HMS Beagle 1:36 - Page 7 - RC Groups
Thread Tools
Jun 05, 2011, 09:29 AM
Registered User
Jpop Andrew's Avatar
Another quick question. What type of knot works well to secure a tight loop between two buttons? And when did my fingers get to be so dang HUGE?!
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Jun 05, 2011, 11:32 AM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar

Button rigging

Not sure what you wanted, but here are the 2 ways I use buttons aboard my ships.

Figure 8 loop: double the thread, and tie a figure 8 knot, pulling the loop out as you tighten. Spit on knot to make it easier to work snug. With all knots, a quick tug to tighten them will usually wreck them. Instead, pull softly on each part, working knot into shape before tugging hard to set it. A short dowel works well as a toggle to hold loops when you need to tug them tight.

The loop of the Fig8 loop is passed through the eye of the button, and then the standing part is passed through the loop. This makes a non-slip, and non-fail attachment to the button. In real rope, you could use 2 half-hitches, but they don't always hold in thread and fishline, so I prefer the dead-certain loop method. The fisherman's Palomar knot is also a good one for attaching line to the button.

Finishing the yellow end of the deadeye: On real ships, a clove hitch was used as illustrated. I often put extra hitches on the clove hitch to be sure it does not untie itself in stiff or slippery thread. Clove hitch will not work in spectra-type fish line very well because the line is so stiff. In that case, I'll put 4 or 5 hitches to make a "super" clove hitch. It doesn't look too good, though, so I prefer separated half-hitches, see below.

Since knots in thread & fishline are hard to untie, it can be a chore to adjust the tension of the rigging later. To make a more easily adjustable setup, I use 3 half-hitches, spaced about an inch apart, then a clove hitch or tautline hitch to finish (clove hitch shown). The tension is held by the separated half-hitches, the clove hitch is just to keep the bitter end from flinging about (I've just used a piece of tape instead, when the knot is out of sight). To adjust tension later, I slide the yellow half-hitches up or down the red line, moving clove hitch to suit.

One problem with this method is if one or more of the half-hitches "capsize", meaning that they exchange places, so to speak, with the red line (red ends up looped, and yellow ends up straight). Capsized half-hitches won't slide, a clue that something is wrong. What happened is that you pulled on the yellow line instead of the yellow hitch, straightening the yellow loop, and causing a loop to form in the red. To correct, you have to pull on the red line to capsize it's loop, forcing it back into the yellow line. You have to play with the setup to prevent this from happening, practice :-). One trick, start a tightening adjustment at the yellow hitch closest to the button, then work out the new slack in the yellow by sliding the remaining half-hitches as necessary. To loosen, first slide the half hitch that's farthest away from the button, etc.

Once you get the feel for it, you can use a fid (toothpick) to slide the half-hitches up and down. The fid allows you to put a lot of pressure on the knot so you can get them to slide bar-taut; I use this to set up the rigging on my RC biplanes. I don't make model boat rigging bar-taut, though, just snug.

Hope this helps.
Animated instructions, very nice:
Last edited by Brooks; Jun 05, 2011 at 12:03 PM.
Jun 05, 2011, 10:53 PM
Registered User
Jpop Andrew's Avatar
Thanks Brooks. Today... I learned how to make a clove hitch!
Jun 05, 2011, 10:56 PM
Registered User
Jpop Andrew's Avatar
A lot got done the last two weeks.

First I made wooden arms for the fore and main servos and glued the servos to the hull. The carpet thread runs from the servo arms, through screw eyes mounted on small dowels next to each mast, up through copper tubes in the deck, up to screw eyes on each mast, and finally over to the spars for the top sails on each mast.

I opted to tie separate threads from the servo and spars to two tiny buttons, then tie a third section of thread to connect them together. So for now "adjusting" the line tension will mean cutting the old connection thread and just tying on a new one.

After having three break, I've decided to leave the brass screw eyes that attach the spars to the masts slightly open and not open and close them. Wrapping some copper tape on the back of the screw eyes seems to keep the spars confined enough.

Next I put in a new mizzen mast base, to which I attached the old mizzen mast with spars and sails still intact. Wound string allows it to swivel. I added a small spar to the front of the mizzen mast and ran thread over to the main mast, so they'll turn in unison. I'll see if this works and save the mizzen servo as a spare for now, plus I like having the open space in the hull to stow the transmitter and battery. I wrapped some string with wood glue around the mizzen mast and the dowels holding the rudder's screw eyes to give the mast base a little more support.

So the sails and rudder all turn now via rigging. How well it will work under the stress of wind and waves remains to be seen. A light wind test with a fan went well, but I'll wait until the standing rigging is in place before any heavy stress testing.

Still to be done before first sail: standing rigging, keel ballast, waterproof electronics box and deck.
Last edited by Jpop Andrew; Jun 06, 2011 at 10:51 AM.
Jun 06, 2011, 12:35 AM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
On my ships, the screweyes on the mast remain as is, namely, closed. The screweyes on the yards are opened by twisting the loop out of plane just enough so that I can hook them over the mast's screweye; they remain that way so I can remove yards and their sails as the wind picks up.

I've never had a yard with sail come free during a cruise. I have had the Bentinct yard (the one on the bottom of the mast, w/o a sail) come loose. This is because the pull on all yards is upwards due to the sail force. Normally, this upward pull is resisted by the next yard down the mast. But since the Bentinct yard (or boom) has nothing below it, it can lift and work it's way off the mast screweye. 2 solutions: a) install the Bentinct boom upside down, that is with the screweye on the underside of the boom or b) tie a downhaul thread on the boom to keep the boom from rising and disengaging it's screweye.
Jun 13, 2011, 01:21 AM
Registered User
Jpop Andrew's Avatar
Bought some fishing line (20# test Power Pro Spectra green braided) to use for the standing rigging. Instead of trying to install channels on the outside of the bulwarks (...scary...) I opted instead to just use screw eyes on the deck. Just like the running rigging, each line is made up of three parts. A line tied to the screw eyes connects to one small button. A line tied to the mast over each spar connects to another small button. And finally the two buttons are looped tight together. For now adjusting the tension requires replacing the connecting thread with a new one.

To start I've run six standing rigging lines per mast: above the courses, tops and top gallant spars on each side, plus two lines going between main and foremast.

Time to work on the ballast torpedo and fin. First I double checked that the Beagle is 39 inches tall and the back seat of our Escape has 40 inches of clearance. So the design for attaching ballast to the keel can't increase its height at all. Arg...

To make the fin I super-glued three 8x10 inch plastic sheets from Lowes together, then glued that to a 2 inch wide strip that I hand-cut... no easy task (for me anyway). I caulked the connection all the way around with Marine epoxy. Hung an 8 pound dumbbell under it to make sure it would hold the weight before proceeding.

For the ballast torpedo I'm using a couple of steel pipes and some old aquarium gravel inside a pvc pipe. Plastic ties will secure it to the bottom of the fin and give me a way to adjust its position on the keel.

Haven't quite figured out how to attached the fin to the keel. Thinking I might try using fishing line tied to some small nails on the side of the keel.

Meanwhile.... moving the sails from the rotating masts to the new ones showed a few measurement issues I had, especially with the main's top and top gallant sails. I took down the main top, cut it a bit shorter, and put it back on. Looks much better now.
Jun 26, 2011, 09:13 AM
Registered User
Jpop Andrew's Avatar
Two weeks later... the final push to get the Beagle ready for her maiden voyage. Looks like my "spring or summer" timeline might be Fourth of July weekend if everything works out.

First off, lots of headaches trying to figure out how to attach the fin and seven pound torpedo to the bottom of my keel without increasing its permanent height. So before screwing something into the side of the keel and making some kind of traveling and mounting stand... I decided to give my original idea of using a steel bar for the Beagle's ballast a shot.

I sanded off the six pound steel bar and painted the exposed sides black. Glued it to the bottom of my three inch deep oak keel with marine epoxy. So on my Beagle the top of the bulwarks are 3 1/2 inches above the waterline, the deck and scuppers are 1 1/2 inches above, while the ballast bar is six 1/2 inches below the waterline.

Did a water test and the bow is slightly higher than the stern, which I intended. Maybe it'll work... but no royals or studding sails for me.

Next I cut new access panel covers for the deck. Planked the deck and panels (my third time at it now!) with basswood strips. The panels fit very tight so I put a screweye into each panel to use as a handle for getting them off, which required gluing a small oak piece to the bottom of the panels to sink the screws in properly. Filled up any gaps in the planking with wood glue and then applied a layer of waterproofing varnish over everything. Not the best looking deck in the world, but it'll have to do.

Cut a T-shaped slit in a Rubbermaid container to use for my waterproof box for the receiver and battery. Might regret this later, but for now I'll try using marine epoxy to seal the wires through the hole.

Cut several pieces of Styrofoam that I'll lightly glued inside the hull wherever there is room. Hopefully she can't sink, since my diving skills are marginal at best.

Screwed two screweyes into the jib-boom for the fore-stays and attached it to the bowsprit. The four additional inches of a flying jib-boom will make her too long for the car, so just the jib-boom for now.

Still to be done: Figuring out what kind of stand I'll need for transport. Memorizing the steps for tacking, wearing and what-not... OMG has it really been eight months working on this?!
Jun 26, 2011, 09:59 AM
Retired for now
This is all new to me. I never thought to build a model boat out of a chunk of tree but it's a great idea. Pear wood is very good for modeling too. Nice job so far and I'm looking forward to some more on this one. Pete
Jul 01, 2011, 03:19 PM
Registered User
Jpop Andrew's Avatar
Final preps for the Beagle's maiden voyage begin. First I put the Beagle in the backseat of our Escape, secured with some weights, and took a little spin around the neighborhood. Looks like she should travel safely, but I have to dip the mainmast at an angle to get her in and out of the car... scary...

Next I took her outside on our deck, secured by two dumbbells, to do some stress testing on a day with 14-20 mph winds, which kept changing direction. Put her through her paces moving yards and rudder around and tested the range of the transmitter, since I've never been more than a few feet away before. Everything seemed to hold together well.

Next I attached the jib sail to the fore stay. For her maiden voyage she'll have seven sails: tops, top gallants, spanker, spanker top, and jib. I'll keep her royals and courses furled for now.

Last but not least, I hung her extra large BEAGLE nameplate on the transom. No doubt not authentic, but anyone watching her sailing will know her name. Fun.

Bought a little two foot long cart and crafted a wooden stand for transporting her from the car to the water.

We'll be going to a 3 foot deep weed-free pond called the Carmel Reflecting Pond, about 15 minutes from our house. The local r/c group in Indy called "Indy Admirals" uses it for some of their functions so it comes highly rated.

Eight months after starting this new hobby... finally ready for a test sail.
Jul 01, 2011, 05:59 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
Best of Luck to you!
Jul 02, 2011, 06:18 PM
Registered User
Jpop Andrew's Avatar
Around 10:30 in the morning, with the air heating up about five degrees each hour, we hauled the cart to the edge of the Carmel Reflecting Pond. First we floated the Beagle for a bit, tested and adjusted the rudder tension and then... off she went for the first time.

We spent about two hours on the water with a wind that alternated from being becalmed to fairly light. A few sudden gusts heeled her over a bit, but not enough to bring the water up to her scuppers.

The rudder proved to be fairly ineffective at turning in the light wind. Couldn't get enough speed going to tack, so I ended up boxhauling a lot to change direction.

Then a pirate ship showed up, firing at us with at least one giant 48 pounder cannon! Just look at that splash!

After a lengthy calm and suspecting a stuck rudder, my Beagle began slowly drifting close to an undesired encounter... so out I went to play Poseidon.

Yards all seemed to work well, though it was a challenge to find the light and shifting wind direction for long.

With the time past lunch and the heat already reaching 90 degrees, we called it a successful maiden voyage.

Not sure if the difficulty in turning was just the lack of wind, or if my 3x long rudder still wasn't long enough. I'll probably make a clip-on extension for the next go and see if that makes a difference. I see lots of experimenting to be done with the mizzen sails and jib for the next time as well.

Happy day.
Jul 02, 2011, 08:35 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
Congratulations on a successful maiden voyage! I like the photo of you and your ship together in the pool, really gives a sense of the size of your ship.

Tacking - It's hard to tack in light and variable winds; you need some speed to get the hull to travel up and through the eye of the wind, something hard to obtain w/o sufficient wind. Real squareriggers don't like light winds either :-). Sailing experience will help you in these adverse conditions; my ships start out being hard to tack, and then as I gain experience with that particular model, they mysteriously become easier to sail :-) Some other things you might do:

1) It looks like your ship has more sail area forward of the CLR than aft of the CLR. This will make turning into the wind to tack more difficult than it needs to be. Was the ship usually trying to turn away from the wind with neutral rudder? This would be a sure sign the rig is unbalanced, with too much sail forward of the CLR. You might add a staysail or two in the space between the main mast and the mizzen mast to get the sail area balanced around the CLR. Or, you could shift the keel forward to move the CLR to match the sail plan.

2) More rudder area won't fix an unbalanced sailplan, unless the ship is too weatherly (always trying to turn into the wind with neutral rudder, in which case more rudder area will move the CLR aft). Normally I add rudder area when I see the ship is balanced, but still won't turn like I want.

3) To get more speed in light winds, add more sail, eg set your courses. If the winds are gusty, more sail can get you in trouble, naturally. But the courses are low, so they won't heel the boat as much as gusts hitting the sails up high on the mast.

4) I could not tell how far your yards swing from the photos; in some shots they look like they were braced to 45 deg off perpendicular to the hull. If they don't swing at least 60 deg off perpendicular to the hull, tacking will be hard because the boat has to sail through a larger arc of no-drive-off-sails (and will lose lots of speed during the maneuver).

Glad to see Beagle on the water :-)
Last edited by Brooks; Jul 02, 2011 at 08:50 PM.
Jul 03, 2011, 03:42 AM
Registered User
kotori87's Avatar
Woohoo! Congrats on your first voyage. That looks like a wonderful place to sail. Your steering difficulties sound a lot like my first voyage, except you were mostly becalmed while I launched in a scale gale. Yeah, I had to chase after my ship too...

One thing I did a while ago was to add a small emergency motor to my ship. After one particularly flukey day where I spent what seemed like ages trapped with no wind and a dying battery, I bought one of these from my local hobby store:
I hung it under the rudder, and it has proven its worth in similar conditions. On a light day when I might get becalmed, I turn it on and it provides a tiny bit of thrust. Just enough to keep my ship away from the Water Fountain of DOOM. When there's plenty of wind, I don't turn it on. The difference in handling is almost unnoticeable except in very light conditions.
Jul 03, 2011, 09:51 AM
Registered User
Jpop Andrew's Avatar

Thanks for all the pointers. With the on and off again light wind it was hard for me to tell what orientation she favored. My main memories were of just rotating the yards till they filled with what wind there was (a beautiful and rewarding site for me!) and trying to keep her moving under power. That and discovering that turning the rudder didn't seem to have much of an effect under a certain speed.

The yards rotated well, all the way to the stays, which I'd call the most successful part of the day -- that and nothing broke or sunk of course.


I was intending to eventually add a clip-on motor in case I ever did some r/c show in an indoor swimming-pool-type location. Looks like that self-powered clip-on would be a much easier way to go than running the wires down through another hole in the deck and into my electronics box. Hurray for kotori's link!
Jul 04, 2011, 08:38 PM
Registered User
Jpop Andrew's Avatar
Made a clip-on rudder extension and took the Beagle out for a short second sail on the Fourth of July. It was more of a "float" than a sail as the wind was mostly zip with an occasional shifting breeze. But when there was a little wind the rudder seemed much more effective, letting me wear round at least to wait for the next breeze.

Can anyone actually sail your boats when the wind is only an intermittent 3 or 4 mph?

Next up: getting my courses rigged, ordering a self-powered propeller or two for those painfully but still beautiful becalmed days, and trying my hand at carving a Beagle figurehead.
Last edited by Jpop Andrew; Jul 04, 2011 at 09:05 PM.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Discussion Haha..1/96 HMS DUKE Type 23 Frigate camera photo arkmodel Scale Boats 7 Jan 27, 2011 08:09 AM
Question Debating Losi 1/36 Micro-T or 1/24 Rally Car Torch8 Micro Cars 14 Jan 16, 2011 12:13 AM
New Product ARC 36-65-1 (Kv 2080) 36-75-1 (Kv 1680) Scarey Electric Ducted Fan Jet Talk 29 Nov 15, 2009 09:39 AM
For Sale 1/96 Deans marine Kit HMS Zulu CMurphy Boats (FS/W) 0 Apr 15, 2007 11:43 PM
1/100 HMS YORK building thread CMJ Scale Boats 12 Nov 02, 2005 04:50 PM