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Barkentine Gazela Primeiro c.1979 by Jerry Todd in 1:36 scale - Radio

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Way back in 1978 and 1979 I had the privilege of crewing on board an old Portuguese Grand Banks fishing vessel turned sail training ship, the barkentine Gazela Primeiro.  Of all the boats I sailed for pay or pleasure, Gazela is my favorite and my fondest memory.  It was a combination of a sturdy and trust-worthy vessel combined with a crew of wonderful people; that made me feel at home and safer than any other boat I've known.

post-961-0-48509800-1379877327_thumb.jpg <= an 18 year old me after morning wash-down on Gazela.


A bit of the ship's history is available on My site.


I've always dreamt of building a model of Gazela but I could never find her lines.  I spent a lot of time searching, contacting people like the builder of the model in Philadelphia.  Six sheets of plans were drawn up around the time I had sailed her and a profile from that set was included in a book by Allison Saville about the ship.



This was printed on a tabloid sized sheet, and while not perfect, was usable, but I still didn't have a body plan.  One contact had built an old Scientific kit of the boat and still had the instruction sheets.  He photo graphed these for me.



Another contact who had the plans, sent me a a paper photocopy on a tabloid sized sheet.



I scoured the Internet for any images of the boat I could find, especially those of her hauled out of the water.



I tried to reconcile what I had to each other to come up with a working set of plans in the 1:36 scale I wanted.  It was very tedious with all the photography and scanning distortions.

I was getting near to something I could use, but wasn't there yet.



I eventual found the plans drawn up in the 70's at Mystic Seaport.  They were very expensive, but I set my teeth and ordered them, only to hear they they were restricted in making copies.  They steered me towards the Independence Seaport Museum who apparently hold the originals.


These folks are not set up to provide copies of plans.  They offered to digitally photograph the plans for me, or send them out to be digitally scanned.  The cost they estimate for that would be astronomical.  In trying to get across what I'm after, they told me the plans were missing!  Since then they've found two of the six sheets and sent sample photos; they are the same two sheets I show you above.

At this moment, I'm still negotiating with the Museum to get usable copies of Gazela's plans.  If this doesn't work, I'll have to resort to my make-do attempt detailed above.

Edited by JerryTodd
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Once I get the plans nailed down, I'll build this one much the same way I did Macedonian.  In fact, I'll be using the left-over forms from Macedonian recut for this one.  The big difference is this one will be planked in balsa.  My friend Mark gave me a 1" x 10-3/4" x 6' plank of hard balsa that was dunnage in some cargo and he found on a dock.  Besides Gazela, he's going to plank up a 46" schooner with it in the same manner.

post-961-0-60230700-1379942349_thumb.jpg  A mold may be made from this one to produce a couple of hulls in fiberglass.


Mark and I met as teenagers and sailed together on several boats, including Gazela.  He and I sailed a 16' day-sailor, Lydia 200 miles down the Chesapeake Bay from Baltimore to Norfolk, Virginia.  He's a licensed captain and runs tugs out of Baltimore.  He's built a great many models, in fact when I first met him he was bringing a model of the skipjack I was working on down for the captain to see - it was about 3 inches long and loaded with details, oysters on deck, netting in the dredges, and he was 13 years old.


Marks most recent sailing model is his Son of Erin which is about 30" long and convertible between a sloop and a schooner rig.

post-961-0-50380900-1379941990_thumb.jpg  post-961-0-19347700-1379941990_thumb.jpg


Well, coffee's gone, it's back to work setting up the shop.  :)

Edited by JerryTodd
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On 9/23/2013 at 8:43 PM, ccoyle said:

I love the barkentine rig!  It's one of my favorites.

I've always been fond of the "jack-a$$ bark" or hermaphrodite bark rig.  It's a meld of bark and barkentine, or just a bark with a fore-n-aft main course.

JackassBark.jpg.19338a5ea969515f906bccc690295714.jpg  I did this sketch in 97 to show what I was thinking of building what would instead become Constellation.



Edited by GeraldTodd
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  • 9 months later...

I don't know what's happening with getting a copy of the plans from the Independence Seaport Museum, but it looks like it's not going to happen.  I 'm just going to have to fudge it as I initially thought and fair up what I have in hand.


My drawing table was caught in the flood and looks like a delaminated sine wave now, so it's gonna be a while longer before my drawings are ready to build from.

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Jerry, the name caught my eye.  Was this the ship that was docked at the foot of Race (or Arch) St in Philadelphia for many years?  I am probably thinking back to the 70's.  I saw your history and I assume she is/was.  I have not noticed her at Penn's Landing in recent years.  Is she there?



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The name Barkentine caught my eye.  Many years ago I worked at the Barkentine Book Store in California. They only carried books about boats and I spent most of my pay on books from there.


It would be nice if there were full plans for all boats ever built but sometimes all you can do is find as much as you can and then draw the plans yourself.  That’s what I had to do with the HOGA tug.  I’m sure you’ll come closer to the true lines then you feel you can.



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Same Gazela.  I have a bit more about her on my website, some history and such.


If you search for her plans it'll lead you to Mystic Seaport, but they say they don't have copy rights and send you to the Independence Seaport Museum.  They have the plans, or most of them, they're not really sure.  They offered to photograph them for me and didn't want to have them scanned or copied by a blueprinter.  Now I suppose they're just tired of thinking about it and are playing the "ignore him and he'll go away" card.


The model will get built, and it will be as accurate in shape and function as I can make it, despite the Independence Seaport Museum.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks so much for putting up the documentation of the Gazella  hull. I won't say I worked as hard as you have in finding some plans for her ( I want to build her too) but I too found it daunting trying to get my hands on ANYTHING. The closest thing to a plan view I found was a satellite photo of her tied up at the pier she is on. I even know the current captain of Gazella and asked him a couple of times where I could get my hands on the plans and he would always say something to the effect that all I had to do was write, and that they were 'kicking around somewhere".

In my opinion ALL the historic ships managing foundations and not for profit organizations should simply provide the drawings of their ships online, its going to be a good thing for them in the long run if people are able to build models of their ships, there could be no downside for them. Any interest generated in the public concerning their ships will be a good thing for their entire industry.

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie
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  • 1 year later...

I have a LOT of catching up to do!  The Evans model has taken my focus off my own models completely and I'm trying to get Constellation sail-able in open water by early October at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.  I also want to have Pride sail-able by then as well.

Gazela's still literally on the drawing board as the museum isn't interested in making copies of the plans unless I pay them enough to build another boat for their collection, so I have to work from scratch.  It won't be "to the plan" but it'll look that way - if I can ever get back to her again.

Edited by JerryTodd
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Below is a reduced image of the full size plans I've been working on as of today.  They're a lot closer to "finished" at least as using them to cut out forms goes.




sheesh, I need to learn to proof-read

Edited by JerryTodd
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  • 1 year later...

Finally found a set of those plans on ebay, of all places.
They want $60 with shipping, and right when car registration and insurance are due, so, so much for that idea.



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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

The plans arrived after a 7 day tour of central Maryland - thank goodness for Priority Mail!


I had one page scanned at Office Depot, which cost all of $8 USD, and not the astronomical price Independence estimated it would.  I'll get the other pages scanned later not only to re-scale, but to preserve them because they apparently hadn't heard of acid free paper back in 1971 and these are showing some age.



Checking my scan with the paper version to make sure nothing was distorted beyond usability, I found my other drawings based on greatly enlarged images and photos were off, not a lot, but more than I would have preferred.


I started working on scale drawings to work from, which I'll have printed when they're complete, including a pattern for each form, keel, keelson, deck arrangement, and the spar and rigging plan - all full size.




Based on this more accurate information, Gazela, at 1:36 scale, will actually be the smallest of my models. (Pride is 1:20 scale)

  • Length on deck: 50 inches (127cm)
  • Length of hull: 51.3 inches (130.3cm)
  • Beam: 8.8 inches (22.4cm)
  • Beam over the rig (main yard): 18.67 inches (47.4cm)
  • Length over the rig: 59.3 inches (150.6cm)
  • Height overall (less ballast keel): 35.7 inches (90.7cm)
  • Depth (less ballast keel): 5.3 inches (13.5cm)
  • Sail area: c. 247.5 sq inches
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There's differences between the drawings and the actual boat as she appeared in 78/79.  As mentioned before, I refer to photos, especially of her out of the water, to alter my drawings to match. 


The shape of the forefoot is much rounder on the actual boat;


The propeller opening is more complex.  She has a 5 bladed prop today, she had a 3 bladed prop back then;


The shape of the rudder is very different from the drawings;


She was originally an unpowered  schooner.  When they installed an engine, they added the structure aft of the stern post, and lengthened the hull into that yacht-like transom;

Pawtuxent River MD 1979

When I was aboard her in 78 she was all white with buff rails and still had the full house with the wheel enclosed.  In 79 the house was shortened so the wheel was outside and the raised portions of the rails fore and aft were painted forest green.  It's this 79 appearance I plan to finish her in.

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