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Aug 26, 2009, 07:34 PM
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Brooks's Avatar
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Fore & Main Topsail Schooner Aldebaran

Maiden voyage in light airs.

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Aug 26, 2009, 08:21 PM
Gorgeous is the first word that pops into my head! - Congrats on a job well done - - Jim -
Aug 26, 2009, 10:02 PM
Sl0flyer's Avatar
Yes.. very beautiful - well done

Can you describe its upwind ability?

On a side note.. 4.2 megs for 17 second vid? Apples got ya'll by the tree
Aug 27, 2009, 04:56 AM
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Brooks's Avatar
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Thanks for the kind words,guys :-).

Sloflyer, I love your fish. re big file: But look at the Production Quality :-). Seriously, I have not found a good editor (that preserves fidelity to the original) that does not balloon the file size, any suggestions?

The Aldebaran goes to windward with ease. I can't tell you the exact angle made good to windward; that's hard to figure out on light wind cruises when there are few wind ripples on the water. She sails much better in light winds (speed, course made good, tacks) than my 4-masted barque Pamir. I think that's partly due to the higher masting catching winds aloft, & partly due to the fine run of the hull, reducing drag.

The secret to getting good windward performance in any squarerigger is maximizing yard swing, as discussed by Boyle. For my opus magnum on RC squarerigger design and sailing, you might like to peruse my 2 Pamir barque threads:
Part1 (starts as a free sailer, but soon gets RC, with Boyle url)
Last edited by Brooks; Aug 27, 2009 at 05:19 AM.
Aug 27, 2009, 10:50 AM
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E-Challenged's Avatar
Wow, your write-ups take me back 20 years to my build of the Revell Cutty Sark. I got deeply into square rig sailing lore to understand the functions and routing of the standing and running rigging, the 39 sails and etc, etc. I have forgotten much of the terminology but have retained fascination with the beauty of tall ships and appreciation for the bye-gone technology involved. At 70, I have the same fascination with dirigibles and their technology.
Aug 28, 2009, 02:45 AM
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Brooks's Avatar
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John sails the Aldebaran, 8/27/09:
A light-wind tack with sternboard into a lifting gust,
a broadreach to run,
another light-wind tack,
and a close reach., zipped .mov, 7.9meg
Sep 03, 2009, 12:56 AM
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Brooks's Avatar
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Sailing under F&A's and a single fore topsail.

Short video today, longer version to be posted tomorrow.
Sep 03, 2009, 11:55 AM
Registered User
Longer version movie
compilation1 (1 min 2 sec)
Sep 05, 2009, 09:58 AM
Registered User

A well executed tack.

Camera by John, Sound effects by Fergus Hartley (Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy), Skipper Brooks.

1. Main sheet is tightened to weathervane the hull (I can't see it in the video, I may have forgotten, or I may have tightened before the camera shot).

2. Fore yards are squared-in slightly to relieve pressure fore of the CLR (and also, due to the RC setup, slackening the jibsheets). Both the mainsheet and the forebraces act to assist the turn to windward. In fact, it is possible to tack the Aldebaran w/o using rudder at all. Rudder put over: "Helm's alee".

3. As the ship heads up, the slightly squared fore squaresails go aback, at which point the fore braces are snugged in again to sharply brace the fore squares on old tack. This reduces windage.

4. After the ship goes head to wind, the main braces are hauled: "Mainsail haul"on a regular square-rigger, not sure what the command would be for a fore&main topsail schooner, "Mainsail braces", perhaps? I'll have to ask Fergus since he calls it correctly. This reduces wind drag on the main squares, and also puts them in position to generate lift (thrust) once they fill on the new tack. On Aldebaran, one must be circumspect about hauling the main braces to avoid yard lock with the fore yards. You can see a slight hitch when the foreyards are swung later, indicating that the main yards were interferring with the fore yards, though I've seen worse :-).

5. Main sheet slackened to prevent hull from maintaining a weathervane position. If this is not done, the ship will stall head to wind, then reverse course and back down, surging to leeward under the pressure of the backed foresail - she will maintain this course for quite some time, to the consternation of the skipper :-).

6. After a suitable pause to let the backed fore squaresails push the bow to the new tack, the fore braces are shifted to bring yards onto the new tack.

7. Main sheet slackened a little more to assist bow falling off, and to assist acceleration by avoiding pinching. This is especially necessary when the ship is offshore, too far away to see just how she heads wrt the wind. In the video, the wind was dying, so a nice burst of acceleration was not to be had...but when the wind is steady, Aldebaran shoots off at a good clip - I attribute the better acceleration of this hull vs the Pamir to the very nice keel made by John, and the very fine hull lines in the afterbody, allowing the water to slip away with little turbulence.

8. Tack completed, the world reserve of good seamanship has been increased by a slight factor :-).
Last edited by machdog; Sep 05, 2009 at 10:04 AM.
Sep 05, 2009, 10:09 AM
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The First Mate
Sep 07, 2009, 01:27 PM
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Brooks's Avatar
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Sailing as a Brigantine

I tested a brigantine rig, substituting a new forecourse for the f&a foresail. She sailed fine in very light breezes. In the video, she's moving at about a scale 15 knots.
Last edited by Brooks; Sep 07, 2009 at 06:04 PM.
Sep 09, 2009, 12:02 PM
Registered User

Brigantine tack

John tacks the brigantine. As usual 1st Mate Fergus calls the braces :-)

John also made a beautiful wear, but I cutoff the camera too soon. I have a new camera that can take longer movies, but I am stuck in old, short movie mode, sorry John :-(
Sep 14, 2009, 05:18 PM
Registered User

Brig conversion

Brig conversion of the topsail schooner, sailing on different points. Since she can be trimmed to sail hands-off, I can film straight legs, but don't have enough fingers to film and skipper a tack or wear. She tacks and wears fine, though.

I have a longer movie version which I'll post later

Photos and text here:
Sep 14, 2009, 05:28 PM
meatbomber's Avatar
i love the looks of this model !
Sep 15, 2009, 11:20 PM
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Brooks's Avatar
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Brig sails in Strong Winds

Film notes:

The cruise starts out in winds just right for the skipper's choice of sails, but the wind then builds, and the ship has to work. Notice in the last segment the ship has some weather helm, probably due to the heel. She gets taken aback (my fingers were occupied with camera, so she gets no premptive rudder or bracing commands). She recovers on her own, and thereafter pecks at the wind, heading up, spilling air from the maintopsail, and falling off. It was fun to see the self-correcting behaviour of the brig. Sails rule rudders - get the sails trimmed right and the ship will sail herself.
More text here:
9.4 meg, .mov format, download "strongwinds brig.MOV" from:

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