I built two sailing boats, mainly from scrap ! I suppose this falls into the category of ' Coarse ' boat construction.

Last updated 20th November2011

In line with my philosophy of building cheap ( but to the best standard my skills allow ) I set out to build a boat that would replicate the manner in which full size boats sail, not whipping about at mad speeds as, for instance, some kit boats do.

Attached are some pictures of the construction and testing of the boat later replicated in a larger, sister boat which I sail on my 'Home ' water, and some great sailing some time ago at Bognor, and Taunton.

The first essentials are a flat building board and a set of frames drawn up from the lines drawing. Extensions of the frames, are taken to a common level, that of the building board.

The boat framing really was constructed from kitchen cupboard . They don't make such knot free material any more ! It was cut down on my 45 year old bandsaw. The hollow mast was broomstick, sawn and then milled out to provide the track, The keel is reinforced with stainless steel ( Concrete reinforcing steel from a friendly builder ) The bow and stern blocks were from redundant 'Queen Anne ' legs from a damaged piece of furniture. The rigging turnbuckles were from the wire wing stays of a Walrus flying boat...the turnbuckles being gifted to me years ago by a WW2, Naval airframe rigger. Rigging wire is model aircraft control line wire which is immensely strong. Lead ballast was from the local roofer ( Bought I have to add ! ). Sails are of Nylon / terryene lining material intended for ladies dress linings. Paint was domestic Dulux Gloss. Radio Control is in this case rudder only, a sail winch may yet be installed..................rudder only control is more demanding anyway.

Apart from the sweat of the brow the total cost of the 1 Metre craft, , was that of the 1.5 mm. ply, lead, PVA glue, lining material and control wire was about 20..............not bad for hours of pleasure

The chine and sheer stringers have been fixed and the whole hull frame, including the keelson faired-off. using a block plane spanning the spaces. Sheeting of 3/32" WBP ply is attached by drilling then pinning with brass pins. PVA adhesive is employed and the ply ihas to be ' persuaded ' round difficult curves by wetting the outer veneer to make it supple. Casein glue would in itself be waterproof but as the PVA joints are protected by several coats of paint, it will suffice and is easier to use. Excess can be wiped off with a damp rag.


A good supply of clamps is essential to act as spare hands. Mine were purchased in a ' Cheapo ' shop. Various sizes are available and the most useful are those that can be used with one hand.

At this stage the hull is firmly attached via the frames to the building board by extensions to the frames. When all has set hard the frames can be sawn free of the board and all trimmed to the Sheer level. The basic deck beams are already in place as an integral part of the frames the required camber can be formed by additionl formers added later.

The keel fin is attached using stainless steel studs, Araldited into the keel and passed through the keelson and an extra horizontal member to deal with torsion. Here the box to house the interchangeable radio unit is in its early stages. The various compartments are built according to my need, otherwise sealed compartments have small access hatches.

With the inside skin coated with primer and a coat of varnish, solid blocks can be added at bow and stern to enable the sharp prow and the tumblehome stern to be shaped and faired in with the hull lines. This can be done with a sharp plane if the blocka are glued ' End grain on ' to the adjacent frame

With the fin installed and the bow and stern blocks faired in and all pins either removed or punched in, filler can be applied and the hull brought to a smooth finish overall. The streamlined fin is housed out for the subsequent attachment of keel weights. here the bow block is visible. The fairing-in of the fin to the keelson has yet to be applied.
With deck installed onto deck beams and a coat of Dulux wood primer added, the hull is dunked in the bath to establish the keel weights necessary to bring the boat down to the ' Designed ' waterline, and to control heeling due to the wind pressure the sails.
Deck and rigging fittings are fabricated from scrap and ' Monkey ' brass from curtain rail. , The mast is of prime timber from a broomstick ( the best knot free material avalable! ) It was sawn in half and the sail track milled out before reglueing and shaping avoiding adhesive in the track.

The bottle screws on the first model were rigging screws from a 'Walrus ' aircraft, gifted me by an ex WW2, Fleet Air Arm rigger !

The radio receiver, servo and batteries are housed in this case, set into a well. This is removable and can be used in either boat. The red tapes cover two terminals which allow a battery check without dismantling the case. ' Green' identifies the crystal installed. The control rods are above the deck to facilitate removal of the wireless unit.

Sailing with rudder only calls for some skill in choice of initial sheet settings. Whilst it calls for some application although ' No. 1 Grandson ' experience little difficulry and could sail the first boat perfectly at the age of 8 .

The small model on its beam ends.The keel weight on the larger boat has been coated with fibreglass to avoid lead contaminating water we sail on.

My sails I cut out for completion by a friend with a sewing machine, perhaps one day I might buy some commercially produced sails, they are costly hoever and there are other models planned !

Here the boat and mast were united fror the first time, courtesy of the lady of the house.The now completed boats rest, one in the workshop and the larger model as a decoration in our sunroom . The rigging stands the crude test of the boat being handled by the mast below the boom and the boat rotated threough 180 degrees, enough strength to withstand the most rigourous blow, r.
The ' Near twins ' all ready to go. we need a good wind however. No worries about wind strength both boats have sailed in ' Fair weather and foul '

Snag! The larger boat has to be de-rigged to fit into the present car...I should have thought of that at the time of purchase......of the car that is !

The first model running before a light breeze For the record it's ' Vital statistics ' are Length 1m+.,Beam 0.23m. Draft 0.24m. the mast stands 1.25m

Radio control is rudder only.Ttis makes sailing great fun and calls for real concentration ( One day, D.V. a sail winch will be added )

As the first model met up to expectations., sailing smoothly in all conditions, the second model was constructed with dimensions scaled up by 20%. Thishas also proved to be a success on the water.

Apart from the radio equipment the all-up total cost of the two boats was less than 60, plus sweat of the brow. I consider this a great investment considering the hours of pleasure they have given to both younger and older members of the family.

In passing I should mention that a commercial concern in America claims to teach how to sail larger boats using radio controlled model boats. I am convinced that their claim makes sense as when starting to sail lfull size boats my younger family members took to sailing " Like ducks to water ' as the saying goes !

I have been asked for details of some of my boats. I am attaching dimensions of the larger of the two yachts for anyone interested. if you are click here largeyachtdims.htm