The Online Magazine For Amateur Boat Builders














Enjoying the charms of Classic Model Yachts
by Mark Steele
Publisher/Editor of Windling World Model Sailing Boat magazine
Reprinted with permission

There is no question about the claim that interest in model sailing boats is on a huge upward swing in a great many countries in the world. Here in New Zealand, in Auckland and Christchurch in particular, more and more men, usually those who have retired, are building and then sailing often beautiful replicas of various types and styles of yachts and working boats of past years under radio control.

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A fishing schooner by Aucklander Brian Cuthbert

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I believe that it matters not what one sails or how one sails, but that one sails, for model sailboating is not only fun, but it is a wonderful way to rekindle the joys of our long spent youth in a no-pressure highly enjoyable and equally highly sociable manner with others.

A pretty ketch by Rex Rouse of the Auckland "Ancient Mariners" group
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When most of us were youngsters and hacking out often crude freesail model boats, sometimes using bits of cloth from grandmas 'cloth box' for sails, RC was of course not around, and now in our later years we are reveling in the delights of being able to sail using this wonderful facility.

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Tony Searle of Poole in the UK with his 74 gun frigate "Aurora"

Of course, in the United Kingdom the hobby rates even higher in the popularity stakes, and the racing of various classes of model yachts is taken to often far too serious limits, and in the United States also the same statement applies. Windling (of scale sailing boats) is aterm mainly applied to the sailing of them in a non-competitive, non argumentative manner, a term the writer came up with to identify this type of sailing as one of similarity to big boat 'cruising'.

A replica of the Fife Schooner, "Cicely" by South Carolina's Andrew Charters

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There are so many talented model yacht craftsmen in so many countries that the range of boats modeled is huge, and in Auckland, New Zealand there is a group known as the 'Ancient Mariners ' who sail such boats regularly at a lake on the north shore just over the harbour bridge from the city. Models of boats of all types, sloops, ketches, schooners, una-rigged boats, sail powered fishing vessels, mullet boats, square riggers, racing style yachts and the unique little foot-long 'Footy' sailboats make up a 'mix' of types and styles.

Another nicely built boat by Ron Rule
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Mark Steele's Pinky schooner "Running Tide" built by Lloyd 'Swede' Johnson in California and gifted to Mark by him and air-freighted to Auckland
Roy Lake of Auckland built this lovely 3 masted schooner, "Amalfi"
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In the US and in Britain, vintage style yachts are popular also and the Vintage Model Yacht Group who put out an informative little magazine The Model Yacht and promote various events also for scale schooners., and the Great Schooner Model Society based in Maryland is another very active group of enthusiasts.

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Ian Hunt of Sydney, Australia in the water between his 7'9" long "County of Inverness" (left) and slightyl smaller NZ passenger clipper "Timaru"

Just to give you some idea of what can be achieved in the way of realism and good workmanship, are photos of a few of the models that are sailed in various parts of the world, and I hope that it might enthuse and inspire those who have perhaps thought about building and then 'windhng' such creations on their local lakes or ponds to get into the workshop and commence building one.

A fine little 12" Footy ketch built by Aucklander, Ron Rule
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Once completed and with radio control purchased and installed, a whole new world of relaxation awaits them, and don't leave your imagination at home when you sail - that is half the magic of the moment believe me.

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A planked hull Rozinante by Aucklander John Stubbs

Gone is the stigma that lurked in the past, where model sailboaters were considered as merely little boys playing with little boats - today the httle boys are wrapped up in computers and games played on them, and a reversal is considered normal where grown men build and then sail truly magnificent replica models that attract spectators.

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A fleet sail of Townson one design Electron boats at Onepoto lagoon in Auckland, New Zealand

Mark Steele is Editor and publisher of
Windling World
22 Vanderbilt Parade
Brookfield Park, Auckland, New Zealand
Telephone/Fax 64-9-4144401

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Windling World Magazine