When Calshot Divers were contacted by distressed model builder and member of Solent Radio Control Model Boat Club David McNair-Taylor, who had lost his recently completed model of a US Destroyer, the British Sub Aqua Clubs divers sprang into action and planned, organised and completed a successful recovery of the model within a few days.
Scale Captain of SRCMBC David, took more than seven months and spent in excess of £500 building his latest highly detailed model of the WWII warship – the USS McNair (DD-679) – and was understandably devastated when the model of the destroyer, sunk in deep water on its maiden voyage at Setley Pond, near Lymington.
Desperate to recover his latest model, David sought help from Calshot Divers, a local Scuba diving club based in the New forest. Permission to dive the pond was arranged with the New Forest Park authorities and a meeting was held where search options were discussed and a plan was formulated.
Diving Setley pond and completing the search was particularly difficult due to the very low visibility and also the vast area of the lake. However, the divers were assisted by photos of where the model sank and had a well formulated search and recovery plan.
Divers Stephen Pooley and Ralph Quinn completed the recovery within 25 minutes of submerging and found the model by fingertip search, taking great care not to inadvertently damage the model by accidently landing on it.
Calshot Divers Diving Officer Stephen Pooley said “The request to recover a model boat was certainly an unusual challenge but one which appealed to us straight away. Interest within our club was overwhelming and we had a large number of our members along on the evening of the recovery - everyone enjoyed being involved in a different sort of dive. Some of the best diving in the world with an incredible array of wrecks is right here on our doorstep – it was nice to find a new wreck, albeit in a pond and actually a model”
Model owner and Scale Captain of Solent Radio Control Model Boat club David McNair Taylor said “I am so very grateful to the members from Calshot Divers. The recovery was a huge success and the model exhibited very little damage after its time underwater. Work to restore the Destroyer to her former glory is well underway and she will be back up and running soon.”