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Peter Cane

Bluenose by Peter Cane - 1:24 scale - RADIO - schooner in RC and working sailing model

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I suppose we have to start somewhere.

I plan to build a 1:24 scale version of " Bluenose".

I have read in depth Jond's version and will follow it closely as it worked. He is a very patient and excellent modeller.

Both my son and I are overwhelmed with the successes of this very famous Schooner.

My son said that " this is a beautiful boat dad ....I just love the lines".

It was only after reading further into it ( Bluenose )

That we became educated enough to realise what " Bluenose " was and what she represented.

My son Damian certainly hit on the lines.

He said without even knowing anything about her.." Dad....this is the ship to build".

She is beautiful.

My son is an artist and has an instant eye for beauty.

He recognized in an instant that " Bluenose " had to be "it".

At nearly 69 years of age it comes to the time that we listen to our siblings and no longer have to tell them what to do but do as advised!!!!

We  have started the journey into " Bluenose" and I guess it will never end as learning is endless.

What a boat!!!

I have made several ships in bottles, and a few kit builds but now the challenge is set for me.

This ( to me) is a big challenge and I will need helping out.

I am learning naughty terms....sorry ( nautical ) terms and have a thirst to learn more.

Meanwhile hopefully, here are a few shots of how I am starting out.

The first is of yours truly having just arrived home with a lot of red cedar logs.

The second is of our building board specially built to the size of the yacht with two huge logs of cedar on top.

The build board is mounted on a trolley with wheels so I can get to any part of the build.

We live in Australia.

The pics are of the building board for Bluenose and the huge hunks of red cedar we bought from my ol mate down the road lie in readiness for the hull planking. I have two more logs like this.

So I guess a build log starts with exactly that.


The sheets behind are MDF to form the hull formers on which the planking will be done.

The formers will be sacrificial.

We await the plans from Canada which will be scaled up by double the size.

I believe they are Eisonor plans.









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I spent the day with the table saw and planer/ thicknesser.

I now have enough to plank the hull.

Three is still stacks more cedar under the work bench so cedar us not a problem.

Still waiting for the plans now.

It's as much as I can do until they arrive.






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Nils and Tarbrush.

Thank you.

I dare say when the plans arrive I shall have some entertainment for us ( me included)

I wanted to build something huge, impressive and an heirloom.

Bluenose is perfect.

It will certainly tax my skills.

I am very excited about it.

I dont thing I did my lungs any good sawing up all that cedar but hey ho.

Should have worn a mask.

One thing that worries me is if I have to build a false keel to sail her???

My son ( 47 ) reckons not to bother as it is a scaled down version of the real thing that did actually float and ...well....beat the Americans 18 years running so that sounds pretty good to me.

I will fill the keel with lead for a starters and see what happens.

I am  reckoning the masts will be some 7 ft high or more.

That's a lot if sail area!.



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Whilst waiting for the plans I have been pondering on which method to use to build the frames.

At first I was going to build them using the method that Jond used using MDF sacrificial frame holders but now thinking about it, it may make more sense to actually build real frames from hard wood a la the real thing.

I have read that a real ships frames are made up in sections.

Has any one out there got any advise for me on how to build the frames for a large scale model please?

Pictures and sketches will be most welcome.

I prefer to do it this way as I can then glue and clamp the planking on to each frame.

I am not too fussed about the exact number of frames as per the real thing as it will be a working model and they will be hidden anyway.

It is just that I think it is the way ahead as this is how they were built.

My first thoughts are to make a sacrificial former from MDF and then to laminate the frames to them using four thicknesses of 3mm thick strips?......or should I build them in sections?

Should I use hard wood or my already sawn Western red cedar?

Any advice will be very welcome.



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Been having a play and experimenting with laminated frame construction.

I have band sawn an MDF mould/former then bent the laminations to near shape and clamped them on the former.

The former is only a rough shape and size of the formers I will be making when the plans arrive.

I just need to arrive at a method and stick to it.


I am now going to wax the former and glue them up.

It should work okay.

I used an electric bending iron that used for bending violin and ukelele sides to shape.

It is surprisingly fast.

Question is ...will cedar be okay for frames?

It bends nicely.





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The clamps were so powerful they bruised the wood severely. 

So I cut a strip of bicycle inner tube and that clamps it all nicely together.

Is cascamite powder glue still available?

I remember my woodwork teacher making superb sailing dinghies with it.( full size)

It was an Amazon. Beautiful lines.

Someone here would have heard of them.

Era 1960s.

Showing age now!!!

Here's the new clamping arrangement and it's cheap.





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Here is the planed finished result.

It stayed in keeping with the former.

I am happy with this method of constructing the frames.

They are strong and keep their shape.

The small plane is a Chinese instrument makers plane which performs particularly well with time taken to sharpen the blade to a razor sharp.

How they produce these from Rosewood and brass for a " bowl of rice " price is totally beyond my comprehension.

It is just not fair.


I am guilty as I buy Chinese goods.

Anyway....my mind meanders .

Sorry...I am too deep .





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Yippee my plans arrived today.

I have had them scaled up exactly three times which gives me a 6ft 6" long hull.

Nice and big which is what I am after.

I am still deciding on the best method to build the hull.

I have a question please that would help me considerably if someone can advise.

The plan calls for bulkheads glued to a central spine and then to be planked.

At this size the central spine and solid bulkheads will be made from 12mm marine ply.

Will this be too heavy for a sailing working model?

I am going to fibre glass resin the inside and out.

I will drill holes at the bottom of each bulkhead so that if she takes water it will run along and through the holes towards the stern.

I can then drop in a sponge through the removable main cabin.

Is this a good build process for a working model?


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I have read the long Epilogue to " Beginners be warned that you do not take on too much that you cannot swallow".

Really good advice ...But.....

I do not know at this stage or later as to whether or not I can swallow and seal it.

We will have to see.

I am a musical instrument maker so have an idea on long projects.

Ship building is definately a longer haul.

I have a ton of patience , time and I will get there so do not worry my friends, you WILL see this sailing!!!.

Currently I have not witnessed a model Bluenose in sail.

I have asked Jond if he ever got around to sailing his RC version but appreciate that he is very busy and has not found the time to respond.

My son has contacted a guy here in Oz that has a 6ft RC Bluenose but has not yet sailed it.

He is on the brink right now of sailing her.

I am very interested to know whether or not this "Queen " needs a false keel or not.

My son's theory is that she is a drawn replica of the original yacht and therefore should not capsize!!!

I look at her profile and always think..

Mhhhh....I think there should be more underneath .

But hell....she won the race 18 years running so mine is only a miniature version of the real.

But having a realization of model aircraft and their prototypes, I also am conversant with amendments that have to be made to a model in order that it works/sails/flies....

This is a big adventure for me.

I not only want a huge Bluenose but want to sail her as well!

Ahem!!!......cough....splurt !!!!...

It will either sail or sink and that's my risk.

Anyway, the plans arrived and have been enlarged to three times the size.

It is now 6ft 6" long bow to stern.

I have hacked out the spline from 12mm thick AA grade marine ply.

This is really nice close grained wood.

I think it is Birch ply.

It cost $100 Australian dollars a large sheet which is enough to do all the bulkheads in addition.

So I hope will be good quality.

The interior and exterior will be resin coated anyway .

About the red socks!!

I am as I am.

It is how it is.

No frills mate.

But she's a whopper ain't she!





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Thank you Michel.

Progress is such that the spline is laid and true with spiders covering all three planes.

All bulkheads have now been fashioned.

Numbers 6 , 7, 8 and 9 are glued and screwed into position.

Water holes have been drilled in each bulkhead so as to facilitate the ship " taking water".

In this event the ship will be tipped to stern so as to allow the water to flow ( if any) to aft and can then be recovered via a sponge through the main cabin opening.

 A  visible  opening aft of the ship's spline is to accommodate the radio and rudder linkages.

It is hoped to enable  helm rotation comensurate to rudder direction.

This will need some thought as the main shaft has both a left and right hand thread.

Cedar wood blocks are glued to the bulkheads and building board to aid rigidity and hold all fast.

On completion of both port and starboard planking the blocks will be removed by a flush cut saw.

The area to the bottom of the water holes will be filled to the hatched line shown and glass resined.

I will explain later why only one side is having the bulkheads fitted at the present.

The figure seen is 1:24 scale and is 3" tall.

This may give some incite to scale.

Happy modelling










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A few stages further on reveal all the bulkheads secured and the Carlin strake fitted.

The reinforcement blocks between the bulkheads have a square hole in them.

This is to allow the addition of ballast weight dropped through hatches above if needed.

I have faired the bulkheads as well but will recheck them in the morning....and again the next morning!

Next is to fit the bow and stern filler blocks from red cedar and then to cut the Garboard strake rabbett.

A straight plank of Tasmanian oak is clamped to the spline to hold all true.

In nautical terms this is known as " A straight plank "!

I am splitting my sides laughing as I learn all these nautical terms for parts of a ship.

Well tomorrow I will make sure she has a nice rounded Buttocks being careful to keep her Transom also good looking.

I will try not to make a bollards of it all  and keep a careful watch on her buttocks....sorry Futtocks.

What a load of row locks.









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 A good start Pete,


as you are planing to RC sail her, just a question : will you be having a fin with a lead bomb external beneath the hull (perhaps removeable), or will the ballast go at lowest possible into the hull ?

Guess you may be lookng at 6-7 Kg external ballast.....



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That is the question Nils.

My son was under the impression that because it is a scaled down version of the real, it should sail.

I dont know much about boats but certainly when we build flying model aircraft we have to compensate.

The real bluenose was several hundred tons which kept her sleek lines from cap sizing.

The model obviously cannot realise that weight because of its size.

When the plans first arrived I was quite shocked to see that under the waterline there wasn't much ship below waterline to prevent capsize.

I had always thought as you do in that an extra weighted bolt on keel will be needed.

To that end I am going to make her oak keel deeper as on the plan so as to facilitate a bolt on false keel.

I am useless with mass, physics etc so it is going to be quite a project to determine how longer false keel and what weight.

Fortunately the house we look after has a swimming pool so Bluenose will be named and floated there.

I will take with me various pieces of lead and keep adding till she displaces to waterline.

I will then pull down the masts until the water almost passes the gun whales and hope she rights herself.

Does this sound about right?

Thanks for your advice and looking in on us.


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I think you have a good plan for the keel.  Most of the models that sail like yours do use an additional length of keel and usually with a lead wad at the bottom of it.  The weight of the lead is naturally, decided during testing and you will get wet.

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3 hours ago, mtaylor said:


I think you have a good plan for the keel.  Most of the models that sail like yours do use an additional length of keel and usually with a lead wad at the bottom of it.  The weight of the lead is naturally, decided during testing and you will get wet.

Ha ha.

We live in Australia so we will choose a nice sunny baking hot day ( not difficult) and enjoy getting wet.

Probably with a few beers!


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Well...we have not come to a halt exactly but need to sit and think about the next stages of construction  very methodically.

It is like a game of chess whereas we need to be several moves ahead to avoid defeat.

We deliberately built just one half first so as to enable a board to be fixed via clamps so as to mark out exactly the keel line.

Had we gone ahead and bulk headed the other side we would be in deep water.

However the huge piece of MDF clamped to the board at the moment serves another purpose.

To draw out what we think would be a suitable sized false keel that will be bolted on to the existing oak keel. ( when I have built it!)

We discussed that if we were to just glue and clamp the keel to the spline  the forces of the water versus the angled masts would be enough to snap the keel off.

So we have gone Australian and over engineered it.

The false keel will be bolted on to 3mm steel plates as shown hatched.

The bulb will be cast from lead.

The whole is impressively massive.

The bottom of the bulb to the Carlin strake measures over half a meter.

This is a prototype drawing subject to change but it LOOKS about right?

We have also thought that the inside of the hull needs to be pretty water resistant so we will lay the Garboard strake, add a few more strakes and then glass resin the immediate bottom of the hull.

Otherwise if we were to go ahead and plank it, we would not be able to reach the parts beneath the reinforcement plates with the square holes in.

Having read David's pdf on cutting the rabbett for the Garboard strake, he indicates that it is not entirely necessary but this was the way real ships were built.

Our Bluenose will be fiber glassed all over then sprayed so no one will know the difference.

So I have that to torment me as well.

Rabetts for the Garboard strake or not?

Don,t forget,  the model is 6 1/2 feet long so that's a lot of notching!!!

There are a ton of things to think about and I go to bed sometimes with a head ache.

But they are pleasant head aches.

I get over them by reading what you guys are up to to give me more inspiration.

If you think or see anything glaringly wrong with our thoughts please do let us know.

I would rather be advised than left to spend hours on something that just will not work.

Thank you for your likes and kind comments.



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Some days, we all go to bed with a headache.  I think it's part of the hobby with the goal being not to have headaches.  

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I have decided against the above idea as it will be ugly.

Far better to just bolt the false keel to the existing one as there is enough meat there to do this.

So it is onwards with building and glueing the keel on.

Here is  the first part of the keel made of oak.

I have made cleats from 9mm dowel which are an interference fit ( hit with a hammer!) To the bulkheads.

They will be removed after the keel and stem are built and glued on.

I am using Titebond Ultimate which is severely strong and water proof.

I am waiting for my son to return from work to inspect the progress for rudeness...ha ha ha.....my mobile phone always thinks I mean something else and insists on words that are totally inappropriate. 

It meant...TRUENESS!!!   stupid phone.


He has already on several occasions pointed out certain inaccuracies that the aged father thought was okay so I am now blessed with a works foreman and inspector.

He will from now on be referred to as  Dick Dead Eye!!!! For his sharpness in spotting when things are not dead on!!

I hope you like my ideas on clamping and glueing the keel.

You may think on looking at the keel that it is dished downwards at the centre but this is an optical illusion as I have checked it with a straight edge.


M Taylor...thanks for your reply.

This is the biggest model I I ever built in my 69 years of life so it is one big challenge for me.

I am a glutton for punishment and need this to test me out.

When I look at the accomplishments of modellers on this fabulous forum I get very humbled. 

I get very excited at what I see and it spurs me on to try that bit harder.

I am enjoying every minute of it although it taxes my deteriorating brain.






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Onwards with the plot.

The stem, stern post and the first stages of the stern filler blocks are now glued up.

I used Campfor wood for the filler blocks.

The stern is now no longer very fragile.

Provision has been made for the rudder arm to swing and to be connected to the rudder servo.

I may have to use a large servo that used in 1/4 scale model aircraft as it's a pretty big model.

It's almost a miniature ship.

Lovely wood to work with.

When you plane a strip the odour is glorious.

It's cheap out here as it is classed as a weed.

I cannot get pear wood for future models to use as planking because to import raw wood to Australia is very difficult so I think campfor would be a good substitute. 






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I have made a plank planing jig.

Not my idea.

I got it from a modeller called Mathias so his idea not mine....but it works great.

Done a bit of stern carving.

There you can see a blunder of errors whereas I have made the hollow box underneath too deep.

Bit annoyed with myself but it does not matter as it will be planked and glassed over.

The works inspector returned from work and insisted on metal plates to hold the false keel and support the existing oak keel more substantially.

It certainly is strong now!





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Good morning Pete,


thanks for sharing your progress, I very much admire your large version of the "Bluenose" you are at,.....it reminds me a bit of the schooner yacht "America" I built for RC in about the same large size. I wated to build a boat that could be seen, out on the water. The hull was plank on ply frame from mahagony wood planking, and to get her 100% watertight, coated with glasfibre roving mesh and epoxyd resin. The hull had true shape, was very sharp cut and grazile, and I already during the build had doubts if later on I could get enough inboard lead ballast inside at the lowest possible point, stradeling the keel and the neighboured frames. When the first time in water, I was quite disappointed that although the hull itself was a lightweight,

the waterline was already reached with appr. only 3 KG inboard lead ballast, (which would have been far too light for the large sail area to compensate). So the ship without the ballast went to the shelf.  I sold it many years later to a modeling enthusiast in Hamburg and never saw or heared about it after that.

Trust that an removeable exterior fin keel with lead bulb would have been the better choise

Wishing you good success with the "Bluenose". The Billing boats Bluenose, I still have,  was one of the first models I made when I was much younger, because I fell in love with the lines of this beautiful "Glouster Fisher" of the Great Banks



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Hello Nils.

Yes I also love the lines of Bluenose and also wanted something big, not only to show off ...hee hee but importantly that the larger the model the more gracefully and realistic she will sail.

A smaller model will Bob up and down in the water.

I do have my concerns about the weight of the hull being to heavy with all its bulkheads from hard quality marine ply.

The works inspector has assured me that all will be fine. ( I am now in the age bracket whereas my son advises me now!!! )

We are going definately down the line of a false keel.

There is a lot to think about.

I will battle on ahead until we have a floatable hull to test out in the swimming pool and then see what is what.

If it is a disaster I will stop there as it will be too huge as a static model.

Oh dear...I am a bit worried now! 



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Oh Pete!


I do hope my input of the last post did not upset you too much....

Your "Bluenose" will for sure have more displacement capacity to carry a suitable ballast. I will be following your progress with great interest.

I wanted to show you what I meant with the lines of the "America" I built, but did not complete. You`ll see why it reminded me of your "Bluenose". Some years ago my PC broke down, and all the personell files, and hundreds of pics, also modeling pics went lost with it. Fortunately I posted  to a thread here at MSW to my rememberance, where I found my only still existing pics after searching...

Have a nice weekend




Yacht America, hull closed and watertght, but not complete, deck and fitting out started....

The length of the hull was about 1380 mm, as long as the sideboard where its standing on

3 Kg extra internal lead-weight made the hull already reach the waterline   



There were two large hatch plates, under grating and skylight, flush with the deck in order to give access to all RC equipment and winshes etc


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Hello Nils.

Thank you for the pics of America.

It was a shame that it was not to be a sailer.

You made a nice job of the hull.

Nice and smooth.

No you did not in any way upset me.

I have always had the thoughts lurking in my mind as to if my Bluenose will be top heavy due to the bulkheads.

After the swimming pool test and when she is fibre glassed,...if she is too heavy I will buy a special electric tool and simply cut the bulkheads and spine out leaving the outside edges of the bulkheads still glassed to the outer hull.

I dont think it will come to that though.

Only time will tell.




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After much thought indeed I have decided to abandon project.

There are many reasons.

1 I do not have the knowledge to scale down a prototype drawing to enable a working RC scale model.

2 I should have researched more fully.

3 I have listened to experienced modellers and full scale boat builders about the basic requirements for a successful rc sailing model and I have gone about this with enthusiasm but total lack of know how.

4 It is going to end up simply far too heavy the way it is built. It weighs 10 kg already . I include pics of my grandson laying alongside on the wet pavement to appreciate scale. Poor boy but he willingly laid there when told to.

5 If I were to proceed it would weigh at least double and the waterline would end up near the gunwales.

6 I am happy to build boats but I prefer to build designs that are proven and tested as that I believe is my path to success.

I am happy now that the worries with Bluenose are at an end.

I am also happy that I have cut it off the building board and weighed it at this stage as it has affirmed my apprehensions...Too heavy!

I am also a folk singer and this decision falls alongside one of my favourite singer/ songwriter songs...

A lessson too late for the learning by Tom Paxton.

Anyway good bye Bluenose.

I am not sad but rejoice in building new projects that are achievable.

Here are a few pics of Bluennose before it goes to the dump and also a few pics of my new build called Emma.

It is nearly one metre long, hard chine, build from door skins and designed by Gary Webb an American modeller and full scale boat builder. You dont get better than that!

I have much pleasure in building her.

I am aware that most of you model static models so I hope you can appreciate my take on it.

I may open up an Emma thread if there is any interest.

Thanks for your time.








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Hi Pete,

I have high respect for your wise decision to abbandon your "Bluenose project", after investing so much and enthusiastic input so far. Its a pitty at that scale that its probnaly too large for a full rigged stand-model instead.

Do`nt be sad, you`ve gained a lot of experience down the way....

I would also be interested if there were a way (PC program or so) to determine in advance the max possible displacement (weight) for not exceeding the construction waterline. This would of course include an external ballast weight, to compensate  the lateral point of the common sail area at tlting angle, for a RC sailing models.

I saw a report of the rather large RC sailing pilot schooner model "Hesper" and all these thoughts came to mind.....



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On 8/21/2019 at 4:46 AM, Peter Cane said:

I am very interested to know whether or not this "Queen " needs a false keel or not.


9 hours ago, Peter Cane said:

6 I am happy to build boats but I prefer to build designs that are proven and tested as that I believe is my path to success.

Pete - I am sorry to have found your Bluenose build just as you abandoned it. As a fan of schooners I was just about to get excited. 


You were right to be concerned about the sailing characteristics of scale yachts. Simplistically displacement varies as a cube of length (volume) - while sail area varies as a square of length (area). This means as the scale is reduced the sails become proportionately too large in relation to the hull. When sailed this results in the boat lacking stiffness (easily knocked over by modest breezes). This is why extended keels with heavy bulbs are often fitted to scale versions of yachts. The problem however is that the extra weight can mean that the yacht sits lower in the water than might be desired. Scale working yachts are therefore somewhat of a compromise.


If you are looking for a challenge Plans for the Schooner Altair can be bought and made up not either a static or RC working model.

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