Thursday, October 13, 2005


For as long as I can remember, I have dreamt of a ship like the R.C.S. Queen Mary 2. The idea of an 8-foot radio controlled ship (R.C.S.) took many incarnations over the years. There were the ocean liners Imperator, Michaelangelo, Lusitania, Queen Elizabeth, and Titanic. The Battleship Arizona was almost completed.

All achieved some state of construction. All occupied my dreams for some length of time. All were defeated for the same frustrating reason: I had no understanding of the workings of radio-controlled boats. Many never even reached the stage of radio-control outfitting.

When I built the Arizona in 1998-2001, I almost succeeded. She even reached the testing phase. Following her failure, I completely walked away from R/C boats.

My imagination woke in January of 2004, when the real Queen Mary 2 was completed. There occurred a sudden and very strong burst of energy for completing the great 8-footer. Leading the resurgance, was my final understanding of R/C electronics.

For some reason, between the termination of the Arizona and the beginning of the Queen Mary 2, I stopped fearing R/C and saw its science clearly.

That doesn't mean I didn't have problems. I had problems of almost every kind. The fiberglass coat over the carboard sprang a leak and I had to cover the area with bondo. The batteries which lasted nearly an hour out of the water lasted nearly 5 minutes IN the water. The motor (stolen from the Arizona) burned out. The speed controller (also from the Arizona) burned out. Water came in through the prop shaft sleeve.

However, there was a determination driving me that had been absent in previous projects. I WAS going to get this done. As each problem was overcome, I felt like I was playing a football game, slowly winning. I had to try just a little bit more to get it done.


As she emerged in construction, I began putting features into her that were not difficult to do, but made her far more interesting. First, she was equipped with a CD player in her forward hull. The single speaker was located in the superstructure under the main bridge. She put out good sound actually. Usually Glen Miller or Gershwin or Elvis.

The second major feature was light. The area of her superstructure that you see in the photos as blue is actually plexiglass with tissue paper on the inside. Inside the superstructure, were battery-opperated lights that made the whole blue area light up brightly at night. She was really something to see-and hear.


On Sunday, March 28, 2004, it was done. The sparkling new 8-foot-long Queen Mary 2 made her debut on the quiet McCormick Lake in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was early after sunrise. I still remember the serenity of the morning. There was almost no noise, save for the CD player. It was Glen Miller. She cruised for a while, the battery died, I waited until she washed ashore. She went back out, I recovered her after about 45 minutes and came home in victory!

My dream had finally come true. I finally had not only my 8-footer, but a hell of an 8-footer. I really felt like my creative life was in a whole new world. There was now the time before my 8-footer was built, and the time AFTER she was built.

Over the next month or so, the Queen owned the Scottsdale Lakes. Everytime I went out, somebody was amazed. She became sort of a perpetual affirmation of my creativity. Perhaps I was too full of myself. I was riding high on my own achievement. Those days were nice.


On the afternoon of Sunday, May 2nd, 2004, I took the QM2 to a golf course lake in my friend's neighborhood that I call "Lake America" (see the chapter on the America). Of course I remember the wind. It was a bit breezy. It was the most wind I had ever put the Mary up to. I had always been worried about possible capsizing. You see, all that plexiglass on top of a hollow cardboard box was kind of asking for trouble. Therefore, I always cast a weary eye at the wind. That day, I was careless-or perhaps cocky. I didn't want to think that I was at such mercy to the wind. So I put her out. CD player on. She carried no lights, as it was afternoon.

She cruised for several minutes safely. Some lady on a golf cart across the lake applauded loudly as the Mary passed.

It was as I was bringing her in for a battery change that it happened. She was slowing to a crawl near the shore, when she suddenly, quietly, tipped over on her right side....

There was little time for thinking. I laid down the remote, took off my shoes and socks, and I went to get her! I waded into the lake up to my stomach and grabbed my crippled ship. Dragging her back with me, I poured all the water I could out of her. It was soon clear that it was hopeless. The cardboard was completely un-fiberglassed inside the hull. Motor, radio, speed controller, batteries, CD player- everything electronic- was dead or dying. By the time I got her back to my truck, she had become limp. By the next day, she looked like a deflated pool toy, sitting on my patio. I couldn't even dream of repairing her. The very fabric of her being was destroyed. There was no basis to repair her. She was now a ghost.


The Queen Mary 2 passed into legend. After all the years of failed attempts, after she had finally become real, after only over a month of service, she was history.

It seemed like some sort of perfect tragedy. So many years of efforts are finally rewarded, this is the end result. I never really imagined much about what it would be like when I finally had my 8-footer, and this was it. HA!

I may be making a fool of myself by saying all this but she seemed like some kind of tragic, beautiful legend. Like Marilyn Monroe, she came along, was absolutely beautiful, dazzled everyone, and then left with so much more unsaid.

For more than a year, I struggled with the difficult legacy of the Queen Mary 2. I built more, smaller boats. I tried to satisfy myself, but I never quite could. I think the dream of the 8-footer was not going away.

You will see in the later chapters of this website, how I dealt with this legacy, and finally, recently, overcame it, in the form of the R.C.S. Ecstasy.

The Queen Mary 2, needless to say, has been permanantly decommissioned. Her physical remains are kept quietly in a nearby storage locker.

When someone like Marilyn Monroe leaves us, the first impulse is to replace it completely and quickly. However, I made a promise to myself, that I would never build a new large Queen Mary 2 R/C model.

It's a shame too, 'cause I really do love the Queen Mary 2.