Posts Tagged ‘sailboat’

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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Pre-built boom assemblies
Six OPUS rig boom assemblies ready to go.

During this week and next I will be completing the initial batch of OPUS rig kits and filling my pre-production orders. These 6 are part of the initial batch of 24 rigs. OPUS rigs will have an attractive yellow sail as standard with white as a special order option. The sails will be plain yellow without the large OPUS logo in case you might be wondering about that. You can add the footy logo using our template available seperately if you wish or just freehand it!

OPUS rig drops into a carbon mast tube.

The extruded carbon mast socket tube  (3mm internal) is included in the kit, the rig simply drops into the tube. Switching OPUS rigs is quick and easy requiring just the main sheet to be unclipped (the sail control thread) then you lift out the whole rig as one. All sail tuning will therefore remain intact as you store the complete rig as one piece. Switching rigs doesn’t get any easier. Extra carbon mast socket tubes will be available so you can order a set of 3 to go with a rig if you are experimenting or want extra rig positions to help in tuning your footy.

I will be making the rig available through our main ScaleSailing web site by the end of this week, so watch out for that at http://www.scalesailing.com/product.htm

Any questions? Ask away 🙂


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The final prototype of the Dragon is being built and this is being documented to form the photo building sequence for the new kit ‘photo. CD’ in the instruction set.

As mentioned in the previous post about this boat the deck will feature a dinghy style spray rail to deflect water from the mast tube. This gives Dragon quite a distinct appearance and for me more of a feeling of the real thing. The rail is tabbed into the deck for easy location. The large hatch gives quick and easy access to the radio control equipment. Construction of the hatch is based on concentric laser cut ‘rings’ of plywood to ensure a good fit. Subsequent varnishing controls just how tight the hatch fits. On the two test boats for this method no fastennings were required, the hatch simply snaps on and has proven watertight even in heavy winds.


Construction will follow our usual clean and simple approach. The forward cavity contains the two part plywood mast tube foot which locates the carbon mast tube and is sealed at the bottom with epoxy. The servo tray/keel support is in the main radio bay. There is lots of excess bouyancy provided by the foam core construction so like the Kittiwake K2, Dragon will be unsinkable 🙂


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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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Quite a week in so many ways for the great and the small. We have a brand spanking shiney new president to carry our hopes forward into the next decade. I must say that as a newcomer to these shores I have been fascinated with this campain and deeply drawn into the process. Despite not yet having a vote I cheered along with the rest, feeling very proud that my newly adopted country is bold enough to take this step. Good fortune to you Mr. Obama.

On the small side, well it’s big for me, we passed the 300 Kittiwake kits mark. Orders are starting to flow for Christmas too so I can see # 350 not so far away. The sudden influx of orders though has meant that I am currently out of stock of K2’s while I get the next batch together. The seamless transition I planned last time didn’t work out, best laid plans of mice and men etc. So I am taking names for a pre-order list and I do expect to be shipping again in the last week in November.

I will be away from the business from 8th Nov. to the 14th Nov. so won’t be able to answer emails during that time. Our autumn break in the woods with a roaring fire and dark skies beckons… I just might sneak a footy along 😉

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Last week we sailed over to Michigan on the Badger car ferry. The Badger is a wonderful coal fired steam ship which sails between Manitowoc in Wisconsin and Luddington in Michigan across Lake Michigan.  For anyone who doesn’t realise how large this lake is, the crossing takes four hours across what is essentially the narrow east west mid-section of the lake, that’s 60 miles. We had a very nice crossing under blue skies http://www.ssbadger.com/newhome.aspx

A few days later we were in Traverse City which we found to be a very attractive and interesting place. Traverse City has a very lively main street with good shops and restaurants. Then there is the Mission Peninsula which divides the deeply entrapped Traverse City bay into an east and west half. Mission Peninsula is a very productive wine growing area with numerous vinyards and ‘tastings’ to enjoy. On the west bay side we found the very inviting public slipway pictured above and I couldn’t resist a sail.

With Arnold at the helm ‘Holly’ sailed very nicely in the very light flukey wind. In fact I noticed a bit of a drift and with the winds being so light didn’t dare to head out very far into the vastness of the lake. So I stayed close to shore in the crystal clear water while Jan took some photos.

You really can’t beat a ‘footy’ size yacht for this sort of thing. Their small size makes them so convenient to travel with. I really enjoy being able to stop when we find a suitable place and there is also the fun of looking for these little public slips to use. Quite often you will discover some beautiful spot which you would have just driven by otherwise. Miniature cruising is just a fun way to add extra interest to any trip you take. We hope you are having fun too.

(photos by Jan)

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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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