Members Projects

Grahams new fishing vessel hit the water today:

Richard Alford has sent in pictures of his recently completed steam launch:

I have finally finished my Starlet built from plans supplied by Dave. It is not my finest achievement and I hope it survives its first outing tomorrow 12th May.

Tom has been busy building a replica of a famous boat from the movies, the African Queen. It was finally launched on Weds just past.

Richard Alford has constructed a scale replica of Borkham which is believed to have been a typical North Sea island supply vessel from around the end of the 19th century. It has been a tricky build Richard says.

An update is anticipated to include the steam propulsion unit.

February 2023

Keith has finished his GP14 project and exhibited it at the recent RYA Dinghy Show:


December 2022

Here is the latest picture from Mike of his Fifer with the sails offered up onto the rig;

Here is my first entry, very early stages of yet another Starlet to ultimately join the club fleet hopefully next Spring when I will be proposing a Starlet Cup regatta.

Todays contribution is once again from Mike who has been busy building a Fifer motor sailer. This sounds like an ideal combination for those frequent days at the lake when the wind speed is fickle at best. The cabin has been roughly fashioned for now as the picture below shows:

Mike has been busy with the AC75 recently donated to the club, now fully renovated. Thanks for the contribution to club funds Mike!

Latest picture from Mike of his Fifer build detailed below:

Keith Bannister

Here are a few pictures of my GP14 dinghy build at 1/4 scale a representation of a Mk 1 boat scaled from full size plans:

Richard Alford has sent us details as follows:

A railway company tug which surprised some members at the lake last Friday. Originally  built in 1950 by Jacobson Shipyard Incorporated of Oyster Bay New York for the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The tug was constructed to serve as a means of transporting railroad cars, via barges, across New York Harbour from 1950 to 1971. She was the first of four tugs constructed for the Lehigh Valley Railroad.  All the tugs were powered by diesel-electric propulsion. Length 100ft, gross tonnage 196.

Hope this explains the background. There is more on the net. My model is semi scale to 1/50th.

Mike Tidy has started a new building project trying a new construction technique using depron. 
Some work in progress photos:

Richard Norman

My latest project Bluebird of Chelsea which featured on the club website some time ago and early in the build is now nearing completion. - just left to make are a helmsman's stool for the wheelhouse and a dinghy to build that hangs from the davits at the stern. The model has been scratch built including most of the fittings but has served to keep me occupied during the long winter days of lockdown. 

Steve Charnley

New 6M nears completion

Richard Crew - update Feb 2021

Richards new Starlet underwent sea trials at the weekend and passed with flying colours. Luckily it was a calm day.


Richard Gush

I have recently completed a lockdown build of 'ALPHA' RG65 Racing Yacht.

This is a design by John Goodyear as published with a free plan in Model Boats Magazine of May 2018.

I followed the recommendations in the main except that the hull sides and bottom proposed to be in balsa have been substituted with 1.5mm thickness Birch plywood.

I have used my spare standard DF65 A Rig sail / mast / rigging.

The ballast weight that I used was sourced and purchased from a 'Volantex Compass'.

Other standard components & fittings were purchased from RC Yachts.

I am pleased with the general outcome (this being my first venture into yacht building) and am looking forward to the time when restrictions are lifted so that I can test its performance on the water.


Richard Alford

The Starlet design has proven to be a popular choice within the club. In addition to the two new builds detailed below, this is the offering from RichardA:

The model is an old loft find and given to me by a Dabbler member for renovation about 15years ago.

It was a free sailor and in a poor condition but with a reasonably well built hull.

I covered the hull with epoxy laminating resin/twill cloth, rebuilt the deck house with access for radio gear and sorted out the fin, rudder and ballast bulb. The rudder would probably be better a little bigger.

A new mast head rig was put together.

We have a new member joining us next year, Steve Charnley who some of you will know from the Dabblers. Steve is a very accomplished builder and has been working on a beautiful 6M called Jester.

My project commenced in late 2017.

Its an R6M, all up displacement about 26lb, draft about 225mm, uses ply substructure, mahogany beams, spruce planking, deck is cedar and mahogany over ply.

Construction has been hesitant, with 5 weeks in hospital, loss of interest, all rejuvenated by the thought of joining a new club in the new year but still got a long way to go, colour scheme will be air brushed irredescent copper below water line, irredescent gold above, matt varnish all over for water protection.

The keel is two carbon shells made over balsa formers, filled with led shot and resin, much safer than trying to boil 20lb lead???? In a saucepan on the bosses cooker.

It will use three servos, helm (12KG), main sail and jib (25KG),  the latter two programmed to operate in unison, with the ability to control jib trimming

Next stage of purchase is to find a 14mm carbon mast which doesn’t need a mortgage to buy!

The 6M is a large, quite heavy, yacht but sails very nicely similar to full size. They were raced by the Dabblers until the class was abandoned a few years ago in favour of the 95.

Two of our members are engaged in a building competition to each construct a model "Starlet" from kits. Richard Crew is currently ahead and the following two photos feature his efforts. Mike Tidy, the other contestant, has been heavily engaged with other building projects, refining his new catamaran and converting a speed boat for use as buoy layer at Southwater. Both have received useful advice from Richard Alford who renovated a Starlet many moons ago. Further progress reports are eagerly awaited, although the installation of the outboard motor does seem a little premature!

Keith Bannister

Making his third appearance in the members projects section, Keith has sent brief details of his latest build: a wing sail land yacht!

It has a main wing with a symmetrical aero foil and a Mylar trailing edge which is removable for stronger winds. Overall rig height is 60” and it’s 56” long, 36” wide built from plans found on the net

Not tried it yet, looking for a suitable venue. An Aerodrome seems a likely choice.


Richard Gush

My lockdown Project has been 'Riblet' based on a free plan and article by Glynn Guest in Model Boats Magazine May 2019.

I wanted a small powered model that would be useful and easy to transport for days when poor winds prevent yacht sailing.

This is a simple semi scale r c model based upon small rigid inflatable boats.

It is powered by an NQD waterjet drive unit which gives both steering and propulsion.

The inflatable illusion is simply provided by grey pipe lagging foam to the perimeter. (also ideal for providing buoyancy)

See attached photos of the magazine cover and of my model.

I had some issues initially overcoming leaks and splashing onto the rear deck at the transom and accordingly had to make modifications including a splash guard across the rear.

I have trialled in our paddling pool and now seems to operate ok. 


Richard Crew

Acquired through an eBay auction, lucky winner of a £10.00 bid, and only at Eastbourne. The seller did say there was some damage to the hull and the rigging was not brilliant. Mast split, hull almost in two pieces and other holes, rudder snapped off, bulb fractured in three places and It was all so filthy. But l did leave with a part finished Swordfish and gave the seller £20.00 for both.

I probably would not have tried to repair this model if l had not got time on my hands, l couldn’t go shopping for bits so it had to be worked on with materials l already had in stock. 

I super glued and epoxy resined the bulb pieces together, hull repairs with glass fibre,  used P38 for a filler. Bound the splits in the mast and replaced some of the deck.  A rattle can of primer and a lot of rubbing down. Finishing with two cans of Mars Red (VW Beetle colour) and deck of yellow filler coat and sealed with clear lacquer.

The sails that came with the yacht are dated 1988 but it’s doubtful whether they were the original suit.

The Marblehead yacht was first introduced in 1930 and became an international  class in 1937 and is still raced to this day, of course the model has changed considerably since its inception  and l would guess that the beam of my particular yacht is probably 1/3 wider than its younger brothers.

Peter Shires

This is based on a boat I have seen and sailed in Norfolk. It's an approx 1/12 scale of a lug rigged half deck daysailer. A jig was made first and the hull built on it using super glue.

Hardwood used for planking and (just for the bean counters) 90 strips of wood used. In fact the entire build to date is from scrap wood cut to size on my homemade small saw bench 


Keith Bannister

Here is my latest build it is called Footy Brando

Built from plans found on the wooden boat store website

The hull is built entirely from balsa with mahogany trimming

Spars are pinewood and mahogany fittings fin and rudder are plywood the keel weight is a 4oz fishing weight

I have named her “Little Mo” in memory of my late mother (her family nickname)


Tim Colmer

 I have managed to pick up an old project I started when I was a teenager!. The model is a sort of salvage vessel/tug type fictitious catamaran thing. Although it’s only a hull at the moment, it is sealed and has had an initial floatation test. Top tip, only build models that fit in the domestic testing tank (i.e. the bath). I had to buy a large plastic


Tony Skilton

This is my vintage pond yacht which was built by my Father in the late 50s early 60s from a Marinecraft kit with F G hull. It was developed as a free runner and we sailed it at Stoke park before later converting to single channel radio on rudder only. About 20 years ago I found it in the loft and converted it to modern radio sail arm and rudder servo 40 meg now on 2.4

Richard Norman

Bluebird of Chelsea


I am currently building a 1/24th scale model of Sir Malcolm Campbell’s first motor yacht, Bluebird of Chelsea.  


The model was featured together with a free plan in the October 1991 edition of Model Boat magazine and it has been on my bucket list to build ever since.  The boat was built by Thornycroft in 1931, requisitioned by the Navy during WW2, she was one of the ‘Little Ships’ that took part in the Dunkirk evacuation. 


Post war she passed through a number of owners before being rescued in a very dilapidated state from the South of France in 1984. Essential repairs enabled her to return through the French canals to England to undergo a complete restoration before being recommissioned in 1986.


The model is now at the stage in the photo with the hull painted and work progressing on the superstructure. Planking the long fore deck was a long and rather tedious task but I am now making steady progress which will soon slow again as the task of planking the aft decks is looming.  


The hull displacement is quite low so I am striving to keep the weight down which has included the manufacture of bespoke prop shafts made from 2mm diameter stainless steel rod running in small phosphor bronze bushes that I turned up on the lathe. It is the first model that I have scratch built with a varnished wood superstructure and matching the mahogany veneers and sections is proving a challenge that I didn’t anticipate.


Having said all that, building a model must be one of the most therapeutic pastimes for a dull day under lockdown!


Mike Tidy

As some club members may remember from last year I embarked on a project to develop a working model of Donald Campbell’s Bluebird K7 powered by an electric ducted fan. Coming into boating fairly recently from a model aircraft background I was looking for a “bridge” project that allowed me to utilise some aeromodelling skills.

 Progress is ongoing but was delayed by some collapsing floors at home which diverted my energies for a few months. Happily (apart from Corona Virus delays) the project is moving forward again.

My approach was to use the scrap box to build the first prototype. This was aimed at proving the hull and sponson design, angles of attack and the C of G. Speed performance was secondary at this stage.

 I found a 70mm diameter, 3 bladed fan, a 2200mah, 3 cell lipo and built it around this, hence the slightly odd scale of about 13:1. I lifted an A4 outline drawing from the internet (which subsequently turned out to not be true scale) and produced the first prototype, which I have christened “cartoon scale”.

 The attached short video shows the very first run, which showed a positive sit on the water with some movement up onto the plane, but was horribly noisy. It also suffered a rudder servo failure. So much for using the scrap box.

 I have just finished the wiring and testing of the new power train in Bluebird, which certainly looks promising. Up from 280 watts to just under 600!!


Mike has been busy working on another project based on his scrap box with hulls made primarily from Depron with some ply, balsa & carbon strips, using a lightweight glass cloth to cover the hulls and spray with whatever paint is available. Mike has a cheap winch and every thing else needed including a spare 65 A rig. Total outlay will be less than £30 on the water.


Keith Bannister

Here are some pictures of my build:

It is called "Emma", a gaff rigged sloop (not scale) from the Bearospace website built from plans.


Richard Alford

The model is an old design, a KK Super 60 built from a Ben Buckle plan.  The original had a 63ins span wing, yes strange(!), which in my case is extended to 69ins.  The model has aileron, rudder, elevator and throttle control with a Saito 40 four stroke up front for power.

Chris Agar

Interesting that you are including a few Aircraft models as I have a couple that I can show members.  They are both unflown examples and many years old!  One is  a Graupner Cirrus 10ft wingspan Glider with  ailerons, elevator and rudder control. Fibreglass fuze and made up wings.  I rescued this as a crashed example and repaired the Fuze and wings etc.  However without the necessary flying skills it has never been in the air since.  It could be easily converted to electric power either with a pod above the wings or directly through the nose as per modern gliders.  There is a good number of videos of Cirrus on You Tube if you type in the search.  It is a beautiful aircraft and a very good slop soarer or thermal glider.


The second is a sweet kit of 2m wingspan with a nice T tail configuration for  elevator and rudder only.  I would be interested in selling wither or both of these models as I have not the time or the skill to fly them.

Steve Hill

Steve has developed an interesting swing rig for his DF65, reducing the size of the jib to maintain the usual balance of sail area on these rigs. My guess is the boat might be slower upwind but faster down, it will be interesting to see.

Clive Cooper

My eagerly awaited new "Maiden" IOM to a design by Damian Ackroyd/John Taylor. Now launched at Frensham on Tuesday 19th May.

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