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Feb 13, 2006, 01:23 PM
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Robbe Comtesse

I hope this brief summary of my first ever yacht build may be of help to any other newbie looking for a simple kit.

I have never tried sailing before and wanted a "quick build" yacht kit for a rank beginner.
My wife suggested that once I had found the model I wanted, she would "allow" me to order it as her Christmas present to me. (Really nice!)

The Kyosho Fair-Wind seems very popular for a beginner with many references to it in this forum. However, over here there now seems to be a problem with future imports and getting spares for it.
The cost of the Robbe kit plus fittings is also appreciably cheaper than the comparable Kyosho Fairwind over here.

After much research and listening to all sorts of advice, I chose the Robbe Comtesse. It is approx 1m in length, the mast height being 1.5m. It has been around for a while but to my mind is now a bargain.

I have not seen the Comtesse featured much on this forum, so am posting a few pics. of my first ever yacht build in case anyone else is considering this model.

Insofar as the "kit" is concerned, I would not hesitate to recommend it for a beginner. The hull is a complete moulding in some form of very dense plastic material.All that needs doing is cutting out the cockpit area.
The mast and booms are all of aluminium - just some drillimg of various holes needed - all easily done with the superb plan and instructions.
The sails are ?Dacron? needing no work at all - flat packed in the box - no curling up of the material.
A few plywood (cnc cut) internal parts and servo tray.
Stabilit Express is the recommended glue and it seems to have worked very well.
I built it over about 10 days - much of the time spent in painting and finishing the hull.
The quality of the kit and instructions supplied is superb. The only variation I made was to add a pair of Robbe "bottle screws" to the two main mast shrouds and bought graphite/lead shot for the (hollow) keel ballast.
It is not essential to buy the fittings kit at all. I bought this at the time and have made up the pulpit and stern railings (brass metalwork), plus a few (rather cheesy plastic) deck fittings. I have left out the main deck life-rails.
Control is very simple from a standard rudder servo and a HiTech sail arm servo.
The only point I would make to watch out for is to thread the mainsail sheet through the internal bulkhead pulley BEFORE fitting the pulley to the ply bulkhead. I did not and spent a really frustrating time trying to "thread the needle using boxing gloves" inside the hull.
I cannot compare this to any other yacht as this is my very first, but after setting up the very simple mast and rigging as per the standard instructions she ghosted throught the water in a 3 knot wind at our club lake.

A most satisfying build I thought - now I am hooked to sailing.
Best wishes
Last edited by klank; Feb 14, 2006 at 07:03 AM.
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Feb 14, 2006, 02:54 AM
Taking care of the pond.
Nice looking boat, good job Peter.

Don M.
Feb 14, 2006, 03:45 AM
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The similarity of the hull to that of my Graupner Saphir is striking. The fin and rudder are different, though, as are the sails and rigging.
I can understand your "boxing glove" comments. I had simiņar sorts of problems installing the stringy thingies and the rudder assembly
Feb 14, 2006, 07:01 AM
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Hi. Don and Martin
Thanks for the kind words - much appreciated - I have seen some really superb/highly finished/complex builds on the forum and feel a little over awed.
Just one final point - as you say Martin - the rudder can be a problem if the tiller arm is not put in the right way round - access to the set screw is well nigh impossible if not. Also, if the set screw comes loose, the whole rudder just drops out of the hull into the murkey depths below. It is best to drill a small hole through the top of the rudder shaft and fit a "safety" split pin or some such.

Feb 14, 2006, 08:08 AM
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That looks great, excellent job done!!
Feb 14, 2006, 08:53 AM
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After, I had eventualy managed to install the rudder, Pompebled introduced me to a Dutch forum exclusively for Saphirs, where I found this: (the 2nd photos my Saphir with my first attempt at panelled sails?
Feb 14, 2006, 02:17 PM
Boaters are nice people.
At that same forum, one of the moderators (Ben van Dullemen) has 'racetuned' a Comtesse for his wife, after a very disappointing performance during a Saphir meeting last spring.

If you're interested, I'll ask him for some pics of his upgrades.

The main modifications were; replacing the bulky and relative shallow keel for a Saphir keelfin and bulb (sold separately, fortunately), which lowered the CoG substantually, allowing for a bigger rigg.

The modified Comtesse is now lighter and faster than his own Saphir....

Regards, Jan.
Feb 17, 2006, 07:26 AM
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Thread OP
Hi. Jan, Martin, Taylor
Thanks for the kind comments.
I like the panelled sails.
Robbe do market a winged/bulb keel fin thingy as an option, but as the load space in my car is limited, I opted for the standard (?Yawl is it?) keel configuration - also our club lake is a bit shallow in parts.
At present I have much to learn about yacht handling - speed is not (yet) an issue.
I tried her out in stronger winds the second time in the water and I can at least say she is waterproof inside when careering along almost horizontal to the surface!!! (Perhaps best not to sail alone when no one else around at my stage of experience).
Anyway, I am having fun which I suppose is the main idea.
Best wishes
Last edited by klank; Feb 17, 2006 at 07:40 AM.
Jul 22, 2009, 09:00 PM
Udelix's Avatar
Hello Comtesse friends Here´s your vid

Robbe Comtesse RC Sailboat (Ketch) (4 min 3 sec)

Regards from an RCL Laser Sailor


Dount miss thee ArCeeEll

RC Laser Hannover July Regatta (3 min 25 sec)
Jul 22, 2009, 09:13 PM
Registered User
As I see nothing (in China) I assume these vids are on youtube.

Sad I cannot get them.

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