Contribute an Article!

Model Yachting would love to add your content! Submit your posting, pictures, or idea to

Sunday, December 6, 2015

DragonForce...Peck Style!

We've T aken the DragonForce plunge; I figure the Texas DragonForce series will be a chance for some good racing, so we built a boat to go with Peck and Mustang; welcome the PeckForce! Just a few pics for now, but I'll add something more substantive later...

Monday, September 21, 2015

Post Captain; and 38 gun Royal Navy Frigate, circa 1813

In addition to building, sailing, and racing model yachts I also enjoy miniature naval wargames. Recently, I had the chance to work on a rule-set called "Post Captain" by Old Dominion Gamworks...Post Captain is a tremendous game, great if you want to take to the seas as Horatio Hornblower, Jack Aubrey, or command Old Ironsides running the British blockade, among other possible situations.

Post Captain is available from ODGW here.

I've been busy using some time between yachts and racing to build some miniatures, an exacting but enjoyable's my 1:1200 scale 38 gun Royal Navy frigate, just about complete!

Not bad for a first attempt, learned a ton, and my next ship (40 gun French frigate) should look even better!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A quick look at Mustang sail testing...

Big Red working up!

Just a quick video of the Mustang trying out some revised sail rigging and controls (and a new sail winch arm!). Note how she handles the big gust on a practice rounding near the end; she's pretty flat, but moving well and under control. Of note also, a bit to much jib sag, which is easy to adjust out...we'll keep testing her like this and make incremental improvements...then her and Peck can start an intensive two-boat work-up!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Launch Day! Blue Splash RG-65 "Mustang" takes to the water!

"May this boat sail straight & true, and may her hull keep out the water!"

Launch day arrives, and the Mustang takes to her home waters for the first time...unfortunately Roo was out of town visiting his grandparents, so Peck wasn't there to pace her, and he wasn't there to run the camera...

Anyhow, I used temporary patches on the deck, so you can see white tape lines, when I'm satisfied with everything I'll use semi-permanent adhesive vinyl and the deck will look very clean. Otherwise, flying red and blue bunting, I rigged her up at the lake and christened her with a bottle of Texas-brewed Shiner Bock. 

She sailed fast...thank God! I took the chance of canting her swing rig a degree or so forward, hoping to minimize the weather helm Peck exhibits. This allows me to add mast rake that matches the sail luff curve, properly opens the top of the mainsail, and generates just a touch of weather helm. 

First race was a respectable 2nd, and the second 4th, but with a penalty turn at start, she ran down the fleet and was within two lengths of 2nd again. Brought her in for a quick check, no water, a good sign for hull integrity! Noticed the jib luff was a bit excessive, and released the topping lift a bit...good adjustment! In the third race she went a rocket upwind with a touch of weather helm helping me get in a good groove. This design is always quick downwind, and I was first to the mark and ran away downwind...I had a massive lead rounding the last mark; 15-20 boat lengths, when the winch arm broke free of the winch fitting...a simple enough repair, but finished me for the day.

So...happy to be sailing her! Here's my quick observations:

1) Arne Semken did a good job designing the Blue Splash, and Eric Rosenbaum's rigs and foils result in a boat that is quick, handy, and blazes downwind. Mustang is no exception here!

2) The hull was completely water-tight;

3) Electronics installation, servo throws and controls are spot on;

4) Rig fittings allowed for fine and accurate control;

5) Good speed upwind, devastating speed downwind; and

6) Several minor nominal improvements made on the basis of sailing Peck for a year worked well.

And the bad:

1) Sail control arm came loose from the servo fitting, and splintered on attempted repair. I'll have to build a new one, minor problem, but it stopped racing for the day;

2) Standing rigging lines fray too easily;

3) Like the Peck, the jib boom should be shortened a bit;

4) Totally dissatisfied with the running rigging lines, too fine and stiff, doesn't slip easily enough and increases friction. Will replace; and

5) Need to complete the bow bumper.

Streamers & Bunting!

A boat themed after a Texas High School Football team needs to be christened with an appropriate beverage; in this case Shiner Bock, brewed in Texas!

Out from the dock, the Mustang gallops!

Streamers flying, heading out to race...

A brief debut, but she dialed in her speed fast...she had a big lead in her last race!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Swing rig; spar completion and main sail

The A rig came together today, as depicted below...the whole assembly is light weight and rotates with very little friction. Be sure to give a light sanding to the areas being epoxied, they'll hold much better if you do!

I had time to start rigging the main sail; and it's nearly finished. Just need to rig up the jib and the running rigging and it's time to launch! With luck, Mustang will hit the water with the TRYC this coming weekend.

Mast extender and crane; pre-assembly.

Mast with aluminum tube insert; pre-assembly.

Swing rig cross piece, main boom, and jib strut; pre-assembly.

All rig parts, epoxied in place.

Note the slightly protruding aluminum tube, which rides on the ball bearing.

Mast extension with crane.

Rig in place, riding on deck-level ball bearing.

Rig swings easily with little friction.

Three-quarter view.

Roo posing & pointing out the motto on his team shirt.

Inevitable Peck photo bomb!

Note the narrow chord and height of the high-aspect A Rig.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Video Blog: Mustang Construction Update #6

A quick update; all electronics and winches installed and working, will start the running rigging and rig construction this week...should see a launch and test sail in the next week! Exciting times!

A brief note on the sail arm in this video, I have found this winch model, and a single purchase arm plenty strong enough in winds over 20 well different methods are available, this simple method does work. The same applies to the simple "push-pull" rudder system.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Video Blog: Swing Rig Construction Part 2

In this video, the in-hull components of the swing rig are completed, and we take a look at how the rig fits on to them. I am aware some hold that the same mast location can be used for both fractional and swing-rigs, however I'm somewhat skeptical...the sail-plan to allow the swing-rig to be so far aft is not optimal my opinion...though opinions vary!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Servo's for RG-65

While there are many types of servos useable on an RG-65, I thought I'd share the information on the servos I use for sail and rudder control on Peck, and will be using on the Mustang. While, there are many options, these servos have performed reliably for over a year, and are a good value.

I use an arm servo arrangement for sail control as opposed to a drum, though either is fine. I've had a lot of success with the Corona DS558HV from Hobby King:

Corona DS558HV Digital Metal Gear Servo 14kg/ 58g/ 0.18 Sec

Model: DS558MG  
Operating Voltage: 6.0V / 7.4V
Operating Current: 300mA / 400mA
Operating Speed: 0.20sec.60º/ 0.18sec.60º
Stall Torque: /
Size: 20X40X38.5mm
Weight: 58gDead Band: ≤3uSecOperating 
Travel: 40º/one side pulse traveling 400us
Potentiometer: 5 slider/Direct Drive
Ball bearing: MR106
Gear: Metal
Connector wire: 300mmOperating Temperature Range: -20c+60c

For the rudder, I use the Corona DS929HV:

Corona DS929HV (7.4v) MG Digital Servo 2.4kg/ 12.5g/ 0.09sec

Model: DS929HV
Operating Voltage: 6.0V / 7.4VOperating Current: 200mA / 240mA
Operating Speed: 0.10sec.60º/ 0.09sec.60º
Stall Torque: /
Size: 22.5X11.5X24.6mm
Weight: 12.5g
Dead Band: ≤3uSec
Operating Travel: 40º/one side pulse traveling 400us
Potentiometer: 2 slider/Direct Drive
Ball bearing: MR85
Gear: MetalConnector wire: 215mm
Operating Temperature Range: -20c+60c

Both servos come with a variety of mounting and arm pieces, and will go easily into most receivers. I have found them to be powerful enough in the worst of conditions, and draw little enough power from the battery to be very energy efficient (One battery typically will last all day). They are also inexpensive via mail order at a whopping $11.00 and $8.00 respectively!

Here's mine mounted in a simple radio board on Peck, although, again, there are many possible permutations:

Looking forward, with sail arm winch and rudder clevis.
No switch in this design, just plug/unplug battery.

I order these through the folks at Hobby King, available here.

Check them out!

Monday, June 29, 2015

White Rock Cup Report

The 2015 White Rock Cup is in the books, and here's the skinny!

Weather: Bad thunderstorms the night before led to the run-off of branches, tree limbs, etc. being swept down the course in the morning by a north wind. Wave action was slight, but from this angle, the chop was bad, i.e. low waves with a short trough. Wind was generally 8-12 mph, with gusts above 15 and some lulls around 5. Fortunately by lunch most of the debris had cleared out and the course was fairly steady, if somewhat port favored.

The Fleet: 17 boats (13 DF) for 21 races; three throw-outs and one mandatory redress for swapping duties as RD (which worked very well). Chris Macaluso took first in his DF, Eric Rosebaum second in his Wahoo, and Brig North 3rd in his DF. Prizes were also awarded to the top three DF skippers as a separate class.

How did Peck fare? A somewhat disappointing 11th, though a few points improve the situation. Took a DNS on the last race which boosted my point total, and my redress score, probably cost me 10th, which I missed by three points. Average position (number of races actually sailed/total points of those races) was 9th (8.9 actually), which is not bad considering the level of competition. Sadly, at some point in the later racing (I speculate around race 18) Peck apparently struck some submerged debris and suffered significant keel damage (pictures below). The keel fin was badly twisted, and the bulb offset about 20º to port...not fast! Fortunately the hull and keel box remained sound and watertight, so it is a simple matter of replacing the fin & bulb with a new keel (about a weekend project). Otherwise Peck ran well, a bit too much weather helm, but he could really point up when the wind allowed, and was very fast on the runs.

Observations: Skippers sailing the WRC should plan on dealing with some chop, even though it isn't always present, I've discussed some ideas here and here. The competition at this regatta was pretty high-level, and while I had generally good starts and course selection, I needed to be a bit more assertive of my rights sailing; for example: a few times I let a windward boat pester me into tacking before I liked, or had room to do so. Boat trim was good, though it took a bit to work out some excessive weather these conditions high was not fast! I've made some notes on minor rig improvements to make on the Mustang, which I will detail in due course. Lastly, with my new boat, I need to race more often and hone my skills and sail trim...I'm much better than I was, I need to progress to the next level...and that means practice. With Peck worked up now, I 'll always have Roo to trial against! I'm definitely prioritizing rigs though at A, B, A-, and then we'll see about C.

The Dragon Force's were not terribly disadvantaged in this regatta; they sailed in A the whole time with their lower-aspect rigs, which combined with their weight, helped them contend with the chop a bit better, though they too experienced some difficulties till the wind built. The other RG's had to chase rigs for a bit, when the weather oscillated on the A rig/B rig bubble, but in almost all cases had scorching speed down-wind (all were higher aspect swing rigs). A good strategy moving forward, since I sail with so many DF's, is to stay clear and close upwind, and hit overdrive going downwind!

Photo's below are by Chuck LeMahieu unless otherwise noted, his extensive photo collection of the regatta can be seen in full here.

Now, time to finish the Mustang and start working up for next year!

A nice study of Peck powering along on the beat.

Chuck North's fast Little Best, at the finish.

Mauricio's own design, with spectacular, shiny, home-made sails. Also, note the partial chine.

Busy start! See Peck in there?

The fleet starts pulling away after the start, Peck looks in good position here...

Chris Macaluso's tough to beat DF.

Rounding at the leeward gate, note the height of the rigs on Peck (#50) and Eric's Wahoo (#11).

The White Rock chop...look at Peck's bow leaping into the air, in deceptively flat water.

Chuck LeMahieu (#109) and Brig North (#34) running downwind.

Close racing was the order of the day...

Peck in 5th on the beat.

Chuck's DF Atomic Annie buries its nose on the down-roll.

Peck in good position, but pinching with a bit too much weather helm.

Another example of the chop, flat looking water, but short wave action has Peck leap from the water.

Chuck North's Little Best, very fast!

Peck cuts through the downwind boats on starboard, tricky business!

Bob Piper (#65) and Brig North (#34) from the TRYC.

Close action at the mark rounding.

Another example of the pitching motion prevalent.

Peck in 4th heading down on the run! The high aspect swing rig will power him up here...

Peck...and Peck! My photo.

Fleet after start moving to the port tack. My photo.

Eric's Wahoo making time on the beat. My photo.

The fleet heads towards the offset. My photo.

Uncle Peck Wants You! Obligatory Peck photo bomb...

Me during a break...My Photo.

...and the keel damage, note the twist in the fin and the 20º skew...My photo.

Pretty bad, going to replace the fin & bulb. My photo.