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Model Boat Builder Gallery - Display Models

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cuttysark3.jpg
473 viewsCutty Sark; detail. Just look at the detail of the foredeck, and the way each deck plank is individually set into the waterway.
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HMS Endeavour458 viewsCaptain James Cook is best known for his discovery of Australia. He has other solid claims to fame. He was a superb seaman. He was almost certainly the best navigator of his era. He was one of the very few men of this period to be commissioned from the lower deck.
His greatest achievement was to virtually eliminate the terrible scourge of scurvy. This disease is a vitamin deficiency, caused by limited understanding of diet. Before Captain Cook, it was accepted that on every long voyage, a large proportion of the crew would die. Cook was not prepared to accept this. He made a scientific study of diet, and used his crew as guinea pigs to test his theories, experimenting with a variety of different diets. He nearly caused a mutiny at one point, by ordering that every man should eat two pounds of raw onions each day for a week, but in a voyage of almost three years, he did not lose a single man to scurvy.
He was also responsible for enormous advances in the science of navigation. While a ship's distance north or south from the equator can be calculated using a simple noon sight, to calculate an accurate position east or west demands a precise knowledge of the time. There is an alternative method involving sights of the moon, but it is complex, and only the finest navigators would be able to use it. Cook took to sea and tested the first really accurate chronometers. It is a sobering reflection to realise that before this important advance in technology, few captains could have been exactly certain of where they were once they sailed out of sight of land.
It was these huge advances in diet and navigation which made long-distance ocean voyages far less reliant on chance. They thus paved the way for the huge expansion in European colonialism in the nineteenth century. This quiet, intelligent son of a Yorkshire farm worker probably did more to change the history of the world than all the fighting admirals put together. To a very great extent, we all of us live in the world he made possible.
This model of Captain Cook's "Endeavour" is thus not only a beautiful display piece in her own right, but she is of the greatest historical interest. She will make a fitting embellishment to any home, to a museum, or to the offices of any shipping company, all of which still owe a debt to Captain Cook's pioneering discoveries.
(model by Frank Hasted)
Endeavour1.jpg
Endeavour (J Class)456 viewsShe is the most beautiful J class yacht ever built. She was the fastest of the class when she was built. She should have brought the Americas Cup back to Britain.
Like all British J boats, she was designed by Charles Nicholson. Sir Thomas Sopwith was his client. Nicholson's lines were conventional. It seems the design was not even tank tested. However, her lines are fair, and extremely beautiful. She proved very fast indeed.
Sopwith was determined to learn from the humiliation suffered by "Shamrock V" in 1930. The new boat's rig was a technological marvel. Strain guages measured the loads in the shrouds and stays, and enabled the rig to be precisely tuned. Instruments measured wind speed and direction, reading out to guages directly in front of the helmsman. This is commonplace today, but then it was very new. A large number of winches were fitted. A new type of sail, the quadrilateral jib, supplied two tons of extra driving force. She was certainly a faster boat than "Rainbow", the defender. Sopwith was a superb helmsman, especially in the vital pre-start manoevres. As any competitive sailor knows, many match races are won or lost at the start.
Endeavour2.jpg
Endeavour (J Class)420 viewsSo why didn't she win? As the proverb has it, "It's not the ships, it's the men in them". Vanderbilt's organisation and tactics were excellent, both before the Cup series and during it. Sopwith's were less so.
Thirteen of Sopwith's professional crew left his employ eight days before "Endeavour" was due to sail for America. In those days, professional yacht hands worked as fishermen over the winter. The Cup series was held in September 1934, so they would be back from America too late to get berths in the fishery. Sopwith refused to increase his pay offer to make up the difference. It seemed likely that their families would suffer real hardship. Despite a good deal of hysteria in the yachting press, all the "mutineers" soon found berths on other yachts, which would never have happenned if they had not had reason on their side. Sopwith engaged a crew of amateur sailors, most of whom had no experience of something as big as a J boat. The amateurs proved extremely efficient. All the same, losing most of the practiced professionals must have had some effect on "Endeavour"s performance.
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Endeavour (J Class)405 viewsIt also seems that Sopwith's afterguard were not as well organised as Vanderbilt's team. "Endeavour"s navigator had a background largely confined to big ships. He was very competent within his limitations, but, understandably, was out of his depth in the specialised conditions of a match race.
Finally, Vanderbilt's tactician, the wily Sherman Hoyt, twice succeeded in luring Sopwith into a covering duel, when "Endeavour" had a commanding lead and a clear run to the finishing line. He did this in the third race, and again in the vital sixth race, on which the outcome of the series hinged. As they say in my home country, "If they has you once, shame on them. If they has you twice, shame on you".
Endeavour4.jpg
Endeavour (J Class)411 viewsSo "Endeavour" sailed back to Britain empty-handed. This exceptionally lovely yacht acquired the glamour of a lost cause and a fascinating might-have-been. She formed part of Sopwith's 1937 challenge. She was laid up during the war. After that, she gradually deteriorated. Eventually she was rescued, and lovingly restored, under the aegis of Elizabeth Meyer, an American millionairess, to whom much of the credit for the current revivial of the J class is due.
"Endeavour" still sails, under the American flag these days. She has acquired an engine, a modern mast, a prominent radar aerial, a full outfit of modern winches, and a plethora of deck ventilators to feed her air-conditoned interior. Today she works for her living, taking very rich people on very expensive charter holidays. But the "darling jade" is still with us, still sailing, still racing as hard as ever, and when you see her slicing along, heeled well down and with the spray flying from that lovely hull, she strongly recalls the days when the Cup almost came back to Britain.
Our model captures all her grace and loveliness, as she was in the days when she challenged for sailing's greatest trophy. It will make a lovely embellishment to any room.
Enterprise1.jpg
Enterprise (J Class)406 views"Enterprise" was a high-tech wonder. She was built of Tobin bronze over steel frames, a very expensive form of construction, which gives great strength, light weight, and a glassy smooth bottom which is naturally antifouling.
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Enterprise (J Class)422 viewsBelow decks she was completely stripped out. Even the floorboards were slatted to reduce weight. She had a clean, open, deck layout. All halliards were led below, and a total of twenty-three winches ensured efficient handling of her lines. The mast was laminated from sheets of duralumin, in those days the latest modern wonder material. It was held together by about 100,000 rivets. It was stepped in a steel tube filled with a liquid resembling quicksilver, and a special member of the crew, known as the "mast nurse" had the job of seeing that the stays were properly adjusted on different points of sailing.
All this technology did not come cheap. "Enterprise cost about £100,000, or more than five times as much as the challenger, "Shamrock V". She was built in 1929, before the crash, and in America the rich had money to burn. Four American J class yachts were built that year. "Enterprise", "Yankee", "Weetamoe", and "Whirlwind" were all built without expense spared.
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Enterprise (J Class)428 viewsAs well as having a superb boat, Harold Vanderbilt, the owner and skipper of "Enterprise", used the best American management methods. His professional crew was well paid and well treated. The ship was run by an afterguard consisting of Vanderbilt as skipper and helmsman, an assistant helmsman, a navigator, and two specialists for the setting of the rigging and the sails. Each man had his job to do, to ensure the whole team functioned smoothly.
The selection trials to choose the defender were closely fought. "Whirlwind" proved a failure, but both "Yankee" and "Weetamoe" came close to beating "Enterprise". After the selection series, the Americas Cup contest of 1930 proved an anticlimax. "Shamrock V" never looked like winning even one race.
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Enterprise (J Class)418 viewsLike all American J boats, "Enterprise" had a short life. She was made obsolete by changes in the J class rule in 1932, which made her stripped-out interior illegal. She could not carry the interior fittings required without badly compromising her performance. She spent most of her last years laid up, and was dismantled in 1935.
Yet she is of immense historic importance. Many of the innovations she pioneered are commonplace on today's racing yachts. Not the best-known of the J boats, she is still one of the most interesting. Our model is a fitting reminder of this fascinating yacht. We would be honoured to create one for you.
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Euterpe441 viewsThe Clipper ship "Euterpe" was built on the Isle of Man for the Australian trade. She was one of the first iron ships. After an eventful life, she is now preserved as the "Star of India" at San Diego, California. We built this lovely glass-case replica for a gentleman whose grandfather had been the ship's sailmaker, in the days when she ran her easting down, around the howling Horn.
(model by Frank Hasted)
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Euterpe415 views
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