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Model Boat Builder Gallery - Last additions

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Endeavour4.jpg
Endeavour (J Class)375 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.
31 Dec 2007
Endeavour3.jpg
Endeavour (J Class)374 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".
31 Dec 2007
Endeavour2.jpg
Endeavour (J Class)385 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.
31 Dec 2007
Endeavour1.jpg
Endeavour (J Class)416 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.
31 Dec 2007
endeavour.jpg
HMS Endeavour417 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)
31 Dec 2007
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431 viewsCutty Sark; detail. Just look at the detail of the foredeck, and the way each deck plank is individually set into the waterway.
31 Dec 2007
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447 viewsCutty Sark; detail. Every detail of her intricate rig is faithfully reproduced. 31 Dec 2007
cuttysark1.jpg
Cutty Sark499 viewsHere is the first of three pictures of a model of the famous clipper ship, built all in wood.
This model was built several years ago, and despite the exquisite detail she incorporates, she was part of our learning curve. If we were building her again today, we would definitely do something different about the sails. The stitching is perhaps too prominent here. In any case, sails are very difficult to represent well at a small scale, as even the thinnest material scales out around the weight of a very thick hairy blanket. Most of our sailing ship models are shown with the naked elegance of the plain spars, and in my opinion look all the better for it.
At least nine out of ten clipper ship models represent "Cutty Sark". Would you like a model of "Ariel", of "Falcon," which was the first of Steele's ships to astonish the sailing world, and a quiet design revolution in her way, or of his lovely "Titania"? How about "Fiery Cross", which won more tea races than any other ship? We have the plans, we have made a particular study of these lovliest of all ships, and we can promise you a truly excellent model.
(model by Frank Hasted)
31 Dec 2007
coureur6.jpg
Coureur (general view)421 views31 Dec 2007
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Coureur (bow detail)427 views31 Dec 2007
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Coureur (under construction)447 views31 Dec 2007
coureur2.jpg
Coureur (stern detail)431 viewsWhile the Royal Navy was supreme in fleet actions in the Napoleonic War, they were still caused considerable grief by the French chasse-maree luggers. Fast, agile and heavily crewed, they would dash out from Biscayan ports to snap up any unwary British merchantmen which wandered within reach. "Le Coureur" is a fine example of the type. This beautiful model illustrates the exquisite craftsmanship which goes into all our scale replicas.
(model by Gordon Williams)
31 Dec 2007
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