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 Where the Winds Blow...
by Mark Steele, Auckland, New Zealand

JULY 2012

Russian Tall Ship Mir, consistent winner of Tall Ship races

Thinking about `tall ships’ in early January, I remembered the German vessel Padua thanks to my late friend, Clifford Hawkins who in his lifetime had told me a great deal about the 'Flying P' German Shipping Company owned by Riederei F Laeisz of Hamburg and about the Padua.

Right through the early 1900’s, the Laeisz ships were engaged in the nitrate trade between Chile and Germany, out and home by way of Cape Horn, among them being Passat, Pamir, Priwall, Peking, Pisagua and the Padua.

Falkland Islands 1P Postage Stamp of the Padua

I wondered what had become of the Padua which had been built as a cargo vessel, finally assuming that she had been scrapped. Then a magnificent calendar arrived in the mail from dear friends Ken & Marjorie Impey in Cornwall, UK and there on the front was a photograph of the 4 masted barque Kruzenshtern (ex Padua) now owned by Russia. So that’s where she was and is (unless of course she is at sea).

The refreshed Kruzenshtern Under Russian ownership at sunset

Surrendered by Germany to Russia in 1945 after the war, as a sort of war trophy, the Padua was (it is said) restored and several generations of Russian sailors have since trained aboard her, in the process gaining substantial experience. At 114.5 metres long and traditionally rigged, she is the second largest sailing ship in the world behind the Sedov (also an ex German now Russian tall ship) and carries a crew of 220.  She is now based in Kaliningrad, the only Russian Baltic seaport once part of Prussia and then of Germany.

The Sedov named after a famous Explorer

The Sedov was formerly the Magdalene Vinnen II and was originally built as a German cargo vessel. Now a Russian sail training vessel she is 122.3m long and was built in 1914 and this 4 masted barque was named after a famous explorer, Georgij Sedov who died during an expedition in 1914. Home port is Murmansk, St Petersburg and she regularly participates in the Tall Ship races.

It is nice to see two tall ships built in the 1920’s operational and maintained and fit enough to sail the seas and to provide the opportunity to young sailors of gaining experience aboard square-rigged vessels of this size no longer built today.

Flavio Faloci's Footy Presto

Flavio Faloci is a well known Italian model sailboat friend whom I have written about several times in the past. He lives in Genoa and has a gift for producing wonderful Footy (and smaller size sailboat models (shhh – can’t tell you about that yet!) all good sailers and each one usually absolutely beautifully produced and presented.

Those who read Wooden Boat magazine may have noticed in their Shop catalogue enclosed within some issues a Footy-sized boat in kit form called the Presto.

Plenty of sheet for the downwind(ers)
Note sail attachment to bowsprit

Presto (foreground) distances another Footy

Sheets in, fast forward!

The cover of the Wooden Boat book
Available separately or with the Presto kit

Presto tackling a big swell

It is a gaff-rigged sloop with a solid wood hull out of balsa, The kit box advertised at the Wooden Boat Store for US$95. A how to build the boat book can be purchased separately for $19 and a set of plans for $25.

Flavio has spent considerable time perfecting the design to ensure good performance and the test Presto boats he has raced have performed creditably. The boat has really attractive lines and appears in a scale format that will please those who go for both speed and scale appearance.

Presto fits!

By the way, if like the writer you noted that this Footy was half an inch in length over the 12” allowed, it appears that once it can fit in the box diagonally with either the bow or stern down, then all is well.

Well hot shots n’ Kingpins the game is almost over, since it is now end August, the weathering challenge with just a month left to complete your models and forward jpeg images and entries by email to  means you are cutting things a bit fine.

You have had monthly reminders in this column and if you have tended to delay and adopt an attitude of “Oh maybe I’ll start it tomorrow” well there are only two months of tomorrows left.

Maybe some might feel that prizes of a years subscription to Marine Modelling International are not sufficiently fancifull (I think it is a pretty attractive prize  myself!)  However, time is almost up – unless you are a `speed builder’ and equally speedy `musser-upper’,  if you have only just yawned and stretched and haven’t even put the brain in gear and are still mulling over what to build, I’d say `time moveth on.

The rules were published, the maximum size of model was 18” and there are two classes, one for sail, the other for powered models, and another for the best youngest modeller eighteen and under had the opportunity to win a subscription also.


Master Modeler and Friend

Royston (Roy) Lake
10 Sept/1926 - 6 July/2012

Roy exited the world suddenly and without warning on 6th July, 2012, and an item on him with photos of some of his models will be included later this year in the December Where the wind blows column. This is just to announce his passing.


My very own Thermopylae

A late old friend of mine I `acquired’ one day at the Round Pond in Kensington, London, George Philpott whose great uncle had been a crewman on the famous Thermopylae told me that `every modeller should make or should have a model of that famous boat in their lifetime’. (He gave me a yarn about such people having long life with good health and fair weather.)

When I trained in advertising in London we used to meet up on arrangement at the famous pond on most Sunday mornings where we would walk together while he sailed a freesail model he had made and which he called Thermopylae – not a square rigger it looked nothing like the boat in question, and I would act as `runner’ to stop the model slamming into the wall on the other side of the pond.

When I was going back to Guyana old George gifted me with `my very own model of Thermopylae which he had made …and fitted into a electric light bulb!  I have it to this day and I still remember an old friend.

In reality it is how to have fun while sometimes throwing away no more than a couple of dollars some weeks, in `pretend’ it is believing you own a small stable of grey racehorses that compete on New Zealand tracks and occasionally contribute to the ultra-wealthy lifestyle that unfortunately you don’t live as the `last of the big spenders.’

When the game gelding Bruce Almighty (or any of the other chosen five) wins there are living room whoops of joy and often choked emotions and Mitty’s day is made. Hang the actual winnings, it is really the love of the greys and the pleasure the involvement has provided, and the on-screen sight of a horse (his horse!) running ahead to the winning post.

Potts little vintage  schooner

My friend in London, Russell Potts is the absolute `King’ of the UK Vintage model yacht movement and this absolute gem of a little pre-1914 Paxton schooner, a toy boat he restored (and converted to sail proper-like) has been seen on the British television programme Antiques Road Show.

I remember visiting their house in Sherard Road many moons back and climbing a ladder to peer into the loft where model yachts were absolutely everywhere, many restored, many still awaiting restoration then enjoying a lunch with Russell and Gill his wife. Memories are made of occasions like that! 

USN Somers damaged in storm

Phillip Artweger’s lovely USN Somers was damaged in a storm and awaits repairs to her fore tops’l yard and fore tope masts as well. I could spin a yarn that the square-rigger was caught in a storm off the coasts of Waggarwanka in Somalia while chasing pirates, but nothing so romantic. She fell off the top of a cupboard during a storm at her builder’s home in the Czech Republic so the storm bit is no bull.

Urs Streit's 1869 Mackerel Driver

Stefan Streit of Bern in Switzerland is a key member of
Swiss Minisail.  His dad, Urs, like his son is also a keen and capable model shipbuilder and sailor who  turned his attention to Cornwall, England and  built a model of Ebenezer, a St Ives Mackerel Driver of 1869 shown above and below in photos taken by Hans Staal of the Netherlands.

The length of the lug sail model is 124cm on deck, the model is entirely scratchbuilt and the photo above was taken at a Classic model sail meet at Bornerbroek in the Netherlands. Nice!



Click Here for a List of Articles and Columns by Mark Steele