Wawona build - RC Groups
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Jan 03, 2010, 02:05 AM
Dragon Slayer
ropanach's Avatar

Wawona build

Well you guy's have gone and done it,

I have been building boats & ship sence the 50's most of them have been static, and a lot of copys for frinds and family, I've only been building R/C's for about 5 years, and I love it, because I get to play with them when they are built.

So where am I going with this, I've started getting things to gether to buil the Wawona Schooner, so you will need to forgive me for some fuzzy pic's now and then,And spelling airers, I still do not have any prints of decks and all of the above, mast rigging, ballard sets, belay pin stations, so I will get the hull worked up and go from there. She will be built out of mohageny, I get the wood from old palets that are thrown away by shipping outfits. There's alot of nice wood out there if you keep your eyes open.

Thus far I have cut the side planks & keel, worked up a set of drawings I got from Historic American engineering records, not complete but what I have will do for know.

I am not to sure about how to R/C the rigging yet, it looks like it will be a test of what I've found on here from all of you that have built a sail rig, I have built a 36/600, and she sails like a dream for me any way.

With out further ado, some pic's
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Jan 03, 2010, 09:28 AM
Mmm, tugs...
patmat2350's Avatar
Rop- Looks like you're using the HAER drawings:

Between the photos there, their sail plan, and just "typical" practice, you should be able to sort out everything on top.

But don't put off thinking about the R/C! You may well need to construct a lot of gear inside the hull that will be inaccessible later. Even a simple schooner sail plan can take some big gear.

I've only built one R/C schooner, a Robbe kit:

so I don't know all the techniques in use out there... but this one had a big chain drive unit (think about a garage door opener!) for the main and schooner sheets... had to be built and installed under the deck before the deck was permanently attached to hull, yikes:

And, even though Wawona carries her sails relatively low, I'll wager the model will enjoy a false keel... need to plan for that now too.
Last edited by patmat2350; Jan 03, 2010 at 09:38 AM.
Jan 03, 2010, 01:15 PM
Registered User
captmsr's Avatar
You can also get information and details from her near sistership, C A THAYER in San Francisco. A great model to build, a trubute to the WAWONA, RIP.
Jan 03, 2010, 02:06 PM
Mmm, tugs...
patmat2350's Avatar
HAER has THAYER too!


Jan 03, 2010, 02:28 PM
Registered User
Great subject, Ro! was sad to hear about the recent end of the Wawona... Thayer recently came out of a major restoration and looks fantastic. When I last saw it about a year ago it had not been rigged yet but the hull looked good as new (probably better)

Looking forward to watching your project!
Jan 03, 2010, 04:00 PM
Dragon Slayer
ropanach's Avatar
I got the keel,rudder set, billethead, cut out and filed to fit, I will need to make another keel though this one has a slite twist I did not see.

yes they are HAER plans, I read/looked at the pic's of your schooner build, I need to go over again for it's been a wile sence I looked there, I had planed on installing lead ballast as low in the hull as posible, I have 36" X 4" of room to place it, plus I chose Mahogeny to give the hull the exstra whight, because I didn't wont to add a bulb to the bottom of the boat witch by the way is 44' X 9 1/2" X 5 1/4" did not calculate the scale just blow up the plans.


I found the C.A. Thayer plans as well but when you try to print them they are ditorted ( by the program ) to the point that I can't get good mesurements from them, I see no where to buy these plans, those are the plans I was going to use because they are so complete.


I was a bit distraut about her going under the hammer my self, And I think some one shoud go to jail, there was a lot of time and money that went in to her restoration that is gone, I don't know the entire story as to why they made that dissetion, but it chaps my hide that they did. Hope this project comes along well, I've built ships in the past that I wonted to put in the water because I know thay they would have sailed like the real thing, but that was before I found R/C
Jan 03, 2010, 08:05 PM
Dragon Slayer
ropanach's Avatar
I just finnish planeing down some mahogeny for the ribs, I posted the pic to show you can find in those FREE wood bins on the road way now and then, this was part of a old pallet I pic up a wile back in one of those bins.
The steel ruler at the side is 24".
Jan 06, 2010, 08:18 PM
Dragon Slayer
ropanach's Avatar
Got some of the stantions laid out to be cut today,

Built a soaking tube for the planking wood,
It's a 4" pvc tube 36" long, with a cap glued to the bottom and the top sanded so I can get it off. throw in some planks, add some ammonia put the top on so it don't smell up the shop.

With that done now I can start on the build board, get ready to start laying wood.
Jan 07, 2010, 10:04 AM
SCALE Sailor
JerryTodd's Avatar


Using good wood (as opposed to plywood, MDF, etc), you might consider built up frames. You get more strength, a lot less waste, and generally make better use of the wood.

What I attached is only a rough sketch, it could be made up of more futtocks which would run the grain even better and use even shorter pieces (even less waste) - both reason why real boats are built in that manner.
Jan 07, 2010, 07:51 PM
Dragon Slayer
ropanach's Avatar

Thanks for the suggestion, I had forgoten about that, I have so much wood stack behind the wood shop I don't think about saveing any, this prosses will also make the stantion stronger. don't need to worry about then craking on the grain in thin areas
Jan 07, 2010, 09:09 PM
Hey Ropanach,

I've been working on the Thayer for a few months now. I'm currently designing a mechanism to allow the booms to swing. Rather than feeding line out from one side while taking it up on the other, I was thinking of simplifying the whole set-up to just feed out line to the booms. They would swing freely from one side to the other as the ship tacked only the tension on the boom could be adjusted as needed. Anyway, here's my progress so far.

Jan 07, 2010, 11:53 PM
Dragon Slayer
ropanach's Avatar
She looks good, That is how I am going to set sails as well, I will be running the line through a copper tube from the servo to the deck, that way it will be inclosed, it doen't snag on any thing when your line becomes loose when tacking, I'v done this on other boats and it works very well and the line seems to last longer.

It looks like your thayer is about 40" long or is it?
Jan 08, 2010, 11:16 AM
43" hull loa to be exact. As far as her hull construction, I found an interesting technique from another website. I built a "buck" representing the inside dimensions of the hull. The buck was then covered with foil and packing tape. 1/4" by 1/16" pine strips were then stapled and glued to the buck. After the entire buck is covered and the glue has dried, the staples are removed and the whole thing is sanded smooth. Then a second ply of pine, staples and glue is applied. Staples removed and sanded again. Finally, a third ply of pine in the area of the hull that will be painted black and a ply of mahogany where I'll be painting the hull with transparent red was applied. Once dry, all the staples are again removed (I didn't use staples in the mahogany). Sand smooth and then carfully pry the whole thing off the buck. Peel out the tape and foil and "viola" you have a very strong yet light weight hull. I then fiberglassed the hull to waterproof it and it awaits further work before I paint it.

Jan 08, 2010, 04:52 PM
Dragon Slayer
ropanach's Avatar
that is a good way to build a hull, I have used foam insulation before, too make doubble hulled ships, cut it to the size you need lay the inside planks with about 1/6" gap and glue in place the stantions over the inside hull, then nail and glue your strips onto the stantions, after the glue has setup, remove the nails, replace by glueing in round tooth (wooden) picks, after glue is set up cut off tooth pics and sand. Remove the foam It's the way I was shown to do this so the hull would stay stright, and it makes one strong hull.

Your hull looks like it turned out nice.

Your stearn looks to be 90 to the water line, my prints show it to be about 45 to the water line, or is it my eye's?
Jan 08, 2010, 04:56 PM
Dragon Slayer
ropanach's Avatar
I found some Mohagany dowling at our local lumber yard to day, for the dowling I needed for this build from Rockler was going to cost me $57.00 + shipping, I got 3 times what I needed for $15.00, I think I scored.

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