The Model Box

Obviously I need a box to transport the model in for the flights over. Aside from the usual considerations of weight and strength, I’m very mindful of the fact that I’m travelling in a campervan with very little room. Unless I can store the box when I arrive and collect it at the end (unlikely and/or expensive), I need to be able to break the box down and store it flat within the campervan (probably under the bed).

At the Pitt Town Masters comp, Ross Craighead (NZ) showed me his model box made of corflute, which has the advantage of being strong yet light, and can be made to any size you need.

The new model, four sheets of 2400 X 1200 X 5mm Corflute and some foam.

Read more ...

Losing a Model

About 6 weeks before I’m due to depart, the wing failed in flight resulting in the rest of the model spearing into the ground. Result: A total write-off.

Read more ...

Planning The Sortie

I first had the idea to travel to Europe and compete in the World Cup, which is a series of F3A events around Europe, when travelling in Europe in 2013, at the same time the South African World Championships were happening.

I noticed the World Cup was a series of competitions across a number of European countries that preceded the World Championships, and in 2015, the World Championships were to be held in Switzerland. Therefore, both could be combined into one trip.

After the usual “should I, shouldn’t I” and cold feet, my wife encouraged me to do the trip since I’d been thinking and talking about it a lot. Obviously the support from one’s family goes a long way in such an endeavour, and it helps that our 2 daughters are now adults.

Being self-employed, not very busy, and using the internet to maintain contact with customers, also helped a lot.

I quickly settled on the idea of travelling by campervan, as this provided both transport and accommodation, and hopefully will prove to be easier than motels. I’ve never travelled like this before, so living in a 2m x 6m box for 3 months might wear thin. Not to mention my complete lack of cooking skills.

Henry Hutchinson referred me to Bob Romijn, who is the organiser of the World Cup. In addition to encouraging us to run the first Australian World Cup at Pitt Town in 2015 (and the first World Cup outside Europe), Bob, and others he has put me in contact with, have been immensely welcoming and helpful in all matters, including registering for the different comps.

Additionally, most clubs will allow me to camp on-site, and most have power. This significantly adds to the convenience of a campervan.

Initially there were 9 competitions I could attend, before then going to the World Championships as a spectator. Unfortunately, the last 2 were cancelled or moved, leaving 7 competitions, and 3 weeks between the last World Cup and the World Championships. Bob Romijn has suggested there may be other events in this void that I can attend. We’ll see what happens, but I have a campervan and Europe to explore, so I won’t get bored.

A basic list of the competitions and rough travel distances are:

Sat. Weekend Where Distance (km)
21/05/2015 Arrive Frankfurt  
23/05/2015 Belgium 400
06/06/2015 Great Britain 250
13/06/2015 Austria 1,200
20/06/2015 France  1,600
27/06/2015 Netherlands  1,100
04/07/2015 Liechtenstein  1,000
10/07/2015 San Marino  600
01/08/2015 Aussie Team arrive - Switzerland  
06/08/2015 World Champs start - Switzerland  450
16/08/2015 World Champs end - Switzerland  
17/08/2015 Depart Frankfurt  
  Total 7,030

And here is a rough map of my travels:

The map also shows comps in the Czech Republic, Spain and Portugal, plus there’s one in Moscow. As interesting as these places all are, they are on the same weekend as other comps, and I chose those that provided the least distance. Except Czech Republic. This is on the same weekend as the French comp, and could have saved me over 1000 kms. But … the campervan hire company said “No” due to civil unrest, plus I have friends in France and want to visit them between the French comp and the Netherlands.

At this stage, I’m planning on not taking batteries, chargers, and a few other incidentals. Instead, I’ll buy what I need there. At the end of the trip, some of this gear may be shipped or carried home. Some may stay there and give me an excuse to return another time. I hear 2017 is in Austria …

As I write this, I have 9 weeks until departure, and as usual, there’s some trepidation mixed with excited anticipation. There will be many challenges along the journey, including language, driving on the wrong side of the road and new foods, but that’s part of what makes it worthwhile.