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Sailing Yacht to Restore

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Martin Honor 128/12/2020 10:49:37
4 forum posts
6 photos

At Christmas I was given an elderly model sailing yacht in need of restoration. It had lain unused in the DT department of a local school for at least 20 years and was destined to be thrown out unless someone took it away. So my daughter, who is a teacher at the school, thought it would be something for me to work on.

beam view.jpg

She is a fair-sized boat: 76 cm overall, 23 cm beam with a 112 cm mast, 41 cm main boom and 28 cm jib boom, and seems to be of an all-wood construction.

Most of the running and standing rigging has disintegrated with time and the sails are starting to fall apart.

So, I have several questions.

  1. Is she of a known class? The hull reminds me of the Star class of yachts, although the rake of the stem is not quite right.
  2. What is the best line to use to replace the rigging? I was thinking of an un-waxed whipping twine.
  3. What is the best material for the sails, and is there a recommended supplier?

As a former racing dinghy sailor I am more used to full sized boats than models, but I enjoy a challenge and would like to see this boat back on the water.

Malcolm Frary29/12/2020 10:54:29
1043 forum posts

Looks like either a Star, or one designed by somebody who liked them.

The lightest venetian blind line that you can lay hands on is a good rigging line, both standing and running. Doesn't stretch, low surface friction. I've also used a fishing line that I believe was called "salmon backer" but the label fell off the reel years ago. Again, braided and non-stretch.

If you know somebody who is willing and able to sew, an old poly cotton shirt makes fine sails. Otherwise, Nylet, Housemartin, Sails etc will either have the right sails listed or be able to do bespoke ones.

It looks like a free sailing pond yacht, it will need to be sailed at a suitable venue - one with access all round. Such venues are not as universal as they used to be, remote control allows sailing in many more places. With modern components, fitting a radio is much easier than it used to be.

Ray Wood 229/12/2020 11:09:40
2840 forum posts
988 photos

Hi Martin,

For the standing rigging, stainless steel fishing line is great, it's plastic coated and comes with brass tube crimps , used in conjunction with brass turnbuckles for tensioning if money is no object, as Malcolm says Frank Parsons of Nylet will run you up a pair of Dacron sails if you send him the old ones as patterns.

Regards Ray (ex dinghy sailor, Fireball/Phantom/Laser )

Edited By Ray Wood 2 on 29/12/2020 11:10:31

Dave Cooper 629/12/2020 11:16:45
375 forum posts
38 photos

Hi Martin and welcome to the forum.

There are a number of model 'sailing' experts here, but, like you I only did full-size (Ospreys, Redwings and Bosuns mainly).

I think your model could be suitable for radio control and I've heard that "Nylet" do very good sails. My next project is likely to be a sailing cruiser - I'll follow the thread with interest...

I expect the others will be able to advise on rigging materials etc. There are so many dinghy classes and it's hard to say if it's a scale model or not. I rather suspect it may be semi-scale, or, perhaps a free-hand design ?

My uncle used to own and race a fixed keel boat like this: "Dragon" class if memory serves correctly.

Good luck with your project and Happy New Year,

Dave C

ps Looks like Malcolm and Ray beat me to it !

Edited By Dave Cooper 6 on 29/12/2020 11:27:12

TonyM29/12/2020 16:16:12
2 forum posts
1 photos

She looks very like the 30 inch sharpie in the 1950 Daniels & Tucker book "Build Yourself a Model Yacht" (where all the dimensions are in good old inches but correspond pretty well). The layout of the fittings on the deck match as well.

The Vintage Model Yacht Group website has an example in their What is it? pages, with lines and sail plan:

Martin Honor 130/12/2020 15:57:05
4 forum posts
6 photos

Thank you Tony, and all who have welcomed me to this forum. From the plans she certainly looks like a 30" Sharpie. I will check the dimensions to confirm. Being a "Build it yourself" fits in with coming from a school, she was probably a DT class project at some time in the dim and distant past.

It is very useful having the details of the sail plan, both standard and reduced. Now when I have some suitable material I will sweet talk my wife into getting out her sewing machine.

Expect several more posts on here as I ask questions and show any progress made. My intention is to use a light touch and refurbish where possible rather than replace.

Malcolm Frary31/12/2020 10:39:56
1043 forum posts

If going down the sewn cloth route for the sails, it is well to remember that the threads of the cloth should be at right angles to a line between the top of the sail and the trailing corner, not the leading edge. Reduces the saggyness and baggyness over time.

Martin Honor 117/01/2021 12:45:08
4 forum posts
6 photos

I've made a start. Mast and spars have been sanded down and the first coat of varnish applied. Patterns for the sails made, some suitable fabric has been found and my wife hopes to make a start on them this afternoon.

Another question. Does anyone know what the piece of kit in photograph is for: The pieces, which are threaded on stiff wire, are rock hard now but probably were once soft rubber. Would this have been a home-made bow fender?


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