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Old Oct 13, 2014, 12:03 PM
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Questions from a newbie

Hi All!

I am really glad I found this forum so full of great projects to take inspiration from.

I have a bit of modeling experience but zero regarding boats (both modeling and sailing). However recently I've become charmed by the age of sail, and I'd like to join this hobby.

But first I do have a few questions for you experts, if you don't mind.


The first one is about transport. I plan on building a 3-masted ship with an around 1m long hull. Completed (with masts on), it won't fit in my car. I've seen IOM boats can remove mast and sails, so I guess the same principle can apply here and I can build it a in way that the masts are removable, is that right?
However an IOM boat has quite a simple rigging, while a 3-masted ship, with all the sails and the stays, is quite complicated. Is it feasible to have removable masts? And how complicated/time-consuming is putting everything back on?


The second is about sailing difficulty. I've never sailed anything before. I am reading the beautiful Seamanship in the Age of Sail (of which I've seen the reference on this forum) to learn a bit about it, but I was wondering if it is feasible to learn with a 3 masted ship or if I should start with an easier 1-mast fore-and-aft sail only.


Thanks everyone and excuse my English.
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Old Oct 13, 2014, 01:21 PM
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Here is a HUGE thread that involves building large sailing ships that might give you some ideas:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=520465

The thread is about 200 pages long. To save time, you might want to use the "view all images in thread" function, pick out an image that might be helpful, then use the image to go to the page you want. These ships usually ended up with jointed masts or removable mast sections to make transport possible.

A fore-and-aft rig is much simpler to sail, and does not require as much space to go about. A square rig is a bit more difficult, but one can learn this with a bit of guidance. The book you have gives good square rig sailing technique, and there are several members of RCGroups that would be happy to help you.

Example: First picture and discussion is here:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...89#post9597144

A second picture and discussion is here: Note the joints at the bottom of the masts.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...520465&page=41
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Old Oct 14, 2014, 08:02 AM
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"...I was wondering if it is feasible to learn with a 3 masted ship or if I should start with an easier 1-mast fore-and-aft sail only."

I'd suggest building a small fore-and-aft sailboat first.

With a smaller hull and few sails, you'll likely build and finish the boat faster. This will get you on the water learning to sail. Build a half meter boat with a short fixed mast that is easily transportable. With this building a sailing experience, your 1M three-masted boat will be that much better.

For example, a gaff main sail will need a shorter mast and give you practice on building another later for the 1 M boat.

Here a couple of images that may be of interest...
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Old Oct 14, 2014, 02:01 PM
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Fore & aft rigged sailboats, such as the 3 illustrated by Gammon Iron, are easier to sail, to be sure. If you are into quick gratification, (like me, usually,hoho), then that would be a good way to enter the RC sailing world. Many of the skills you acquire learning to sail a f&a vessel will transfer to your eventual squarerigger.

On the other hand, if you have your heart set on square rig, more power to you :-). I love squareriggers, and if you have the patience and the *right pond*, then starting with a boat you desire will work. One suggestion, start with a 2 masted brig or brigantine, rather than a 3 master. This will make your build much less complicated. There is only limited room below decks for the rc gear; squarerigger gear can be hard to shoehorn into place. By starting with 2 masts, you give yourself a break. The tacking and wearing of a brig is identical to the same maneuvers with a 3 masted frigate. The skills are immediately transferable to the larger vessel.

The Pond - a beginner will inevitably have to retrieve his squarerigger from the shoreline due to not being able to sail back to the launch point. If your pond allows access all the way around, then retrieving your boat will be simple. The worst place to learn to sail any boat is a large lake with the far shore inaccessible. There have been reports here on RCGroups where modelers lost their ship on the maiden voyage simply due to not being able to get to the wayward craft before it sailed out of sight.

The pond I sail on most frequently is about 4 acres, and has a path all the way around. Another benefit from my pond (which is in a newish subdivision's park): * Few trees* so clear wind without swirls prevails. It is impossible to work a model squarerigger to windward if the wind is swirling about. If you can't work to windward, then you will end up stranded on the lee shore. Be sure you have access to the lee shore!
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Old Oct 14, 2014, 02:08 PM
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Now, having recommended f&a or a brig, I confess I started my squarerigger modeling with 4 masted barque "Pamir", as seen in my icon. I made all the rc gear deck-mounted (rather than below decks). This helped hugely in debugging the gear to work properly, at the expense of non-scale appearance when the ship is on land (at sea, deck details so quickly fade from view, that onlookers will probably never notice).

A super simple way to get started would be to build a topsail schooner using a juice bottle as a hull. Great for learning to sail, and for learning rc techniques for both f&a and square sails. You'd possibly have a boat to sail before winter ice closes your pond. Of course, at that point, you can make an rc iceboat.

My Pamir thread part 1 (note: boat starts out as a free-sailer, then is converted to rc):
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=743611

My Topsail schooner bottle boat:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1071509

Iceboat:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=779686
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Old Oct 15, 2014, 05:47 AM
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Thank you everybody for your answers. A lot of useful input!

Foldable masts? Interesting. Some stays would still need to be detached but it can probably done quickly. Will look into more details in that thread, thanks.

Luckily my pond won't freeze. It's not too big, and there is an island in the middle of it, but, I can walk all around it so it should be safe for a beginner (plus there is a boat). Youtube view of the Pond.

For my first sail I didn't mean to care much about scare-appearance of the vessel, just meant for something that would sail like a scale one.

I have to say those schooners don't look half bad, for some stupid reason when thinking of a 1 masted boat I was only considering Bermuda rigged ones...

Thanks again, I've got much food for thought so I'll read and ponder a bit more.

Maybe the bottle boat can be a good start while working on a more satisfying project.
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Old Oct 15, 2014, 11:53 AM
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My Aldebaran has been sailed as a topsail schooner, a brig, and a brigantine. So, you can change the rig of a model boat fairly easily; btw, the real ships also changed rigs occasionally, at least the smaller, commercial vessels.
Aldebaran threads:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1096365
as a Brig:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1109292

Another bottle boat, a gaff sloop:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1078321

Search for threads by Meatbomber. He has made several successful conversions of static sailboat kits (meant for the mantle) into small rc sailboats. This is a neat way to get a squarerigger with scale details :-)
MB's HMS Bounty (3 masted squarerigger kit)
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1224940

MB's St.Helena (hermaphrodite brig kit)
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1174628

MB's scratch-built brig US Somers
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1124958

MB's scratch-built footy brigantine HMS Larne
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1110506
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