Custom Search
Join Duckworks
Get free newsletter
on this site
 Where the Winds Blow...
by Mark Steele, Auckland, New Zealand

WTWB  February 2013

Just as we change our course when sailing model yachts or alter our lifestyles, we often need to adjust and alter, re-balance if you like, the `mix’ of regular writing content to encompass other aspects of  pleasurable recreational value. Like our sailing, it should also inspire others to get involved outdoors and use the gift of fresh and priceless air in

A good activity subject on which to start is the use of the wind, different yet quite similar to the way we model sailors use it, after all it is trlaxing, requires skill and most important, the wind is still one of the few things we don’t have to pay for, because it is still  free !  Watch a new acquaintance of mine, Ray Bethell of Vancouver, Canada as he `romances the wind’ in the most gifted way imaginable, that of flying three kites at the same time, one tethered to his waist

Ray is in his eighties and  those who take time to look at the embedded video in this issue, the production of Robert Holbrook, will see both beauty and exceptional skill from this multi-kite flyer performed  to the music of the Flower duet by the French composer, Leo Delibes 1836-1891. You will marvel at his I can almost guarantee. Sponsored, he goes all over the world to International kite flying events and draws admirers and friends and  I have found corresponding with him an absolute delight.


Jacqui with an island trading ketch Glenorchy

I first chanced upon Jacqui Wellington when her picture taken at Devonport on Auckland, New Zealand’s north shore by the Herald newspaper caught my eye and I gave her a call whereupon we became good friends.

I was producing my little magazine Windling World at the time, and `The Jack Spratt Yachts lady’ (as she called herself) was diligently turning out elegantly built 22 to 24” very detailed free sail model yachts which sailed as well as they looked.

On arrangement we met up at Tamaki  on the beach by the yacht club where Jacqui had already assembled about ten  of the little boats on the sand, and they were indeed beautiful little replicas, mainly of ketches, leading to a cover story in the December 1995 issue of WW.

They were all beautifully built of wood, Jacqui was rather gorgeous and full of enthusiasm and we became friends as I photographed several sailing in the sea water, each one secured at the stern with a long string on a reel. It was the yacht version of kite-flying and as I remember, they all sailed so well. She had no use for radio control and probably could not afford it.

Six on the sand at Tamaki

"When I am older I'll sail around the whole World on a schooner like this one and become `Sir Marcus!"

Among the collection sailing was Aloha, a mizzen staysail ketch (which she sold soon after), another mizzen staysail island trader called Glenorchy, a gaff schooner Oreti and a gaff-rigged ketch named Edward Basil after her dad, a model that captivated the writer. Pretty well all her models, the schooners in particular, captured the spirit of sailing ships of an era of island trading.

She came down to Onepoto lagoon several times and set her schooners and ketches free on the lake there, let little kids sail them and rang me one day where I met her down at Cheltenham beach where she sailed Aloha off in the direction of Rangitoto Island, an extra-long safety string tied to its stern and the little yacht went right out to a point almost out of sight in the Hauraki Gulf before Jacqui reeled her back in when the spool she held was almost out of string.

Aloha sets off in the Hauraki Gulf

She had spent countless hours on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf with her father and she loved the sea and enjoyed building the little boats in her home workshop which I visited on occasions. She wanted to sell them and continue building and loved to sail them whenever she could.

Alas Jacqui could not find a market for the yachts in New Zealand, and with her son in Australia she  visited me one day to say that she was off to live there. Efforts to trace her led to nothing and regretfully I never heard from the Jack Spratt Lady again.

I’d like to think that our respective courses will somehow cross again, even if it is only across a short distance of water and with a waving hand and a hearty yell.


The graceful looking  three mast  Meteor coasting by on a leisurely tack to starboard

Stretching her legs’ Meteor  pictured on a starboard reach

Showing off her detailed deck and cabins from the port side

Taken from near the bow, it is clear that this is an outstanding Schooner model

Rick Mayes of Maroochydore on the Queensland coast of Australia is a pretty well dedicated to schooners ex naval man and has built several which he sails. I have written about him before and those columns are easily accessed in archives listed at the end of each new one.  (But you don’t have a computer and the internet is `alien speako’ to you ?  Say three Our Father’s and five Hail Mary’s that is all I can suggest, only  the good lord works miracles !) Photos of the schooner shown here  are by Rick Mayes and  Brian Gwillim.

From midship one can see from this image that the work is commendable and displays both patience and skill

His latest is a 3 masted staysail schooner called Meteor. Having always liked the 1927 built 3 masted schooner Creole, as well as the fullsize Meteor owned by daughters of Gucci,he decided to build his own version as a 3 master and call it Meteor so you could say that it really is very much his own creation. An incurable  romantic when it comes to building and sailing RC schooner models, his imagination was first fired by the John Alden schooner Borkanriff IV.

Then it gets a wee bit complicated so I will use his report on developments leading to the rationale behind the build of this Meteor

A blast up the lake!

He writes:  `Seven years ago on 1st October 2005 I launched my own design model of Sea Hawk, a likeness to Borkanriff  IV  that I had seen some years before in a yachting magazine. I then obtained plans of the real yacht from John Alden’s office in Boston with the intentions of  building Meteor, the sister ship to Borkanriff.  The build however turned out a little on the heavy side and as I had always admired my Beken of Cowes photo of the 3 masted staysail schooner Creole that hangs in my garage, I decided to change the rig one model from two. The result is Meteor.

This model is one of the six that includes the Maltese Falcon (see  the writer’s column of July 2012 in Duckworks for a photo of the half built model being tested). Rick would like to follow that up with one of the Atlantic, then the Athos and the Eos, a 3 masted Bermuda-rigged  304’ schooner one of the largest in the world.’ A bit of  information on the build. The sparred length is 1,540mm, beam 290mm, the draft on the hull 140mm, the draft (including the keel) 340mm, ballast on the keel 4,250kgs, total weight of model approx 10.3kgs, the main mast above deck 1,020mm.

Four channel RC is fitted, one channel controls the rudder, two channels control overlapping jibs using two metal geared servos with arms. The remaining channel controls the Main sail as well as all staysails using two sail arm winches hooked up with a `Y’ harness, one winch for the upper two staysails, the other for the main sail and the other three lower staysails. Power is provided with a 1.3ah gell cell battery and the transmitter used is a Hitec Optic 6 FM digital proportional.

I reckon even taking into consideration the fact that I was never brilliant at maths,  Rick will need to live to well over a hundred to be able to get them all done for I am sure that he will fall in love again and again with more and more boats, no kiddin!

Schooner tussle as David's over 50" class boat pursues Andrew Charters Columbia

David Querin, another `friend never met’ of the writer hails from Ohio and is another enthusiastic afficianado and builder of schooners. We have been in touch  for several years by email. A member of the Great Schooner Model Society in Maryland, USA he sails most years at the fine regattas held off the Calvert Museum that I have reported on several times, David having completed two new schooners now has a choice of four, plus (from memory) a couple of single-masted other classes of boats.

In the top photograph David's Schooner is seen in Maryland in pursuit of Andrew Charters larger schooner Columbia in a strong blow. A really lovely guy whom it would be great to meet were it possible, David’s two new schooners are an  Alden `Malabar’ and a stunning Prospero originated about 1912 by Bill Daniels. David started building both boats before he developed a serious  illness that required extensive surgery and then completing them later upon his road to recovery.

In Central Park, New York, Querin's then new Prospero schooner gets an airing

David's new Daniels-designed Prospero

The then new Malabar on the lake in New York

With the two earlier schooners, the under 50" and over 50" class boats

A keen model yacht sailor but not the ultra serious kind with win-at-all-costs aspirations, David enjoys the leisurely non-competitive sailing of models and the photos are testimony to his shipmodelling skills.

Married to Sue and with a son in New York engaged in theatre productions and set design, and a daughter who is an artist and designer, he has a website  David drives the 410 miles, 6-7 hour each way long journey to the `Big Apple’ each year and has sailed both new schooners on the Central Park Conservancy Lake there where they have been well watched and much admired. In the photograph below he and his son (carrying the sails) he is seen trailer-ing the Prospero hull at a crossing on the way to the lake.


Trophy Winner - A man and his Brigantine Spirit of New Zealand

Current winner of the Auckland  NZ Ancient Mariners /Great Schooner Model Society trophy for multi-masted boats  is Derek Nicholson for his Brigantine Spirit of New Zealand  The model of will appear  in the June issue .  The award is for good workmanship and Derek becomes the first ever `third time winner’ having first won it in 2002 for his Americaand again in 2007 for his  South Pacific schooner Tiare Taporo (the flower of the lime!)

 Back's heading Forward!

The folk in Florida dream up fun days in Tampa Bay, their latest being the `Kayak train’ where they hook up and head out sans paddles on an hour and a half, six mile long tour of the Braden River pulled by Chelsea the African Queen. Even the pooch goes along and takes in the scenery. Well done Dave Lucas of Lucas Boatworks and the Happy Hour Club. Twenty eight kayaks and canoes, a video on YouTube and a World Record!

"Tally Ho, there we go, on our bums, here we comes!"

"WALLOCKS! Personally, as a dog,I'd rather go ashore and chase the wildlife!"

David Squires a Weathering winner

Flashback  to the Marine Modelling International and Duckworks Magazine (“T’is what yer readin’ varmints”) Weathering Challenge in the December column, and to the Sailboat Class winner David Squires of the UK (alias ``Captain’ Jack Sparrow) out of make-up with the Black Pearl.  Arrrgh!

Spinnaker duel in Rolex Middle Sea Race 2012 of XP-ACT (nearest camera) and Zenhea Takesha. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo


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