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Sep 08, 2019, 11:29 AM
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Build Log

Dark Harbor (esque) Sailboat


I built this model about 25 years ago for my wife. I usually build older and larger designs. But, a request was made to build something for "her".

If memory serves me, I saw a Dark Harbor sailing in an advertisement in WoodenBoat magazine. I built the model without plans and pre-internet help. I built a larger and wider version than a Dark Harbor 17 or 20. In 1/12 scale she is 29' x 7'. I certainly got the stern and keel shape wrong. But, I've always liked her cabin top. She's lived as a decorative piece for years in various houses. My wife recently said she'd like it RC'd and then MAYBE attend modeling events with me. That sounded like a challenge to me. So, here I am.

Some background on the real design...

Designed by B.B Crowninshield from 1908 known as a Dark Harbor 17. This is an American one design for racing in sheltered coastal waters and typical of her period. A very beautiful, easy to sail and minimalist yacht that will turn heads wherever she goes, ideal for regatta campaigns or simply exploring local rivers and coasts. https://woodenships.co.uk/sailing-yacht/dark-harbor-17/

Largest of the Dark Harbors, the Dark Harbor 20 was the product of a later era, as may be seen in her tall Marconi rig and generally less “antique” appearance. Higher freeboard allows a deeper, open cockpit for better “sit down inside” comfort, and a significantly larger cuddy cabin. While still not large enough to call this a cruising boat, the cuddy does offer reasonable sleeping and seating comfort for two people. The added freeboard also means this boat will be considerably less wet than her smaller sisters, though with her slender hull and her speed to windward, she will undoubtedly provide a wet and thrilling ride at times. Speed, ease of handling, comfort and beauty are all well represented in this design. https://www.artisanboatworks.com/cla...dark-harbor-20

Testing...

So, my wife and I took the model out for a float and ballast test. AMAZINGLY, she floated without a drop of water coming in during the tests. I think I was trying for a small wing keel when I built her. Whatever I was trying for, she is stern-down and too lightly ballasted. I did find a ballast block that brought her down about where I need her. I'll need to cut off and then deepen and weight the keel. I'll also cut down the mast for my preference of gaff rigs...make sails, RC her...etc.
Last edited by Gammon Iron; Sep 08, 2019 at 11:54 AM.
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Sep 08, 2019, 11:50 AM
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John Storrow has built and posted several of his models on YouTube. Here is his model of a Dark Harbor 17...

Dark Harbor 17 R/C model sailing in Boston (2 min 59 sec)
Sep 13, 2019, 05:36 AM
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small update... I cut down the mast for the gaff rig, screwed in a gooseneck, and began to shape the gaff jaw.
Sep 18, 2019, 08:33 AM
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She's a beauty ! Wish I had a full size one.
Sep 22, 2019, 10:24 AM
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-shaped the gaff jaw
-varnished the spars
-cut off the lightly keel ballast
-thinking about design and attachment of new keel
Oct 04, 2019, 06:32 AM
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Working on the keel renovation with ballast. If I had to do it again, I'd carve a torpedo half. I'd then push that into wall plaster to create a smooth form. My rush is that I'm trying to finish this model for my wife as an anniversary gift.

-made a form to pour in ballast and glue with epoxy
-sanded with 80 grit
-filled with epoxy
Last edited by Gammon Iron; Oct 05, 2019 at 06:46 AM.
Oct 09, 2019, 06:11 AM
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More work on the keel and ballast...

-cut matching slots in the remaining section of the old keel and new addition

-epoxied in threaded rod as pins to connect the two keels

-all the remaining wood was sealed with epoxy

-the ballast lead sections were puttied, sanded smooth, and epoxy sealed

The ballast and unified keel need to be painted. Next work is on a new rudder. I built one years ago. But, I can't find it
Last edited by Gammon Iron; Oct 12, 2019 at 08:03 AM.
Oct 16, 2019, 07:01 AM
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As I begin to think about RC installation, I noticed I had not posted any interior shots. I only need two servos...rudder and sail.
Oct 16, 2019, 09:29 AM
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That's craftsmanship. Beautiful work !!
Today, 08:22 AM
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Working on the sails...

I decided to again use muslin. "Muslin (/ˈmʌzlɪn/ or /ˈmjuːslɪn/), also mousseline or Malmal, is a cotton fabric of plain weave. It is made in a wide range of weights from delicate sheers to coarse sheeting." This is an inexpensive fabric and comes in a variety of weights and colors. I used the spars that I already made to gage the size of the mainsail. I used the Dark Harbor sail plan to get the rough angles of the sail corners. Using newspaper, I drew and then cut-out the sail shape. Placing the newspaper shape over the iron muslin, I marked the corners of the sail. I drew the sail shape plus two 1/4 inch spaced lines with a lead pencil. These 1/4 inch lines will be used to orient my double fold which will be the outer edge of the sail. I'll use fabric glue inside these folds to avoid any need for sewing.

IMPORTANTLY, I now need to go out and buy my OWN iron. In the past, I've used the house iron (wife's) and got fabric glue on it! Luckily, there is no tape recording of the dressing-down I received for that mistake.


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