By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more

Member postings for Gareth Jones

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

Thread: Spider J
04/01/2018 10:42:12

The next bit or progress has been on the hatches. On the full sized vessel these are made up of a series of individual sections each with a pair of curved T section beams with cross pieces of tongue and grooved boards. Most of these span the full width of the hold but at the back and just behind the mast the covers are in two pieces with a central supporting beam. I am not planning to cover all of the hold with realistic hatches, just the aft section for display purposes. When sailing this will be replaced by a more secure covered hatch.

spider 164.jpg

The rear curved brass cross beam and longitudinal timber support can be seen in the picture above. The T section brass hatch beams also have to be curved and this is tricky as the metal wants to twist when you try and bend it. The best method I have found is to bend them cold around a suitable former, in this case an 8 inch aluminium sauce pan as shown below. The same method was used for the brass angle section which spans the hold.

spider 165.jpg

I made a suitable jig to hold the two supporting beams for each hatch cover with a piece of ply to act as a spacer while the boards were glued on. The piece of brass strip on the left hand side is an aid to getting all the board edges in line.

spider 167.jpg

For each hatch all the boards were cut from some 8 mm wide, 1 mm thick lime planks and dyed a suitable weathered brown. They were all sanded to length as a block to ensure they are a consistent size.

spider 166.jpg

I have also made the front 'working/sailing hatch from 1.5 mm ply sheet with 3mm play formers and 6 mm square longerons. The side pieces are 0.75 mm ply and will sit in the recess of the cleats attached to the side of the coamings.

spider 169.jpg

The picture below shows an initial fitting and in the end, this hatch will probably finish flush with the front of the mast. The reason for this is that it has to be able to be fitted and removed under a sheet horse that crosses the hold just forward of the mast and is attached to the coamings on either side.

spider 168.jpg

At this stage I have not yet made up my mind on the full working/sailing hatch cover layout but it will probably have three sections, front, back and an easily refittable centre section over the lifting handle so the cover can be fitted once the boat is in the water. I also want to be able to display the boat with one or two of these working covers removed with the 'proper' hatches visible on one area and a simulated cargo in the hold in an adjacent area. Exactly how I am going to do this still remains to be decided. The hatch covers will be secured by magnets positioned at suitable locations.

On the real vessel the hatch covers and tarpaulins are secured by steel bars and wedges in the cleats. Since I don't fancy having to fit about 60 wedges every time I replace the hatches these will actually be glued to the simulated steel bars and tarpaulin on the hatch. The tarpaulins will be simulated with some dark green Solartex material.

Now back to pondering how and where to join the hatch sections.


04/01/2018 09:27:53

Until the last few weeks I had not made any progress on Spider J since my last posting above. This has been due to a wide variety of reasons, on the modelling front, mainly various model racing yacht jobs. Various other activities have also sidetracked me including working, gardening, decorating, holidays (South Uist and the Isle of Man), changing sheds and socialising a Hearing Dog puppy (Rodney, a cocker spaniel who is even now sitting with his head on my knee looking for some attention). However now that the shed swap is complete and the workshop has been tidied up I have been inspired to restart work on my Humber sloop Spider J.

The front headledge winch has progressed to the point where it is recognisable. It still needs a tiny pinion and some teeth on the internal gearwheel on the right hand side in the picture. Bob Wilson's tiny dead eyes are a good inspiration to come up with something convincing to complete the assembly. I am quite pleased with the pawl/ratchet mechanism at the other end of the roller.

spider 160.jpg

The sailwinch has been installed just aft of the mast lutchet. I have used a Hitec drum type with a loop of heavy duty braided line running back to a double pulley which is attached to the rear equipment shelf. A swivel tied into the loop provides the means of attaching the sheets which control the main and jib sails. The loop is just tensioned by pulling the lines tight before tying them. In one or two installations I have included a spring in the return side of the loop to maintain tension but in practice, they have caused more problems than they cured.

spider 161.jpg

spider 162.jpg

The sheet travel required on the mainsail is longer than I have available as a single run in the hold so the travel is doubled by attaching one end of the mainsail sheet to the aft ledge and then running the line around a pully (or maybe I should say a sheave) attached to the swivel on the sailwinch loop. The sheet then runs back aft and under a small pulley before exiting the hold just forward of the aft headledge via a fairlead on the top centreline. The fairlead is an adapted metal rivet from a large 'popper'

The sheet to the jib runs aft from the swivel, around the second pully (alongside the one for the servo loop), then forward through fairleads in the frames which support the lifting handle and the centre of the lutchet. It then goes around another small pulley and will exit the hatch just forward of the mast.

spider 163.jpg

Time will tell whether this is a reliable sail control system and the first few sailings will reveal whether the sheets all get tangled up when they go slack. However the whole system is reasonably accessible as all the hatch covers will be removable and improvements can be made if necessary.

More later


Edited By Gareth Jones on 04/01/2018 09:30:49

Edited By Gareth Jones on 04/01/2018 09:34:22

Thread: Mount Stewart Square Rigger
19/12/2017 10:31:29

Hi Hutch,

Glad to hear you have got a digital subscription sorted out. Here is my short explanation of how to post pictures on the forum.

First of all, any pictures you want to post need to be in a format no bigger than 800 x 600 pixels. I use Microsoft Office Picture Manager to reduce the picture size down from whatever the camera takes, to this size. My ancient desktop is still running Vista as an operating system so there may well be other options to use now. I usually save the reformatted pictures on my desktop where i can easily find them.

Log on to the forum as though you were going to add a post to one of the topics.

From the bar across the top of the page click on the Albums tab.

From the options that appear click on Create a photo album

Give the album a name and description

If you want the rest of the world to have access to the album tick the Public box, I think this is usually the default setting.

If you want other people to be able to upload photos to your album tick the Allow member uploads box ( I usually do not allow this)

Finally, for this stage, click on the Create album box.

You now can upload pictures into this album, firstly by clicking on Chose file. This will open your computer files and you need to find the first photo you want to upload. When you have found that file, click on Open and it will appear in the list. Repeat this process for up to 5 photos.

When you have selected your photos select Upload and they will appear on the page. When they have uploaded click on Save changes at the bottom of the list and they will all be there, accessible to anyone from the Albums tab on the top of the normal forum page.

If you want to include one of these photos in your post on the forum, type in any text normally. Then I usually leave one blank line and set the curser to the left hand edge of the page.

In the box above where you type in the text there is a camera icon. Click on that and a new box will appear which lists all your albums.

Click on the appropriate album and the list of all the photos in it will appear.

Click on the one you want and the picture itself will appear on the right of the box.

If that is the correct one, click on OK and it will appear in the right position in your post.

Put in another blank line and then start typing the next bit of text or add another photo.

Hopefully that should be a step by step set of instructions and I have not missed anything out. I am sure if you can operate a 3D printer system you should be able to manage this. I look forward to seeing some photos of your model of Ariel in the near future - no pressure.


Thread: Spektrum DX6
12/12/2017 18:47:14


Join the club. I had the same problem when I replaced a faulty DX5E transmitter with a new DX6i. Fortunately I still had a working DX5E transmitter and a big enough mixture of DSM2 and DSMX receivers that I could get everything working following a major receiver swapping and binding exercise.


12/12/2017 17:07:16


If you have bound this particular combination of receiver and transmitter before then one possibility is that you have got the transmitter and receiver too close together as Dave mentions above. I had similar problems binding a DX5E transmitter and receiver a few months ago and there may be some information to help you in the thread here:- **LINK** As an aside I never did get a response from Spektrum to the questions I posed to their service dept in Germany.

On the other hand if this is a new combination for you it could be a compatibility issue between transmitter and receiver as Spektrum have changed their system standards several times and not all are compatible.

According to the AR610 receiver instructions this receiver is not compatible with a DX6 park flyer transmitter, I don't know why, its a mystery to me but its in black and white in their instructions so it must be true.

If the DX6 transmitter is a relatively new DSMX standard and imported into the EU after 1st January 2015 it will not be compatible with the old DSM 2 standard receivers (as I discovered by personal experience).

If you could advise us of the standard of your transmitter and receiver it might help with the diagnosis of your problem.


Thread: Two motors and .....ONE Rudder
20/11/2017 18:26:20


I am sure it is possible to achieve the control mode you want with the Taranis transmitter. I did have some limited experience with the system about 2 years ago and, once you have played around with it for a while, it is reasonably logical and straightforward. to programme the required functions. My involvement was with a large model aircraft with 16 channels split between 2 receivers. However while we used the servo range and exponential functions we did not get involved with the mixing functions at the time.

Unfortunately I no longer have access to the equipment or the manual we used so I cannot provide you with a step by step guide to achieve what you want. I think, in principle what you need to do is assign two separate ESC channels to the throttle 'stick' and then mix each of those separately with the rudder channel.

I think your most probable route to a solution would be if someone on this forum who uses the system could set it up on their transmitter and then provide you with a step by step guide.

Another option would be to find someone at a local model boat or aircraft club who would be prepared to explain the process and set up the transmitter for you.

A final solution would be to try and experiment yourself, using the information available on the internet. I seem to remember there are some good You tube guides to the transmitter out there on the web. To start with, keep things simple and just set up the transmitter with a single rudder servo and ESC and no mixing. Then try and achieve what you want with just those two channels as a first step.  If you go down this route things become much clearer by seeing the results of your actions on the hardware rather than trying to read a set of instructions and work out what will happen in your head.

I found the FRSKY system was very flexible and versatile, but I get the impression it has been developed by geeks for geeks and providing simple clear documentation and instructions is not always high on the geek priority list.


Edited By Gareth Jones on 20/11/2017 18:29:57

Thread: Braine Gear self steering
09/11/2017 13:03:54


As Malcolm explained Braine steering uses a pair of lines connecting the mainsail boom to a quadrant mounted on the rudder shaft. The lines are crossed over so that increased forces on the sail which tend to turn the yacht are counteracted by the rudder. The diagram below shows how the system is installed on a typical yacht and the picture below it shows the quadrant and centering rubber cord as fitted to one of my wife's pond yachts.

braine gear.jpg

The diagram is courtesy of Kim Holland who sent it to me some time ago. If you send me a private message on the forum, giving me your email address I will send you the complete text that accompanies the diagram in the book Model Sailing Yachts by Percival Marshall.

If Braine steering is universally used in the Metropolis is must be the bees knees but speaking as a Northerner, I have found vane gear to be easier to understand and use. However vane gear are much more complicated to make or expensive to buy.


Thread: Model Boats October 1966
06/11/2017 10:55:40

Hi everyone,

I am trying to track down a copy of the October 1966 issue of Model Boats magazine. The article of interest is Stan Witty's plan and supporting information on a Marblehead yacht design called Golden Archer. If anyone has a copy of the magazine and could either scan the pages or is prepared to copy them I would be most grateful and will cover the associated costs.

The reason for our interest is that my wife Elizabeth bought a Marblehead hull last year and we think it is to this design. I have a scanned copy of the drawing from the article but the resolution is not good enough to read the text or dimensions. There are some differences in the hull, particularly the skeg and rudder, and we would like to see if they are mentioned in the article.

I have searched on the web but cant find a copy of this particular issue.


Thread: Vic Smeed's Model Boat Designs
27/10/2017 18:16:04

Hi Ian,

Thanks for the offer of the magazines but my copy of the Nov 82 Radio Modeller arrived this morning with the plan in it so I am now sorted. It would appear LaSwan is a hybrid of Harem and Genie. It has the sloping bow and two chine hull section of Harem. However it has a vertical transom and a rudder skeg like Genie. It also has a radial jib as shown on the Genie plans.

I know that the builder of LaSwan was not a member of a club and not interested in racing so I guess he was not fussed that the hull ended up about an inch longer than the limit for a Marblehead.

The next mystery to solve is the Stan Witty design but I will have to wait for the Oct 1963 back issue of Model Maker to arrive to help with that.


26/10/2017 18:59:47

Hi Ian and Tony,

Thanks very much for your help in trying to identify the original design of LaSwan. I am not sure whether Elizabeth would be pleased or annoyed by your compliment about her restoration as the photos on the previous page are of LaSwan before she started on it. However she did do a good job, the link to the album is here **LINK**

I am intrigued by the plans handbook page because the profile which is most like LaSwan is the one in the top right hand corner which does not have a reference number against it so it's another mystery. I have ordered the back issue of the magazine which featured Harem and expect to get it in the next few days so if anything new emerges I will let you know.

At the moment I am trying to identify the origin of her next restoration project which is another Marblehead that we think is a Stan Witty design. By a process of elimination I think it may be a design called Vega from October 1963 but I have not got a plans handbook which shows that one so I am waiting for the back issue of that Model Maker as well.


25/10/2017 15:37:16

Hi Tony,

With you being the expert in all things Vic Smeed and following on from the postings by Ian Bell above, could you give us some advice on a yacht restored by my wife about 5 years ago. It is shown in the photos below and was initially identified, with Colin Bishop's help as a Vic Smeed Genie.



However when we bought the Genie plan, we came across several discrepancies. The prow of LaSwan is more steeply raked and it does not have the flat bottom section shown on the Genie plan, but two simple chines on each side. In addition it does not comply with the Marblehead rules, as it is 51 inches long.

I have thought for some time that maybe it is a Harem built without a cabin but I have never seen the Harem drawings. Do you know whether Harem was 50 or 51 inches long? It certainly seems to have more a steeply rake prow similar to LaSwan. However the stern of LaSwan is cut off square and not sloping as shown in Ian Bells photographs of his Harem.

The original builder of LaSwan was evidently heavily influenced by Vic Smeed as most of the fittings have been home made and could have been made directly from the drawings in Vic Smeed's book Model Yachting.

Any advice you can offer would be gratefully received. Whatever the answer, LaSwan is a really nice yacht to sail and while it does not have the graceful lines of many of Elizabeth's other yachts, it does have a powerful, purposeful appearance, almost a small warship shape.


Thread: Facebook Cover
12/10/2017 21:16:29

Here's my pair of photos


Shemara II

daisy ii.jpg

Daisy II


Thread: Maggie M
22/09/2017 12:50:35

Hi Michael,

I had the same problem when I was building my model of Shemarah. There were lots of photos of it on the net but none showed the colours of the lights very clearly. I eventually found a couple of pictures that seemed to give me a definitive guide. I guess Maggie M would be a contemporary of Shemarah so must follow the same rules. Shemarah has been judged in some fairly serious competitions and nobody has told me its wrong (yet)

The picture below shows Shemarah head on and, as best I can judge the foremast/derrick lights are all 'all round' ones and starting from the top and working down are:-

A single white light which must be obscured to some degree by the mast if it is an all round light

A pair of red lights

A pair of green lights

A pair of red lights

A pair of white lights

There is a single rear facing white light in the mast/ radar mount which is mounted on top of the wheel house and maybe compensates for the white one on the mast being obscured from behind..

There was a better photo but at the moment I am unable to find it.

shemarah 467.jpg


Thread: Simple start.
19/08/2017 16:00:01

Hi Brian,

I would suggest a sail winch such as the Hitec HS765HB would probably be suitable for a Panache. There is a bigger alternative in the HS815BB but that would probably be a bit of an overkill. The picture below shows a typical installation of such a winch. Looking at the section of your drawing above it looks like the sheet to the main boom is doubled around a pulley on one of the sailwinch arms in order to increase the travel of that sheet and boom.

scotsail 2.jpg


Thread: Spektrum DX5E transmitter problems
02/08/2017 21:24:48

As an update to this thread a query was sent to the Spektrum service department in Germany a couple of weeks ago but I have not had any response yet.

Since we are pretty well committed to Spektrum because of the number of receivers we have installed in various yachts and boats I decided to order a new DX6E transmitter, which arrived last weekend. It seems to work well and has a number of useful features in that the controls sticks can be configured to Mode 1 or 2, free moving, ratchet or spring centred without needing to remove the back of the transmitter and mess about trying to fit or remove small springs. It also has a large number of 'spare' switches which can be assigned to different channels. For example you could have the throttle on a switch which gave you two positions, full ahead or stopped. (I think some people sail like that anyway.)

It does have one drawback, which I was aware of before buying it, in that it will only bind to DSMX standard receivers. It will NOT bind to DSM2 or the marine MR200 receivers. Since we have a mixture of all three of these standard receivers I have just been through a major swapping and rebinding exercise to allocate boats and yachts to particular transmitters. Noticeably, since the 'green' transmitter has been excommunicated to the back of a cupboard, every receiver bound quickly to its allocated transmitter at the first attempt. I now hope and pray that my very old DX5E 'pink' transmitter and somewhat younger DX6i keep going or we could be stuck with about a dozen incompatible DSM2 and MR200 receivers.


How did the meeting between your DX7 and new receiver pan out?


Edited By Gareth Jones on 02/08/2017 21:27:10

Thread: A class yacht - Serica II
02/08/2017 21:06:23

As a penultimate addition to this blog, Serica has now sailed a couple of times with its own set of sails. The rigging still needs a bit of tweaking and the mast is not yet in the optimum position, but we are getting there. It looks impressive, sails beautifully and handles really well, despite being originally designed to sail in a straight line rather than as a radio controlled racing yacht. Once we have the rigging optimised, the final step will be to unleash it on its own with just the vane steering to guide it. Here are a couple of photos of Serica sailing at Allerthorpe this morning.

serica 78.jpg

serica 79.jpg


Edited By Gareth Jones on 02/08/2017 21:07:56

Thread: Simple start.
27/07/2017 20:29:57


There is quite a bit of information on building Panache in this link here :- **LINK**

Don't worry about the number of turns on a drum winch. For a small yacht like Panache a simple sail arm winch will be quite adequate and much simpler to install, as shown on the Panache drawing. A suitable option would be a Hitec HS765HB or something of similar performance.

The receiver power supply we normally use in our models is a 5 cell NiMh pack. You can mount this in a suitable location somewhere near the bottom of the hull. We don't normally use a switch, just plug the battery pack into the receiver, or an extension lead from the receiver, when we are ready to sail.


Thread: Spektrum DX5E transmitter problems
16/07/2017 07:58:45

I cant think of any more testing I can do to investigate the problem. I am intrigued why the voltage on the output side of the power switch is lower than on the input so if anyone has any knowledge on this aspect or a circuit diagram for the transmitter I would be interested to hear it.

For the time being, the green transmitter has been put away in the cupboard. It is 8 years old and I am not sure it is worth sending it away to be repaired now. We are pretty well committed to Spektrum since we have a lot of Spektrum receivers so we might well buy a replacement transmitter. Neither the DX5E nor DX6I are available in the from we have them so it will have to be another model with yet another operating protocol which might or might not be compatible with our old receivers.

I plan to write to the Spektrum service department and point them to this story and see whether they have any suggestions. If I have any feedback from them I will pass it on. This has been an interesting but at times frustrating exercise but then fault finding sometimes is. However my confidence in the Spektrum system has been largely restored now that I know the failsafe really does work as they describe, if you set it up properly. I have also learned a valuable lesson - when in doubt read the bloody instructions properly and follow them, not your own version of the process.


16/07/2017 07:44:42

After returning home, emptying the car, doing all the washing, cutting the grass and all the other post holiday jobs I took the back off the green transmitter and had a look inside. On the main circuit board there are three pairs of contacts where the power switch is soldered to the board. Using my trusty multimeter I measured the voltage on each terminal.

With the power switch off, the upper centre and right terminals were at 5.7 volts relative to the black battery earth terminal just below the switch. All the other terminals were at zero volts, as shown on the picture below.

transmitter off.jpg

With the switch in the on position the upper left and centre switch terminals were at 5.7 volts and the terminals immediately below these were at 3.2 volts as shown in the picture below.

transmitter on.jpg

I thought this might indicate a fault as I would not have expected any voltage drop across the switch terminals, although I am not an expert in wiggly amps. I therefore removed the back of the pink transmitter and did the same measurements on that and got the same results, apart from a slightly lower battery voltage at 5.6 volts. I tried to do the same on the DX6I transmitter but the back of the switch terminals were not accessible.

Using the green transmitter I switched it off and on several times with a receiver bound to it. The voltages on the switch terminals were always the same, even when the receiver failed to link. Pushing the switch slightly back towards the off position also had no effect on the contact voltages. This made me begin to doubt that it was the switch that was faulty so I pondered what to do next. I decided to remove the circuit board from the pink transmitter and remove and reconnect each of the multi pin connectors on the upper side, since the fault seems to be more likely the result of an intermittent connection failure rather than a solid hardware fault such as a burned out component. All the connectors seemed clean and making good contact and after refitting all the connectors the fault was still apparent and the green transmitter did not always link when first switched on. It appears to me that if I switch it off and on multiple times, the fault seems to diminish in frequency but if I leave it for a few hours or a day, the next time I switch it on it fails to link.

What next?

16/07/2017 07:15:20

I found a thread on another well known model boating forum where someone had experienced similar transmitter/receiver linking problems and identified the fault as the main on/off switch for the transmitter. Apparently it could fail in such a way that the transmitter battery indicator lights illuminate but the transmitter itself is not powered up. This seemed plausible so I embarked on another series of tests.

I bound one of the 'green' receivers to the pink transmitter, by the correct process - it powered up and the indicator light in the receiver was solid within a couple of seconds. I then turned the transmitter off and back on - it linked. I repeated this process 25 times holding the transmitter in various attitudes and positions around the room and the receiver never failed to link.

I then rebound the same receiver back to the green transmitter and repeated the exercise, switching that transmitter of and on 25 times. On 9 occasions the receiver failed to link after waiting at least a minute to give it a chance. This seemed to confirm there was a fault in the green transmitter and the switch was a possible cause.

If the fault lay in the switch then maybe the sliding action could give a clue so I switched the transmitter back on several times, until the receiver again failed to link. I then pushed the sliding off/on switch slightly back to the off position and the receiver linked. I repeated this test about 3 or four times and each time it seemed moving the power switch just slightly back from the fully on position seemed to be enough to establish a link. However after that the transmitter did not fail to link when switching it on normally so this test again pointed to the switch being faulty but was not conclusive.

Further testing needed a multimeter and would have to wait till we returned home.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Boats? Use our magazine locator link to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Boats!

Support Our Partners
Premier March
Restorers Wanted
Tony Green Steam
Pendle Boilers
Shopping Partners
Social Media

'Like' us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Pin us on Pinterest

Member Contributions
Distributors of Model Boats for our overseas readers

Make sure you never miss out on the latest news, product reviews and competitions with our free RSS feed

Make your own contribution to the Website

We welcome well written contributions from Website members on almost any aspect of Model Boating with a particular emphasis on practical hints, tips, experience and builds.

In order to maintain a consistent standard and format, all suggestions should first be sent to me by Personal Message for approval in principle. Only a very limited amount of time is available for editing contributions into a suitable format for placing on the website so it is important that the material is well presented, lucid and free from obvious spelling errors. I think it goes without saying that contributions should be illustrated by appropriate photos. I shall be happy to give advice on this.

The Member Contribution area offers space for short informative mini articles which would not normally find a place in Model Boats magazine. It is an opportunity for Website Members to freely share their  expertise and experience but I am afraid that virtue is its own reward as there is no budget to offer more material recompense!

I look forward to receiving your suggestions.

Colin Bishop - Website Editor