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Stavanger by mikegerber - Scale 1:15, SMALL, RADIO, Colin Archer design

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I want to begin my log with a description of the project.


The RS14 "Stavanger" (built 1901) is a rescue cutter of the NSSR (Norwegian Society of Sea Rescue). She is one oft he last Colin Archer-designed rescue boat in existence and in her state she is the most original. After a moving life in use she will be exhibited in the Norwegian National Maritime Museum in Oslo alongside the legendary „Fram“, also designed by Colin Archer.




Image below:

- Colin Archer 1905

- Reconstructed rescue operation, RS14 "Stavanger"






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Hello everyone


BelowI will continue with my introduction to the subject.

... A short historical summary about the RS14 you will find in an article of the classic boot magazine, may 2012, Page 29-38: "Stavanger's thousand-mile farewell tour" by Nic Compton (see link).



For my part, the research and the creation of my own drawings about RS14 lasted months and even today still not completed.
This investment was necessary, so that I could be trusted with "Stavanger". To do this, the Book Colin Archer and seaworthy double-ender by John Leather was one of my main sources.
- Book cover.
- Original drawings of the Svolvear class 1901 (RS14 was the third boat of this series).
- Some of my studies of RS14







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Hello again


Well, i like to tell you something more about Colin Archer’s rescue cutter.

The Norwegian name for these boats was Redningskoites, which was abbreviated to the initials RS preceding their names.


The seaworthiness of these boats is legendary. They are designed to resist the toughest conditions. Their area of action extends far into the Arctic Circle

to protect the fishermen of the Lofoten-islands. This is a region where the average annual temperature exceeds hardly the zero degrees. It is really hard to imagine to sail with these small boats under such extrem conditions.



A extract from John Leather, Colin Archer and seaworthy double-ender:


... What were the basic features of Colin Archer’s sailing rescue ships? The ability to ride seas and lie-to without attention in the worst conditions were amongst the principal requierements, but speed to windward was unimportant, though ability to make to windward in very bad sea conditions was naturally necessary. Generally, Colin Archer’s designs for the rescue ships were notable for considerable beam at the deck, often with an overall hull lenght 2.5 times the beam. They had pronounced flare in the bows and quarters, and some flare carried through amidships, which provided reserve buoyancy. A long, straight keel and raking sternpost that curved forward at ist head were other distinctive features. The rudder was narrow and ran the full depth of the sternpost. The staysail was large and the mizzen smaller than is usual with a ketch rig. The mainsail and mizzen were loose-footed, and double reef cringles were fitted in the leech of the mainsail. The staysail foot was cut high to relieve its pressing effect, and so it did not hold water going to windward in bad weather. There were three shrouds on each side, set up with deadeyes and lanyards, but no runners or backstays were fitted – an advantage oft he pole-masted rig. The mizzen was supported by a single shroud on each side, led down unusually forward of the mast. The outer planking was all oak to withstand the scour of floating ice in winter at sea and in harbor. A stout rail (the strict English term is “rough tree rail“) ran from forward to aft on the heads of Stanchions side-bolted to the heads of the frames. The resulting open “bulwark“ allowed water on deck to flow overboard quickly when seas were shipped. Stout bitts aft were intended for towing small fishing boats caught out in bad weather. A wooden davit was fitted on each side oft he bowsprit to lead the anchor chain clear of the bow. The redningskoites carried a lapstrakeplanked Norwegian pram of the original longbowed type ... The pram was stowed upside-down on deck amidships ... A small line-throwing gun could be mounted on a deck pedestal amidships to fire a strong, light line to a distressed vessel, by which a tow line could be sent across.

In bad weather, the rescue ships were very lively but comparatively dry, were never fast to windward or on other points of sailing, but were craft that inspired and deserved the full confidence of their crews in the worst gales. ...



Main dimensions and other data:


Designer: Colin Archer

Shipyard: Colin Archer, Larvik (Norway)

Type: Rescue cutter

Build: 1901

Class: Svolvaer

Name: RS14 „Stavanger“

Years of service: 38 (1901-1938)

Saved sailors (from certain death): 53

Assisted operations: 2996


Length outside stem and stern: 14.35m

Length of waterline: 12.5m

Beam: 4.65m

Draught: 2.35m

Displacement: approximate 27to


Main mast: ø34cm; 13.00m

Main boom: ø14-16.5cm; 6.32m

Main gaff: ø14-10cm; 6.08m

Mizzen mast: ø19cm; 7.30m

Mizzen boom: ø8.5-10cm; 3.30m

Mizzen gaff: ø9,5-8cm; 2.60m

Jib boom: ø21-14cm; 6.60m


Sail area (incl. Topsail): 107.2m2

Jib: 20.7m2

Staysail: 19.1m2

Main: 43.4m2

Top: 13.3m2

Mizzen: 10.7m2

Storm jib: 8m2







Some more impressions








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Hello Michael


Thank you for your interest and follow.


With great interest I am studying your log of the Bristol pilot for months

 and i will of course pursue it.


Question: In a French magazine called Chasse-Marée (nr. 34, march 1988), it is a magazine about maritime history and ethnology, i found a detailed article about the pilot of Bristol. The article is in French but includes very much historical photos and plan material. Is this article known?


For an official posting on the NRG-page i am something troubled because of the copyright. For your personal use, i am however calm. If you're interested in it, i could create scans and email. Is there a possibility to Exchange personal e-mail address on the NRG-page?




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Hello again


My studies and the beginning of the planning of “Stavanger“ go back to the year 2012. Again and again the work has been interrupteed by various reasons. But she was never out of my mind.


In June 2014, i stumbled on NRG'S MODEL SHIP WORLD. Originally because of the sensational images of 'Le Fleuron' by rekon54. Browseing the NRG-page i found the pilot by Michael Mott what inspired me and what newly motivated my work on “Stavanger“ – now i was ready to start with the build.





- start of the build

- wooden part of the keel

- stem

- stern

- raw frames

















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Hello everyone


First of all, thank you for all your likes and views  :) 


Now I would like to present a few thoughts i made about the RS14 as a functional R/C-model.


It is common knowledge and the manner of presentation is somewhat technical. If it should get so bored or everything is known, then please ignore these post.


Either way, for me these studies were helpful because they had a great influence on the choice of my design principle. It is my intension to make dimensions and geometry of the model same as the original. That means, to build a model able to sail without additional keel, etc. Further on the behavior how the model accelerates and turns has to be as close to the original as possible – in other words, it has to be slow.


Such behavior is difficult to obtain in a model scale because the decrease in the reduction let the surfaces shrink only by power of two, however all volumes by power of three. This means, if we compare the original (1:1) with a model in scale 1:15 the displacement decrease 15-times more than the sail area of the model! So, the ratio of sail area and displacement is many times worse than for the original. Why is it so important? As we know, these old boat designs were only able to carry their large sail areas with the help of massive displacement.


For a scale model, these ratio between sail area and displacement can affect super critical the sailing properties. At this point, i have therefore two questions to answer:


What factors are in this context?


1) Selection type of boat and sail plan.

2) Selection of scale.

3) Distribution of total model weight.

4) Arrangement of ballast portion.


What can i do to optimize these factors?


1) Selection type of boat and sail plan:

From the beginning the subject was given to me. Someway, i fell in love with “Stavanger“. It could be only this boat and fortunately this type of ship is suitable as a scale model. This due to a favorable ratio between big displacement and a relatively small sail area.


2) Selection of scale:

At this point, I had to check my intentions somewhat computationally. Experience has shown, that models with a specific sail area of a maximum ratio between 5 to 7 [sail area/displacement] in generally have sufficient stability and endurance at heeling, provided they have a high proportion of ballast. The greater the model (in the sense of model dimensions) is chosen the easier it will be to achieve this goal. I read about all this on various specific modelling web pages (http://www.minisail.ch, http://www.minisail-ev.de and more). So i've calculated ...


Sail area (scale 1:15):

47.6[dm2] = 107.2[m2] / 15^2


Displacement according to John Leather’s book (see post above):

8.0[dm3] = 27’000[kg] / 15^3 = apprx. 27[to] / 15^3


Displacement by calculation based on my CAD studies:

apprx. 7.0[dm3]

Why this difference of 1[dm3] (corresponds to 3’375[kg])? Already for a long time, i suppose when looking at photo documents, that “Stavanger“ lies lower in the water as shown on old plan documents. If I'm not wrong with my calculations, the difference of 1[dm3] causes a lift of the construction water line (CWL) from apprx. 6[mm] in scale 1:15 - what could quite agree ... (see below: overlay with line drawing).


So, i now have information about sail area and displacement in my chosen model scale. What is now the ratio called specific sail area (see above)? We know that a value of 5 to 7 want to be reached.


Specific sail area (scale 1:15):

47.6[dm2] / 8.0[dm3] = 5.96


For the moment it seems to be more realistic to calculate with the described displacement of 8[dm3]. Anyway i will reach the required range with a model scale of 1:15.


3) Distribution of total model weight:

My calculations for the intended keel design will result in about 5[kg] (Lead). The total weight is probably 8[kg], equal to the displacement. Further on experience has shown that a ballast portion of at least 60% of the total model weight is required to let those models sail well – so that looks good. My aim remains furthermore as much as possible to realize weight below the CWL and a light construction above the CWL.


In this context i decided for the following measures:

- Thin plywood frames (birch 4mm). Hence the decision to build the hull up-side-down. This way the thin frames are well fixed on the basic board.

- Dimension and the number of frames are model technically justified (see below).

- Ballast keel is maximized, wooden portion of the keels is minimized. the keel does not match to the original being this way – a R/C-model technical sacrifice that i have to take, but all less bad as the hull is painted (see below).

- maximum deep position for trim weights (see below).

- further i intend to optimize many other components above the CWL – of which i will report you later.


4) Arrangement of ballast portion:

The ballast distribution influences agility and thus the appearance of the model. As it is my intention, the longitudinal arrangement of the ballast will have a straight course effect. As a result, the boat will less unnatural wobble as this is the case by a central arrangement of ballast, also its turnaround will be slower and is more similar to the original.






- Overlay with line drawing

- Location of frames

- Original keel design

- Model keel design

- Areas for trim weights









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Mike She certainly can take the weather. When I read your notes about scale effects and the issue of having the model sail in a scale fashion, I was reminded that when Judy and me did the ballast test on the pilot cutter earlier this summer, there was a stability that that I liked about the way the water acted on the hull. What I am trying to say is that even with some ballast missing the hull moves gracefully and did not bob about like a model. I know that sounds funny but I think you know what I mean. 


And I want to say that your woodwork looks top notch.



Edited by michael mott
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Hello Michael


Thanks for visiting and comment.


... certainly, i can well imagine it, i have read from your test – am sure, you'll have no stability problems in scale 1:8, she will sail as the original.


I'm already looking forward to your first small pilot video movie ...   :) 




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Hello again


back to work in the workshop ...


In the next step, the frames are now completely drawn on the plywood and sawn with the scroll saw.


Also, the clamps are being prepared in 4mm birch plywood and and equal to

the frames they has a model-technical shape.


After that parts are assembled dry try. Keel, stem and stern are also unfinished and still in progress.


The frames get well fixed and adjusted with aluminum angle. Chipboard blocks are be used as a temporary stabilization.






- some little progress ...






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Hi Mike

Between 2000 and 2007 I had the pleasure of been the Captain of RS 77 a 75 food decedent of Colin Archer.

Fredrikstad is a 72 foot steel hulled rescue ship 20 foot beam  13 foot draft weighing in at 136 tones built in 1969 

We took the ship to the city of Fredrikstad ( the city raised the money to build the ship hence the name) just south of the Oslo fjord in 2005 for the Tall ship regatta where we third up along side quite a few original NSSR sailing ships and went to the local shipyard devoted to rebuilding them

As we traveled through out the country we where met with a slight Hero's welcome. As he ship was still in working order although it had been converted in to a luxury yacht. We met old crew members and even one man who's father had been saved by the ship.

the Norwegian NSSR have a very large data base with hundred of photographs in the archives and even all the original Log books from the ships 

I am sure if you need and details they will be very happy to help 

Good luck with the build 

following along in the arm chair 


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Hello Dimitris, Nils, Andrew, Michael

I appreciate all your feedback - thanks a lot   :) 
@Dimitris, @Michael
Yes, I'm satisfied neatly with the skeleton. At the moment I'm working on the preparation of planking. It is my intention to provide the hull with original planking. This is a real challenge for me to get the right geometry ...  :huh: ... and the double Ender shape also makes it not easier. I like to report you later about it.
Yes, i will equip the boat with R/C. I've never done this bevor, so i'm curious. There will not be a prop, because i want to keep me as exactly as possible to the original. The first generations of these boats had no engines. In the course of time many were fitted, so also the famous RS1 "Colin Archer". RS 14 had no engine until the end.
see link: make clear and take off (without prop) ...
It is of course a honor to me, to know a RS-Skipper in my workshop  :) 
With interest I read your experiences with the RS77. And yes, i have read about it, in comparison with other tall ships, the RS-boats can keep up quite well - what of course says also something about the qualities of the skipper!
Edited by mikegerber
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Good morning nils
I have to correct myself: 
"... In the course of time many were fitted, so also the famous RS1 "Colin Archer". RS 14 had no engine until the end ..."
From the year 1946 onwards, there was also a time where RS14 had an auxiliary prop - but i don't know the year when RS14 again was reinstated to the original.
The former rudder with cut-out for the propeller.



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Thanks everyone for looking in, the comments, the infos, the questions, the likes!


My next construction step concerns the manufacturing of the ballast keel. It is a lead keel and I've decided to cut these out of the full. Of course I thought also at a build of a casting mould and so on ... The idea that I have to melt the lead, the toxic fumes, the fireproof mould – I had too much respect for all this things.


To say it right: By drilling and sawing, I have regretted my decision a couple of times. It is probably not the hardness of the material which is so laborious. It is the fact that the lead turns softer and softer until it almost melts by drilling and sawing. The tools are immediately bonded and will stuck!


If any of you wants to drill or saw lead, these are the lessons that I've learned:



Little bit for little bit.

Allow to cool down again and again.

Drill on lowest speed with high torque.

Provide chip flow.

Best results with sharp wood working drills.

Stay away from cutting oil!



Section split into small pieces.

Use the sharpest wood working saw that you can find.

Best result with Japanese wood saws with progressive course of cutting force.

And now – use so much cutting oil as you can!


Please use gloves and a dust mask, the lead is anyway toxic!






Manufacturing the keel step by step



Longitudinal section, cross sections and plan.



Leveling drill of the blank.



Level grinding of the blank.



Result of level grinding.



Drilling of through holes.



Melted chips.



Leveling again.



Check: All aligned - I'm pretty happy!



Mounting the saw guide and cutting stages.



"Done" part 1.



Part 2 in preparation.



Assembly of the keel and the saw guide.



Work in progress.






"Done" part 2.

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