Home > Uncle Biek > Subsim Meet – Day 3

Subsim Meet – Day 3

After assembly downstairs we all went over to Peter’s ‘hobby corner’. A really great site if you are technically challenged like me which I guess most of us are. You feel like a kid who spots a load of toys to play with; you have no idea where to start looking. Loads of ship parts lying around, tons of even smaller parts and even, slightly camouflaged by a bigger boat, a little submarine! Well little, with a weight of roughly 40 tons, this is hardly rowing boat material. She’s just an amazing beauty.

Then Peter arrived and asked us all to introduce ourselves so he got a rough idea on what people he’d get aboard. When the guys from Ubi introduced themselves Peter couldn’t help making a small tongue in cheek remark on how today they would find out how wrong some things in their sims are, even though, like we later found out, he really enjoys playing the Silent Hunter series as much as we do.

After this introduction round he took us all to the sub and started explaining a little about her. Meanwhile John got into a diving suit and was on cleaning duty. While we were making sea food jokes (see Marcus’ pictures for the explanation), he submerged to make sure we would be able to see something useful from the portholes in the side of the sub. This may seem like a not too honorable job but with the sun blazing down on us and the open area we were in, I almost wouldn’t have mind doing the job myself just to cool down a bit. And he seemed to have enjoyed the dive as well when he got out.

Then we all went into the sub in small groups which allowed Peter to explain the inner workings of his sub. To me, the way he explained all the various stations and mechanics made perfect sense and he never came across as someone who would build a sub on a trial and error basis. Everything aboard was well thought of and served a clear purpose. Well maybe apart from the altimeter in the front but it was a nice touch nonetheless.

The start-up procedure itself went pretty well but one of the oxygen masks wouldn’t work and even though Peter, John and Oliver did their very best to fix it, they couldn’t get it to work which meant that there was one person less going with the sub each dive. That was a real shame and we could clearly see that Peter didn’t like it too much either.

While they were trying to get the oxygen mask to work, however, the rest of us were hanging out, talking and looking at the sub. Neal was still inside, Dan and Mihai were on deck. At some point Dan asked Neal down below if he wanted to use time compression to have it pass a little quicker. When Neal agreed that would be a great move Dan explained that it unfortunately was not available because the boat was too close to land. I laughed so hard I nearly tripped over. It’s the kind of fun you can only have with a special breed of guys.

Then it was time for the first trim dive which even from the shore looked pretty cool. The sub went down, stern first and then, after some minor extra trimming was done, she submerged completely. Peter was in radio contact with John the whole time, making sure everything went according to plan and for John to warn Peter for available targets … ehrm I mean oncoming traffic, sorry …

They moved around underwater a bit more and sailed the sub into more open waters before coming back around and head back for the docs where another crew would enter. The sub and that crew would then make a surface trip through the harbor area to the place where Peter has his workshop and where we could start or dives the next day.

After surfacing Peter explained what the plan was and when going over his checklist he came to the conclusion that for this trip he would need ‘a f*cking good guy’ to serve as his engineer while he would steer the ship from the tower. I volunteered for the job and got it right away. Come to think of it, this was by far the most responsible function I’ve had so far and at the same time easiest job interview yet.

Peter then took me below and asked me to have a seat in the captains chair while he explained the seriousness of the task. He stressed that while he was up in the tower, all control in terms of movement of his 40 ton submarine would be in my hands and that therefore I had to look out for upcoming trouble as much as he would. After explaining to me how to operate the throttle handle and what to look for he gave me a pad on the shoulder, wished me luck and went back up.

During the trip he was in contact through the radio, simply calling in the orders with me acknowledging them back to him. I think we made a good team and it all went pretty well until we came to the point where we would park the sub. Upon going from forward in neutral I nudged the lever just over the top position and slammed the gear into reverse, stalling the engine. I was already having my finger on the starter button when Peter’s voice came over the radio ‘Biek … please restart the engine’. ‘Restarting engine’ I repeated. A little shame that this happened, it would have been a flawless trip if it had not. When we were docked, Peter himself still was happy enough when he came back down and complimented me on the rest of the trip. Job well done after all.

Peter then took us to his workshop where he briefly explained his plans on building a one man rocket. That man has vision like no other I’ve spoken to and I honestly believe that he’ll make it happen one day. Outside he had a test block where he had been testing the smaller rockets he had been building so far and the latest was ‘a small 2000hp rocket’. The results of that burn were clearly visible, there was almost a crater like marking on the tarmac showing where the rocket had been burning. That must have been an awesome sight.

Inside he already had parts of a bigger rocket getting ready for assembly. A few pieces of the hull which would contain the fuel and the part where the actual astronaut would be standing in were already available. Peter drew his plans on a whiteboard and that again all made sense. It may seem far fetched to shoot a one man rocket into space but it would surprise me if he would not succeed.

He stated that the idea was to find a way to create one man rockets at the cost of around 50.000 dollars each which would in terms fund the bigger plan of him, and possibly his colleague, going around the moon. It’s simply mind blowing what this guy and his team are up to.

Then it was diner time and Peter joined us. The guy behind the counter had a little trouble serving the large group that came walking in but in the end everyone had a nice meal. Bas and myself had a one thirty nine and Dan I believe had a one forty one but that may have been the other way around, I’m not sure. All in all that was a great day, but it was long from finished.

Because next up was the Silent Hunter 5 presentation by the Ubi guys and for me personally I can sum it up with the same two words our Danish tour guide used: extremely good. Man, it was just awesome. We saw the new interface, game features and talked about what Dan had in mind when designing 5 and its various components.

I’ll leave the more detailed review of the presentation to others since I may be a little bit biased for liking all this new stuff way too much. After the initial part was done, Dan saw a chance of getting back at me for making fun of him in the first patrol report(s) by saying that he could go on for quite a bit, but that ‘a few people’ were almost falling asleep (I guess I deserved that ;-) so we called it a day and went back to the hotel.

Along the way while we were walking back, there was still a lot of talking going on about what we had seen and I can imagine the Ubi guys having gotten their share of questions before we reached the hotel.

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