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Maine three masted schooner by Bedford - Radio - 1:54

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Well I figure it is about time I start a new build and post up a thread. This will take a while so be very patient.

I love tall ships, I love tall ship models and I love scratch building working models. Hence this project.

I aquired a fairly rudementary set of hull plans a few years ago and am now in a postition to put my money where my mouth is and build it.

The aim is a fully operational schooner done my way. It will be what aeromodellers used to call stand-off scale because I am making consessions to my lack of knowledge about the forces that will be applied to her under sail as well as the fact that the plans include nothing of the rigging and precious little detail of the deck fittings.

I know how to rig a ship because I have done a few kits, two schooners among them.

I have never sailed anything in my life so she will be made in the guise of a replica or restored ship which has had engines added, ie she will have twin screws like the replica Endeavour. She will never be becalmed.

Hull length - 1045mm
Beam - 210mm
Mast height - 930mm from keel
Sails - Cotton (at this stage- open to suggestion) 3x sails, 3x top sails, 3x stay sails.
Construction - Marine ply keel and ribs, plank on frame, fibre-glassed.

I have started in an unusual way in so much as I have made the masts first. I was going to make one to test the principles but decided that it was going to be much more expedient to machine multiple parts in one hit than do three seperate set-ups.

The first pic shows the style of schooner rig I am aiming for.


Squaring the top of the masts


It is nice to be able to use full sized tools on a model for a change


Cross tree or tressle, the timbers are a bit heavier than scale and not tapered to the outer extremeties but they are what the top mast shroud lines will attach to so they are deliberately heavy for structural reasons.


Machining the mast tops, all three at once.


Edited by Bedford
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I sincerely hope I fail to disappoint but this is my first attempt at such a thing. I like to work all the mechanics and problems out my way but will always welcome suggestions.


The masts and tressles are made of Tasmanian Oak which is readily available here and quite strong.


More pics, that is a 12 inch rule behind the mizzen mast.





Edited by Bedford
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Jim Lad, She should stand in the back of this one, I will have to lay her over a little to get her in.




Failing that if I take the back seat out, which is dead easy, she will fit fully rigged in there.

I have another large 4 door sedan with a fold down rear seat too so if I make a suitable cradle it would lie in the boot of that.


He said, hopefully!



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Well, this is certainly a pleasant surprise.  Big schooners have always been one of my favorites.  And an R/C project brings added challenges.


If there's still room, I'll pull up a chair.

Yeah I love them and hopefully she will look good under sail. She has great classic lines too.

I made Thermopylae years ago and still have the plans, I want to make that in this size and r/c her but that is a major task running all that rigging via r/c and learning to sail her so I thought a classic schooner first.


This project might put me right off the Thermopylae idea too, you never know, but I do enjoy a mechanical challenge.

Edited by Bedford
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Now you've gone and spoiled my fun, I imagined all kinds of folks sitting at their computers scratching their heads and eventually googling "esky" :D


As for sailing her, we have a beautiful lake just out of town called Lake Canobolas, no power boats and not so big it gets a chop going under normal conditions. It is generally fairly calm. Even a 50mm wave will represent a 2.7mtr swell so I think the lake should be good. I might want to find somewhere less populated to learn to sail her though because I don't want to show up with a beautiful big schooner and look like a novice.



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Well what a week, I feel like Shaz, always something else going on. Back and forward to Sydney with dad in and out of hospital, all well now hopefully.


Time to start the hull so I marked out and cut card templates and have started cutting the ply.




I started cutting with a fret saw but it didn't take long to realise that not only was it going to take forever but it wasn't going to be accurate enough. struggling to hold the piece with one hand and saw with the other isn't the best way so I bit the bullet and bought another tool for my workshop....




Three ribs cut but I will cut all the centres out in one go when I have them all cut to the ouside profile because the saw blade needs to be dismounted and fed through a drilled hole before re-mounting to cut out the centres.




The keel..............that is long !!!





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Steve, impressive, and I am not sure even that is the proper word given the size and scope of this build. Wow, I want to do a great big one...maybe then my fingers wont be so darn clumsy around all the fiddly little pieces. I really like the lines of the schooner, I had never really looked at them before, but I think I might have to consider one after the Syren nears completion. Yep, we both know about life and all, sometimes 24 hours in a day is nowhere near enough and you start to feel like you are drowning in responsibility and things left undone or unfinished. I have taken peeps advice from here and just stepped back from the building and focused on the "real" things. It did help to be reminded that this is a hobby to do at my own pace and leisure, not a job. Glad someone slapped me in the face with that, it allowed me to put my focus on real-world issues, get them out of the way, and then come back to the building table with a clear head and a new focus. Makes all the difference in the world. I hope things with your dad settle down. Looking forward to following this build!

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Augie, none have a flatter roof than my Land Rover, trouble is it is just over 2metres tall so I would end up with a rig over 3 metres tall :D

She will fit inside one way or another.


Robbyn, correct me if I am wrong but didn't I once read that you were an english professor? Surely you of all people can come up with an adequate superlative for such a build :D Seriously though, she is a big project and I am looking forward to having bigger bits to work with. As for you making a schooner I don't think I have seen many in kit form so good luck. They are much easier and quicker to rig  than square rigged vessels due to the small number of sails and corresponding timberwork to control.



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I may be accused of getting ahead of myself but I have bought some hardware, some from a very good model ship supplier in Australia I have dealt with many times and the balance, because the Aus one doesn't do R/C, from England.


First a couple of motors with reduction gearboxes, on reflection I may only need one of these and a gearbox with contra-rotating outputs to drive both props but we shall see when she is at the stage I can float her in the bath and test her.




Two prop shafts with brackets to stand off the hull, too hard to explain adequately so watch and see. They claim to have water proof seals, again, we shall see.




Two props, 1 left hand and 1 right hand. Good scale size but may be too small in service but I will see when she floats.




Two anchors, they are the right size but have wooden stocks which might be incorrect for the period. I could not find a decent looking pair with metal stock and balls though.




The single most important part of this build............an automatic bilge pump!

Very cheap insurance and it comes with a light that you can mount outside the ship so you know when it is working. Assuming you only sail at night ! It is so dull I would never see it in the Australian sun but my son had a brilliant idea. Ditch the bulb and use the signal to drive a small auxilliary winch motor to raise a flag, I'm thinking a distress flag !

Once the flag is seen the order will be given "All ahead full and make for the nearest landfall"







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Right, my first request for input.


We all know what the inside is going to look like, a keel down the middle and ribs spaced along it, when planked there will be a void between each rib either side of the keel which I will need to be able to drain bilge water from.


If I drill holes in each rib to allow flow I then have to go to great lengths to make sure they are sealed completely to stop water getting into the ply and it will weaken the structure, if they are right at the bottom to allow all water to drain out then there will be nothing solid for the bottom planks to attach to.


I am thinking of sealing the interior with epoxy then using some sort of pourable silicone if one is available.


The idea is to lay her to one side and pour silicone into each void on the low side and when set repeat for the other side. This should give me a gentle "V" in the bottom so water will be easy to collect and pump out, also being silicone it will seal extra well and a little water left behind will dry out naturally with hatches open and not do any harm.


Does that sound feasable and does anyone know of such a product, I think I have seen it for use in making moulds.




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Steve - I am sorry I can't help with the silicone. I don't have any experience with that. But I can tell you from my experience with R/C sailing that you do want to seal everything with Epoxy. Out club often takes the sheet of ply and gives it a layer or 2 of West Systems Epoxy before beginning the build. For the first layer use a scraper to lay on a thin coat and then sand it off. Your goal is to waterproof the wood. When you add the second layer use a finer sandpaper for the finish coat. I do this to both sides of the ply. Having said all of the above I have had very little trouble with water inside. I have not found the need to drain it.

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After two days of cutting, sanding and filing.........................


I took this pic on the bonnet of my Land Rover to give a good idea of size








The ribs are not completely set yet, there is still a little fine tuning to be done to get them into exactly the right position but I thought it worthy of a few pics and a post.



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