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Author Topic: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’  (Read 5888 times)

Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #50 on: January 10, 2021, 05:59:27 pm »

Hello Roy.  Good to hear about your Cariad - perhaps if this column encourages a couple of people to finish off their pilot cutter models then it will all be worth the effort!  The scale that you mention for your model should be very handy for putting in the car and for lifting in and out of the water.  It reminded me of a smaller scale pilot cutter model that I saw sailing a few years ago at the Cheddar Steam Club here in Somerset - I have copied in a picture of it.  That particular model had an external keel with a lead bulb, which might be worth considering.  At 1/12 scale the pilot cutter models seem to sail OK within internal ballast.  By the time you get down to 'footy' size yachts the external keel seems to be essential.
I do have a dinghy or 'punt' on the port deck of Eliza Rose and I will post some pictures later on (actually you can just see it in the first two pictures in this column).  It's built up from a plastic vacuum-moulded hull.  I would like to build up a proper planked one in time but haven't got there yet...
Thanks for the alternative way to make chain plates too - sounds well suited to the smaller size of hull.  Good luck with your build, and it would be nice to see a few pics of it on the Forum if you feel like starting a new thread?!  :-) 
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #51 on: January 10, 2021, 06:19:47 pm »

The busiest area of rigging on Eliza Rose is near the mast-head where there is a ‘throat halyard’ to raise the gaff throat/ saddle and then an arrangement of blocks for the ‘peak halyard’ and bridles to support the rest of the gaff.  Both of these halyards are led down from the blocks to deck level and tied off on belaying pins, so it is possible to lower the gaff in the same way as on the full-size boat, but there isn’t really any reason to do it.
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roycv

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #52 on: January 10, 2021, 06:53:34 pm »

Hi Laker I contacted Chris Brown to ask about fitting a keel to my Cariad and he said she will sail with just internal ballast.  I have a Graupner Norderney fishing boat including topsail and I have the very small pivot keel permanently down but ballasted inside only.  She drifts a bit to the side but when there is a good wind she drives on without that slight see saw action of a pendulum keel.  It is just a case of getting used to her ways and sailing her accordingly.
Best regards
Roy
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #53 on: January 11, 2021, 09:31:21 pm »

Hello Roy - OK, sounds like your Cariad must be large enough to manage with the internal ballast then.  Good to have the confirmation before you finish the build anyway.  I hope it goes well and enjoy the build!
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #54 on: January 11, 2021, 09:39:23 pm »

With the mast and spars now standing in place it was time to start to think about the sails.  This was the part of the whole project that puzzled me the most, having never made any kind of sail before!  The sails made a good indoor project over the winter of 2010.  I started by cutting out paper templates and attaching these to the model with masking tape.  I adjusted them until I was happy that they matched up with the sail plan.  I had decided to make only the minimum number of sails to get the model on the water at this stage, i.e. just the mainsail, foresail and jib. 
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #55 on: January 17, 2021, 03:28:30 pm »

Choosing the right fabric for the sails wasn’t straightforward.  Fine Egyptian cotton was the advice from other club members, so I eventually bought a length of this by mail order from Nylet sails.  This cotton fabric certainly looked the part but it turned out to be unsuitable because it shrinks by at least 10% in both directions when it is washed, and then shrinks further when washed again.  If you don’t intend to wash your sails after making them then this cloth is probably fine, but I wanted to make sure that my sails would be washable.  Eventually I decided to use an old cotton bed sheet, knowing that this had been washed so many times that it could not possibly shrink any further.  I lightly dyed this fabric with a ‘Stone’ coloured fabric dye to take away the bright white appearance before cutting out the sails. 
I borrowed my wife’s sewing machine to hem the edges and to make the lines of stitching up and down each sail.  A few trials were needed to get the stitch size and width of the hems correct.  I sewed the lines of stitches along each sail first and then hemmed around the edges.  My technique is to make a narrow hem by folding the edge of the sail over twice and ironing this down, and then to stitch along the hems to fix them (I’ve attached a PDF of my notes in case anyone finds it useful).  This method seems to be pretty robust and I haven’t had to repair any of the sails since I made them. I have not hand-stitched a cord or rope around the edge of each sail, although this does make a very nice scale finishing touch if you have the time to do it. 
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #56 on: January 17, 2021, 03:49:36 pm »

Where the mainsail attaches to the mast, a set of mast hoops is needed.  The originals are laminated up from several layers of wood and riveted together.  I know some modellers have managed to reproduce these wooden hoops in miniature by winding up laminations of fine hardwood veneer.  I had a go at trying to do this but the only thin veneer that I had available was mahogany, and this wasn’t suitable.  I decided to overcome my dislike of plastic at this point and I finally made up my hoops from strips of 0.5mm plasticard (styrene).  This is very simple to do, using a suitably-sized round wooden former.  Cut some narrow strips of plasticard about 10-12 inches long.  Paint a thin layer of styrene solvent or cement along one side and then wind this around the former so that it builds up a hoop with three to four laminations.  Tape or clamp this to hold it until set and the result should be a pretty sturdy hoop, which shows some nice lamination detail at the edges.  I painted these a suitable matt colour.
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #57 on: January 20, 2021, 09:11:58 pm »

Finally, I was ready to attach the first three sails to the mast and spars.  Each sail is stitched to its attachment points using white cotton thread. 
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #58 on: January 24, 2021, 03:14:12 pm »

I have not set up radio control for either the foresail or the jib.  My interest is regular ‘social’ sailing rather than racing and for that purpose these models sail very nicely with the foresail and job on fixed settings.  The sheets for each sail run through deck attachment points to the samson posts by the cockpit where they are tied off.  The clew of each sail has a brass wire loop sewn on which can slide freely along the sheet.  These are non-scale fittings and the full-size arrangement is different.  The wire loop allows the foresail and the jib to blow from one side to the other when tacking.  The setting of the sails is adjusted by tightening or loosening the requisite sheet at the samson post, as per the full-size cutter.
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #59 on: January 24, 2021, 03:23:29 pm »

By the Spring of 2011 I could see that I was getting close to being able to sail ‘Eliza Rose’ and I had a list of the remaining jobs to get her ready.  Most of this concerned finishing the radio installation including setting up the ‘pull-pull’ cords for the rudder servo.  The latter job is a balance between having too much play in the lines so that the rudder control is sloppy and having the lines so taught that the servo binds at one extreme or other of its travel.  When adjusted correctly there is around ¼” of play at the tip of the rudder. 
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #60 on: January 24, 2021, 03:32:22 pm »

When the radio was set up correctly, I put the model in the back garden on a windy day and operated the sail winch control to pull the mainsail fully in and then fully out ten times or so, to make sure that nothing snagged or caught.  The only remaining job to be able sail the boat was then to make a launching cradle or trolley.  I already had a luggage trolley with two ‘fork-lift’ arms fitted to help launch my Thames Barge.  I removed these two arms and made up a wooden cradle with two webbing straps to support the pilot cutter hull.  I find this trolley a lot more convenient for launching and recovering the model.  It’s not that the weight of the model is too difficult without a trolley (28lbs), it is more that it is difficult to get good handholds on the hull to lift it in and out of the water directly.
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #61 on: January 24, 2021, 03:57:03 pm »

Finally, all was ready and so on 31st July 2011 I took Eliza Rose down to the lake grounds at Portishead.  The photo shows her being pushed off for the first time.  At this point she had no topsail, dinghy, or anchors etc., and only the temporary centre hatch, but it was very encouraging to see her sail away steadily and to find out that she responded to the controls very nicely.  There were no problems with the radio control set up and she sailed for about an hour and a half that day. 
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roycv

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #62 on: January 24, 2021, 04:51:25 pm »

Hi laker very nice thanks for all the detail.  These days I suppose if you lived in the row of houses overlooking the lake you could say you were out for your constitutional and try and hide the tranny.  My wife and I were moving house 16 / 17 years ago and we did consider living there!
Regards
Roy
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #63 on: January 25, 2021, 09:24:26 pm »

Yes, I'm lucky to live in Portishead with access to a really good model boating lake.  Normally I keep sailing through the winter on good days but not this year.  Hopefully better times to come...
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #64 on: January 27, 2021, 08:09:48 pm »

The only problem of any kind that I found from the first few sailings was that there was up to a half-inch of water in the bottom of the hull by the time I’d finished sailing.  This was a puzzle until I spotted the gaps between the fibreglass hull and the plywood lining that I mentioned when I described cutting out the scupper holes previously.  When the model heeled over in the wind, water was able to come in through the scupper holes and then down between the fibreglass side and the plywood liner, into the hull.  It wasn’t hard to seal these gaps up with white silicone sealant once I had spotted them, and since then she hasn’t let in any water at all.
Knowing that the model sailed well I now felt ready to tackle the remaining details to finish it.  There was still plenty to do:
·         A proper main hatch including a skylight and planking
·         A dinghy (or punt) with oars and cradle for the deck
·         Windlass, anchor and chain
·         Stove pipe
·         Samson posts
·         Tiller bar
·         Topsail, topsail yard and topsail halyard.
·         Nameplates
...and many further items that I eventually decided against, such as navigation lights.
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #65 on: January 27, 2021, 08:26:55 pm »

Like the temporary main hatch, I started the ‘proper’ main hatch by building a box from 1/16” plywood.  On top of this I built the four sides for the skylight, again from 1/16” ply.  The rest of the woodwork was all built up using limewood strip, as for the deck planking.  The two windows are glazed with clear plastic and they are protected by the brass bars (cut from 1/16” brass wire for the model).  The skylight was stained with pine stain to match the cockpit and companionway and the remaining planking was stained using coffee as I did for the deck.  The whole thing was finished off with two coats of matt varnish.  I also made up a small forward hatch using the same materials.  I still need to make some small metal hinges and a handle for this little hatch.  I probably didn’t need to make the front hatch removable – all I tend to use it for is that I take it off for a few days after sailing the model so that any dampness inside can escape.
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derekwarner

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #66 on: January 27, 2021, 08:47:49 pm »

That Tar caulking looks very realistic indeed  :-))  .... Derek
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Derek Warner

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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #67 on: January 30, 2021, 05:54:31 pm »

Hi Derek and thanks for the feedback.  I was pleased with how the planking and caulking came out. 
Before the first sailing I also took the time to do some electrical checks on the radio installation.  I fitted a 5A fuse in line from the lead acid battery to the radio receiver, because the large batteries in these models are quite capable of starting a fire if they short out.  I also wanted to check that if the rudder servo or sail winch became stalled, the current wouldn’t be sufficient to fuse the radio out.  I tested this with a multimeter and I needn’t have worried – the loaded current for the rudder servo is around 0.5A and the sail winch takes up to around 1.2A when stalled (this was actually quite hard to do – the joints in the sheets will probably give way first!).  I have therefore left the 5A fuse in place to protect the whole installation and it has given no problems.   
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #68 on: January 30, 2021, 06:14:19 pm »

Along with the GRP hull, Mike Mayhew of Waverley Models also supplied me with a moulded plastic hull for the dinghy or punt.  This is the only other piece of plastic that I have used in fitting the model out, after the plasticard mast hoops.  I have never been quite sure how the punt was held on the deck of these pilot cutters.  For my model I decided to make up a small cradle from 1/16” ply and balsawood.  This holds the punt in place on the deck and is largely hidden from view in any case, once the punt is in place.
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #69 on: January 30, 2021, 06:30:57 pm »

Fitting out the punt was a nice little job.  The vacuum-formed hull did show some clinker-style planking but it looked very bare inside.  I decided to fit a set of ribs cut from styrene sheet and then a kind rail around the sides of the hull, to support the benches.  I then painted the interior matt white.  Next was a small set of footboards made up from left-over decking limewood and then some benches from 1/16” plywood.  I also carved a couple of oars from some scrap oak.  I’m fairly pleased with the end result, but I would still like to replace it with a proper built-up planked punt model at some point in the future.  To my eye, it is always very apparent when someone has gone to the trouble to build up a small boat from scratch and I would love to do the same eventually.
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #70 on: January 31, 2021, 05:20:09 pm »


I usually sail Eliza Rose with the punt sitting on the deck, however if the lake isn’t crowded then I can tie the painter to one of the samson posts and tow the punt behind the cutter, as shown in the second photo right at the start of this series. 
The windlass assembly is largely as it came from Waverley Models, tweaked a little and stained to suitable finishes.  The two anchors (an Admiralty anchor in the bows and a small Kedge anchor in the stern) also came from Waverley models – these are white metal castings.

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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #71 on: January 31, 2021, 05:35:38 pm »

Talking of the samson posts, these were also carved from pieces of oak.  I wanted then to be fixed very securely to the deck, so I put each one in the lathe and drilled a hole into the base to accept a wooden dowel.  I drilled a similar size hole into the deck for each post and then glued the dowels into the posts and into the deck.  The foresail and jib sheets are tied off on these.
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #72 on: January 31, 2021, 05:39:40 pm »

The tiller bar can also be seen in the photo above.  It plugs into a brass socket at the top of the rudder post.  I put the tiller bar in place for display but it has to be removed for sailing because it would foul the mainsail sheet.  The tiller arm was carved from 1/8” mahogany.  The brass fitting is made from ¼” x 1/16” brass strip bent into a U shape around the tiller bar.  A brass pin was silver soldered into the brass strip to provide the fitting into the rudder socket.
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #73 on: February 05, 2021, 02:19:25 pm »

At this point I also got around to making up a topsail and topsail yard.  This is removable and can be used or not for sailing depending on the wind strength.  The cloth and stitching method are the same as for the other sails mentioned above.  The topsail halyard passes through a hole near the top of the mast and is then led down to the deck and tied to a belaying pin on the starboard pinrail.  This is the main fixture to hold the yard in place.  The trailing edge of the topsail has a loop that slips over the end of the gaff, where the full-size cutter would have a running topsail sheet.  Finally, there is a length of rigging (the ‘tack’) attached to the lowest corner of the topsail.  When this is tensioned it ensures that the topsail yard stays upright and keeps the sail taught.  This tack also leads down to the deck and is tied to another belaying pin.
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Laker

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Re: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Build – ‘Eliza Rose’
« Reply #74 on: February 05, 2021, 03:04:44 pm »

I won’t go through all the other remaining little bits and pieces one by one, but the name plates are worth a mention because I struggled to find out how to do these.  These cutters seemed to have their names painted onto boards that were mounted towards the rear of the hull.  Making up a pair of wooden nameplates to the right size was straightforward and I painted these matt black.  My initial attempts to paint the white lettering by hand were laughable though and I quickly painted them over again.  I then looked around for white lettering kits (transfers or sticky letters) but nothing was available in the right font and size.  Finally, I played around on the computer to get the right lettering and size, and printed out ‘ELIZA ROSE’ in white letters on a black background onto good quality photo paper.  I then cut these out and stuck them onto the wooden nameplates.  I sealed the paper onto the nameplates with a couple of coats of matt varnish.  The varnish seals them up watertight and thankfully it doesn’t seem to smudge or loosen the surface of the print.  These nameplates have worked fine so far, although they are just starting to fade a little due to sunlight after nearly ten years.  I may eventually need to print out some new ones and replace them.
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