Posts Tagged ‘sailboat’

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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I took a break from the workshop on Sunday to go along with friend Don to the WSBA annual picnic. The club always puts on a very nice spread for lunch alongside the pond in Sheridan Park, Milwaukee. I would like to say thank you to everyone who organised the day and especially the ladies for the food and bingo!

I took the opportunity to sail a Pintail with a gaff/jib rig I built some time ago. For anyone who doesn’t remember, Pintail and Holly were sister ships and Holly was to have a gaff rig and a low coaming type deck so that it would fit in the footy measuring box. So the boat I sailed on Sunday was basically a kit built Pintail with an added bowsprit and the rig from Holly. Simple huh!

Well she sailed really well in a good breeze which at times got very strong. Like the good sailer he is, Joshua (the skipper) headed up into wind to ride out the worst of the gusts, sails flapping wildly. The rig looked really good with a nice amount of twist in the main sail and the jib flying high. I did a slightly odd thing with the jib in that it is pivoted on the forestay and the jib boom is hung from the jib foot. I did this because I wanted to get a more scale like look to the boat under way. Full size yachts generally have the jib pivit around the forestay rather than on a pivot about 1/3 along the jib boom as is the usual model practice. This can be less efficiant in light winds but I love the way it looks. I was quite suprised by how quick the boat looked too, when we get another club footy race organised I think that I will enter this gaff Pintail to see how she goes against the others… should be interesting.

I just can’t help but love footys!

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I am really enjoying the way the new Kittiwake II kit is coming together, it’s always exciting to see ideas in the head actually appear in 3D and work out well. An example is the new rudder standoff which I admit could be a bit tricky to align. The new unit pictured below uses a triangular piece which slides on to the rudder standoff ‘eggbox’ fashion. This sets the standoff at 90 degrees to the transom automatically, the standoff slots into the transom with two tabs as before. The triangular part also centres the new plastic rudder tube on the standoff rear edge so just a spring clamp at the bottom of the tube while epoxying will do the job. The plastic rudder tube will glue better than the brass one with epoxy or thick cyano.

The bowsprit is looking nice and ‘salty’ too, it slots into a support strip of 1/16″ ply which is glued onto the deck as shown below. This will handle the new larger jib sail with ease. The extra hole you see in the deck is the location to use if you wish to use a swing rig. I will be experimenting with a special swing rig I have built for light winds. I will give the location of this hole in the kit instructions for those who wish to use one of those una swing rigs.

I can’t wait to get this boat in the water now. Last night I gave the parts of the hull to be painted a coat of thinned laminating epoxy. After many experiments with different sealers etc. I am coming to the conclusion that thinned epoxy on ply or balsa is the best base because I like to have something to soak into the wood. Over this I will spray primer and paint, probably Rustoleum in this case. Varnished areas I just use Minwax Helmsman onto the bare ply, transom, keel and deck in this case. More later… have fun sailing.

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As the test build for this boat is coming together it is giving me more thinking time which can be a dangerous thing for me. Designing is my first love in model boats and leaving an idea alone is hard for me! I have now drawn the templates for the new sails and I have increased the area to be more in line with that of the ‘Siren’ design. The main sail shape will now be like the ‘Pond Sprite’ with the curved entry leach top and bottom. This shape works well without battens which has it’s advantages.

Whilst thinking about the sails I saw a simple way to take advantage of the carbon fibre jib luff without the full ‘loose topped’ system which I designed for the Siren and Pond Sprite. I will incorportate that idea into the kit. The original area and shape sails will still be avalable for those who wish to have a similar boat to an existing club fleet.

So far the other change has been to add 3/4″ depth to the keel fin. Since the original Kittiwake all of my fins have been deeper so I saw no reason not to make that change to the Kittiwake II also. With the changes in place I expect the new Kittiwake to be a more competitive boat in Footy racing. The original design was not intended to be a race boat, rather it was a small good handling and easy to build introductory RC yacht. But many Kittiwakes have found their way into racing fleets so my aim now is to make it into a more competitive boat without sacrificing the other attributes which have made it such a popular boat.

Photos soon when I have made enough progress for you to see the difference.


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If you have visited our web site this last week you might have noticed that the Kittiwake kits are sold out. I was hoping for a seamless change from Kittiwake to Kittiwake II but a long delay in the supply of plywood has spoiled that hope. So there will be a short gap, probably a couple of weeks before the new Kittiwake II kit hits the market.

After 2 1/2 years the Kittiwake was due for an update and I want to incorporate some improvements which have been realised along the way. I did not want to spoil the fun though for those people and clubs which are sailing the Kittiwake as a ‘sort-of-one-design’ class. Hence the hull has remained the same. The sails will change shape and increase in area to reflect the performance gain I found with ‘Siren’ during 2007. The Kittiwake II will now have a bowsprit as standard, this will add to the tuning possibilities. The rig will be based on an aluminum mast as before with new Carbon tube booms. The bulb weight will remain the same at 7oz. The receiver battery will now be held in place with ‘hook& loop’ fastenners which will allow for battery movement for tuning in different wind conditions.

Overall the new boat will still definitely be a Kittiwake and retain the good handling and easy building that people have come to expect of it. Look out here for photos as I do a check build on the laser sets and re-create the photo CD which accompanies the instructions. It’s been a lot of work but I look forward to taking your orders for the new Kittiwake II.


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