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[Ed. Note: This letter provides additwnal details concerning the submarine race which was described in the July issue of the REVIEW.)

0n 23 June, the First International Human Powered Submarine Race was held off Palm Beach, Florida. Eighteen 2-man submarines were on hand to compete on race day. They represented universities and industry. The entries, in order of their assigned hull numbers, were: 1 – Tennessee Technological University!IMAGINEERING, Inc., 2-University of New Hampshire, 4 – Lockheed, 5 – Sub Human Project, 6 Benthos, 7 – Innerspace Corp, 8 – U.S. Naval Academy, 9 MIT, 10 – Florida Institute of Technology, 11 – Sea Scapes Aquariums, Inc., 12 – David Taylor Research Center, 13 Applied Physics Laboratory-University of Washington, 14 Florida Atlantic University, 15- University of California-Santa Barbara, 16,17,18 – Cal Poly (3 entries) and 19 Florida International University.

The rules were oriented mainly toward safety considerations. Briefly, they were as follows: Subs were to be flooded, with two persons on board with SCUBA air sufficient to complete a one kilometer course. There was one person for power, the other to navigate. No stored power was allowed. Subs had two pounds positive buoyancy and towed a surface buoy. These rules allowed for considerable innovation and resulted in a great diversity of ideas. Awards were made based upon three criteria: speed, cost and innovation with the grand prize being $5,000. It was a “fun” event with a real competitive spirit all around. A cooperative air prevailed since there was a sharing of talent (and spare parts) amongst the various teams both before and during race time.

The original idea was to have a series of single elimination races between paired subs as a result of their timed 100 meter time trials. The poor weather experienced ultimately reduced the competition to running the 100 meters individually. This was no mean feat. Only eight of the entries were able to do it successfully. The main problem was that the currents were variable with strong shear components. Those attempting to run during the 2.5 knot window were generally less successful than those lucky enough to run during times when the current was a knot or less. The major contributing factor, however, was the realistic training time the various teams were able to put in prior to race date. The Naval Academy team was head and shoulders above the rest of the subs in this regard. It clearly showed as the midshipmen walked away with the honors. Others had a variety of technical problems such as controllability, visibility and breakdowns which precluded their finishing the run or even getting off the starting line.

The course was about 200 meters off the beach with its main axis running north and south. The 100 meter portion was near the shore where the depth was between six and seven meters. The task was to run this portion southward against the current through the starting point after the sub had been pointed in the right direction and given the starting signal. Two navy divers were stationed ahead of the starting buoy and their task was to position each sub near the bottom and get them started south. A surface boat followed each sub along the route for safety and two divers were at the finish to help the crews exit. Bottom markers were laid out every six meters with highly visible vertical members. It would seem a trivial task to complete such a run — but not so. Variable bottom currents conspired against those whose designs were lacking in adequate control and at least one crew backed out because of sea sickness. Bottom contact was a frequent occurrence as was screw entanglement with buoy lines. Few entries, other than the Naval Academy’s had adequate screw protection, and this proved to be a costly omission for many of the subs and not to be repeated by the entries in ’91. MIT’s screw was bent double at the starting buoy line. Provision for adequate visibility, especially downward and forward was a must and several subs lost their way shortly off the start line. The University of New Hampshire entry was practically all plexiglass as was Cal Gangwer’s Innerspace Corp entry while others were se~erely limited in adequate visibility. Underwater visibility varied between 4 and about 12 meters, depending upon current and cloud cover.

Although other entries had higher top speed than the Midshipmen’s entry, Navy’s overall ranking was first because of their scoring in other judged categories.

Well done NAVY!!! See you again at the starting line in “91.

Ted Haselton


In “The Menace of the Midgets” in the April, 1989 edition of the SUBMARINE REVIEW, it was noted that small submarines were not as likely to be damaged by depth charges since the whip effect is effective primarily on the larger submarines. I wonder if this can be extended further to very large submarines, such as the Soviet TYPHOON. The double~ hulled construction of submarines is thought to render them less vulnerable to damage, but would this be offset by the submarine’s much larger size? I would be interested if some smart engineer had the answer to this.

Wiley Livingston


I am in the process of researching and writing the history of the Regulus I and II guided missile submarine program. What I would like is for former Regulus I and ll crew members interested in being interviewed to contact me. I have been able to find only scant information concerning the history of the design of these weapons, typical launch procedures, operations of the various submarines for both the Regulus I and ll or as the system was retired, the disposition of the various submarines other than conversion to troop carriers. I feel that a comprehensive history of the Regulus program would be a valuable addition to the evolution of the strategic (nuclear) forces of the U.S. Navy.

David K. Stumpf, Ph.D


Current submariners apparently feel that Tom Clancy’s allegations that nuclear power safety comes first on our submarines rather than the submarine’s warfighting capability is a bad rap from a “writer of fictionlt.

They also seem to feel that there is a public perception that a large number of the skippers of our nuclear submarines overemphasize the importance of nuclear power for their career enhancement. But this perception, they feel, is wrong because basically our ltnukeslt are superb warfighting submarine professionals — and “warriorslt to boot.

If this be true, the submariners aboard our nuclear submarines should have a high interest in their profession -one which deals with the art of submarining. They should therefore be steady readers of TilE SUBMARINE REVIEW, a quarterly which is the only publication slanted toward their profession and its betterment. However the question arises whether our submariners read THE SUBMARINE REVIEW.

The SUBMARINE REVIEW needs the interest and participation of all submariners and deserves their attention and support. The Naval Submarine League and THE SUBMARINE REVIEW exist mainly to support the active duty submariner and the submarines upon which they serve.



There is hope that Aaron Thomas can win in his battle for survival! He has been able to visit his grandmother in South Carolina, and is camping with his father and younger brother this week.

Due to a series of events, Ross and I will be out of the country for several months. Chief Spatz, Blood Donor Services, National Naval Medical Center (NNMC), Bethesda, MD, has accepted administering our present Jist of some 60 volunteers for Aaron’s bank of blood donors. His telephone number is 301-295-1737.

Aaron needs whole blood, Type “A”. He also needs platelets. Therefore, it is important to have a large pool of donors. This is where your name on a list is important. In case of critical need you may be called individually. Blood type is immaterial for platelet donations. This is highly desirable in Aaron’s case, as he needs a constant source of platelets.

Those wishing to be donors for whole blood or platelets, contact the Pheresis Clinic, (301) 295-2105. The clinic uses an appointment system. The procedure for whole blood requires about one half-hour while the procedure for platelets requires about two hours.

In Aaron’s name, we thank all prospective and actual blood donors to date, and applaud how the submariners look out for their own!

Helen J. Williams

(Ed. note: This is a follow-up letter to one that appeared in the January 1989 issue of the REVIEW. Aaron Thomas is the nine year old son of FTBCS(SS) Edward 1 and Theresa Thomas. He has leukemia. Ross and Helen Wdlinms have volunteered to act as coordinators with the Blood Bank and the Thomas family.]

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