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Vic Smeed's Model Boat Designs

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Roy Verden 118/11/2019 07:46:56
11 forum posts

Hello all, just read through this thread again. I see early mention of Petrel, I think this was a small Panache type yacht (I hope I have remembered that correctly as there was a small long keel yacht that I mave confused it with) and it came out around August 1963 in MM magazine. I remember building her as I was just about to get married and I needed a distraction! We are still married, 56 years ago now.

She sailed very well and I made a very simple vane set up which was very effective. I used to sail at Hampstead model yacht pond where the Highgate model yacht club were based with a storage shed tucked away, but eventually vandals broke in one too many times and the club closed. They were were very friendly and I seem to remember an A Class boat with early RC. I saw recently on TV's Flog it programme a Marblehead in lovely condition sold for £750. I noticed that when a hatch was removed it had the Highgate MYC reference inside.

I, much later (late '90s) bought a Star C yacht ( I also have a full set of plans) and sailed her for a while, she was OK but nothing special. My one was a fibre glass hull and one day at the lake an on-looker stopped to talk and asked about the boat and he said he had made about 30 hulls of the yacht and almost certainly made the one I had. I sold my one on but know where it is.

I have a large collection of Model Maker magazines going back to I think June 1952 with the coronation coach on the cover. I wonder what will happen to them when I kick the bucket but nice to know someone has preserved a set of the magazines. I have a few older model yacht magazines but these were more a letters and results of racing and club activities which are no longer relevant. Whereas Model Maker actually brought practical model making with plans and instructions for bulding to the beginner. I think my first build was a Bustler tug in 1955, it had a small Taycol motor as drive. I remember it bobbed around a lot until I loaded the stern with most of the ball bearings from my Meccano set.

I bought 2 similar (and I do mean almost identical) yacht hulls 2 years ago at a bargain price. They look a lot like the Sea Urchin by Vic Smeed but are 32 inches loa. and a small 4 inch bowsprit, (?). The original builder is unknown but I pay tribute to his ability. I think the builder had an enquiring mind as one hull has a bulb keel and the other a cast in lead keel. Both are bread and butter construction with a beautiful finish and with a skeg as per Sea Urchin.

The bulb keel boat is 8 ounces lighter than the other at about 6 lbs. The decks are screwed down and sealed apart from a hole for the mast. There are some less than presentable sails which do not look like they would have done the job. I tried to retain the skegs but could not come up with a solution and I sawed them off so that I could hang the rudder off the stern. I am sure they were fine with the originally proposed vane steering assuming these hulls are derivatives of Sea Urchin.

My intentions are to convert to RC but have one Bermuda rig (ex Aeronaut Bella sails) and the other as a gaff rig for which I also have a set of sails which I have made myself, and this hull will retain the bowsprit. To balance the gaff rig I have had to move the mast back some distance. I have carefully cut through the deck on one hull and there is a very rough but varnished internal finish. When completed I hope to race them in friendly competition with my son. (OK, who am I kidding it will be war)! I introduced him to dinghy sailing (full size) and now he is qualified as Yachtmaster offshore. So any wins will be a big deal for me!

I know some consider Vic Smeed plans to be over simplified but the artistry he had, retained all of the character of the full size.

Regards to all


Roy Verden 118/11/2019 10:05:17
11 forum posts

Hi all, just remembered the yacht I mentioned was the 'Dabchick'. Was that one of Vic Smeed's?

Regards Roy

Tony Hadley13/12/2019 19:32:52
895 forum posts
536 photos

Hello Roy,

Apologies for the late reply, things have been hectic, which is no good for me as a youngster.

Dabchick was one of Vic's designs MM1024 and is still available from Sarik. At 24" it's a neat little design. It was interesting to read your post and I liked the mention of Bustler. This is one design I've always fancied having a go at this one. Never having built a bread and butter hull, the design offers a good beginners model to this type of construction.

Dabchick -


The original magazine article for Dabchick from August 1963 -


Tony Hadley13/12/2019 19:40:32
895 forum posts
536 photos

Vosper RTTL, plan number MM530 (still available from Sarik). Came as free plan with the Bumper Christmas edition of Model Maker magazine. Ripmax advertised fittings for the model on the magazine's back cover.

vosper rttl (1).jpg

vosper rttl (2).jpg

vosper rttl (3).jpg

vosper rttl (4).jpg

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