by Mark Steele
- Auckland, New Zealand
sleeping helmsman, flippin multi-hulls,
island rum and whistling bebacks!
Was the helmsman dozing, some may ask? The Titanic
wasn’t so lucky with the iceberg, but this little
boat from Will Lesh’s TIPPECANOE model
yacht output is about to hit a human left shoulder
and run aground on `Wife in the water rock’
(Will’s wife Cynthia). Gotta have some fun is
my attitude, as well as possess a good imagination,
and in model sailboating, not take oneself too seriously.
is his rock.
Here’s one from Switzerland, the other from
Victoria in Australia. You must believe me when I
say that ‘model sailboating’ is spreading
in popularity at a rate of knots in many parts of
the world. Felix Wehrli who lives in Zurich where
he works for the city zoo is an excellent ship modeller
and built this 1:24 scale boat Marama which
is `moonlight’ in Tahitian. The hull
was built to his own design and was made of 0.5mm
copper plates soldered onto a wooden hull form and
stabilized with epoxy-resin, the rivets made from
behind the copper plates before soldering. It was
built from Underhill plans and was based on the vessel
Lady of Avenal. Jason Pilgrim seen with his
lugger Pearl is a keen RC model sailor, and
his boat is 5’7” overall. He sails with
the Surrey Park Model Boat Club.
- right, the lugger
The joys of cruising aboard full-size yachts, both
in the Caribbean and the South Pacific, `sweetened’
and all too often delivering high voltage charges
to human brains by over-indulgence of rum, has inspired
me into memory-recall mode. Rum, often referred to
in my homeland of Guyana as the `falling down drink’,
in later years when I lived in Barbados resulted in
a popular island chant.
`rum is sweet,
rum is sweet,
the rum sweep yuh off your feet’
The often strange things some of us do the older
we get, as the brain succumbed to the slowdown in
lifestyle, becomes a tad forgetful at times, (just
a tad, mind you) like casually chucking the transmitter
into the lake without thinking and standing there
holding the yacht! Never done that but seen it done,
however I do remember driving all the way to the lake
one day only to discover I had “forgit mah transmitter
at home! Ah sayud to mahseyuf, gitahholdahyuhseyuf!
You defnutly caynt get by widout det! Lahf sometimes
can git difficult the older we git, defnutly!“
Vic Smeed is a household name in model boat design,
and now long retired in the United Kingdom must be
quietly chuffed at the resurgence in popularity of
a yacht he designed built some 32 years ago called
the S1 Starlet. He still has the original
one built and today there are good Starlet fleet numbers
in areas of Britain and in particular, very healthy
and growing numbers in Auckland, New Zealand with
the Ancient Mariners windling group who a couple of
times a year even hold `Starlet Days’ regattas.
Fleet registration numbers there are up to almost
the thirty mark. The boat has a 34” long hard
chine hull and was designed by Smeed for a `Boating
for beginners’ series in a model magazine of
Designer Vic Smeed at left - Auckland
Trimarans and catamarans in sailing model guise tend
to be somewhat prone to occasionally flipping (hence
the expression, `the flippin boat,’ I guess!)
though this big yellow RC trimaran, ThEWING THING
owned and built by Bruce Ewing of New Plymouth in
New Zealand was not only fast but remarkably stable.
Alan Hayes took the super photograph, but what I would
still really like to know is… who threw granny’s
chair into the water at this lake in Auckland?
A Flying Tri and a flipped Tri.
Of `Whistlin Beback’s! One reads and learns,
and one often `borrows’ From Lee Wilbur in The
Fisherman’s Voice I learned years ago about
`whistling beback’s’, those boat show
attendees who after plucking up courage to ask the
price, give a long good whistle, then hastily say
`be back’ prior to leaving the stand never to
be seen again!
A very impressive model when built up with patience
and due care and attention from a kit made by Robbe
in Grebenhain, Germany is the 1:20 scale 158cm long
schooner Valdivia, which from memory was
introduced in 2005. Seen here is Robin Harker of England
who built one, and seemingly made a nice job of it’s
A nice gaff cutter, the Allora G constructed
in Queensland, Australia by Richard Mayes of Maroochydore
is often sailed in the company of this charming looking
boat built by Ron Fox called Mary Helen.
Richard Mayes with his gaff cutter Allora
Ron Fox's Mary Helen
George Surgent owns and runs (with wife Marla) Seaworthy
Small Ships in Maryland, USA, a business producing
very small model kits aimed at encouraging kids to
become interested in putting them together and sailing
them. George also built and sails an RC sharpie schooner,
Bay Boy which is extremely fast which he
sails with the Great Schooner Model Society fleet.
George and boat are seen in the photo below, left.
Another sharpie, this one built by Queensland, Australia
model sailor, Ron Fox, sits astride two saw horses
in the other photo.
Jacqui Wellington who lived in Auckland is an absolute
sweetheart, and one who has built an array of all-wood
cruising boat models that are free-sailed. No use
asking me for a contact as she has mysteriously gone
awol and left no forwarding address. Her boats were
beautifully built as can be seen in a couple of photos
shown here. There are a lot of talented people around,
people with a `feel’ for boats and the skills
to model them tremendously well.
The December Where the winds blow column will be
a half year old since its inception. I am not going
to dress up as Santa Claus and be photographed sailing,
because it is the month of Christmas, but I might
go windling all the same just dressed as me! You will
however have the Sea Cloud photos that you
can look forward to, and Blossom, the old
trader I once owned, now owned and sailed by my friend
and fellow Ancient Mariner, Bob Walters, and I’ll
tell of a boat called the Garnalenschuit
from another friend, Hans Staal in the Netherlands,
and perhaps feature a Footy or three. (No, I am not
a Podiatrist nor do I have a foot fetish! I do have
three Footy’s however, two (feet) that I walk
on, the other called Sixpence that I sail!) I hope
you will join me.
Other Columns by Mark Steele:
Articles by Mark Steele: