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Member postings for Dave Cooper 6

Here is a list of all the postings Dave Cooper 6 has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Dumas Trojan F-31
02/01/2020 23:18:17

Having recently read Dave Milbourne's introductory article for Model Boats magazine, he talks about this subject in depth.

There's a section on using twin motors /props with a 'mixer' ESC which can give advantages for manoeuvring in turns /harbours etc and at different speeds. I guess this is a throttle /rudder mix, but, I'm no expert...

Recommend you read this as it's packed with useful info'. I think Dave has put a link to it in one of the more recent "Beginners" threads.

Happy new year,


Thread: Vane Steering for Model Yachts
02/01/2020 11:06:04

Hi Ray - thanks again. I'll see if I can find the Ardent build thread, it could be very useful for the r/c part of the installation.

Hello redpmg (hope I got that right...). Funnily enough, I was given an old MM Plans Handbook from just that era (recovered from a skip !) and those designs are in there. Yes, always interested in articles like that...PM sent with thanks.

Happy new year,


01/01/2020 20:29:09

Thanks Ray - that sounds like a nice easy solution !

Happy new year,


01/01/2020 12:02:10

Hi Malcolm

Yes, I was wondering about the backstay too. I'll need some space for the epicyclic gear so, was wondering about designing in a stern extension /overhang to house it all ?

Really need to see the plans in detail before deciding anything. I think the critical dimension will be the 'sun and planet' outer ring. I could make one (brass) to fit but it would mean buying a dividing head....also, not sure if nylon gears will take the rudder loads - maybe a 'buggie' diff' or 'heli' mast-head gears in good quality nylon would suffice...

Happy new year,


31/12/2019 15:01:31

Yacht "Ardent" from Sarik plans - possible contender for the radio /vane experiments. 900mm loa, 260mm beam.

yacht ardent.jpg

30/12/2019 12:35:05

Hi all - hope you had a good Christmas.

Just looking through Sarik's kits and plans and came across the yacht "Ardent". It's about 900mm loa and 260mm beam with a low(ish) cabin and conventional Bermudan rig.

Just wondering about this as a basis for my experiments ? Couldn't find a kit, so, the plan would be the starting point.

It'll fit in my car although the mast may have to be 1400-1500mm high ? If so, I may need to be able to de-rig it for transport...

I would fit an electric motor /folding prop, plus, vane gear and radio for the various experiments.

Thoughts ?


27/12/2019 11:30:46

Thanks for that Gareth - the 'fog' is now beginning to clear ! Yes, I'd like to see some vane sailing /racing somewhere. I'm sure that will fill-in any blank spaces I still have...

Ray : Coming back to Arduino, I think you can treat it a bit like a "black box" eg. the inner workings of your TV set is probably beyond most peoples' understanding....however, you don't need this knowledge to enjoy a good programme - just how to work the remote ! Ditto your Tx an Rx on a 2.4 GHz radio....

Because Arduino is 'programmable', you can make it do lots of different things - move a servo or, stepper motor, blink an LED, sound a horn etc, etc. So, there is a learning curve involved but, there is much pre-written stuff you can employ which just needs 'tailoring' to do the particular job you have in mind.

Cheers for now - I'm off to look at yacht designs, plans, kits for a bit of light relief... !


26/12/2019 22:51:29

Thanks for that Tim - I thought I was going a bit mad for a moment !

So, it's not so much "Self-Tacking" as "Self-Correcting" on the same tack...(much as you'd expect an 'autopilot' system to do) ?

I'm left wondering, therefore, what would it do if there was a really massive wind shift - say, 120 degrees ? Would it flip the vane across the transom and then try to take up a new tack, or, would the vane gear prevent this ?

Still learning !!!



26/12/2019 18:43:29

Hi All,

Gareth has sent me a very comprehensive series of articles on vane steering. Thanks for that Gareth - made very interesting Boxing Day reading...

I think I understood most of it except the 'self-tacking' bit. So, let's say the vane is 'broken' (or, unlocked), what is it that actually initiates changing from say, starboard tack to port ? Also, how does one make it tack a certain number of times before reaching the opposite bank ?

I imagine that wind-shifts, Guying and other fine adjustments to the gear will be involved....(expected hull roll angle ?).

Sorry if I'm being a bit thick here !



25/12/2019 15:33:33

Hi Ray /Gareth - I like simple too. I think the secret with these more complex projects is to break them down into manageable and understandable chunks. (It also makes testing and maintenance easier)...

My long-term aim would be to 'drive' the boat away from the bank, then set it on a heading /course by RC. Then switch to vane to hold that course until it gets to the next 'mark', whereupon, I switch back to RC to set a new heading. etc. etc.

Of course, as Gareth says, you could do all this with Arduino (or, any other microcontroller come to that) linked to GPS - but, that wouldn't be half as much fun. After all, I want to have some say in what the boat does in real time !

Anyway, Santa has done his stuff and I now have a brand new Arduino Starter Set (courtesy of Elegoo and my relatives....)

Ray : If you want to have a play, the set comes with it's own CD and everything you need to complete a whole range of projects - LEDs, stepper motor, servo, etc. I think it's quite inexpensive for what you get (around £30 ?). It helps if you've done a little bit of computer programming, but, I can send you code samples to do simple things like turning nav' lights on and off etc.

Merry Christmas,


25/12/2019 00:10:04

Hi Folks,

Having studied (but, not necessarily understood ) the posts so far, I think a rough(ish) plan is forming :-

1. Build a yacht big enough to take a vane and radio.

2. Fit a steering servo to the rudder and make the sails 'settable' for all points of sailing.

3. Find a small pond and practice steering with RC - beats, reaches and runs. Go and retrieve it when I lose control.

4. Fit a simple vane and connect it to an Arduino. Drive the steering servo from the Arduino once I've got the programming sorted.

Options /Extras :

Arduino also controls the sail winch as well once the vane 'tells' it which point of sailing the boat is on.

Take the Arduino out of the loop and replace with a sun and planet gear system for steering. A servo would then 'clutch' (lock-up) different segments of the epicyclic gears depending on whether you wanted vane or radio steering.

There must be at least one flaw with this plan !!!! But, I guess the essence of it is moving forwards in progressive steps that I can understand.

Arduino starter set arrives later today (if Santa is on track with this). The epicyclic gears will need some thought and may depend on whether I can source a reasonably priced outer ring gear with internal teeth...

Cheers for now,


24/12/2019 16:41:25

Thanks very much Gareth. The photo and links will be very helpful I'm sure. I'll follow up as soon as the Christmas 'bedlam' is over !

Pm sent for the articles.

Compliments of the season to yourself and your wife,


24/12/2019 11:14:42

Thanks for that correction Malcolm, and the extra information you have given on kits and plans. I'll get to these in due course.

The learning continues...


24/12/2019 00:06:36

Hi Ray, Tony and Tim - thanks for the great responses....

I can see that I've got much reading /studying to do already. I think it may be possible to combine vane and RC via some sort of clutch mechanism to disengage one and engage the other - as Tim alludes to, a sort of 'autopilot' system. This would make a cruising yacht nice an relaxing to sail (I'm too old for racing !).

Ray has dispelled my misconceptions over the rig side of things and Tony's links are just right for seeing real mechanisms and designs 'in-the-flesh'.

I must admit, I hadn't considered the sea, or harbours, as potential sailing sites (obvious really !). I'm struggling to find somewhere in North Wilts which is in easy reach.

Best regards,


23/12/2019 19:59:00

Thanks for getting the ball rolling Malcolm - you've raised some good points there...

I wonder if anyone has a photo or two showing the actual mechanism(s). Ray and Roy on another thread have given some good descriptions, but, there's nothing like a picture /drawing to aid understanding.

One thing I've noticed about model yachts is the lack of any 'slot' effect - a known powerful aerodynamic driver between a genoa and a mainsail on full-size. Is this because a single sail winch cannot sheet in /out in a co-ordinated way to allow this. Also, how does one manage to 'goose-wing' when going downwind ? Would a vane help to maintain course for this ?

I hope to live and learn,



23/12/2019 16:35:34

Hi Folks

I know practically nothing about this subject but am willing to learn.

Now that my RAF launch is nearing completion, I would like to tackle a nice cruising yacht next. As an amateur engineer, the Idea of vane steering is quite fascinating...

If possible, I would install radio as well, plus an auxiliary motor as a back up, My first attempts are unlikely to be successful and I don't want to be stranded mid-lake !

Thanks for any help /suggested reading etc.

Merry Christmas to all,


Thread: Advice and idea's needed please
23/12/2019 16:13:25

I'll also add my apologies to Mr Johnston for the thread going 'off-course' - how's the refurb' going John ?

Thanks for the input /explanations Roy and Ray. I'll try a new thread and we'll see what transpires....



23/12/2019 13:03:56

Hi Roy - Ahhh. so it's like full-size yacht racing then....I've seen some boats reduced to 'match wood' ! "Water-for-the-mark" and all that...

As an amateur engineer, I'd like to read up on vane (and, other) steering mechanisms - can you recommend any suitable reading ?



23/12/2019 10:38:15

Reading through the vane steering design descriptions, they appear to be 'tacking' devices....tacking on the wind shifts ?

Model Maker's plan rating system lists them as *** (experienced), or, **** (very experienced or needing machine tools). I imagine that this is really "Model Engineer" land ?

So, if the first leg was a 'beat' the vane system would do this, then, the turning pole does the 'reach' and, subsequently, the 'run' as well. I'm just envisaging the poor chap /gal tearing around the pond chasing yachts !

Maybe it was a little more gentile and civilised than this in practice and some vanes could cope with a reach and a run as well ? Just curious....


Thread: ESC Beep Beep Beep constantly
22/12/2019 19:54:33

Hi Andy,

I use substitution to solve these 'mystery' faults :-

ESC with different motor

Different ESC with planned motor

By-pass 'jumper' leads instead of the usual connectors (be careful not to 'short' anything !)

etc. etc.

Motor 'beeping' is usually a sign that the ESC is confirming a programming command. Different beep patterns confirm specific commands eg Soft Start, Motor Braking etc.

Best consult your ESC /Card instructions to see if a regularly occurring beep is, in fact, a valid command.

Failing this, consult the manufacturer's website "FAQ"'s likely that others have also seen this condition too.

Good hunting,


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