After many, many trials, I now have a functioning working model of a sky-boat. It has taken longer than I hoped; the details in my grimoire are far sketchier than I had realized. All of the needed techniques are described adequately, but fitting them all together in one device is tricky.
But I have done it!
My model is far from lovely, with none of the attractive lines of the sky-yachts I saw at home in Yorke. It is a plain wooden box in appearance, about a foot long, with four-inch dowels stick up from the four corners. The tiller and other controls are inside, which is the reason for the dowels—I have too many models stuck to the ceiling already. With this one, I have a gap between the ceiling and the model's gunwale so that I can get my fingers inside to make adjustments.
Of course, the moment I enabled the model's lift it rose to the ceiling and got hung up on one of the rafters, the dowels rising up on either side of the rafter. The width of the rafter blocked my hands, and quite prevented me from reaching the lifting bar. Still, all was not lost! I had just room to get a grip on the gunwales on either side, and then I could use my weight to pull the model down far enough to adjust the lift to something more reasonable. I gather from Amelie's titters that I looked quite comical dangling from the model and drifting from around the room as I tried to get it under control. I must say, I am impressed at how much lift even a small model can generate!
After that, though, I found that I was able to adjust the model to hold position anywhere in the room, and I was able to set its speed and direction and watch it glide slowly from one end of the room to the other. I had great fun loading it up with nails and bars of soap to show that it could carry a load.
The hardest part of the whole thing has been the forming of the stabilizer. The boat lifts from its gunwales, and being of shallow draft has a tendency to flip over onto its belly if it is loaded too high. This is not much of a concern for the larger sky-ships, but is a considerable issue for a small boat intended to carry individuals. The stabilizer solves the problem, but has two defects, for my purposes. First, it is the single most difficult thing to form. I don't know why that should be, but it is. Second, it takes up too much room! It goes right in the center of the boat, and extends vertically from about the level of the gunwales to about a full hull-height below the hull.
This will be less of a problem in a full-sized sky-boat, but still vastly inconvenient, especially when it comes time to ground it. I should much rather have a nice flat bottom for it to rest on! I suppose I could add grounding legs…but I shall have to ponder.
photo credit: Me in ME Rowboat via photopin (license)