Model Boat Mayhem

The Shipyard ( Dry Dock ): Builds & Questions => Yachts and Sail => Topic started by: JerryTodd on July 06, 2012, 04:49:36 pm

Title: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: JerryTodd on July 06, 2012, 04:49:36 pm
I started a thread on the Macedonian here, but that models has been set aside for the moment as I try to complete another.  The other, being a schooner, and therefore simpler in rig and it's amount of detail than a frigate, I hope I would have a chance to complete - and sail.  I also live near Baltimore and it's the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 in which Baltimore played a prominent role.  In consideration of the readership here, I won't dwell on that unfortunate spat between cousins.

This model is of a boat whose construction I worked on in late 1976, then crewed on in 1981.  For the bicentennial of the Battle of Yorktown I was specifically hired because I had square rig experience and black powder cannon experience.    I acquired a copy of the plans in 1982 from the designer, and started a 1:32 scale model back then, but that was destroyed in one of many moves.   This model began in earnest in September of 2011, actually started before Macedonian.  It is 1:20 scale giving it the following dimensions:
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The real vessel was lost in a squall North of Puerto Rico in May of 1986 taking her captain and three of her crew with her.  This model is something of a memorial to them.  I can't see it without remembering them, and I hope that will be true for others that knew them and the boat.

November 2010: The plans were scaled up to 1:20.  The patterns were drawn in Paintshop Pro v.7 and printed on the plotter.  These were pasted to 3/16" plywood and stood on the build-board.
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October 2011:: After letting the forms season for a year,  ok2 a keel was cut and planking began.  The model is planked in 1/8" thick white pine.
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November 2011:: The planking was completed by Halloween.  An attempt to take a glass hull off this one as a male-mold was botch.  The forms were removed and the inside coated with resin.  Then the outside got a layer of 3oz glass cloth.
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March 2012:: The prop notch was cut in sternpost and a daggerboard trunk for fin keel was installed.  The fin is 1/8" aluminum sheet that will get a lead bulb of about 12-15 pounds attached.
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April 2012: Installed the wales.  Made the motor mount bulkhead.  Installed the deck beams and the inner cabin trunk.  Put on the fashion pieces on the quaters and then the stern's "fancy pieces."  Some paint.  The rudder was made of 5/16" Plexiglass with a 3/16 brass rod rudder post drifted to the rudder with 1/16" rods.  A copper heel plate is threaded to receive 2 screws that hold the gudgeon plate to the keel.  A brass tube goes through the counter to make the top bearing for the rudder post.  The lid portion of the cabin trunk was made.
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May 2012: Four sets of bitts were made along with hatch coamings, the period bilge pumps, and the bowsprit.  A mount was made for the rudder servo and speed control in the cabin.
The masts were made of white cedar using the Bird's Mouth method.  They got fitted with cross-trees, caps, topmasts, and mast hoops.
The tiller will be used to steer the model as there's no room for linkages, etc, below.  A heavy copper tiller was soldered to a collar that attached to the rudder post.  The scale wooden tiller covers the copper tiller.
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June 2012: The rudder fairleads that will guide the rudder cables through the sud-deck were installed.
The sails were cut from Dupont Supplex, marked with panel lines, patches, cloths, and tabling glued on with fabric glue; bolt-ropes sewn on, and reef points made.
The gaffs, boom, and other spars were made.  "Iron" work for stuns'l booms, ringtail, and the clew iron of the mains'l were made.
Two spools of Dacron sailthread were bought and used to make rope in three diameters to be used on the model.
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July 2012: Began making and installing blocks and other rigging such as foot-ropes on the yards.
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So that's where I am so far.  The model is to be displayed at a visitor's center in Baltimore on July 22nd as part of those War of 1812 festivities.  July 22nd, it seems, is when the first 7 letter-of-marque boats sailed from Baltimore.   She won't be completed by then, but I'm working on getting her somewhat presentable.

The RC side of this is a little in the air.  I planned on a continuous loop trolly sort of set up as found in models like Robbe's Valdivia, but I have two notions for handing all this over lapping sail I want to experiment with.  Besides that, there's running back-stays on both masts, and running fore-stays on the main mast I want to be operational; plus yard bracing - and there's not really much room inside this hull, which is why I made her 1:20 scale.  I wanted her to be 1:36 to fit in with Constellation and Macedonian, but there just wasn't enough room in her at that scale.
Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: rmaddock on July 06, 2012, 05:35:00 pm
Absolutely super Jerry! I'll even forgive you mentioning the war.  :embarrassed:
Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: JerryTodd on July 06, 2012, 10:43:11 pm
I thought I'd post some photos of the real boat this one's modeled after.

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One of my babies.  First thing I did was toss the waterproof fuse and make up some slow match and linstocks.
I tried to get proper rigging installed, but they would have no such thing - so there were no breechings, retrieving tackle, etc.

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Leaving Baltimore for Chestertown, October 1981.

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On the sail over to Chestertown Maryland.

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On the sail over to Chestertown Maryland.

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While becalmed on the Chester River in Maryland, the engineer and I took the Zodiac out and I snapped this last picture on my roll.
Note the mian tops'l is not set, and you won't see it set very often till 82 because it was a pain in the tucas to set with it's jack-yard. 
Eventually they left the jack yard aloft and ran a cable down to deck; then ran the sail up hanked onto this cable so it looked like it was set on the jack-yard.

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Hauling a$$ into the York River on the way to Yorktown, October 1981.  We had just taken in the fore tops'l.  The lee rail was under and the gun muzzles in the water up till then.

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Me (upper right) and "Sugar" (far left in the skilt) are the only crew, the rest are reenactor friends of mine from shore.
We fired the guns so much they though we were on fire and sent a fire engine down to the dock.  Sugar was a survivor of the wreck in 86.

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A lovely shot of Pride in the Pacific in 1982.

Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: JerryTodd on July 14, 2012, 09:45:08 pm
The model is basically getting jury-rigged so it can be displayed on the 22nd, but some of this is permanent work.  The bolt-ropes have been sewn on all the sail, so they are complete.  Footropes on the yards, sails lashed to their gaffs, jack-yard, etc.  I got some brass belaying pins for Constellation but they were too big - it turns out they're perfect for Pride.

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Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: JerryTodd on July 25, 2012, 04:19:03 am
Well, the event of the 22nd was moved to the 21st, and I was out of town, getting back in time to do the 22nd, but couldn't get back earlier - so - no go.

Anyway, I found the news paper was selling a lot of photos on ebay, many of which were of the Pride of Baltimore, and many of which showed details not on the plans, or visible in what photos I have.

Several images were of the boat when she was hauled in 1979 after suffering damage to her rudder in a storm in the Delaware Bay.  One thing I noticed was that the wale didn't fair into the stem the way I did it, but ended somewhat abruptly.  There was also a plank covering the seam between the hawse bolster and the wale that I hadn't noticed before - but apparently had been there since she was built..

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I bounced all over trying to figure out the pumps, which are not even alluded to in the plans.  One photo on ebay taken during the boat's construction showed yard foreman, Fred Hecklinger working on the pumps.  I could see the 'V' shaped iron strap that I though was part of the iron straps wrapping the pump heads, was actually separate and attached to the cabin front.  I thought the post that held the pump handle attached to this, but it actually it's braced by the 'V' strap and sits on the deck.

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The plans do include drawings for Pride's armament - which bear almost no resemblance to what was actually on the boat.  The main battery consisted of four 6 pounders carriage pieces.  These were basically scaled down 18 pounders in shape and proportion.  I've done scale drawings and now I'm trying to get a wooden gun barrel turned to make a mold from to cast the rest in resin.

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Title: Moving
Post by: JerryTodd on September 10, 2012, 01:29:40 pm
Sorry for the lack of updates, but I'm preparing to move and so haven't been working on the models.

My new home has a garage attached to the house that will be my shop so it's just a matter of getting over there and getting set up again.

It may be a little while, but knocking on wood here, I hope to be steaming along nicely again in a few weeks time.
Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: JerryTodd on June 06, 2014, 02:59:26 pm
Well, it's been more than a "few weeks" and I'm still not "streaming" nicely or otherwise.  We'll not go into the whys of things here, but...

Pride was taken out to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's Model Expo back on the 31st of May to be publicly displayed for the first time.  Macedonian and Constellation went along too and Constellation actually was sailed in the pool they had set up.

The visitors to my little display were very interested and asked some great questions.  They were impressed by the size of the models and that they weren't kits, but were surprised that they were built of ordinary materials available at the local hardware/lumber store.

In preparation for this event, I installed in Constellation a system to test for handling the over lapping heads'ls.  It consist of two free moving arms on either side of a sail-arm servo with a pin at the end of it's arm to move one of the free arms when it rotated.  This would take in on one sheet of a sail while leaving the other slack, and inversely, slack one sheet before taking in on the other - the way you actually sheet heads'ls when tacking.

This set-up will control all the fore-n-aft sails on Pride, though I may put the main sheet on a separate servo for better balance control.

Attached are images of my display at the Expo, Pride at the Expo, a sketch of the jib sheeting plan, two photos of the test set-up installed in Constellation, and a pic of Constellation sailing in the pool.
Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: JayDee on June 06, 2014, 04:01:20 pm
Hello Jerry,

Very nice to see you have settled in at your new place.
The models look terrific !.
Good to have you back.

John,  :-)) :-)) :-))
Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: Brian60 on June 06, 2014, 05:41:38 pm
I'm glad this was resurrected or I would have missed a great build! Well done sir.
Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: mrpenguin on June 10, 2014, 07:41:41 am
Nice work!

Thank you for an elegant and simple method of handling the sheeting in this situation.
You indicate that is a prototype - one thing I reckon you may run into is some tangling with the uncontrolled sheet. In a slightly similar situation, I have  used clear plastic sheet to provide a clear slippery area so the sheet has nothing to tangle with. In this situation you have, perhaps two such areas, one for each sheet with a division between the sheets so they cannot tangle with each other. I have used the clear stuff from blister packs or binder covers, also the stuff that was once used to make the old fashioned overhead transparencies is Ok. The plastic area effectively becomes a "chain locker" for the sheet - it should have nothing to tangle with but itself if that makes sense.

Not sure if I have got across what I meant, but hope this may provide some direction.
Title: Clear sheet for clear sheets
Post by: JerryTodd on June 10, 2014, 01:55:24 pm
I got it  ;)

In Constellation's case there's nothing to tangle with (inside the hull), or so I thought, but then I started thinking about it.  With the boat heeling, bouncing about, etc, as it sails the most obvious thing for the slack sheet to tangle with would be the servo arm and it's post, and the semaphore arms themselves.  I plan to mount a cleat on the semaphore arms to make fast the sheets and make adjustments easier.  I made a note to check for this possible issue and your suggestion.
Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: JerryTodd on October 18, 2015, 11:36:33 pm
Looking at Pride again I began measuring and figuring out how the control lines will run below decks.

Using two Hi-Tec HS-815BB "Mega Sail-arm" servos mounted on either side of the fin trunk and fitted with my Semaphore Arm Sheeting set-up; one servo will control the heads'ls and bracing the tops'l yard.  The other servo will control the fores'l and mains'l sheets along with the running stays for the fore topmast, main topmast, and main stays.  Both servos will be fitted with servo stretchers to get the most travel out of them.

Currently everything is controlled by a Spektrum Dx6 with an AR6000 rx, but that will be changed for a Hobby King 6 channel set that will have a sliding pot for the motor control.  This Rx has been removed from it's case and will be mounted in a custom case for this model
Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: JerryTodd on October 21, 2015, 04:58:22 pm
Let's hope this works....

I cut 4 sticks 6-1/2" long, 3/4" wide, and 3/16" thick from pine.

I tapered and sanded them.  They stacked, two each, on a bit of brass tubing as a bushing to keep the pivot holes from wearing larger.  A pan-head screw  serves as a pivot pin and holds them to a common block so it's all one assembly.

There's a thin styrene "washer" between them and on top, and they sit on a 1/4" Delrin block to lift them over the servo arm.

The block will be screwed to the servo-tray between the two sail-arm servos, one pair facing port, the other starboard.

Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: Netleyned on October 21, 2015, 05:25:46 pm
If they work as good as they look everything
should be fine Jerry.

Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: dave301bounty on October 21, 2015, 07:39:20 pm
fine looking kit your making ,looks very interesting ,I need to do something similar ,thanks for showing ..
Title: Semaphore Sheeter
Post by: JerryTodd on October 22, 2015, 12:03:16 am
Here's a photo of the assembly apart so you can see the components and another pic showing the lovely red color the arms got painted as I have a spray can of red paint and nothing much to use it on.  :)
Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: Footski on October 22, 2015, 06:39:40 am
Just found this thread. Reading it has made me late for an appointment. Simply superb. :-))
Title: No time to waste!
Post by: JerryTodd on October 22, 2015, 12:59:24 pm
I'm terribly sorry you were late - please don't worry, it'll be here when you get back.  :)
The "Other Models" link in my signature takes you to my website which has much more potential to make you even later next time.  :)

And thank you all for the kind replies.
Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: Popeye on October 22, 2015, 01:17:14 pm
Just found this thread. Reading it has made me late for an appointment. Simply superb. :-))

I echo those sentiments. Another triumph Jerry.
Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: Unsinkable 2 on October 26, 2015, 05:55:03 pm
Great job your doing Jerry, I like when people find problems with scratch builds and come up ingenious solutions :-))    U2
Title: This boat's full of sheet!
Post by: JerryTodd on October 31, 2015, 12:35:05 am
So here's the arms temporarily installed.  I have to make attachments for the sheets and paint the mounting block.

Finalizing where the sheets will go through the deck I came up with the following measurements for each sheet's full travel:

Starboard servo:
  Fore sheet: 44cm
  Main sheet: not measured yet

Port servo:
  Fore stays'l: 10cm
  Flying jib: 28cm
  Jib sheet: 34cm
  Tops'l yard brace: 39cm
Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: PICKETBOAT on December 01, 2015, 01:47:33 pm

This is a nice build.
Your method of sail control is novel but I can see no reason why it will not work. She will be great fun to sail.
I can confirm this from experience sailing my own Baltimore brigantine. At 1/48th scale it's a lot smaller than your vessel and a little later (1830). The hull lines on these American vessels are quite beautiful, but they do have a deceptively small hull volume.
Send some more pictures to the forum please.
Title: As of June 2016
Post by: JerryTodd on June 18, 2016, 08:27:16 pm
A lovely model Picketboat.  How did you deal with the overlapping sails?

One thing I've always noticed with modelers is a penchant for sheeting everything to the center-line.  In the case of heads'ls and my loose-footed fores'l, sheeting to the center-line spoils the sail's set when close-hauled; it simply sheets the sail in too much, and reduces it's efficiency.  Besides that, the actual vessels, the prototypes, didn't sheet that way, most seldom do.  It also makes it more difficult to deal with sail overlap, sharpening the angles that the sheet must be pulled over from one side to the other than would be the case if the sheets went out to the rails as most real vessels do.  On real boats even those sals that sheet to the center-line typically have travelers making them self-tending when tacking.

Pride mains'l had a double-ended sheet.  This sort of "yoke" in the main-sheet actually keeps it from bringing the boom right to the center-line and works like a traveler.  The first inclination to replicate this to some degree in a working model is to anchor one end to the deck, run it through a block on the boom, then through the deck to the servo.  This arrangement actually increases the length of sheet the servo has to pull.  The sketch shows how I intend to get the basic appearance and function of the double-ended sheet while keeping the operation of the single sheet.

Most recently, I redid my entire shop so I could actually work in it without moving half it's contents out onto the driveway,  ( that adventure is documented here... ( for those that are interested in such matters ).  With the shop usable, if not "finished," I decided to set a goal of getting Pride sail-able in time for the model boat event at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in October.  I started on setting up the steering...

Some time ago I set up the rudder servo in the aft end of the main cabin trunk with the idea of using either and arm or drum to pull the tiller from side to side.  There's no accessible space under the deck behind the cabin to where the tiller is, and so there's no way to make a hard control system that isn't painfully obvious and spoils the scale appearance (hard system meaning push-rods, etc).  Pride used relieving tackle on her tiller much like a small yacht has a tiller extension or length of line to steer against the weather-helm.  So the idea was to use steering cables and imply this relieving tackle in appearance.

When I started to rig this set-up, I couldn't get it to work.  A cross arm or drum wasn't doing the job and a fore-and-aft arm like I used on my Constellation needed the steering cables to be routed to places I wouldn't be able to access.  So I opted to move the rudder servo forward, just behind the foremast.  Here I could access it through the the model's 600mm x 140mm main-hatch instead of the 115mm x 170mm cabin trunk.  Routing the steering cables forward was pretty straight forward, and though I ran them both to the port side of the hull, I figured the servo's cross-arm set at an angle would compensate for that.  The problem was that as the arm rotated beyond a certain point, relative to the last fairlead the steering cables came through, it was moving more sideways than away, and the amount of cable it was effectively pulling dropped off significantly at the last few degrees of rotation.    This could be solved, even improved on, with a quadrant of some sort on the servo, but that seemed like too much effort.  What I ended up doing was going to my tried-and-true system from Constellation using what I guess could be called a counter-tiller on the rudder servo.
Here's a little video on the semi-jury-rigged steering set-up Pride would up with: (

With the steering basically settled, I ordered a couple of extensions from Servo City, for the servo's cable so it would reach the receiver, and half-a-dozen shaft collars to make a propeller, and to have some spares around.  In the mean time I began to work on the fores'l sheeting, which I'll get into in the next post....

PS: I have to say I am not liking the system for image attachments on the forum now.  It's impossible (that I can find) to embed the images in the message as I had done back at the start of this topic, the images don't even upload till you post the message, and even in editing, or "modifying," they can't be moved into the text.  The "insert image" button is looking for a hyperlink to an offsite image and does nothing with the images uploaded to this site.  What happened?  It used to work very nicely, as you can see from prior posts in this thread.

To get the sketch into the post, I had to "View Image" in Firefox, copy the image url, and use Insert Image in Modify.  That's definitely not going to appeal to anyone.
Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: JayDee on June 22, 2016, 09:43:56 pm
Hello Jerry,

Well thought out, and very clever too !!.
You have got me thinking.
This coming Winter might see some big changes on my two big yachts.
On Endeavour, I have run "fake" sheeting along the deck, to show where the real boats sheeting ran.
There is now a good chance that it may now become "real" sheeting.
Good to hear from you again !!.

John.  :-))
Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: JerryTodd on June 22, 2016, 11:07:33 pm
Always good to hear from you as well John.

I've been poking at the fores'l sheeting, but my problem is too much friction - it binds too much for the arm to pull the sail across. With a single screw-eye fair-lead I can pull the sail over with the sheet just laid over my finger, but the sheets route below decks and over to the starboard side to get to the sheeting arms, and both are doubled onto the arms to increase the arm's pull length.  Too many places to rub, and screw-eyes make for tight corners, so I'm going to have to make proper blocks, but we'll get to that later....
In the mean time, I made a propeller from a shaft collar and some sheet brass...  1st & 2nd pictures

...mounted the master switch in the front of the cabin trunk... 3rd picture
 ...installed blocking in the mast partners that hold the masts at the correct rake angle and help against twisting...  4th picture
 ...installed a "beam" aft to catch the end of the sub-deck there...  5th  picture
 ...and got to making some quickie blocks to use on the fair-leads down below decks.  They don't have working sheaves.  Some of these will no-doubt get replaced with ones that have working sheaves (probably from some Delrin rod I have), but these will help me get the system in order.  6th picture

On the subject of working sheaves;  the lovely blocks in the image down there somewhere, which were sent to me by Mr Victor Yancovitch, will be modified (like the one front-center) with working sheaves for use on the tiller ropes above deck.   7th picture
 Another bit of procrastination was framing up the new "engine room hatch."  I have a feeling I'm going to widen the main hatch from 5.5" to maybe 8".   The last fair-lead for the sheeting arms are mounted near their tips,  inside the hull, up under the deck, and will be a real pain to access.   That's down the road.  Once I get the sheets working, then I'll revisit the idea and determine if it's really necessary;  and I painted the inner cabin trunk black.  The lid has slit windows on the sides and I colored the inner part with black marker where you could see it through them.  I just seemed neater to paint the whole thing.  8th picture
Title: Re: A Baltimore Clipper schooner
Post by: JerryTodd on May 24, 2019, 04:36:30 pm
Took all three models to a Model Expo at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum on the 18thPride actually free-sailed for the first time!