Where the Winds Blow...

by Mark Steele, Auckland, New Zealand

Shenandoah, scene stealer at the Italy Rolex Rally, a Sea Thru Starlet, windling with Darth and the sailing now railroad-operating Lockley’s.

Rolex/Kurt Arrigo and Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi photos

click thumbnails for larger views

Porto Cervo, Sardinia in Italy was the beautiful setting last September for the Rolex Veteran Boat Rally, an event summed up by several as one where `age and beauty stole the show’. There were several classes and some keen racing and among the veteran boats being sailed, the 54 metre topsail schooner, Shenandoah. Pray tell me, am I the only person anywhere in the RC model yacht fraternity laying claim to loving to bits this stunning looking schooner?  I am sure not, but then why haven’t I yet seen or a heard of a sailing model of her?

Two tremendous photos of this boat taken at the Porto Cervo gathering are by Rolex appointed photographers, Kurt Arrigo (left, top photo), and Carlo Borlenghi (left, bottom photo). Just as Hans Staal of the Netherlands is to model sailboats such a brilliant shutterbug,  Borlenghi  and Arrigo are to the big boats, reason that they and Daniel Foster are contracted to capture high quality Rolex watch company photographs for editorial use at Rolex sponsored events. Overall Series winners were Mariette  in the gaff-rigged vintage division, Marjatta in the vintage Bermudian division and Emeraude (Classic yachts built between 1950 and 1975).   Some trophy table (right photo above) isn’t it! Go on now, let those photos inspire you classic lover modellers  to build a model or two of Shenandoah.

A Pair of Aces

Two of Andrew Charters stunning schooner models stretch their sea legs on the waters of a South Carolina pond, Puritan in front, Bluenose behind.


Whereas Wikipedia says the Dead Sea has attracted visitors
 from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years,
George Burns (who certainly wasn’t around that long)
claimed that when he was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick!

Always prepared to`push the barriers’ is New Zealand’s Ron Rule, one of Auckland’s Ancient Mariners.  Ever eager to experiment, his latest model was a Starlet in style totally `see through’  yacht with frames of 5mm Perspex, sides, bottom and deck of 2mm Perspex. Now I have to tell you that the boat though heavier than the average Starlets sailed in the Auckland fleet sailed unbelievably well, looked exciting and drew  huge attention at the Onepoto pond just over the Auckland harbour bridge on the north shore side. It was only a matter of time (days in fact !) before the appropriately named Sea Thru which I photographed (above) when launched)was hit broadside by another Starlet, resulting in a cracked hull. Not that it sank but it somewhat spoiled its appearance if looked at from the starboard side.  Built by the unflappable Ron, it has long been fixed.

‘By the way, to abdicate (v) is to give up
all hope of ever having a flat stomach !’

A cap is a useful item to model sailors standing around in the hot sun. I keep a few handy as you can see (above left) but what with the ozone layer depletion, it occurs to me that we may all have to perhaps someday join the `dark side of the force’ and sail our boats while attired like Darth Vader.

The writer has already sought wider-brim head and neck protection from
the summer sun over Auckland.


From sails

to rails!

Ken and Lois Lockley in Victoria BC, Canada have been my friends for years, firm supporters of Windling World my now defunct little sailing magazine.Model sailors themselves each with their own boat, Ken, is an extremely talented builder of scale sailing boats . Many months ago, although they still sail their one metre yachts, Ken gave up his scale model boat building in a change of direction, `took to the rails’ so to speak, as he and Lois set out to build a model garden railroad with a Vancouver Island coal mining theme at their home. Readers of the magazine will remember his lovely boats, the most recent being a sailing replica of the celebrated ketch Tzu Hang highlighted by the travels of voyagers Miles and Beryl Smeeton. She was the fist crewed yacht under 50’ to double Cape Horn westabout, the first Canadian yacht under 50’ to use both the Suez and Panama canals, voyaging 100,000 miles with the Smeeton’s.. I am sorry to lose Ken from our world of model sailboating but people change directions and move to other hobbies, that’s life isn’t it and their change from sails to rails is not entirely uinexpected in that Ken and Lois both come from coal mining stock, their grandparents having immigrated to Canada in the early nineteen hundreds

Below is the Besanewer John Henry von Kollmer model built by Harald Kossack of Germany. The typical Ewer was used for fishing, as a freighter and in some cases even as a warship, the hull form and rigging variable and dependent on the intended purpose.

Harald built his model as a freighter and based it on the original built in 1896 at Wewelsleth in Germany by the famous shipwright, Gustav Junge. It took Harald 3 years to build and has 5 winches controlling rudder, leeboards, mainsail and mizzen  The first photograph is by Hans Staal.

Frumpin Grumman the black swan
one metres take over

One day there was all this flappin’ and  ploppin’, and lots of splashin’ and the odd feather flyin’ (see first pic above) as the huge black swan that thought it was a Grumman Goose seaplane, frumped around the waters near the launch ramp at Quarry lake on Auckland’s north shore as Alan Hayes steered clear, still managing to capture the ensuing commotion. With his `boat cam’ camera  (with  a one click and then reload system)  mounted on his One Metre  he has taken some great photos. That’s one story the more believable of the two, the other being…that the swan was actually a 4 channel RC operated model used by the club to frighten and shoosh away all the real swans that were there that day, so that the North Shore Radio Yacht Squadron fleet had some sailing space on the water!

Rex Rouse who lives on the North Shore of Auckland is an extremely  talented model boat builder. One of his particularly lovely models is the Centreboard schooner, Belle Orlean modeled on a fullsize  67’schooner Santiago built by William Webb in New York in 1833 for a New Orlean owner to use  in the Cuban rum trade.

The Centre Board casing was built alongside the keel so as not to interfere with the mast arrangement, the idea behind it was to enable the ship to be beached on the high tide, loaded and then floated off the next high tide.

Rex has built the model plank on frame, timbers used being Kauri and Ash ply, the main sails controlled by winch arms, the fore sails static set.  Being quite bluff in the bow the Belle Orlean seen in the first two photos above  is not a fast boat but looks good on the water, particularly in a good breeze.  He is seen with another of his boats in the third photograph, that one a ketch  850mm  or 30” in length called Marlene built on a fiberglass hull to which the deck was replaced with a wood planked one, and kauri and mahogany cabins. A good little boat for windling that!

Just `enthusiasm-ing’  I am, and before anyone takes me to task, of course there’s no such word, but then again neither does the word windling exist ! I preface what I am going to say with the warning to first time readers, that I am but a humble peasant with an enjoyment of occasionally bastardising the English language all for the reasons of gaining attention, creating new words that will never get into dictionary updates and most of all for the purpose of injecting a bit of harmless and light-hearted humour from time to time. So what’s this enthusiasm-ing all about, ?  Suffice to say that I am an ardent lover of  model sailing yachts and so many are the pleasures of doing so for the principal gains of relaxation, camaraderie of those like-minded friends, and that ability to`return to days of our younger years’ when the hobby of so doing (without radio control) was perhaps not as pleasurable. Quite simply, here I am now in my later years, consumed by a passion of spreading the word through my writing.

Those who today do so, certainly those  in the windling, cruising rather than hell bent to win at all costs racing mode are mainly us retired sorts, `oldies’ if you like, and our replacements in fifty or so years time are likely to be the present youngsters. May there still be ponds and lakes around to enable them to do so and may their happiness abound as much as ours does

Click here for previous Columns by Mark Steele

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