Posts Tagged ‘Kittiwake’

Hello. It’s been awhile.

Last year brought major changes for me, both in my work and my interests. ScaleSailing had to take a back seat while my new business partner and I launched our T-shirt design business, “odd guy art.” We have great plans for that business, and it will continue to take much of my working time. Also, some of you may know that family health matters complicated the latter half of the year. Thankfully, that worked out well in the end.

So, I have chosen to get ScaleSailing back in the water, as it were, by seriously streamlining the business. I intend to concentrate solely on the production of the Kittiwake K2 and OPUS rig/sail kits. A few of my custom accessories will be available, too, but I will no longer sell servos. Check out the products page at ScaleSailing.com for the new line up.

The Kittiwake K2 will be supplied as the same craftsman quality (yet easy-to-build) kit as before. With the comprehensive step-by-step building instructions and the extensive CD of building photographs, K2 is regarded as one of the best kits on the market. The kit builds a beautiful, fine-sailing wooden boat. Two years of increasing production costs and smaller production runs mean that I will no longer try to compete with the cheap (mass produced) kits on the market. However, ScaleSailing kits will still be produced with the same care and love that I always applied in the past and I truly hope that you will still find them to be great value for your money.



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The first OPUS Rig (TM) kits are shipping out of the footy boat yard today. During next week I will be filling the rest of your pre-production orders and building up inventory so I have rig kits ready to go in quick order.

The weather has been a little milder here of late, above freezing in fact. So with any luck the water will be turning soft earlier this year than the last two years. When that happens, I am looking forward to doing more trials with the OPUS Rig on other hulls, especially the K2 as I have had a number of questions about that already. I am very keen to hear feedback from OPUS Rig users as to what hulls they are using it with and suggestions of mast socket positions. I will add such suggestions to the building and tuning instructions for the rig.


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The Kittiwake design of footy has become something of a standard in the footy world to my immense joy. At the beginning of October K2 number 400  was part of a three kit fleet which went to the Czech Republic and they have become  some of the first (if not the first) footys to be registered in that country.  I hope you enjoy them and the fun racing they will give you and your friends Phillip.

In August three kits went to Osaka, Japan too, I think they were the first K2’s to arrive there too. I should make an up to date list of countries where Kittiwakes create their little wakes, just for fun.

People who are unfamilier with the name have asked me what a Kittiwake is. Well from Wikipedia…

The kittiwakes are two closely related seabird species in the gull family Laridae, the Black-legged Kittiwake (R. tridactyla) and the  Red-legged Kittiwake (R. brevirostris). The  “Black-legged” and “Red-legged” are used to distinguish the two species in North America, but in Europe, where R. brevirostris is not found, the Black-legged Kittiwake is often known simply as Kittiwake. Interesting huh 🙂

So now we are looking forward to racing through the 400’s and celebrating the sale of Kittiwake K2 number 500! In the meantime we are going to do something I will call ‘K2: Ten Specials’, every tenth kit starting with KW2:410  will be a little bit different  in having coloured sails  or a mix of colours instead of the standard kit white sails.  These specials will be listed on the ‘Specials’ page  http://www.scalesailing.com/specials.htm  at our web site. As each ‘K2: Ten Special’ kit is produced I will list it there. If no one pre-orders it at that stage it will simply go out to the next customer in the usual numerical order. These will sell for the normal price. First come first serve of course and only on the numbers I list on the specials page so you can’t ask for KW2:480 until that batch is in stock and listed ok 🙂

Have fun footying…

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Well it’s been a lovely summer so far here in sunny Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The lakefront is looking beautiful and the lake itself is sparkling daily. My walks along the river have never been more fun and the Opti’s dancing in the harbour more delightful. The coffee tastes great, the music lively, the arts scene busy and the company is entertaining. So this is where I have been, choosing life!

The Kittiwake business is not being neglected though, sales have been good this summer and enough to keep me busy with those rather than any new additions to the fleet. A batch went to Canada for a youth construction project which I hope is going well. I had the first Kittiwake K2 go to the Czech Republic a few weeks ago and a batch of three will be leaving for Japan this week. Supplies have been challenging though, my usual source for carbon extruded tubing has been very slow fulfilling a current order. This is not impacting the K2 kits but it has stopped me being able to start production of the OPUS rigs just yet. Hopefully this will be resolved soon, no doubt there is a huge shipment on it’s way across an ocean somewhere.

Dragon continues to sail well and will be having one change before the final production version, a larger rudder. I have come to the conclusion that the una rig is a little more reluctant to tack than a sloop rig as on the K2 and a more powerful rudder will bring it back to the snappy tacking I think these footys need.

Other news is that the 3x cell battery boxes with integral receiver switch are selling very well. It’s a nice simple solution, I convert the boxes with a servo lead so that they plug directly in to your receiver without a seperate switch harness. Three of the Lithium Energiser dry batteries give plenty of voltage (they are marked as 1.5v but give more like 1.75v even under load) for operating a footy. I have been using the 3xAAA box in the Dragon prototype and it just seems to keep on going and going!

Other other news, my daughter in England just bought her first house so I’m ‘chuffed to bits’ for her about that. So I’m told I need a plane ticket to go and help with the painting and decorating. Cheap accomodation, I can camp out on the job 🙂 . My MGB engine work has just been completed so I’m looking forward to getting my hands back of that and starting assembly intead of stripping things apart. That looks like an over winter rebuild now but I’m determined to have it ready for the spring. Of course my daily runner Ford, isn’t, running that is. But it’s a Ford right, pity it’s only a 4 cylinder or I could get it ‘clunked’!

Anyway, I hope your summer sailing is proving to be fun too. If you are in the northern parts like me, enjoy it while you can, get out of the basement 🙂


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The first National Class Regatta for the Footys really was a great event which I thorougly enjoyed despite a raging head cold. Darrell and his crew of organisers did a very good job of keeping things moving along and keeping the skippers happy. The courses set worked out well by using a basically rectangular course to spread the beating and running boats out.  At times the distant marks were well out there which I like, gives you a sense of going somewhere.

As planned I sailed one of the new Pond Sprites which I had built for the event. I chose my ‘working’ size ‘A’ rig as the winds were pretty variable from very light to a stiff blow with strong gusts during each day. There were times when this was just simply too much sail area and the result was the occasional broach and moments out of control when a bad gust would hit while on the run downwind. Beating into  and across the wind the boat handled the wind strength with no problem. But as a few skippers discovered again, even these winds were nowhere near enough for the tiny ‘B’ rig to be of any use so changing to the ‘B’ was not an option in my opinion.

Saturday started with light winds for just the first race or two then increased to give good racing with occasional gusts which created a certain amount of chaos in the fleet. I must admit that I sailed poorly on the Saturday and made some mistakes the most significant of which was to get totally confused after a course change and actually stop racing while in second place because I thought that I had finished! By the time I realised my mistake and returned to the course my 2nd place was a 10th place… very embarassing and costly in the end! By the end of Saturday I was in 7th place and not particularly impressed with my performance! The Pond Sprite was great though and came through from poor starts to good finishes on several occasions so I know it was better than I was.
Pond Sprite (yellow main) makes another poor start.

Sunday again started very light and flukey which I must admit are conditions I like. I won the first race which bucked me up no end and set me off on a much better days racing. Pond Sprite won two other races including the last, took two seconds and three thirds as I remember. By the end of the day I was very happy to take 5th place overall with 51 points, just 2 points behind 3rd and 4th which both had 49 points. Actually I wish that I had been further behind because now my mistakes on Saturday really hurt! Anyway the prize giving was fun and full of laughs which I think pretty much summed up the whole weekend. Once again it was good to meet up with old friends and make some new ones over the weekend, here’s looking forward to next time.ncr_1
I was pleased to see my friend Ed Rohrer finish in 8th place with his Kittiwake K1.5 (that’s an early Kittiwake with a K2 rig). The photo above is Ed and me looking over his set up.

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Well it’s 2009 and I decided to give our web site a new contents page. This will make the main pages even easier to find and will bring what were previously ‘sub’ pages to the forefront too. Just click on the photos in the contents page to jump to detail pages about the kits, boat parts, products pages, general information, free plans and of course this blog. I hope you like the new look and find it even easier to navaigate. www.scalesailing.com

Happy New Year from us both to you all,
Graham & Jan

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I have had a few questions about compatibility between the original Kittiwake kit and the new Kittiwake K2. Probably the most important aspect being whether the sails and rig of the K2 will fit on the earlier boat. The simple answer is yes, with a few small modifications.

The mast is the same diameter on both boats so the new rig will drop straight into the mast socket in the earlier Kittiwake. However to handle the larger jib sail it will be necessary to add a bowsprit to the hull. To do this you must first remove the brass screw eye at the bow. Then sand off the finish on the raised deck support strip so that a wood dowel bowsprit can be epoxied in place. The bowsprit is 3 1/2″ long and 1 1/2″ will project in front of the bow. Sand or file a flat on the bottom of the bowsprit to give a larger gluing area and epoxy it down. Add a couple of small brass screws if you like. That’s really all there is to it.

I am making the new K2 sails available at $19.95 the pair, taped and holed ready to use. Also a full conversion kit which includes the sails, carbon tube booms, carbon strip forestay, aluminum mast tubes, various fitting parts,
thread, bowsprit, extract from the K2 instructions, drawing and photo CD showing assembly of the rig is available for $29.50

The hulls are the same so you can expect the balance of the converted Kittiwake to be the same as a K2. The keel of the K2 is a little longer with the same 7oz keel weight so a K2 will be a little ‘stiffer’ and able to handle a little more wind than a converted Kittiwake. This is not really a problem though because you can quickly change back to the original sails and rig by making a new jib pivot thread which will then slip over the bowsprit. The control line guides for the main and jib booms all stay in the same place. You will just need to make sure that the lengths of the lines work for both rigs by adjusting the K2 rig connections to suit.

For the racers… about the possible rules changes
There are a group of proposals currently being voted on by registered Footy Class members. None of the changes if they are accepted will impact the Class legality of either the Kittiwake or the Kittiwake K2.

The most significant is if the 4x AA battery restriction is lifted. If an owner  changes to lighter batteries in our designs the performance will not be adversely affected. Lowering the overall weight in this way will automatically improve the ballast-to-overall weight ratio and make the boat a little stiffer. I would most likely stay with the heavier batteries in many conditions because it looks like a little more inertia is a good thing in footy racing.

If the rig choice rule is changed the kit rigs will be unaffected and the alternative rigs available as free download drawings at our web site will still all be relevant. We will always add details of more rigs as I make and test them. So come what may you will continue to be able to enjoy the extra fun of class racing your ScaleSailing footy.

All the best,

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No I haven’t taken to hurling footys like cow pies in Wisconsin or wellies in my native Yorkshire. What I have been doing these last few days is adding a couple more pins to my footy world map. I am always excited to be sending one of our kits to some distant land, I wonder about the locations, the scenery in which the finished boat will be sailing in. There is probably a little envy in there too, they get to go places I probably won’t.

Notable additions to the list this last month have been K2’s going to Jakarta in Indonesia and Koje City, South Korea. Also, surprisingly, our first kit went to France this week. So there are now little ScaleSailing footy prints in, South Korea, Indonesia, France, Italy, Grenada, New Zealand (north Island), Australia, Ireland, Wales, England, Scotland, Sweden, Belguim, Hawaii, Canada and the USA. This small yacht certainly has worldwide appeal!

The first batch of 25 K2’s are almost gone so I am happy to see that the kit is being well received and carrying on the good name of the Kittiwake. The laser is busy cutting the next 50 so there should be an uninterupted supply of Kittiwake K2’s now through until Christmas. Yes don’t forget they make great CHRISTMAS PRESENTS lol… 🙂 Buy early!!!


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From the various Footy Forums and the AMYA magazine you would think that model yachting is all about the racing (and the rules). I believe that there is so much more to enjoy in model sailing than that. I do admit that when I race in a regatta I am competitive, I am trying to win without a doubt. But the vast majority of my time at the pond with a model yacht is spent sailing just for the sheer fun of it.

Kittiwake K2 kit number 284 just left the boatyard which proves to me that I am not the only one sailing for fun. Certainly Kittiwakes do turn up in race results and a good number of club footy fleets around the USA are full of Kittiwakes. However that still leaves the vast majority being sailed as simple fun boats, travel boats, kids project boats, family boats, hobby boats, retirement boats, in fact all of the really important kinda boats. Of which I am very pleased!

Ever heard of ‘windling’? Windling is a word invented by Mark Steele who writes the ‘Where the Winds Blow’ articles at ‘Duckworks Magazine’, see http://www.duckworksmagazine.com/ and specifically http://www.duckworksmagazine.com/08/columns/steele/index9.htm
Windling describes this sailing for fun attitude. Formerly the writer of ‘Windling World’, a self produced real paper magazine for many years. Mark now continues his wonderful writing online. Take a while to read his archived pages and I am sure that you will find great enjoyment and inspiration too.

So if you have just discovered Footys or model yachts in general please be assured that for the majority of us it is all about the pleasure of building and the fun of sailing quietly on our beautiful lakes. Racing is there if you want it and is enjoyable too, especially with Footys where the people actually running the regattas are intent on keeping it simple and fun. So build a Footy and join us, sailing just for the fun of it. 

Greg Lambs Kittiwake #35

Greg Lamb's Kittiwake #35

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Yesterday evening Kittiwake K2 took to the water to try out the new sail plan. There was a good breeze coming and going which offered most of wind speed range I would expect this rig to be sailed in. I am pleased to report that everything looked good. I particularly like this sail plan which I first used on the Pond Sprite design. The main sail has a fair sized roach area which gives me more area low down (a good thing on a footy) without needing a longer boom. The shape holds nicely without any battens too. The larger area jib than the original Kittiwake helps keep the balance right and in the lighter winds K2 showed the expected (and desirable) gentle weather helm.

When the breeze got up K2 would luff up hard into wind, so I brought her in and added some twist to the main sail by loosening the kicking strap. The luffs were back under control then and a couple of clicks of rudder lee helm trim had K2 free sailing a tack very nicely. De-powering the main sail with the kicking strap tension will tame strong luffing in gusts on many boats. When that no longer works it is past time to switch to a smaller set of sails. Give that a try on your boat.

The carbon strip forestay did it’s job and will definitely be in the kit now. With just enough forestay tension to hold the jib pivot up, the carbon strip holds the luff edge of the jib straight and true. A straight jib leading edge really improves the jib efficiency which is why bigger boats have a back stay to support the mast against the pull of a normal forestay.

Despite the larger sail area I would judge that K2 puts her bow under on the run less than the original Kittiwake. The battery is now located at the rear of the radio bay which clearly helps. Driving hard on a broad reach K2 seems to keep her bow up and transom down better too.

Overall K2 looks like a quick boat and I will be keen to race her against the fleet at the first opportunity. With this new carbon boom rig K2 will be faster ‘out of the box’ for those people who are racing Kittiwakes. For the fun sailor the rig will still work over a good wind speed range with a little lower top limit than the original Kittiwake sail plan. Of course the original sails will still be available for use on K2 as well as drawings for the class legal ‘B-rig’ for home construction.

OK it’s back to the workshop and get this kit together for you guys!

Happy sailing, Graham

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