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Dan Clapp's Insanity by Dave Fellingham - BOTTLE - a hard water race boat


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Dave Fellingham

Dave Fellingham
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  • 470 posts
  • LocationJoshua Tree, California, USA



While cruising the web I came across photos of Dan Clapp's insanity, a Skeeter class racing ice boat, which seemed like a good subject for a bottled ship. I also realized that with only eight pieces, one sail and five lines it could be a quick build.


I collected several photos and set to work generating drawings. Three photos gave me the ability to generate my best guess for the shape of the hull.


Insanity broad.jpg  

This first attracted my attention but is clearly heavily photo-shopped and not particularly useful.


insanity overhead.jpg

This gives a good plan view.


Insanity profile 2.jpg

One of two profile views.


Insanity profile 1a.jpg

The other profile view.


Insanity bow.jpg

Bow view and intended pose for my model.



Part of my drawings for insanity.


I chose a 2 liter Pyrex reagent bottle 5 inches / 127 mm in diameter with a shoulder 6 inches / 150 mm above the base and a short 1.060 inch / 27 mm inside diameter neck, about 9 inches / 230 mm tall overall to be displayed vertically. The plans above were reduced to fit the model inside a 4.5 inch / 114 mm circle which will give me at least a 1/4 inch / 6 mm clearance all around.


I printed patterns for the pieces to make from wood onto the paper side of freezer paper and ironed these patterns, waxy side down, to appropriate pieces of wood for the five wooden pieces. The hull and outrigger are bass wood. The forward skate strut is .015 inch / 0.4 mm plywood. On the real ice boat the sail runs in a slot in the airfoil cross-section mast and the foot of the sail is captured by the boom. I replicated this by building up those two components from three pieces of the thin plywood glued together in such a way as to make a slot in the mast and boom. The center strip in each was sanded down to .008 inch / 0.2 mm thickness. The mast was built up in a curved fixture to duplicate the curve in the bow photo above. After cutting and sanding the components to final shape I gave them a coat of cheap automotive type primer to fill the grain for final sanding.



My five components, from lower left: front skate strut in front of the hull; boom and mast on the top edge of a strip of

card stock; and the outrigger which was steam bent to give it a bit of curve. The curve in the mast doesn't show here.


I have three skates to cut from .005 inch / 0.13 mm stainless steel shim stock and a sail to make - and yes, I'm going to duplicate the Jack Nicholson sail. After painting and detailing I'll move on to rigging the five lines and get the water and ice ready.


Thanks for looking in.



  • Augie, mtaylor, avsjerome2003 and 5 others like this

esmeralda (3)sm.jpg

Current Builds:  ESMERALDA Chilean Navy School Ship, 1/640 in a bottle

insanity Dan Clapp's hard water race boat in a bottle

Completed Build:  Prairie Schooner OGALLALA 1/96 in a bottle

Research Project:  Cruizer-class Brig-Sloops



"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin


  • Members
  • 4,406 posts
  • LocationAustralia
Hi Dave

What a nice, simple and streamlined speedster!

I'll be following along.




  • Members
  • 21 posts
  • Locationnieuw amsterdam holland

Hello. I'll follow your build with interest. Regards, Richard



    Ship's Cat

  • Gone, but not forgotten
  • 5,488 posts
  • LocationColorado, USA

I'm sure it will be a pleasure to watch her develop!


Current Build: US Frigate Confederacy - MS 1:64

Previous Builds :

US Brig Syren (MS) - 2013 (see Completed Ship Gallery)
Greek Tug Ulises (OcCre) - 2009 (see Completed Ship Gallery)
Victory Cross Section (Corel) - 1988
Essex (MS) 1/8"- 1976
Cutty Sark (Revell 1:96) - 1956

michael mott

michael mott
  • Members
  • 3,570 posts
  • LocationLake Wabumun, Alberta, Canada

Insane for sure, I will most certainly be following along.



Current builds  Bristol Pilot Cutter 1:8


                                Skipjack 19 foot Launch 1:8


                               Herreshoff Buzzards Bay 14 1:8


Other projects  Pilot Cutter 1:500


                         Maria, Sloop 1:2


Restoration      A Bassett Lowke steamship Albertic 1:100


Anything you can imagine is possible, when you put your mind to it.

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