by Mark Steele, Auckland, New Zealand

Those inexpensive Nirvana’s, Sailing Solings at West Delray in Florida, a `Funny Ha Ha’ World Match Race Series, an Americam event at Herreshoffs, and an incredibly large and lovely Whaler!


WI Island schooner Friendship Rose

A running tide on a bright and sunny day in the Grenadines as the 100’  schooner, Friendship Rose just out of the spice island of Grenada  heads toward Bequia where she was built in 1969  This is the kind of stuff that the dreams of all those, nautical in their imaginations are indeed made of!

Launching Miss Magic

A fleet on the go.

Steve Lang of SailRC with a Nirvana

Crimson Tide

War Eagle

Following the definition of `Nirvana’ in both Buddhism and Hinduism (which is ‘perfect bliss attained by extinction of individuality’) has appeared on the US scene the 32 inch long RC yacht of that name, the only difference being the choice of colours for the boats all look the same.

The exciting plus factor is that these boats (in the USA) come at two hundred American dollars all up inclusive of receiver and transmitter radio gear. No wonder they have gained fairly rapid notice and popularity, with fleets currently totaling ten in California, Alabama where there are two in Montgomery, Florida, New York and North Carolina where there are two fleets each also. Designed and engineered by Jon Elmaleh in New York, the design was then sold to Megatech (a US company that builds RC products) who arranged for much of the production to be done in China.

The American Model Yachting Association Class Secretary for the Nirvana boats is Steve Lang (seen above) of  with whom I have been in touch and who has been of some help, I first having come upon the boats on the website of the Montgomery Model Boat Club in Alabama where they have an active fleet.

The original Nirvana boats were introduced in 2002 and in early August 2005 the Nirvana II came on the market. Although the one-design rule is designed to establish uniformity with the Nirvana boats, and any modifications must be approved, it is pleasing to read that the class races boats `as manufactured’, the idea being to prevent modifications that will allow boats to sail faster than others instead to give every owner the opportunity to have races won by sailing better themselves.

Performance uniformity is the safest way to avoid loss of interest by sailors whose boats are `slow’ and who continually finish in the lower positions as happens in the International classes. Bring in and allow better racing sails and changes in sails keels and bulbs, and lighter this, that and t’ other and you’ll find it is the quickest way to kill a class which started off with `uniformity’. In the UK the Fiesta, and in New Zealand the Electron’s are good examples of one-design boats that have succeeded over years untold because of adherence to one design rule.

Wave Punching Elizabeth Silsbee
Photos by Pat Butterworth

J Boats at the mark

Event Brochure

Shamrock leads again

Halsey Herreshoff And Dave Brawner

Pat Butterworth

At the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island over three days (6th to 9th August last year) were held several model yacht events ranging from a lecture by Earl Boebert by US Vintage Model Yacht Group Historian, Earl Boebert through a day two day Regatta for the American Model Yacht Association J Class Region One boats to model yacht sailing demos and an exhibition of sailing models within the famous museum itself

An amateur but very keen and capable photographer, Pat Butterworth was there and a few of his exceptional shots included the absolutely stunning one above of  well known schooner model builder Andrew Charters of South Carolina’s,  8 foot long Elizabeth Silsbee. The Starling Burgess design model did several impressive demonstration runs in the waters off the Museum.

The AMYA Regiona1 Championship for the impressive J Class boats saw 13 boats with owners from 11 states and 18 races over 2 days ended with Dave Brawner of New Jersey sailing his Shamrock V taking top honours. He has won the J Class National Championship six times since year 2000.
The perpetual trophy was presented to him by Halsey Herreshoff. The winning boat is seen (above) Sail Number 18 leading in one of the starts off the Museum’s South Pier on  9th August

The famous whaler sailing

Bill Huizing (pronounced Hy-zing) of Summit, New Jersey in 2009 completed an utterly magnificent RC model of the Charles W Morgan whaler seen by visitors to Mystic Seaport.

Eighty-eight inches in length, with a beam of 14” the model is 72” high from the bottom of the keel to the top of the mast (not including the added ballast needed for sailing). The photos above and below of both the model under sail, as well as photos of the Charles w Morgan taken at Mystic before the boat went for restoration, were taken by my new found friend, Pat Butterworth, himself also a model sailor to whom I am most grateful.

A look at the detail aboard

Another Angle

Great model, Great shot!

The builder, Bill Huizing
attaching a lifeboat

Stern of the real Charles W Morgan
at Mystic
The real boat at Mystic Seaport (left)

Fun matches for two coconuts

The only rules!

Ken Black, the Victor

The Vanquished boat

Two coconuts... the spoils of victory!

Out of my murky past this one, the very lighthearted `Funny Ha Ha  Fun Fellow World Match Racing Series where there were no spectators other than a small armada of ducks, residents at Onepoto, the rest of Auckland, New Zealand either at church or still in bed.

It was a `best of whatever’ continual fun series sailed each week under a `whatever’ rule system and dependent on who was in the best position and whether having won two races, suddenly remembered he had a pressing appointment and had to leave, thereby to exercise `Rule whatever’ from the World Gentleman and Scholars Windling Authority rule book.

He had of course, to be able to quote the rule, sub paragraph and clause that suggested he knew it off by heart, thereby convincing the other that this `authority’ which both knew were  but  figments of their imaginations, perhaps just maybe, did actually exist!  The rules were…there were none, aside from the fact that the course was set and was supposed to be adhered to, unless the trailing yacht’s skipper decided that it was advantageous to change it at short notice under the `emergency’ clause, and when you are losing that could be classified as an emergency!

If either of those two Snoopy and the Red Baron style rivals were for whatever reason unable to turn up to do battle, the other could (if he was an unsporting chap) claim a win for that round, provided he actually turned up and sailed a best of three races contest on his own!  If he could’t provide a sworn affidavit from a witness, the matter would have had to be settled in the Supreme Court!

And who were these keen as mustard combatants, the late Ken Black sailing his Oddfellow and the writer sailing his Island Spice prototype which was always subject to protest that it was not therefore a true Fun Fellow!

Once the writer had discovered that Ken’s calls of `COVER’ did not mean putting on a hard hat and springing open an umbrella (at that stage in the proceedings down five wins to Black’s nineteen,  I no longer wasted time on headgear and umbrella action, particularly not the latter as it wasn’t raining . Starting sailing more `aggressively’ in the end I had managed to reduce my deficit to a matter of less than a dozen.

Sure I didn’t win the prestigious trophy, two Fijian undersized coconuts one at either end of a matted cord known as the Ratu Bula Vinaka Coconut Trophy, as unique and famous as any America’s Cup. In windling, this was `serious’ but funny competitive sailing at both relaxed and  humorous levels and although I lost the regatta, I did win the Louis `Vuittoff’  Duffel Bag  for the challengers series, although now I think  about it… there were no other challengers!


True or false that in the Dolphin world some are known to be gay ? I don’t know  but it may well be so for where I sail at Onepoto, a well known `eeleeologist’ told someone (who told a friend who told me!)  that there are two absolutely and positively gay eels living there and amorously doing `cartwheels’ while cavorting around underwater!  Therefore, why not dolphins, particularly those that have been fed too many bananas  and have started looking like bananas!

Bananika Species Dolphin!
(Photograph borrowed from unknown source, congratulations and grateful thanks)

A fleet on a beat!

From pure fantasy (Hey! None of that please! The `Banana Republic dolphin’ is absolutely real!!!)  to fact, and for those who have never heard of the Kings Point Model Yacht Club, I tell you now, it is real as real can be.

Located in West Delray Beach, Florida, this is a seasonal club sailing Soling 1 meter yachts between mid November and mid April. A gated Condominium retired community of 7,200 units, sailing is done on a superb lake and the club is now affiliated with the AMYA.

Bob Seiden and his Soling

KPMYC Members sailing

Where they sail

Trophies awarded

Art Holtzman's Soling and smaller Micro Magic

Bob Seiden of New Jersey is Commodore and Webmaster and very much the driving force of the KPMYC and the club was started seven years  with just four boats, three of those owners still sailing. Now they operate two separate fleets.

Next issue, maybe I’ll tell you about Bob Seiden’s beautiful scale skipjack, Mary Alyssa which he keeps and sails in New Jersey at his other home. It is an absolute beauty. Bob and I have been in touch for almost  seven months now.

Larry Henry

I had an email from Lawrence (Larry) Henry  of Indiana, USA remembers building gumwood model sailboats as a young boy in the West Indies and says that my Duckworks columns brings back memories.  He was taught to make them by a friend, Clifton Wyllie of Ratho Mill on the island of St Vincent in the Windward Islands when living there in the late 1950’s. Larry who was swimming and boating almost from the time he could walk, made the wee red schooner in the photo above in 1971. He still owns it, whereas the white one which he bought in a shop was damaged in a move from Florida to Indiana. He has a fascination for `work boats’ of all kinds. Don’t know that Larry does much sailing these days.

Maybe there are a great many of us who could learn from my mentor, Mark Twain, that

it is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid, than to open it and remove all doubt.”



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