Pat Tritle "Orca", Modified - RC Groups
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Aug 22, 2005, 01:36 AM
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Build Log

Pat Tritle "Orca", Modified

After "years" of studying the Orca drawings by Pat Tritle and conducting extensive research (watching Jaws more than a few times!), I decided it was finally time to get it started. With my work area undergoing a re-do, this project seems like a good one to tide me over for a month or two until things get back to normal! I commend Pat for accurately capturing the Orca and highly reccomend his drawings to anyone interested in building their own!

The "modified" part: Seeking to reduce this model's 'footprint' in my limited boat storage space, I reduced the size of the drawings to 70% of original, making the length of the hull (not including the bowsprit) 21". The second modification is a redesign of the hull. While I maintained the general proportion of Pat's original design, I decided to go for something a little more complex. The Orca's rakish good looks come from a somewhat plumb bow, a straightish sheerline, which slopes as it goes aft and a slightly 'reversed' transom with a hard turn at its lower corners. I combined these elements with those of typical New England lobsterboats with which Orca no doubt shares DNA, to come up with a design that probably comes close to the original. I plan to follow the rest of Pat's drawings very closely!
Last edited by Aerominded; Aug 22, 2005 at 03:25 AM.
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Aug 22, 2005, 01:55 AM
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A couple more pictures!

The build so far is very 'standard' plank on frame. the keel is basswood and the frames are (I'm ashamed to admit it) door skin, left over from another project. Planks are balsa, 1/4" wide on the topsides, through the turn of the bilge, getting progressively wider to finish the bottom. My planking strategy involves planking as much of the sides (alternating between the two) as I can, which is dependant on the contour of the hull. then I pick a spot after the turn of the bilge and start planking back to the side, usually splitting the remaining gaps in two with each progressive plank until the gaps go away.
Last edited by Aerominded; Aug 22, 2005 at 02:04 AM.
Aug 22, 2005, 06:16 AM
Tinkerer in Training
RGinCanada's Avatar

That looks fantastic! More, more!!
Aug 22, 2005, 10:23 AM
Registered User
Thanks RG! More progress this week, hopefully!
Aug 22, 2005, 10:34 AM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
Yeah, that sure does look good!

And, I am especially impressed by how you cut out the frames with a pair of scissors!
Aug 22, 2005, 10:54 AM
Registered User
Thanks Kmot! D'oh! I forgot to list my super scissors as a must in the 'tools' thread!

Naa, a small bandsaw made quick work of the frames! I also used the dremel to clean up the inside shape of the frames a little here and there. A lot of my model tools are packed up right now but not the dremel!
Aug 22, 2005, 01:53 PM
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H.Lauer's Avatar
Aero, lookin' good! You should have no problem with the Jim Wilder when you get to it.How do you dare work over a hardwood floor? I'd have dropped glue,paint or something on it right off the bat! lol-Harry
Aug 22, 2005, 02:06 PM
Useful Idiot
Presumably that's the little Tritle Orca
Aug 22, 2005, 02:22 PM
Registered User
Yeah, Jim Wilder's construction is very similar to this one, I figured this would make good practice! The floor is a Dupont composite which I just installed. My wife thought it would stand up punishment better than new carpet! I think she made a good call!

LoL Martin!
Aug 22, 2005, 05:17 PM
Registered User

Jim Wilder hull build

Aero, Here is a site where I put some pictures of the Wilder hull, modified, that I built for a friend in a day to see if I could do it.

You might have to join the group, but it is free. Go to photo section and clidk on hull in a day folder. It was a fun build. Jerry
Sep 02, 2005, 09:10 PM
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P. Tritle's Avatar
Aero, I don't know how I missed this one, but I'm sure glad I found it. The small Orca sounds great. I had reduced the plans to 24" awhile back and really was impressed by the "appeal" of the smaller model. Keep the good stuff coming.
Sep 04, 2005, 02:24 AM
Registered User
I agree Pat! While larger models float and move better (look more 'right') in the water than smaller models, smaller models have a certain appeal since they (sadly) spend 99.9999% of their lives on limited shelf space, with other models.

Orca update- I built up the cabin structure. Note Steven Spielberg's contribution to Naval Architecture, the extra large side windows in the main cabin. The interview he gives on the DVD I have indicates that this is one of the modifictions he made to the Orca 'doner boat' specifically so that the actors, when filmed inside the boat would still have the appearance of being surrounded by ocean. I like how this contrasts to the relatively small, almost protective windows in the front of the main cabin. Spielberg also commented that they 'squared the boat up more than was usual for the type' which is certainly apparent in the design details.
Sep 04, 2005, 02:27 AM
Star Line Hydro-Jet Ferry
Jeff G's Avatar
Really good!
Sep 04, 2005, 02:47 AM
Registered User
Thanks Jeff! I'm having a lot of fun with it so far!

Hope you are able to sneek in some build time with your La Salle!
Sep 04, 2005, 07:51 AM
Tinkerer in Training
RGinCanada's Avatar
Aero, you're flying along on this! It's looking really good. I'm going to have to get the DVD again.

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