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Old Dec 22, 2012, 02:32 PM
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Control System for Topsail Sloop c. 1740?

Hello, Gentlemen-

My name is Clay and I'm an experienced scratchbuilder, but a beginner at RC sail. My first build is going well as a model, but my confusion in choosing a control system plan and layout is making my head swim! The ship is the Bermuda Sloop, from Chapman's book, a circa 1740 topsail sloop. I've attached a copy of the sail plan. The model is the largest I can do and keep it in one piece as it fits into my wife's SUV, 5/16"=1'. The hull proper is about two feet long, with a maximum breadth of 8" 'midships. She would generally have sailed with jib, foresail, gaff mainsail and the small square topsail. The other sails would only have been used in unusual conditions. As you can see from the photo, I have two spaces for control gear below removable hatches, the small one under the quarterdeck (for the rudder servo) and the large one (about 8" long and about 4" or so wide, a bit more 'midships for everything else.

In my control "stash", I have now accumulated a Fly Sky CT6B programmable 6 channel transmitter and its six channel receiver, a 2500 maH NIMH battery, an on-off and charging switch, an EXI B1226 winch servo, an EXI B1221 "regular" servo, and four GWS Mighty Micro metal-geared, BB winches. Can't figure out which to use and how to set it up. Can you help?

Thanks,

Clay
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Old Dec 22, 2012, 03:20 PM
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Hi Clay

Very nice! look forward to seeing more as you progress.

kind regards
Tim
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Old Dec 22, 2012, 03:21 PM
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Bermuda Sloop "Whoops"!

Sorry, Guys-
As you probably noticed at the end of my note, the GWS Mighty Micros are regular servos, not winches.

Clay
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 01:29 PM
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Ooops.....duplicate.....see below.....
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Last edited by beneteau3; Dec 23, 2012 at 01:48 PM.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 01:47 PM
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Hello Clay! Looks like a great start on your ship! Rigging your topsail sloop should be pretty easy to do successfully. I found a good written source to be "An Introduction to Radio Controlled Scale Sailing Models" by Phillip Vaughan Williams, published by Traplet Publications Ltd. Otherwise, there are several riggers in this Scale Sailboat section that will have expert advice - just wait a bit for response. I am currently sailing a topsail schooner of 1812 which has been great fun.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 05:39 PM
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Control System for Topsail Sloop c. 1740?

Thanks, b3-

I've got the Phillip Vaughan Williams book and have read it about twenty-six times! I'm still confused! How do you decide between a winch with an endless loop and a single (or multiple) double-arm servos? How do you figure out where to attach sheets to the loop? Can you do all of the sail on one loop.- fore-and-aft as well as square sails? Where do you find the space to put all those extra blocks and pulleys for the extra length needed for regular servo use with their limited travel? Is there any advantage to bolting a double arm to a winch to turn it into a very high rotation angle servo, using programming to reduce the winch rotation? And many more questions, of course...At least it's interesting!

Your topsail schooner looks great!

Clay
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 07:20 PM
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My 2' hull topsail schooner Aldebaran uses servo-arm style control. Rudder, mainsail, main square topsails, fore square topsails, and jibs use 4 channels and 4 servos: 3 sail servos, 1 rudder servo, all Hitech 225MG, I think. Metal gears are my preference for sailboats, less chance of stripping gears if the sails slat, or if you are taken aback. If you are interested in that type of setup, read the thread, and I'll be happy to clarify.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1096365
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Old Dec 24, 2012, 01:05 AM
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Thanks, Brooks-

I already had your posts bookmarked! Nice work- and thanks for the note.

Clay
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Old Dec 24, 2012, 08:51 AM
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Clay,
Seems for one approach you would need one servo with 60deg rotation for rudder (a standard rotation servo), one double arm servo (with 140-180deg rotation) to control both the driver and headsails (one arm for each to let sails in/out)) and one double arm servo (with 140-180deg rotation) to rotate the squaresails. But I have no experience with this kind of rig.
One potential issue I see from the drawing is that with the single centrally located mast, the angle of the yard braces down to deck is extreme. Braces will pull more downward than more laterally for rotation. Again, I'm not up to speed on this configuration. Brooks has really wide knowledge of how to control many types of rigs.
As far as details, it takes me a lot of trial and error and testing to get things to work right - all part of the fun.
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Old Dec 24, 2012, 10:57 AM
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Thanks for the information, DanL. That is the general direction I've been moving in. The tops'l sloop rig is pretty much the same as the classical cutter rig. The topsail and its spreader yard (the latter being *below* the square course yard when used)- all being hoisted on a "horse" forward of the mast- have braces that go forward to the bowsprit, then aft to the midships deck. The spreader yard often has has aft braces also, perhaps to balance that part of the rig and keep the yardarms from dipping (?). I've attached the late Merritt Edson's cutter square sails running rigging plan to show what I mean.

I'm beginning to think of using just one servo for the sails, a double arm bolted to the drum of an EXI B1226, for all three needs, programing it to about 180 degees total, and thus providing all the mobility and power I need. A second small servo would do for the rudder.

Happy Holidays,
Clay
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Old Dec 24, 2012, 12:46 PM
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My servo setup is quite simple so far. I am not as skilled as some of the other participants in this Scale Sailing Models group. Brooks is a great resource for help. Dan is exceptionally talented. For your information, I have attached a few pix of my existing rig. Basically, one servo runs all of the fore and aft sails, another (not pictured) for the rudder. I do not have operating square sails on the foremast - I have attempted to run them with a dedicated servo, but was dissatisfied with the result. Maybe next summer. Anyway, I used information from the P.V. Williams book as a guide, such as the illustration page 71 for the jibsail sheets. I also use the system illustrated on page 72 to "Multiply the Travel of a Sail Arm Servo Control Line" - I used this on all of my sails because the servo arm could not be made any longer because of the hull width (beam). I am sure there are better and more sophisticated ways of doing all of this, but this is the way I have it so far.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 09:14 PM
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Thanks, b3-
I'm heading in that direction.

Clay
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Old Dec 26, 2012, 12:47 PM
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Just a couple of comments about my square topsail attempt. I tried using a dedicated winch servo to control my square topsail but had problems with slack in the sheets which led to the lines coming off the winch. I might try something like DanL has created or try something with an arm servo which is not as bothered by slack in the lines. By the way, my schooner is actually the same hull as DanL's but I converted it from a squaresail brig to a schooner for its inherent rig simplicity and so I could operate in the smaller ponds used by my sailing club - Square rig ships need alot of space to successfully maneuver.

Keep us informed of your build! Looks like you have a great start, and will soon be able to hit the water.
By the way, if you happen to use YouTube, look for "formerparatrooper" videos which have some fun sailing that we did together with these SC&H kits.
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Old Dec 26, 2012, 07:42 PM
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My Dear Mr. Beneteau3,

"Square rig ships need a lot of space to successfully maneuver."

Surely you jest! Square rigged ships are far more maneuverable than a schooner. Why else did they dominate in battle? I can sail my square-sailed vessels backwards, stop on command, tack and wear, etc. I can even beat to windward in reverse, try that with a fore&aft vessel (it's called backing and filling, and was used by tea clippers in China, and by British boatmen in the British Isles).

The only thing I can't do is point as high to windward on a beat as your schooner. I concede this deficiency, with grace. If I am racing a pirate schooner up a narrow channel, and we are both beating, well, that pirate can laff and laff at my efforts, to be sure. Not that I'm accusing you of Piracy, my good man. But to say that square riggers need lots of room to maneuver is an intolerable liberty on your part, Sir! If I were a less tolerant man, I might even say ...well, I just won't.

In the interests of educating the honorable Gentleman, may I suggest perusal of the relevant chapters of John Harland's "Seamanship in the age of sail"? Tacks and wears in a squarerigger take skill, and Mr. Harland shows how to improve one ability to maneuver with dexterity.

Your obedient servant,
Brooks

ps. The simplest way to rig a square topsail is via parallelogram braces using a servo arm. No messy mare's nests of line below deck, for which my crew is grateful.
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Old Dec 26, 2012, 08:32 PM
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Ta, mate!

(Harland's in my library, also. Actually spoke to him- at least via email, about sailing square topsail sloops, as that data isn't in his book.)

Clay
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