Upon arriving at the Transdec facility in San Diego we dove straight into our work. The sub was in a few pieces and needed to be completed before our first runs could begin. We worked hard and late into the night to qualify on time.
By Wednesday we had assembled our sub. For the first time, the sub made a foray into the depths of a testing pool and, to our elation, it was buoyant and rather stable.
However, our good fortune did not last much longer. Upon our return to our hotel, five of the eight thrusters failed as soon as we started testing. After much deliberation and much troubleshooting, we made the difficult decision to resort to the previous year’s sub and move forward with qualifying.
Some fiddling later, the back-up vessel was in the water. On Thursday, we were able to start doing runs to qualify. In the first run, we discovered some kinks that we had to work out. Our second run was more successful and resulted in our qualification into the semi-finals.
However, more issues arose and troubleshooting was a frequent occurrence. Just today we adjusted our priorities, deciding to focus on learning as much as possible from other teams rather than spending tons of effort getting the old sub to perform even as well as last year. The next few days will be spent learning as many lessons as we can from other competing teams and improving for next year.