Sunday, 25 October 2015

Another change...

Finding model flying to be too expensive and too seasonal in a country where half the year is winter,
I have tentatively returned to model boats, with which I have always dabbled.

Some time ago, my dear, late friend, Ken Cooper, gave me a lovely old Marblehead yacht.  He'd found it in a loft of a big house once lived in by Tommy Sopwith, aviator and sailor of the English America's Cup yacht that came closest to beating the Yanks.  Ken had put a nice laid deck on it and hatches. He'd also clearly intended it for radio control as there was a typical modern tiller arm on the rudder post.
I had intended running it as a Braine steered model a la its pre-War roots, but, realistically, it would never get sailed as I have no access to a lake round all of which I can walk and free sailing demands such a pond.  So, with apologies to Tommy Sopwith and the traditionalists of Marblehead racing, I shall fit the boat out with R/C, ensuring I can get it back from the reeds, by never going near them.
The lovely lines of a Pre-War Marblehead.  50" long and 800 square inches of sail area.


Much more recently, I was given a bare, very early GRP yacht hull.  My old chum, Peter, had it under piles of junk where it had been for maybe 40 years.  All he knew was that it had been modelled on a design by Uffa Fox, the famous yacht and dinghy designer, but I could find no evidence of such.
But this week I placed pictures of both models on the sailing section of the American based R/C Groups forum and in no time received the news that the early GRP hull was a 1/12th scale model of the famous Dorade Ocean Racer and that the Marblehead was a "halfway" point 'twixt Madcap and Pocahontas, 2 very competitive designs of M boat.  The Dorade won its first race in 1931 and is still winning against fleets of much newer boats. Even in 2013 it won the Trans Pacific race outright! The Uffa Fox link was that her lines drawing had appeared in a famous book by Uffa Fox, but she had been designed by the equally famous Olin Stephens.

So, Super 60 fuselages were hung up in my son's loft and the 2 boats brought home from their overstay up there.  As I left, he gave me the mast for the Marblehead.  It just about fitted in my car.  Indeed, I have no idea how these boats will ever get transported anywhere when the deck fittings are all on and the masts fully rigged.  Peugeot 206CCs are small!
I have a huge collection of electric motors, so I will be using one to make a sail winch for each boat. I see no point in spending a fortune on a sail winch servo when a geared motor and a drum can be made so easily.
Rigging?  Haven't got a clue, so a cheap book on the topic is on its way to me as I type.


12 comments:

  1. Sounds like your boats have an impeccable pedigree, what lovely finds! Good luck (and fun) with the fitting out, should be an enjoyable task.

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  2. Thanks, Iain. Trouble is, I know absolutely nothing about any of it! Indeed I have nowhere really to sail and getting even one finished boat in my tiddly car might prove impossible. If all else fails, a well made bigger yacht can be worth a decent sum. Much more than a museum quality static model, so a pension pot of sorts.

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  3. Wasn't the whole point of the original Marblehead design that it could fit on the back seat of an American car?

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  4. It was indeed, James, but pre-War American cars and modern European cars are very different things. I got the boats home only by laying my wife's seat back and laying the boats from floor to rear window almost.

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  5. When I lived by a fishing lake I was quite tempted by one of these. I don't think it would be a success in our dyke

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  6. Dykes are what we have round here, James, but there's a 20 foot wide canalised river up the road with a slipway and a bridge, so both sides can be accessed. There's a fishing lake too, but even a yacht isn't really welcome if there's a "dangler" present.

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  7. And I suspect the winds might be a problem as well. Although we have a very active RC aircraft field to both our house and Fenland Airport (scarily so in the case of the latter) have you considered a helicopter or quadcopter?

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  8. You must be very near me, James. I was at the Fenland Airfield not long ago! They do great food. It is almost unrelentlessly windy here, except in the evening .

    I detest helicopters, both real and model! No, model flying is just too expensive for me, but if you go yachty, maybe we could meet up for a sail somewhere?

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  9. We are literally just up the road from Fenland! Easy to spot, the pink house with 7 1/4" gauge track in the garden.And I need access to welding skills

    The cafe at the airport has a very good reputastion.

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  10. I'll look in if I'm over there. We have a 7 1/4" line in a garden round the corner, but I've never seen it in use in 7 years. I used to live near Keith Wilson in Devon. Even drove one of his 7 1/4" engines.

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  11. Give me a shout next time you are around here . Our line is intended to be focused on practical use., like moving firewood and manure.

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  12. Sounds very sensible, James. I'd like to see it. We're only tother side of Wisbech from you.

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