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A very tired pond yacht

A sentimental restoration project

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Rod Brassington20/11/2016 19:57:05
7 forum posts
12 photos

I have looked through the VMYG gallery and 'what is it' gallery. I've also scoured eBay finding little information but amazed at how many modelers are in the same situation as me.


I have photos of what appears to have been a very pretty boat which must be at least 50 years old, but I can't work out how to attach them to this thread (I am a new member).


She is of great sentimental value to a friend and his wife. The yacht was given to her as a child by her father. She was brought up in a very poor circumstances.

The boat is 90 cms long and the hull is about 23 cms high and is very heavy. She is called 'Pebbles' which is the wife's middle name and the hull appears to have been covered with gloss paint. But with some sanding it looks as though above the waterline was green and below a dark maroon.

Having seen two of my scale R/C models and as a surprise for his wife, the husband has asked me to restore her or at least make her well again, which is a lovely challenge.

I do hope someone can recognise this boat please. I would like to find some record of what she looked like in her prime so I can do my best to spruce her up. We are not looking to restore her to her original condition but if I could find details for instance of how she was rigged; whether there should be stanchions and a guard rail; whether the fittings are brass or painted black; the rudder/sail control and bow plate look like aluminium but I could spray in a brass. She will not be sailed but will be for display only.


The lady to whom it was given apparently has no idea what it looked like when it was given to her. Given her childhood circumstances it may well have been given to her with rigging intact but maybe the hull had been painted then as 'Pebbles' is, as you can see, hand painted on the gloss white.


Can anyone help please? If not can you please point me towards someone who may be able to? I would really welcome any advice on how best to make her better, even if not as she was when built.

​Thanks and regards.


Edited By Rod Brassington on 20/11/2016 20:03:51

Edited By Rod Brassington on 20/11/2016 20:07:24

Colin Bishop20/11/2016 21:03:56
4522 forum posts
6067 photos
398 articles

Hi Rod,

Check out the FAQ section on the bottom right hand side of the page which explains how to reference photos to posts.

If you have already checked out the VMG website without success I rather doubt if we have have the answers on here but post some photos anyway as it is possible someone can help.



Rod Brassington20/11/2016 22:55:50
7 forum posts
12 photos

Thanks Colin. Photos should be there now. How do I set a Keyword please?



Tony Hadley21/11/2016 08:07:32
897 forum posts
536 photos


The steering on your yacht is 'Braine' and attached is a sketch of how this would be rigged.

Cotton Sails can still be obtained from Nylet.


boat modelling book.jpeg

Good Luck with the restoration,


Rod Brassington21/11/2016 08:57:40
7 forum posts
12 photos

Many thanks Tony. That is very helpful.
​Do you know what the quadrant would usually be made of? This one looks like aluminium but I wonder whether that would have been used on a boat of this age. Do you think it maybe an alloy that has been plated - say with brass or similar?
Best regards

Bob Abell21/11/2016 09:16:54
8905 forum posts
2783 photos

Hi Rod

I've loaded your pictures, just to save you the aggro.......Hope you don't mind?

The main sail looks rather short, but notice there are a few remnants at the top of the mast, which could be the original sail?

Pity you didn't mention this post last week, as there was a nice show on at Warwick and the Vintage Yacht club were in attendance





Rod Brassington21/11/2016 11:31:44
7 forum posts
12 photos

Thank you very much for uploading them Bob. I thought I'd done it - I used to be on top of IT work!
​Yes the original sail does go to the top of the mast which is broken just above the jib stay.
​I took her into a local model shop today and the view is that it is probably a generic pond yacht.
​Do you have any experience in restoring such gems? Nitromors on the hull and careful sanding (wet & dry) on the fitments - some are aluminium and others copper and brass. If the wood (pine) of the hull is good enough I may try and finish it as natural with a clear satin varnish. Otherwise spray red below and maybe white or green above the water line. What do you think?
Thank you for your help - much appreciated.

Tony Hadley21/11/2016 12:19:06
897 forum posts
536 photos

Regarding the choice of material for the replacement Braine Quadrant, personally I would choose brass, but others would disagree, it's purely personal choice.

Replacement quadrants are still commercially available from Sails etc. in their vintage fittings range. Click on the drawing for the dimensions.



Edited By Tony Hadley on 21/11/2016 12:23:14

Gareth Jones21/11/2016 20:33:23
791 forum posts
1067 photos

Hi Rod,

I was one of hose VMYG members at Warwick last weekend but I suspect we would stlll have struggled to identify your model. It does not have any identifying features that suggest it is one of the popular models such as a Star, Bowman or Ailsa.

However, go along with your plan, strip off the old paint and varnish with Nitromors, give it a good clean up, paint it to your own choice, make some new sails and rigging and you will have a very pretty model. My wife Elizabeth refurbished a similar model for a friend of ours last year. It was around 70 years old and had been a gift to the owner's mother when he was born. He is a before picture:-

pond yacht 1.jpg

Here is one after priming the hull and test fitting the new sails

pond yacht 2.jpg

And here is the finished article.

pond yacht 3.jpg

The sails are made from a piece of cotton bedsheet. The normal practice is for the weft of the cloth to be parallel to the back edge of the jib and mainsail.  Typically the jib sail has about half the area of the mainsail and the height of the jib sail is about 75% of the height of the main.

The shrouds which support the mast and the sheets which control the sail/boom position were made from a stout white thread with bowsies made from short lengths of brass strip.

If you Google Star yachts on the internet there are lots of pictures that will guide you on the rigging but if you have any specific questions go ahead and ask.


Edited By Gareth Jones on 21/11/2016 20:34:38

Edited By Gareth Jones on 21/11/2016 20:37:02

Rod Brassington21/11/2016 21:14:04
7 forum posts
12 photos

Dear Gareth,
​Thank you so much for your advice and guidance. What a lovely model your wife restored. I may well take you up on advice and guidance when I've nitromored and sanded. I was planning to order custom made sails but your idea of cotton sheet is great. I suspect I'll have to ask my wife to do some sewing. Presumably your wonderful wife sewed a thin length of wire into a seam for the mast, boom and jib.
​Sorry to be ignorant - want is a 'bowsie'. I thought at first you meant bowsprit but then I realised it was plural.
Warmest regard
​PS What a fantastic bunch of people you guys are. I had never expected so many helpful responses so quickly.

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