. Having four hours of sleep was definitely not in the intial plan, but we would have to make do. Today was the day! The sun was shining, the static judging was today, and we were ready for semi-finals! Alvin drove Jamie, Michael, Mikey, and I to Transdec first, then turned around to pick up Veselin and Mike. Worried about static judging, I glanced at the clock and noticed it was 7:40. Fifteen minutes to go until static judging and Alvin, Mike and Veselin were nowhere to be found. I immediately looked up at the entrance and noticed a blur of ARVP work shirts coming in. Thank goodness. We quickly set up the tent, grabbed Jamie's laptop, and were on our way to get judged.
Once in the room, I looked across the blur of faces. Once we got the go ahead, we started. A short fifteen minutes later, it was question period, and may I say, we nailed it. I sighed a breath of relief as we confidently walked out of the room, wishing the next team good luck as they walked into the room we just left.
Next, we knew we needed some practice time, however, there were not any practice time slots available for us to book for they were all taken already. The team then collectively decided that we needed at least one time slot at some point today. We knew that Bill was in charge of the practice time slots, so Jamie and I took a walkie talkie, some water, and went to find Bill. Once we found him, he told us that we had to wait for a team to cancel their practice time before we could snatch it, so we took it upon ourselves to stalk Bill around until someone cancelled their time. Someone finally came by to cancel their spot but it was unfortunately the side of the pool with the sonar obstacle, which we weren't prepared for. Jamie and I were first in line and since it was not the pool side we wanted, we let ETS have it. Now they owe us a favour which will hopefully come in handy pretty soon. Four and a half hours later, we were still following Bill and there were no practice spots came up after that one. Our semi-final run started at 1:00 so we left Bill, grabbed AquaUrsa, and went towards the pool. Now was the time.
They put AquaUrsa on the crane, lowered her into the water, and started the timer. Nervously, I watched as AquaUrsa autonomously moved through the gate, down the path, and grazed the buoy wire. Darn it. We wanted to hit the buoy for more points, so we restarted the run. This time it was through the gate, down the path, and missed the buoy. Not giving up, we tried again. Third time's the charm, right? "Two minutes left!" Dave cried out as we went to start. It felt like time was moving like molasses as we all watched AquaUrsa creep towards the gate. One minute left as she passed the gate, and was now crawling down the path. 30 seconds. Was she going to make it and touch the buoy in time? Holding my breath, I watched as there was 10 seconds left and it was centimetres away from the red buoy. With 5 seconds left on the timer, we watched as AquaUrsa tapped the buoy just in time! We got it!
The excitement was high for the rest of the day as we watched and cheered for the rest of the teams on their semifinal runs. As a huge turn of events, both Cornell and ETS had problems during their semi-final runs but I'm sure they'll be back on their feet, doing their thing tomorrow. Finally, around 5:30, Alvin decided to drive Jamie, Michael, Mikey, and I all to the hotel. So we packed up, and were on our way. He then went back to the TRANSDEC to book our second semi-final time slot tomorrow, and to pick up Veselin and Mike as well.
They came back with news that our second semi-final time is at 5:30 pm tomorrow, and hopefully we can get a practice time if we get there early enough tomorrow! We were able to get 12th place out of the 27 qualified teams on our static, a impressive score considering the presentation was done almost overnight. Mike was working on the robot, and realized that we were missing about 24" of 16 gauge wire to connect the battery to the strafing motor controller. So Jamie and I walked around the hotel and thankfully got the wire we needed from McGill. For now, we are doing a night time pool test and hopefully getting some sleep tonight! Wish us luck on our second round of semifinals tomorrow! Hopefully we can hit the buoy again, follow the second path, and manoeuvre around the inverted gate! See you tomorrow, and thanks for reading!