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Sep 14, 2012, 11:02 AM
Fokker Ace's Avatar
Thread OP

The Tippecanoe Boats Thread

Hi all:

This thread will be dedicated to the RC sailing models designed and sold by Will Lesh, the founder of Tippecanoe Boats.

Tippecanoe currently sells six RC models and several free sailing pond yachts. The boats are wood construction and offered as kits or finished models. Will includes everything needed to complete the kits including: laser cut wood parts, epoxy, ballast, pre-sewn sails and full RC gear. All the builder needs to supply are a few household tools, paint and varnish.

The RC sailboats currently available from Tippecanoe are:
T27 Racing Sloop
T37 Racing Sloop
T47 Fairharbor Schooner
T52 Racing Sloop
T50 Trimaran

The T37 is an AMYA recognized class with Will serving as Class Secretary. The most active fleets are in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. To give an idea of the boats popularity, my T37 kit was purchased in July and the hull number is 1,639. Tippecanoe boats are sailing all over the world.

If you own, have built, are building or thinking about building one of these unique boats, please share your experiences here and let everyone know about these fun to build and great to sail yachts!

T37 Racing Sloop (2 min 16 sec)
Last edited by Fokker Ace; Sep 14, 2012 at 12:40 PM.
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Sep 14, 2012, 09:17 PM
I'll start thread off with a couple of pictures of my T37 build, I only took a couple as I didn't think that anyone would be interested. I found Tippecanoe's web site and really liked the way that his boats looked and the idea that they were wood. I called Will and ordered a T37x (a T37 that Will lengthened to one meter)with the veneer deck kit in Nov. 2010. The Chief Naval Officer of the house said that I couldn't even think about building it untill I finished building my US12 so the box sat around untll Jan.2011 when I started building it. For a novice sailboat builder the kit was a simple build as the instruction book is easy to read and understand, it even has several pages about working with epoxy. Since I wasn't able to work on it evey day it took several months to finish, but by June 2011 First sailing was the middle of June where she sailed like a dream. I later added Will's racing upgrade but due to some hip and knee problems I haven't been able to try it out. I enjoyed building the T37 so much that I ordered Will's T50MOD that I am now working on. Even though the T50 doesn't have a veneer deck choice I put a veneer deck on it with some left over veneer. So far its looking good.
Sep 15, 2012, 03:38 AM
Now I will post a little about my T50 MOD build. After building my T37 I developed an itch to build a T50 as I really like the looks of the boat and how much I enjoyed building the T37. The kit arrived at the end of July and I spent the first week reading the instruction book again and looking over the kit pieces. Like all Tippecanoe kits it came with everything needed to build and sail the boat except paint and varnish( even a file and small drill bit that is needed to build the boat.) I then assambled the frames to build the hull and started to lay the
1/4"x1/8" cedar strips. That part goes fast as no epoxy or glue is used to plank the hull untill the whole hull planking is done. For me the hardest part of planking the hull was triming the strips to met without leaving too large of gaps between strips. After the hull strips are put on the whole hull is given a thin coat of clear epoxy followed by a thin coat of prethicken epoxy.
After the epoxy has dried I removed the frames and coated the inside with clear epoxy and then enforced the bow with prethickened epoxy with phenolic powder.
Since it's a flat deck with no camber I decided to plank the deck with some veneer that I had, that was followed by installing the under deck support beams and building the two turning circles for the sail winch. I am now preparing to epoxy the keel and rudder together.
Sep 16, 2012, 01:11 PM
Fokker Ace's Avatar
Thread OP
The T50 looks great. I notice the transom on your T37 is sloped a bit more than mine. It looks nice, did you intend to do that?
Sep 16, 2012, 01:42 PM
Fokker Ace's Avatar
Thread OP
Here are the photos from my T37 build this summer. I didn't take many detail photos as I didn't intend to post a review and because the build pretty standard. The steps I worried about in advance all ended up being pretty simple when it came time to do them. The keel was easy to install and the rigging was quick. If you follow the instruction book you won't get into trouble but there are a few steps I altered the sequence or assembly slightly. One was adding the bow veneer. The instructions say to add the top veneer first then add the mahogany bow. I reversed this order as it made more sense to me.
Sep 16, 2012, 01:51 PM
I asked Will to lengthen a T37 to one meter and I think that is part of the way that he added the close to 3" needed make it one meter. That plus adding a couple of inches to the hull sides. But I'm not sure about that just my thoughts. Since Foam Crusher ordered a T39.37x I hope that he will post a picture of it so we can see if it has a slanted transon. Looking at pictures of the T27 it seems that it has a slanted transon too.
After looking at your sailing video and seeing the great lake that you sail on I was wondering if you were thinking of building Will's T52. It looks a large T37. I would but don't believe that my sailing pond would be big enough for one. The T50. Althought I might order and build a T27, I do believe that I am getting addicted to the T series of boats from Tippecanoe. I really enjoy taking Will's box of parts and making a beautful working sailboat.
Sep 16, 2012, 03:13 PM
Fokker Ace's Avatar
Thread OP
I like the way the extended transom looks better than the more squared off end of the normal boats, the lines flow better. In fact I tried as much as possible to sand mine so it would slope more that way but didn't get more than a few mm's of additional slant.

I thought about the T52 as it would be nice on the big lake but I'd build the T50 MOD first. I guess the keel is removeable on the T50 so that makes it easier to take places.

I agree with what you said about a box of parts making a beautiful working boat. When I finished the T37 I was a bit sad because the build was rewarding as silly as that sounds. Right now I have no desire to "assemble" a plastic boat and my next boat will probably be another T37 or a T50. A T27 would look cool on the wall too!
Sep 17, 2012, 04:18 AM
I managed to get a little more done on the T50 today. Keel and rudder epoxied and set aside to setup and epoxied the front turning circle in place, I also clear coated the deck planking which gives me an idea how it will look when it is varnished. Next is shaping and sanding the rudder and keel. Then sanding the hull to smooth out the cedar strips and forming the bow.
At $215 plus shipping a T27 with electronics sounds like a good deal to me. It's small and light enough to fit almost anywhere and I should be able to get it into my VW Beetle assembled ready to sail. Just right for spur of moment sailing, off the wall and into the car.
I will say again that if I can build a T50 almost anyone should be able to but it will take more time than a T37.
Sep 18, 2012, 12:17 PM
If it floats....sail it!
FoamCrusher's Avatar
Waiting on delivery of my kit, but I have a couple of questions:

I bought my kit without the radio or servos so I want to know if I have something in my spares box that will work or if I need to buy something. It looks like Wil is using a HS-311 for the rudder servo. I will probably use a HS-85MG that is about the same torque but half weight. What servo he is using for the sheets?

How are the servos mounted? I can't see any screws in the photo. I sure hope it is not servo tape as it gets old and lets go without warning (speaking from experience with glider aileron servos). For a boat that likely will be kept and sailed for years, IMHO it should have a proper radio board.

Sep 18, 2012, 01:33 PM
Fokker Ace's Avatar
Thread OP
HS-322HD for the sheet arm servo. Servo tape to mount but screws are also supplied to attach securely to the servo board.

Also, I built my boat stock and it came in nearly a half pound under class rules minimum weight so the boats are already pretty light with the existing gear. The only thing different I am using is a 2.4g receiver.
Sep 18, 2012, 04:57 PM
If it floats....sail it!
FoamCrusher's Avatar
Originally Posted by Fokker Ace
HS-322HD for the sheet arm servo.
Really???? That is only a 51 oz-inch servo. Is it really strong enough for that relatively large main/jib combination? My Seawind with about the same number of square inches of sail has a 183 oz-inch servo and I often find it is just barely adequate in over 6 mph wind.

The only difference between the HS-311 and the HS322 is has that the 322 has Carbonite gears....and it costs a whopping $2 more! Both are only 90 degree rotation servos so I am surprised that it has enough throw to fully wing out the sails. I know that Wil is trying to keep the cost of the total package down so more people will jump in, but this is like buying a GTO with a six cylinder motor.

Again, if everyone is using the same set up by rule, it doesn't make any difference, but I think I will go larger with a main servo that has 120 degree rotation, since cost won't be the driving parameter. Probably a HS-5496MH for the main and a HS-5087MH for the rudder. Sure it is more $, but that way I can put the better servos in my planned CF version later and buy some cheaper servos for this boat.

After looking at the specs, the combined weight will be 12 grams (~ 1/2 oz) lighter than the stock servos, and since they are high voltage capable, I can run my 1300 mAh two series lipo packs without having to go to the heavier AA cells, saving some additional weight.

The more I think about this, the more inclined I am to save as much weight in the hull as possible and then make a min drag profile bulb that is heavier by the amount of weight I saved in the hull. That way the displacement remains the same, but the boat is a little stiffer and has lower drag.

I hope the kit gets here soon, I am spending way too much time thinking about what I can do to modify it and I don't even have it in my hands yet!

Sep 18, 2012, 07:19 PM
Fokker Ace's Avatar
Thread OP
Originally Posted by FoamCrusher
The only difference between the HS-311 and the HS322 is has that the 322 has Carbonite gears....and it costs a whopping $2 more! Both are only 90 degree rotation servos so I am surprised that it has enough throw to fully wing out the sails. I know that Wil is trying to keep the cost of the total package down so more people will jump in, but this is like buying a GTO with a six cylinder motor.
I'm not sure Will (there are two L's in Will according to the Tippecanoe site ) is using too small a servo to keep costs down but is instead using that set-up because it works. I can say from my own experience in good wind on a big lake the power of the servo has been adequate. There is not a double haul sheeting system on the stock boat so that's one reason the smaller servo works well. Plus, if it were an issue, with so many boats already built and sailing I think there would be comments posted here and elsewhere that the stock set-up is problematic.

Keep in mind there's limited space in the hull for servos that would be much larger or for longer arms on the winch. The boat is quite narrow and also quite squat with the flat bottom hull.

The servo supplied does NOT have enough travel to allow the boom and club to extend out to a 90 degree angle to the hull when going downwind. I have a computer radio so I can get a bit more throw but the travel is limited. The racing upgrade does include a more powerful servo as Will has designed it to be used with double haul sheeting and that allows more travel. How much "real" difference that makes in the sailing is probably open to some debate and maybe someone who races them will post their thoughts.

I believe the boat was designed to be easy to build, rig and maintain - even for a beginner. I'm not trying to be an apologist for the boat in any way, because I feel it is an outstanding kit and a fantastic sailor that doesn't need to be defended, but there are probably a bunch of changes that could be made to the base kit to make the boat more in line with plastic kits. I guess it comes down to what you want. The base T37 is a great sailing boat (if it weren't I don't think it would be so popular and there would be lots of online chatter about problems) and is a great example of the KISS concept. The racing upgrade is available for those who race and want to get an edge against other T37's and the sky's the limit if someone wants to take it further than that!
Sep 19, 2012, 06:02 AM
N. Carolina
TinyDancer's Avatar

T-47 Schooner

The T-37 was the first of the boats that I built out of Will's fleet and here are some pic of the T-47 Schooner I but. The sails are dyed to the tanbark color useing the orginal sails in the kit.
Sep 19, 2012, 02:41 PM
Southern Breeze looks great Tiny Dancer. It looks like it sails great and the picture of it on its stand makes a great display piece.
Sep 19, 2012, 03:52 PM
If it floats....sail it!
FoamCrusher's Avatar
+1 on that!

I really like the deck planking. Can you tell us what woods you used and how you did it?


Ace: BTW, if you want to make your current analog 90 degree servo have more throw so the sails wing out more without going to digital servors, you can use a servo stretcher ( )
Last edited by FoamCrusher; Sep 19, 2012 at 04:01 PM.

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