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 Where the Winds Blow...

by Mark Steele, Auckland, New Zealand

The sailboat models of Eduard. the quite unique non-Footy Footies of the gentlemen of Yorkshire and the Olin Stephens designed Stormy Weather

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Rolex, Marco Jamin YCI

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They are not model sailing boats, but I’ll lay odds that they sail those in Brazil as well. What a sight, what a picture (above) by Marco Jamin/YCI taken at the island of Ilhabela, Sao Paulo, Brazil and shown as a lead-up to the Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week held in July. Rolex are very strong sponsors of a whole variety of sailing events throughout the world and this event was first held way back in 1973. Just enlarge the photo and study it again carefully – it is obviously not one fleet, but it does show how passionate sailors are about the event with its unique blend of island-style hospitality and the variety of both offshore and inshore handicap racing. Well done to both Rolex and to the Yacht Club de Ilhabela in Brazil..

The second photograph on the right hand side above is the 131’ wooden schooner Harvey Gamage built in Maine and launched in 1973, and the 125’ steel staysail schooner Westward built in 1961 photographed in Charleston, South Carolina by my good mate Andrew Charters, model schooner man extraordinaire and builder/sailor of many RC sailing models. The Westward which carries 6,500 sq feet of sail was built by Abeking and Rasmussen in Germany and launched in 1961. Both vessels are used as sea education vessels by Ocean Classroom Foundation. (I know fellas – those opening images are not of model sailing boats, but they are `inspirational’ and `the real often inspires the replica’ doth it not?)

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Unicornia

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Espadon

This is not an obituary notice by any stretch of the imagination, but having said that, it is about a brilliant modelmaker, Edi Bannwart who as a boy lived in Spain where he loved to snorkel and harpoon fishes underwater in the waters off the town where he lived. At age fifteen or sixteen he came to Switzerland as an apprentice artist and his hobbies were photography and painting. When he was 45, he developed an interest in making model ships and having seen a plan in a book would form the hull using his own ideas. After his first model, a square-rigged pirate ship without any radio control, when out on Lake Egelsee where he met Franz Amon and Stefan Streit of Swiss Mini Sail with their Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter models, Eduard sought to build his next model using laminated epoxy with fiberglass of a hull of foam, after which over several years he went on to build several other beautiful models including a cutter, Espadon, the lovely Unicornia and Andromeda.

Sadly the much respected and well liked Edi died in July 2004, his ships left with his wife and stored,used and maintained by his friends Amon and Streit in Bern, Switzerland. This is more a brief life story rather than a death notice, a short record of a model sailboat builder and sailor’s life recorded for the interest of others and for posterity. From the photo above of a peaceful pensive sailing moment in Edi Bannwart’s life, he appears to have been a very nice gentleman.

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Last month I mentioned a group of senior gentlemen who sail in Sheffield, England under the banner of the Sheffield Ship Model Society. I purposely refrained from mentioning what they sailed but now I can `show and tell’ of their latest interest. The `small boat bug’ has bitten several who are in their seventy to eighty age bracket and they have produced delightfully different Footy style boats seen in the photos above kindly taken and supplied by the youngest member in their group, Neville Wade (see last months column). We almost all move in that direction eventually, the older we get the heavier the boats seem, the more the inclination to sail smaller boats more often becomes.

From what I have learned these are not strictly approved Footy models in that some if not all, don’t fit into the Footy box dimensions, to which I say, `who cares? I doubt that any of the gentlemen who sail these want to enter the serious world of Model Yachting Association racing, instead I believe that they have `seen the light’, you could say, and are happy instead to continue getting together in their winter months to leisurely windle, enjoy a little non-serious joust and enjoy each others company sans rules and arguments.

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Here is a 3 masted schooner San Francisco of California (above left) built, owned and sailed by Dennis Desprois of California, then something a tad larger in the form of a sail-aboard Mini Brig, the Anna Marie under the command of Wayne Tedder, and finally, Aucklander, Laurie Manning of the Ancient Mariners with his most recent creation, the beautifully built Friendship sloop Judy named after his wife.

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Built in 1934, the year this muggins was born, just a year later she was to win both the Fastnet and the Transatlantic races before going on to become one of the most famous and much loved cruising yachts in the world. Named after a song (though there are opinions that the song made famous by Lena Horne was named after the boat) her name was Stormy Weather, designed by a then 25 year old Olin Stephens.

I saw `Stormy’ as she became familiarly known, in Antigua one of the leeward islands of the Caribbean on one of her many visits in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s, but I didn’t know much about her at that time of my life. With a length overall of 53’ 11”, some called her a cruising yacht, others including Phillip Le Boutillier who owned her, was insistent that she was an ocean racer. Since her records show that she visited Antigua on countless occasions (as well as many other destinations all over the world) with much success in regattas where she cruised to those places to compete, either classification would suffice.

Stormy Weather attracted a huge following of fans among those in yachting circles and I read somewhere that along with Dorade which was also designed by Olin Stephens, Stormy Weather transformed the design of offshore sailing yachts. I am surprised that few if any, to my knowledge have made display models of the yacht, even more surprised that given her lovely lines, few if any have built RC models of her.

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Personal observations of the writer in his one metre sponsorship and racing days seemed to be full of both arguments and grumbling among competitors over pond weed encountered. This prompting the light- hearted illustration about the ideals of non serious sailing or Windling.

 
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Ruby, a large coastal sailing barge built and sailed by Auckland, New Zealand's Roy Lake, battles a fresh strong breeze at Onepoto lake (top left photo). Below that, the running lights and indeed all lights aboard Rick Mayes fabulous Sea Cloud have now been turned off, the ship de-commissioned and now for display purposes. The more intricate and detailed a model, the more difficult it is to transport and sail regularly with risk of damage. Climbing the ratlines of Flissingen, a fine Swiss Mini Sail model. Now if you suffer from heights best you don't look down friend, in fact best you don't go up!

Frightening stuff this, that six people out of ten
are as thick as two short planks (they say), three
out of ten know how many beans make six (they
say) and that only one has life really sussed ! (Now
is it four or seven beans that make six, pray
tell me?)

Click here for previous Columns by Mark Steele


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If you wish to comment on this, or any other article seen here, you can write me at chuck@duckworksmagazine.com and I will make sure your remarks are published in our "Letters" section at the end of the month. - Chuck