Guest Column  

by Mark Steele - Aukland, New Zealand

ARRRR!!! You Twisted Demented Sea Urchins!

Make Way for Ron's "Lady of Fortune"


Ron Rule

At a small pond just over the Auckland Harbour Bridge in New Zealand as one heads north, model sailboaters gather on Thursdays, a totally unstructured group known as the ANCIENT MARINERS spending several hours peacefully sailing RC ketches, sloops and schooners of varying designs and scales. There's no racing just cruising or `windling', much jabbering in jest and always an abundance of humour, laughter and happiness.

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At a small pond just over the Auckland Harbour Bridge in New Zealand as one heads north, model sailboaters gather on Thursdays

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And there are the days when, without warning, the always enthusiastic Ron Rule, wearing a bandana and an eyepatch launches his LADY FORTUNE and yells "ARRRR ! YOU MISERABLE SEA WORMS - MAKE WAY FOR RON LE PATCH LA GRANDE RUMBO THE MIGHTY PYRATE!" or some such announcements he sails off with intent to plunder (he says) and the boat joins the fleet.

Ron Rule, wearing a bandana and an eyepatch launches his LADY FORTUNE and yells "ARRRR! YOU MISERABLE SEA WORMS - MAKE WAY FOR RON LE PATCH LA GRANDE RUMBO THE MIGHTY PYRATE!"

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Ron Rule lives to build and sail, and I have always said that every sailing group would benefit hugely from someone of his personality and humour, not to mention his prolific turnout of new models with something often built over the previous week or ten days! He keeps interest high, dares to be different, will work with or without plans and usually eventually gets the model working well enough to be enjoyed. `BOATUS UNINTERUPTUS', ( Julius Caesar might have christened him) and it is unusual for him to turn up at the Onepoto sailing water with only one boat in the car. "Must have a plan two" he would most probably tell you!

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I have always said that every sailing group would benefit hugely from someone of his personality and humour

To build the LADY FORTUNE, Ron shaped a piece of polystyrene into a half-hull then cut through at every 3" point transferring the shape onto paper in order to get a pattern. The keel he made of kauri, bulkheads out of ply, and the 30" LOA hull (42" with appendages) he strip-planked. He had already built and sailed a 1' long pirate ship, SQUARE FOOT (later given to the writer who saved it from dumpster discard) and from trials with that smaller model he decided that rotating masts (a N0-NO to the purists !) was the way to go and this not only made going about that much easier, but also removed the need for a multitude of rigging.

He decided that rotating masts (a NO-NO to the purists!) was the way to go...

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The beam is 11", and a 12" drop keel with a 4 1/2 lb lead bulb keeps the model upright. Ron fitted a hi-tech sail arm servo, another for the steering and there are some fourteen crew figures (ex firemen) aboard, all re-shaped, carved up and re-painted in order to turn them into the motley cut-throat crew they appear to be. As armament the vessel has 10 inboard cannon, 4 deck cannon and 4 swivel monkey cannon. "NOW GET A MOVE ON YOU SLIPPERY, POCK-FACED SLUBBERGULLIONS... AFORE YE WALK THE PLANK!"

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"We don't hurt the ducks, shags or eels when we re-live out boyhood fantasies and live a wee bit disgracefully once or twice each week at the pond!"

Windling is meant to be fun irrespective of what type of models the Ancient Mariners sail. `We never grow old' some say. Others stress they are not doing anyone harm, nor breaking no laws and "we don't hurt the ducks, shags or eels when we re-live out boyhood fantasies and live a wee bit disgracefully once or twice each week at the pond!"

They always have time to smile and chat with interested pondside passers by, some of whom perhaps with a dream themselves that they could be just like these happy grown up kid sailors! Well they could you know... it's all attitude really! ARRRRR!

by Mark Steele