Posts Tagged ‘yacht’

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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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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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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On Saturday the Wisconsin Scale Boating Association had their annual run at our club lake here in Kohler near Sheboygan. It is always a fun day with a wide selection of scale boats, yachts and just plain fun boats on the water together. The WSBA is based around Milwaukee but does have members from many parts of Wisconsin. http://www.wiscaleboat.org/ 

Over the weekend we had two grand daughters staying with us so they had their first taste of model sailing and appeared to really enjoy it. What I do love about model sailboats is that it is so easy to let a youngster try it. Things happen slowly so as not to be a risk to anyone yet the boats do react well to the controls and give a very obvious sense of accomplishment to the new ‘skipper’.  I know our older grand daughter was quite reluctant to give it up so maybe her sailing career is worth persuing!

It was a beautiful day in the mid 70’s with a nice steady breeze to sail in and keep us cool. I have flown model aircraft for many years but I have to say that doesn’t come close to the fun and relaxation to be found at the pondside on a lovely summer day. Sharing the fun with family too really adds to the pleasure. Find yourself a boat and join in!

If you are in the Sheboygan, Wisconsin area or within driving distance you can contact our small club (Sheboygan Area Model Yacht Club) via our web site at http://www.scalesailing.com/samyc.htm


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Yesterday morning saw just myself and Mark at the SAMYC lake in Kohler, WI. Winds were light and quite variable so we decided not to race with two regulars missing. It was one of those pleasant warm days when messing about with boats is the perfect pastime. Now Mark’s Kittiwake hasn’t been the fastest in our fleet and I am sure that it is not the skipper so I took the opportunity to watch it carefully and try to understand why.

After a while we swapped boats so that Mark could try out my Pond Sprite and I could get my hands on his Kittiwake… trusting soul that he is. What was obvious was that his boat just would not settle on a course and maintain drive. Not that it was wandering like it was badly out of balance, just that it would keep popping upright and losing drive for no obvious reason. I put some extra curve in the foot of each sail to suit the light conditions and tried to bring it back to the starting point I discuss on the ‘tuning your sails’ section here. That had little effect on the problem. It seemed that the mainsail was unwilling to swing very easily and the jib didn’t respond well either to light puffs. I checked the mast rings to see that the mainsail cleared the mast when pulled back, it did. Main luff tension was ok too, just enough to hold the luff straight. The jib seemed to swing easily enough in the hand but it didn’t have a balance weight at the front so I thought that was why it was reluctant to go wing on wing downwind.

The overall effect was that the sails were stuck in the middle and didn’t respond to the light puffs which saw Mark and the Pond Sprite sailing happily by me. Then after a half hour or so I found it, the Jib swivel was standing nice and straight due to a pretty tight forestay, I slackenned that a little and saw the mast relax. The jib sail luff tensioner was also tight so I slackenned that off so it was just enough to hold the jib luff (front edge) straight. Everything freed up at once, the mast bend was clearly causing the mainsail to stick.

Back on the water the Kittiwake was now much more responsive and able to maintain drive. I added some jib leech line tension to twist the jib off a little so as to soften the luffs in the occasional gusts and then she was sailing well. A footy needs to be able to respond on it’s own to the slightest wind  speed or direction change and to do that both sails need to be able to move very freely. Even at the cost of a little forestay tension.

It was a fun morning, I hope that you got a little sailing in too.

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Footy Fest ’08

A couple of weeks ago we ran and hosted the ‘Footy Fest 08’. The festivities began on Saturday evening with a well attended bratt fry at our home. Almost too well attended, if our numbers continue to increase we may have to come up with another idea before our small house bursts! It was great fun though and everyone seemed to enjoy getting together before the race day on Sunday. Following is a report I wrote after the event.

Sunday morning and I arrived at Wood Lake at 8.30 to set up. A couple of keen guys were already watching the wind which was blowing pretty hard NNE around the east side of our tree covered island. I set up registration and measuring inside the Woodlake Mall foyer and started working through the process as skippers and boats arrived. Our man Mark Klarkowski arrived with the bouy set and his Vac-U-Tug so we proceeded to set the course. With the number of guys at the pond side watching this turned out to be an event in itself. There is something satisfying about a model tug boat actually working, no puttering past idly looking pretty for this tug, he’s a hard working course laying tug.

Racing started after a skippers meeting and an extra ten minutes water time. By this time the wind was still strong but well below what might be considered ‘Footy B rig’ conditions. The forecast was for 13mph dropping to 11mph later. This proved to be much more than the reality of the day but did make those of us with extra rigs go for a mid sized ‘A’.

The morning was dominated by Tony Johnson with his V-12 (modified sloop rig) taking five straight wins. Don Reimer, Bill Hagerup and myself were swapping second, third and fourth places up until lunch. Throughout the morning the wind was quite strong but flukey around the island. The direction held so we had a pretty true beat from the start line to the windward mark. A run turned to a broad reach as we sailed to leeward of the island followed by a shorter run down to the leeward bouy. Finally a short but tricky beat needing at least one tack to the finish line.

Lunch was over a 45 minute break at Quizno’s subs which I think satisfied the hungry fleet. It was a good chance to sit down and discuss tactics too. Over lunch the wind dropped to zero for a while.

When we re-started the wind was very light from the same direction. Bigger rig conditions without a doubt but we were sailing this regatta to the Footy rules so a couple of requests to allow rig changes had to be denied. Still Tony showed his prowess at finding puffs which the rest of us missed and managed another win and a couple of second places in the light air. Skippers were now walking the wings of the course with extra determination, it was time to take the fight back to Tony! During this quiet wind spell we had some light rain showers too which wasn’t unpleasant and even looked rather attractive splashing on the calm lake. We sailed through the showers with I suspect varying degrees of pleasure.

After the rain the wind picked up again but swung round to the west. A brief discussion ensued and we decided that we would leave the course as it was. This meant a start on a very broad reach or occasional run but the second leg was now a long beat with an interesting lift around the island. The last three or four races were run like this. We could have completely reversed the course direction but that would have given us a very short beat to a starboard rounding which could have been troublesome. By now we had 15 races in the book and although we were still 15 minutes short of the NOR last race time we all agreed to call it a regatta.

We held the prize giving in the mall foyer with Jan presenting the top three trophies. 1st. Tony Johnson 2nd. Graham McAllister 3rd. Bill Hagerup

Then all too soon it was time for those last conversations and goodbyes before a lot of weary skippers made their way home. Making long journeys in the current economic climate is no easy decision and without you all the day would have been just another club sail. We had skippers from Florida, New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, all for the sake of a footy!

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