Model Boat Mayhem

The Shipyard ( Dry Dock ): Builds & Questions => Yachts and Sail => Topic started by: Greggy1964 on February 17, 2011, 04:10:00 pm

Title: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 17, 2011, 04:10:00 pm
Reading Diegan Sherman's topic on BALANDRA evoked long forgotten memories of a boy spending happy times with his parents and family on a Holiday in Scotland.

We spent two weeks in a small B&B in a tiny place called Balmaha on the shores of Loch Lomond at the height of summer.

Many a balmy summer day was spent to the clatter of childern's shoes on the jetty and the creak of mooring ropes tugging at the boat stems.


Of course there were lots of boats and dinghies bobbing at their moorings along the jetties and the clear shallow waters by the shore showed a fine gravelly bottom.


All of this stirred the emotions of a small boy interested in boats and I started casting about for materials with which to build my own little model boat.

All I could find were discarded beer cans and pop cans, lollipop sticks and string, and other discarded bits and bobs but this did not deter the fired imagination of an 8 year old boy with a passion for all things boats!

Mother was nagged and mi-thered until a small tube of Bostick Contact adhesive was procured and I set off to make a little ship not dissimilar to the one you see below . . . .


The hull was made from the longest can I could find upon which a booted heel was rammed into the side adjacent to the pour opening . . . .


This created the deck . .  . next a mast was required and the nearest thing to hand was my brothers stick from a recently scoffed ice lolly :-))


More sticks were found for rudder and most importantly two bits glued about 1/2" from one end of the mast stick to stop it slipping through the hole cut in the deck with the trusty pen knife that all self respecting boys carried in their trouser pockets along with bits of string for all sorts of emergencies - like rigging! {-) O0


The rudder was fixed through a slit in the poop deck and out through the pour hole and through the ring pull (these also made excellent mini Frisbees fired from the bent pour hole cover long before Frisbees were invented! - remember them?)


A paper sail stolen from my Mothers writing pad came next . . .


And a very serviceable sailing ship was created which in fact sailed very well with a following wind . . .

In fact she could put on quite a turn of speed to my delight as I unwittingly created a well balanced model which would sail off to the far bank in the little bay as I tramped and splashed around the shoreline chasing her.

When the wind became too strong the ship tended to nose dive but this was quickly remedied with a pebble or two coated in Bostick and dropped in through the pour hole. This ship was then upended on her stern in the tall grasses by the Loch bank until the glue set ok2

The sail sports a Maltese Cross as I was also interested in Knights of the Realm and Crusades at the time. Later sails that week sported a Skull and Crossbones motif also :-))

The loop in the backstay was for the crew to hold on and a plastic army soldier was press ganged into service borrowed from the boy that lived at the B&B, but just now I can't lay my hands on such a character for the photo shoot! {-)

Many a happy day was spent that summer with such models and laid the ground work for many a model boat to come  :-) :-))
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: kiwi on February 17, 2011, 05:57:02 pm
Damn, that's brilliant.
What a neat way to get kid's into boating. Everyone make one for the wee kids or grand-kids.
Excellent concept

ps, who's going to r/c one?
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 17, 2011, 06:29:25 pm
Necessity is the mother of all invention!  O0 ;)

I'll take the one I knocked up today down to the beach tomorrow and see if I can't find a puddle on which to sail her.

And I'll make a short video just to prove the concept and post it on Youtube :-))

I'm going to name her Tini-tintanic though I can't pour beer over her bows at her launch as I've already drunk that while doing the writeup :-)) {-) {-)

Incidentally I forgot to mention that putting pebbles in the stern makes her very stable . . . . . but the downside is that if she crosses the wake of a passing boat there is a very good chance that she'll founder.

This is because as she bobs over the waves she dips her stern allowing a small slosh of water to enter her hold through the stern porthole with each successive wave.

This happened to us as kids on Loch Lomond and she sank stern first to the calls of Cool! Wow! Did you see that? Awesome! from the short trousered & be-freckled onlookers! {-) {-)

Also we had great fun watching them become ship wrecked on a lee shore and at the end of the holiday all the ships we'd made were set free and then subjected to an Ariel bombardment of stones from the shore until they sunk!

But all this was no problem as another sister ship could be knocked up in about half an hour! :D

Such is the imagination of small boys!  %)

P.s. can you get servos that small these days? :o
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Wetwater on February 17, 2011, 11:11:44 pm
   Brilliant.  :-))  Looks a bit beyond my building skills though.   :((  Might be possible if I had
   a set of full size plans with step by step instructions.  O0

   Would also need to find an already dented can, which would save a lot of work.   :-)
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 18, 2011, 12:36:50 am
 {-) {-) {-) Great minds think alike!  {-) {-) {-)

Being as daft as a plank O0 I thought it would be fun to produce a plan :o

Soooo . . . . . . . . .

Your wish is my command! :-))



By the way, I used to waterproof the paper sail by nicking my Mothers hairspray when she wasn't looking! and giving it a good dousing :o {-)

It made it a bit stiff when dried but kept the water off a treat :-))

I waterproofed the current sail using scotchguard shoe spray, it has the same effect! O0 {-)

Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: kiwi on February 18, 2011, 01:10:20 am
Now that we have full construction info plus plans, should be simple to r/c it for the advanced modeller.
Footy class now has an official competitor class -  "Ally Can Racing", by greggy1964.
Rules as setout on this forum
'Brilliant that man'
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 18, 2011, 01:21:46 am
You lot are as crazy as me O0

I feel right at home :-))

In her current rig she's only capable of down wind performance but with the addition of a fin keel set well aft  . . . . .

and the weight currently inboard at the stern shifted to the bottom of the fin keel . . . . . . .

hmmmm . . . .

yes! and a high peaked gunter sail rig and a small jib on a bowsprit O0

She may just eat to windward afterall :o O0

Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Jbird on February 18, 2011, 10:29:02 am
I don't drink beer any more. Would a soda can work? {:-{
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 18, 2011, 11:47:31 am

This works with any ring pull drinks can aluminium or steel:-))

When I was a kid, drinks cans were made of a heavier gauge steel than the namby pamby super thin walled things of today. You had to give the can quite a clout with the heel of your shoe to get the shape of the hull.

Yesterday I just held my beer can in my hands and pressed the shape into it with my thumbs.

My lady assistant (eldest daughter) will demonstrate the technique :-))

To get the hull shape, take you drinks can/beer can and place on a flat surface with the pour hole uppermost . . . .


Place hands either side of can curling fingers under and at the same time place thumbs on top of can about 1/2" apart just past where the can transitions from cylindrical to the shoulder below the former top of the can . . . . . . this area will form the short poop deck through which the rudder stock will pass O0

Whilst gripping the can between index fingers, push downwards and outwards with your thumbs and nipping the resultant short gunwales between thumb and index fingers to form a crease about 1" long, this forms the sides of the deck deck platform.


Don't go too mad because the whole object of placing the can on a flat surface is to preserve the rounded wide hull shape formed underneath. If you grip too much between thumb and index fingers whilst creating the gunwales you risk denting the underside of your new ship hull in these areas.


This is what your looking for on the underneath of the hull O0 you can see the edges of the short gunwales port and starboard %) and the wide rounded hull shape preseved

Just be gentle or you'll hurt your new ship and your lad will be cross! {-) O0

It takes one or two goes to get it just right, but hey before this you squashed your beer cans flat before tossing them in the trash! So now practice beer can sailing ship forming before this step! {-) :-)) instead.

Take things easier with aluminium cans as these are easier too wreck than steel ones O0 >>:-(

Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Wetwater on February 18, 2011, 12:29:29 pm
   Wonderfull stuff.  First a plan and now step by step, or is it finger by finger, instructions  :-)
   Thats most of the technical problems taken care of.   :-))

   Just need to find a local group of larger louts to hang around with now.  :embarrassed: Should be lots of free
   cans to practice with.  O0

Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 18, 2011, 12:37:04 pm
Shouldn't be a problem . . . .

Here in Bridlington East Yorkshire UK, we're a small seaside town with a population of only 34,000 and a stones throw south of Scarborough but we have 45 pubs!

Try here! :-)) {-) {-)
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 18, 2011, 01:51:54 pm
The thread is meant to be a little tongue in cheek and a bit of fun :-))

But the introductory story is a true one about a little boy with a passion for boats and the desire to build scale models that fired his sense of beauty and form.

But there is a serious side to it also because that simple little tin can sailing ship led him down a path to build bigger and better boats, and in todays world of X Box's, Nintendo and Mobile phones, kids are missing out.

But more importantly it shows how an 8 year old boy with ten thumbs but with a drive found someone with the patience and skill to teach him what he needed to know in order to progress :-)

Now some 38 years later I have the confidence to tackle any ship I desire and if necessary design a model from the ground up.

I hope the photo below shows what can be achieved with basic tools and a kitchen table top and the stark contrast between the little beer can boat built by a boy and where it led him.


This boat is an old lady now of some 15 years and back then I needed to build clinker built (or lapstrake) models so I learned what I needed to know and got on with the job.

She is a scale model of a sailing canoe I designed and I still plan to build full size one day. O0

She is very sleek and fast and in the right conditions can show her stern to many modern model yachts O0

Of course nowadays with modern technology we have computers and forums like this, where folks can learn from others and I may hopefully put something back :-))
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 18, 2011, 04:38:20 pm
Okay . . . . . . .

When I promised a video of my little tin ship sailing . . . . .

I envisaged a beautiful blue sky day, the seagulls calling in the back ground, sun glinting off the waters surface and Tini-Titanic bobbing gently by on the breeze :-))

What did we get?

Well none of that! :o :((

It was freezing cold, leaden grey skies and it was blowing a south easterly gale {-) {-) :o

But my daughters and I braved all of that so you could see what a great little ship we have here.

Now bearing in mind that the poor thing sailed in what could only be described as hurricane conditions for her size . . . . . .

She performed just how I remembered :-))

Enjoy :-))

Just a quick note, no the footage is not speeded up!! :o %) (

You'll have to excuse the manic laughter at the end of the footage because this is the first time I'd seen such a model sail in 30 odd years and I was thrilled  {-) :-))

(little things please little minds I know - I told you I was quite mad!) (

As you can plainly see, she performs wonderfully considering the strength of the wind, you can see the white horses on the sea in the back ground in the footage :o

So you can see why as a boy I was ecstatic with my creation O0 {-)
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: kiwi on February 18, 2011, 06:27:43 pm
Well that's it then, the whole kit & kaboodle.
The background, the build, the plans and the sailing vid.

Unfortunately, when I was a wee lad, in our neck of the woods I only remember beer in glass bottles. Kids where not allowed in a bar, and only bottles of various sizes from half-pint to flagon ever appeared at home. Now with the multitude of can sizes we could see everything from the tiny 100ml cans right upto the tall 500ml and even bigger.
What a sight that would be on the local pond.
Everyone fire up your imagination, provide the materials and let the kid's loose, and by kid's I mean all and every one of you out there, from knee high to a grasshopper to the 90year old kid's at heart. I fit somewhere up the top 30% somewhere, now where did i put that can?

Well done Greggy1964, thanks for sharing this wonderful memory of maritime history and the subsequent Tini-Titanic invasion around the world causing mayhem on the model boating ponds. And it's all your fault doing.
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Netleyned on February 19, 2011, 03:53:13 pm
Magic Greggy  :-)) :-))

The old party 7's would be ok for a Humber Keel  %% %%

Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Wetwater on February 19, 2011, 11:23:32 pm
   Fantastical vids Greggy.   :-))  Hope you are well insured.  Just imagine the damage your
   masterpiece would cause if it were to hit another boat.   <:(  Especially at the speed it was
   travelling at.

   Found an empty can in the gutter today.   :-)  Undamaged and just waiting to be squished.   O0
   Just need to save up for the other materials now.   %%

Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 20, 2011, 12:25:10 am
Hee  :-)

Yeah I know Tini-Titanic was really moving! O0

Would you believe she has 3 M8 nuts glued in her hold right in stern weighing 11 grams each and I still had to use gravel from the flower beds around the boat pond where we were at to stop her pitch poling in all that wind! :o

An empty beer can weighs  36 grams, 3 grams for top hamper, 33 grams for nuts so I have 6 grams of gravel in the hold  to total of 80 grams! :o

I have posted video of her sailing helter sketler across the boating pond but she capsized and sank :((

I didn't put a link up earlier because the quality is not very good  . . . . . . . . but what the heck! :-)) (

I though she did rather well considering she was sailing in hurricane conditions right up until the squall capsized her {-) {-)

An air pocket in her bows allowed the wind to carry her to the side and rescue to sail another day! {-) :-))

Good old fashioned drama! :}

Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 20, 2011, 12:25:36 am
I'm working on a high peaked gunter rig and foresail model that I intend to fit a fin keel to.

I need to work on the sail though, I'm using ripstop nylon.

Mk1 sail is flat and I don't think it'll work so I'm working on another where I'm going to use shaped panels superglued together to form a contoured sail.

But here's what I've got so far


I'm nuts I know but its a light break from the sailing trawler build and a bit of fun :-))
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 20, 2011, 01:25:04 am
What goes here is all in the name of science and the development of beer can sailing ships you understand :-)) O0

Its Saturday night/Sunday morning and beer cans have been drained . . . . . well I need more hull material don't I?? O0 {-)

And I had a brainwave,  :o why not sacrifice one of my tins and make a fin keel?


Airfoil symmetrical section section and all :-))

Ive folded the tin sheet in on it's self and crimped the trailing edge.

I cut slits in the top edge of the fin and folded them out petal fashion to give me some gluing area to bond the fin to the hull . . . .

I've attempted to bond it to the hull with JB Weld and Sellotaped it in place so I could see through it and control what the JB Weld was doing to some extent O0


If it has worked later on today I'll attempt to bond some lead sheet inside the keel for ballast :-)) ;)

Its a work in progress at this point so I can't guarantee to outcome but fingers crossed :-))
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 20, 2011, 11:10:41 am
Well the fin keel has bonded securely the the underside of the new hull surprisingly well.


Now for ballast . . . . we know the Mk1 Ship all up weight is 80g and the hull and top hamper on this one add up to 45g so that leaves a max of 35g to swing at the bottom of the fin and she'll still float.

But for starters I'm going to add 26g of ballast and go from there


I'm using lead flashing and I've borrowed a strip from my collection of ballast for my Master Hand project  O0, she won't miss 35g :-))


I've folded it in half and crimped it over the trailing edge of the fin, folded it forward and bonded it in place (not forgetting to give the area to be bonded a good sanding to form a key) with more JB Weld, wrapped the job in more sellotape and molded the whole mess with my fingers to get a reasonably smooth shape to try and reduce sanding later O0


I also peeled back the flange running up the trailing edge of the fin, gave it a good sanding for even more JB Weld and clamped everything down to get a good seal.


Now where did I stash all those oak planks for the other job?


Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 20, 2011, 10:21:10 pm
Fore and aft works too  :-))


Sailing video comming soon :-)


Though the only video I can take is with my camera so I apologise in advance for the quality! {-) O0
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Diegan on February 22, 2011, 02:44:26 am

He is beautiful !!!
I like idea!  :-)) :-)) {-)To the children are going they to like much, because it is very simple  and to construct it.
I believe that I go to do it in the next weekend. I will take and it to sail Sunday to the pool.
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 22, 2011, 10:32:15 am
That's great Diegan :-))

Its a simple boat that the kids can make with their own hands with a little help from Dad/Grandad O0

I hope they enjoy building them as much as I did as a kid ;)

I confess I quite enjoyed re building them if I was honest!

Sailing them too :embarrassed:


I added some additional lead to the bottom of the fin keel and the all up weight now is 118 grams but she's very stable now - no capsises this time :o

The additional lead was added to the rear of the fin to shift the weight back a bit.

What I intend to do is to take her to the pond and trial sail her and trim the new lead until I get the best performance out of her :-))

I've also added simple bowsies to the sheets so that I might trim the sails so she can sail different courses with respect to the wind.O0

Tini-Titanic Mk1 could only sail down wind, Mk2 can sail into the wind  :-))

I checked with a bath full of water and my daughters hair dryer for wind {-) {-) :}

By pointing the hair dryer from forward and 45 degrees to one side I could make her sail up the bath yay! :D
Title: Re: Tini-Titanic MkII A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 22, 2011, 07:45:35 pm
As promised I've made a video of Tini-Titanic Mk II :-))


Last time I made a video it was blowing a gale :o

I trial sailed Tini-Titanic Mk II this morning in a stiff breeze but sadly I'd neglected to charge the camera battery >>:-(

I sailed her again this afternoon after charging the battery but there was hardly any wind >>:-( >:-o.

Typical! O0 {-) (

In the video I rant on about eddies in the water . . . . I'd better explain that there are water jets set in the sides of the pool under water.. . . . . heaven knows why?

That's Architects  for you! {-) (

Now I've proved the concept I'm building a Mk III version ;)
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 24, 2011, 12:42:23 am
I been playing again! :D O0

I decided Tini-Titanic Mk III needed proper contoured sails for the best sailing efficiency into wind  :-))

Mk II's sails are cut flat and they're okay but I want better >>:-( <*<

The big boys cut sails  from shaped sailcloth panels sewn together . . . . .

We build a hull by first making a form on which to lay planks . . . . .

So I made a contoured form on which to lay my proposed sail panels . . .


Here are all the sail panels taped down ready for the superglue treatment  :D

I made the form from cereal box card supported underneath at maximum chord by bits of wood bonded to the cardboard with superglue.

The form is then taped at all its edges to a flat formica board. Master Hand's screive board to be precise!  {-)

I discovered superglue don't like sellotape nor polythene shopping bags so I used both to stop the sailcloth panels sticking to anything but what I wanted.


Here is a shot of the form with a straight stick of wood laid across it so you can see the funished sail shape . . .

By laying a straight edged steel rule so it crossed the form from foot to head supported on battens so the rule cleared the form I could draw seam lines on it (I used the steel rule width for my sail cloth panel widths)

I then took some ripstop nylon and cut out panels roughly and laid them over the form one after the other and taped each in turn over the form. I then traced the seam lines onto the sailcloth panel, when lifted away the seams were slightly curved :-))

I trimmed to the seams allowing a small overlap to the next panel.

I repeated this process for all panels laying one seam over its neighbour as I went from luff to leach.

The cellotape was useful in taping the whole panel to the form except over the seams . . .  :-)) this kept the cloth firm and steadied it while I lifted the seam edge poking my fine superglue nozzel into the seam . . . . (I'm using Blue Spot 20 gram bottled stuff bought from Boyes - good stuff for this job  :-)) )

Running a bead of glue down the seam, with a polythene gloved finger I rubbed the glue into the seam where it soaked through and set. Rubbing a small amount of water (spit  :o ) into the seam immediately allowed the seam to bond very well  O0

Because the sail is so small I'm not bothering with boltropes, Ive just glued a strip of cloth to each edge first gluing to one side and then folding it over the edge and bonding to the opposite side and I finally added strengthening patches at the corners.

The sail will be attached to the boom gaff and mast in the traditional manner and I will be forming cringles by smiply passing a heated panel pin (cherry red!  :o ) through the sail at their chosen postions . . .

This melts the cloth forming a sealed edge to the cringle - rough but it works  %)


The finished result . . .  its a bit rough and my panel seams are a tad uneven but its my first attempt at this method and I'm working on improving the proccess ;)

I used a grubby part of the cloth from the roll to start with because I wasn't sure if my crazy plan would work but I'm pleased with the result.

Now I know it works I'll take more care with the foresail . . . .  :}

Can't wait to set it up on the ship and go sailing . . . . . . but I must wait till I've made the foresail!  >>:-( >>:-(

In the meantime here's a quick bodge of the sail in place on Tini-Titanic Mk III  :-))


On this model I can raise and lower the jaws of the gaff and its head to put shape into the sail and the running rigging for this run to two tiny cleats at the base of the mast!

 :-)) ;)
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: kiwi on February 24, 2011, 09:37:44 am
This just gets better all the time.
Keep up the good work
Title: Re: Greggy Jib Making Class 101
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 24, 2011, 03:58:03 pm
Here I will go through making the jib with my new method blow by blow :-))

1st make the cardboard form, this time I've use cardboard ribs cut the match the shape Ive molded into the jib form. I fromed the shape in the jib by molding the cardboard in my fingers until I got an airfoil I was happy with and the cut the strengthening ribs to match.

It's rather like building a model air craft wing but in reverse order!  {-) Mark the sail panel seams on the form and cover it with a piece of polythene shopping bang and tape down smooth.


Cut your sail panels so that the weft of the cloth runs top to bottom of the resultant sail, this stretches less than the warp so in my book is better and hopefully we'll get that nice belly in the sail panels between the seams  O0


Start at the tack and lay your first panel, taping it down so that just the seam is exposed.

Tip! When laying down the tape make sure it is smooth with no wrinkles as this causes the cloth to pucker underneath and is to be avoided if possible.


Work across the sail heading for the clew smoothing down each panel so that it follows the curve of the form and lightly with a pencil draw the true shape of the panel as dictated by the form.

Cut out with sharp scissors and tape down the panel as before.


Its gluing time! :o Ive made a little cardboard doobly-flip to hold open the seams until I can get the superglue nozzle right in there.....


Run glue along the seam and follow immediately with finger so glue soaks through cloth and sets  O0


Remove panel from form


Tape down luff of sail on form  . . . .


and cut cloth strip to fit one side . . . .


and tape it down over waste only which is to be trimmed later . . .


and glue as before


remove sail from form and flip over . . .


and glue luff strip on as before . . .


and trim off waste with a sharp knife


tape foot of sail to form again and rinse repeat  {-) :-))

Do same for leech.

Cut and glue on corner patches to one side of sail.

To make instant cringles, mark their location along the desired edge of sail making them evenly spaced . . .


Take one blow torch and grasp panel pin firmly in jaws of molegrips and heat nail in flame until incandescent  :-))


and plunge through sail at cringle position.

Rinse repeat for all cringles  :-))

Only do one cringle per heating session and don't pause too long in cringle hole or you'll burn the sail, its a quick in out motion :o :embarrassed:


Job done  :} :-))

I think there may be some merit to building a light box with a white perspex top and a bunch of fluorescent tubes inside . . . . and making the sail form from clear plasticard.

I'm having trouble making the sail seams neat and even which is bugging me and this is because I can't see them clearly while laying down the panels.  >>:-(

 <*<  The light box would cure this.  O0 :-))

But this little forsail only has a 10" luff so maybe I'm nit-picking !  {-)

Time to bend on sails and go sailing! :D :-))

Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 24, 2011, 07:30:13 pm
Would you believe it took longer to bend on the sails than it took to make both sails and write up my last post!  :o  


I ran out of daylight before setting the sails and sailing by moonlight is no fun at all unless you have a beau to cuddle as well - sadly I'm laking in this department so you'll have to settle for the model clamped to my unit top and being blasted . . . . . . .


Wind 45 degrees off the starboard bow!  :} note set of the sails fully hardened home  :-))


Now we're swinging around her bow . . . . .


and she's crossing our bows on the port side . . .


And she's showing us her port side with the sails straining at the stiff breeze! {-)

The things I go through to entertain you lot!  :o and the lengths I go to to get the shots


 <*< <*< {-) {-) {-) O0 {-) {-)

Same again on a beam reach


You can see the airfoil shape I've built into the sail along the foot of the mainsail when compared to the boom  :-))




I'm no expert but the sails seem to set well to me! Its the best set of sails I've ever seen a beer can wearing! {-) O0

You watch it'll be either no wind at all or it'll be blowing a gale and raining next time I want a sail!  :((

Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: kiwi on February 24, 2011, 08:06:19 pm
Give that man a medal.

or to quote  Chief Petty Officer Pertwee, " Left hand down a bit"

some great ideas in there Greggy

great work
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 25, 2011, 01:36:49 am
Tini-Titanic Mk III is ballasted and ready to rumble


The ballast again is a strip of lead flashing - 55 grams to be precise, all up weight of boat 133 grams.

Glues used Blue Spot 20 Gram superglue 1.00 from Boyes used on rigging, gluing the foresail horse to the hull and of course making the sails  :-))

I switched from JB Weld for the fin keel and ballast because it's a tad expensive and switched to 151 two part epoxy 1.49 bought at the cheapy shop.

The only thing to watch with the epoxy is the areas to be glued must be abraded with really coarse glass paper to form a good key.

If Dad or Grandad is helping with the build these glues are okay but if the young ones want to tackle this themselves I would go for something like Bostick or Evo Stick just as I used as a kid  O0

Two bowsies are used to lengthen and shorten the sheets as they used to in the good ole days and are made from the side of a plastic Jacobs Crackers Selection box, the horse and all the other fittings are made from brightly striped paper clips robbed from my daughters college pencil case! (don't tell her she'll kill me! :o  ;) )

Sheets and standing rigging are the centre cords of parachute cord given to me by my brother who used to be in the RAF and the hanks holding the mainsail to its mast boom and gaff and also the foresail to the forestay are the strands pulled from the outer casing of same parachute cord.

The hull and the fin are of course our two trusty beer cans.

The lead ballast is encapsulated in epoxy resin cast in a makeshift box built out of card board around the fin and lead which was epoxied to the bottom of the fin first. The resulting 'bulb' was then sanded to smooth the flow of water over its surface  - hydrodynamic?

Sum cost for the whole project 2.49 in exchange for a whole bundle of fun  :-)

Here's some close-up-and-ugly shots of all the important bits


Base of mast showing gooseneck and eye for mainsail sheet. The bowsprit comes through bow and forecastle, a panel pin is set in the top face and the mast sits on the sharp end.


Forward face of mast showing cleats for main halyards and peak halyards, horse and foresail traveller.


Here is the mainsheet horse detail and rudder stock and mainsheet bowsie in back ground.


Top of mainmast showing shrouds, heel of topmast and gaff jaws with main halyards passing through mast to hoist gaff jaws.


top mast truck, top of forestay and head of foresail, also the peak halyard passing through mast to peak of gaff.


Bowsprit, tack of foresail, top of bobstay, eye for foresail sheet and lacing of foresail to forestay.


Continuing the keeping it simple theme here is the base of the starboard shroud and the base of the bobstay which are bonded straight to the hull surface with superglue. The leading edge of the fin can also be seen.


And last but no means least the epoxy encapsulated lead ballast  :-))

Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Lord Bungle on February 25, 2011, 10:09:27 am
Brilliant  :-))
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: dreadnought72 on February 25, 2011, 11:38:38 am
Casts a critical eye over the boat...

Can it have a burgee stuck to a match at mast top, please?  :-))

Lovin' it!

Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 25, 2011, 12:40:39 pm
What? . . . . . .   :-)

Like this? ;)


Great idea!  :D

I can readily see which course she's setting with respect to sail trim and the wind  :-)) :} Wind supplied for photo courtesy of daughters hair dryer!  {-)

I had a burgee just like this  on the enterprise dinghy I once owned as a kid at the top of her mast  :-))


It can swivel freely about its support post  O0 and is 6 1/2" long nose to tail and tapers to a point so at least I'll still be able to see the burgee if she decides to sail off into the sunset!

Incidentally I forgot to add the ripstop nylon in 1600mm x 1000mm rectangles can be bought on Ebay in lots of pretty colours for 2.50 all in so boat cost is actually 4.99, but that's enough cloth to do 20 sets of sails on a boat this size. It is used by the kite boys for building their machines O0

But if that's too much of a stretch for your lads pocket money, the sails on my sailing canoe were made from a woman's white nylon underskirt I bought in charity shop for 50p, I got some funny looks from the old lady behind the counter  :o but it'll have kept her busy all day with gossip so it was a win-win situation! {-) %)

I'm going the build Master Hands huge sails in exactly the same manner, once the superglue sets the seams are immensely strong and the fabric either side of the seam tears before the joint fails. She will have 14 vertical panels 33mm wide which are slightly wider than the panels in Tini-Titanic Mk III's sails coincidently!

But for that job I'm going to have to build that light box I mentioned. O0

Ripstop Nylon here

Also I forgot to show how I got that neat tapered airfoil fin keel . . . instructions to follow soon.

Done the photos, just got to write it up . . . .

But I'm too busy sailing at the moment! O0 ;D
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 25, 2011, 01:18:28 pm
But here's a teaser to keep you on the edge of your seat! :-))


I'm cruel I know!  :((

But you love me for it! {-)

Be honest! :-)
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 26, 2011, 01:01:24 pm
I took Mk III for a sail yesterday evening and shot a video or two, on the whole she sails quite well  . . . . . . . . . . . . for a beer can %)

But I noticed as she crossed the pond she would bear away which suggested lee helm. I could correct it to some extent by pulling on the rudder and setting it farther aft with respect to the fin keel.

Also this model has a longer bowsprit and a slightly larger foresail than MK II which does not help >>:-( but there is only so much you can do with the water line length of 1 beer can . . . . . . .

Hmmmmm . . . . . . . how about cutting the bottom out of one beer can and the top of another and joining them to make a hull with a waterline length twice as long . . . . .

She'd be faster and be able to carry more sail :-))

A Dandy rig like Master Hand for instance?

Hmmmmmm  {-)

Here are a couple of sort videos of Mk III sailing ( (

There are a whole bunch of videos if you search for 'Beer Can Sailing Ship'  :-))

When I returned home I compared Tini-Titanic Mk II with Mk III and I realised Mk III's fin is set quite a bit father back from the bow so I've made some modifications . . . . <*<

First I took off the fin carefully and re bonded to the hull in the same position as Mk III's fin, second I shortened the bowsprit by 1/2" and re-cut the foot of the foresail reducing it's area slightly so now I should get a better 'slot effect' between the foresail and mainsail because the foot of the foresail is now horizontal and close to the top of the bowsprit.

We shall see how these changes effects the performance  :-))

One minor change is the orientation of the horse for the mainsail sheet, with the old setup when sheeting fully home the horse would pull forwards under tension. Now its a similar arrangement the the foresail horse :-))
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 26, 2011, 02:10:57 pm
This building sails they way I do works as can be seen for the video's of Tini-Titanic III but could the method stand up to the pressure on larger sails? :o

Master Hand's mainsail is 555 square inches in area, her main boom is 25" long and her gaff is 22 1/2" long so we're talking quite a big area so I dreamed up a simple test . . . .

I've made up a test rig with a scrap strip of sailcloth which is 3/4" wide and I cut it into two pieces and re bonded it forming a seam like the ones in Tini-Titanic III's sails.

The seam is 3/4" x 1/8" in area, next I bonded the top half to a 3/4" x 3/4" section stick of wood which I clamped to my worktop . . .


At the bottom of the cloth strip I bonded a small stick of wood to carry a wire harness on which I hung two steel weights  :o


As you can see the first weight weighs 2.496 Kg's and the second  . . . .


weighs 2. 526 Kg, thats 5.022 Kg's total


As you can clearly see, the seam is stronger than the sailcloth and the cloth is beginning to tear on the lower panel.

So we can say that my little sails can take a pulling force of 5 Kg per 1" of seam . . . . . . I think this means Master Hands sails will be strong enough and they will set well and look great with the sun shining through them as she sails by!  :-))

Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 26, 2011, 08:05:45 pm
Might have to write to the makers of Carling!

See if I can't talk em into selling beer in cans this big!  O0


I'd be a hero! {-) {-) O0
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 28, 2011, 03:24:09 pm
The ring pull on Tini-Titanic's stern is a great way of forming the lower gudgeon for hanging the rudder and for all intents and purposes works just fine . . . . .

But when you've become the veteran of some sixty voyages across the pond, like everything else in life - things inevitably fade . . . . {:-{

And our poor ringpull gudgeon is no exception.  >>:-(

You see it was only ever designed to be used just once to pop open the can so the owner could chugg the beer {-) and it's tiny little tab holding it to the can  . . will only cope with rudder adjustments (to get the ship to sail a straight course) so many times . . . .

And it always goes 'ping'  halfway through another voyage allowing the rudder gently slip its hold and becomes another trinket in Davey Jones's locker!  >:-o >>:-(

But as with every dark cloud, there lurks a silver lining because this conundrum forced me to improve things. We now have a proper rudder with a tiller to steer it by! :} and everything!


Here is a photo of Mk III in the boat yard along side Mk II,


She has suffered the same ring pull fate and is awaiting refit.


Mk III has been fitted with the rudder upgrade which consists of three gudgeon's, one at the deck, and one at the water line  . . . .


And one at the bottom of her new improved skeg  :-)) The gudgeon this time is on the rudder and the pintle is a projection of the lower end of the skeg (another bit of paper clip sandwiched between the two halves of the skeg.


The rudder is smaller than on Mk II but is compensated for by the skeg between the fin and rudder to try and reduce leeway  O0


And a tiller gives us rudder control.

The rudder blade is two sheets of 1mm birch ply, the rudder stock is our trusty gaudy paperclip which is formed at its lower end into a sort of 'e' shape and sandwiched between the two rudder blade halves. The top part fits into a tiny hole bored for it in the tail end of the tiller.

Tiller control for now anyway (there hangs another tale) takes the form of a straight forward strip of rubber tape glued to the gunwales and spanning the deck.

This traps forward end of the tiller underneath it.

This simple arrangement allows for micro adjustment of the rudder :-))

And we can go sailing again . . . . .

Well  . . . . . . .

 >>:-( when the north wind stops blowing icicles horizontally that is   >>:-( . . .  {-) {:-{

The oak shavings on the boatyard floor give a clue to upcomming events at the other end of the yard . . . .

More planking is taking place on Master Hand :-))
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on February 28, 2011, 08:57:46 pm
On Sunday the sun was shining and we had a blue sky (amazing I know I know! :o) so I though I'd go down to the seafront for a little sail.

I knew there would be lots of people about and I wanted to get some reactions to my creation  O0

The water was brilliant with sunlight and I could see wave patterns reflected of the pond floor  . . . . .

There was a brisk but cold northerly wind - almost perfect!  :} The wind is blowing from top left of your screen . . .

Also if you watch rubbish in the water it shows an anti clockwise circulation caused by water jets in the pond walls (you can see one to the left of the white flag mast beyond the pool on the opposite side). The gurgling is not me getting excited . . . . it another water jet under my feet! {-)

I thought 'I know!' I'll shoot a long video of Tini-Titanic sailing up and down the pond! What a great idea! O0

I'd also discovered how to get better clarity of video from my camera - the moral of this tale is ''when all else fails . . . . . read the destructions!''  {-) {-)

The resultant video is 7 minutes and 14 seconds long . . . .

All I had to do Sunday night was to upload to YouTube - no problem . . . . .  :-)

Nope!  >>:-( none of that simple stuff  >>:-(

You would not believe the trouble I've had trying to upload this file!  <*<

Because it is high quality the file is huge and although YouTube says you can upload large files  . . . . . I beg to differ.  <:(

So I've had to learn to become a video producer as well as boat builder and compress the file so that it will upload (


It's cost blood sweat and some tears too  {-) O0

Incidentally I got some amusing reactions . . . something along the lines of ''Oh look! What a lovely little sailboat!  . . . . Oh my God - it's a beer can!''  {-) %% {-)


I'm not sure if you can see but when she gets to the other side her bowsprit hits the pond wall .....the wind swings her around and a back draft off the pond wall backwinds the foresail and brings the bow around and she sets sail again.

Saves me running around the pond  O0
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on March 01, 2011, 10:09:08 am
Here are a couple of stills from the last voyage  :-)



Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: dreadnought72 on March 01, 2011, 12:03:31 pm
Crikey! I do believe she's making headway!  :o

...Not bad for a tin can.  :-))

Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Greggy1964 on March 01, 2011, 01:45:22 pm
Hi Andy

Yup! :-)) She's going uphill O0

You can see this clearly in my last YouTube vid

In fact your idea of a burgee was is what made me decide to try and get her to sail upwind  O0

So I have you to blame! {-)

This afternoon I'm planning on sailing again to try out the new rudder/skeg configuration.

On Sunday I was chatting at the pond side with member of the local model boat club who was initially surprised to see a beer can sailing by :o  but his remarks, and those of passers by were encouragingly positive.

There's more to this lark that just sinking beer! {-)
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Diegan on March 25, 2011, 11:46:14 pm
HI ! Greggy ok2
I send photograph to you of my sailboat, as well as the Link of the video in youtube, where she is sailing (
Soon I will make a tutorial of I constructed how it
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: Tutssy on March 26, 2011, 12:53:37 am
Has anyone thought of doing this with a 45 gallon drum?  :D O0 %% :-))

Regards Al
Title: Re: A Nostalgic look back at Beer Can Sailing Ships
Post by: ppsailor on April 08, 2011, 08:27:05 am
Hola Hola gusta. %%
Yes , really really nice. can baptize it like "diegantiki "
You remember the song.??..En el mar la vida es mas sabrosa ? " In the sea the life is but flavorful........
PP :-))