by Mark Steele, Auckland, New Zealand


Charles Vickery Master Painter of the sea., Alexander’s Magic, Ohio Dave’s two sharpies, Gilles exciting Jeanneau, OrBleu!


The Great Race

Charles Vickery (1913-1998 was an American marine artist who awed viewers of his work with his incredible skills displayed in dramatic paintings, charming all those who knew him with his humble demeanor.

Born in Illinois he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the American Academy of Fine Art but often referred to Lake Michigan as being his `greatest instructor’. He became captivated by the work of Winslow Homer, Montague Dawson and Frederick Waugh, loved sketching at the Chicago waterfront.

Tropical Sunset

Old Ironsides

In lean years when he opened his first art studio in 1937 there was a period when he was forced to sell some of his work for as low as five dollars before being discovered by a respected art critic and soon after being regarded as one of the finest seascape artists of the time.

The Clipper Ship Gallery in Harris Avenue, La Grange, Illinois specializes exclusively in Vickery’s work for more than 20 years and a friendship with the artist has grown into the publication of almost 100 fine art limited edition prints of his work.

Alex Bartlett, one of the Auckland based Ancient Mariners,in 2003 built an absolutely stunning RC model schooner called Magic, the fullsized boat launched not as a schooner then going on to successfully defend the America’s Cup. Howard Chapelle documents that the boat which was built in Philadelphia in 1857 then went through a series of changes including conversion to a schooner.

In 1870 the 90’ schooner Magic led a fleet of 14 other boats home in a single 35 mile race off New York, the celebrated America finishing fourth and the British challenger Cambria eighth.

Alex had already built a Bluenose schooner, following this up with a model of Ticonderoga. His model of the schooner Magic with hull construction in the bread and butter method using solid 18mm red cedar, glued then hollowed out with a chisel.

A graceful model her spars are made of red cedar, the decks of 3mm kauri ply with planks drawn on and the sails in 4 oz sailcloth

Dave Central parking

Dave Querin, a friend of mine lives in Ohio, and was a subscriber for several years to my Windling World magazine and like the writer is a huge fan of sharpie schooners. Dave says that he enjoys my columns online on Duckworks and in The Model Yacht and keeps in regular touch. Model yachting given half a chance can often spawn great friendships between people on opposite sides of the `big pond’.

When he visited New York some months ago (from his home which is a little over 400 miles as the crow flies, though these days hardly anybody flys by crow!) Dave took the opportunity to take with him and then sail his 60” sharpie Adrianna in Central Park’s famous Conservatory Pond. It drew attention and was much admired on the water there as the two photographs above show. He was looking forward to going to Maryland to sail in both classes in the Solomons Island MBC traditional yachts regatta held this month.

The third photograph above shows Dave with those two schooners, photograph kindly taken on request by his wife Pam.

Don’t throw your cigarette ends on the floor please as the cockroaches are getting cancer! Also please refrain from chucking junk food burger remnants into our pond as the eels are getting obese and the ducks are developing fat and un-attractive `behinds!’ It is also said that a few cormorants have been diagnosed with acute cormiarrhoea!

Two new boats were launched at Onepoto in Auckland in February by members of the Ancient Mariners. John Stubbs launched his replica of Kairiki a New Zealand K Class keeler and a neighbour of his (Lawrie Manning) a model of the 1937 America’s cup USA Defender, Ranger.

The real Kairiki (Stubbs model shown in the first two photos above) was a 41 footer designed in 1954 and one of only eleven built. It is still said that Kairiki is looked upon as a classic yacht of the period. John’s model is 1225mm long with a beam of 290mm, the hull made of mahogany, deck of kauri, masts and spare of cedar, cabin sides also of mahogany and has teak trim around the cockpit. There is a 10lb bulb on the keel, sail is of spinnaker cloth and 2 channel radio is used. As in most of the boats built by John, the Kairiki hull is varnished.

The J Class Ranger I mentioned above needs little introduction as the real boat is so well known. Shown above (in the lower four photos) is Lawrie Mannings fine model, while below this paragraph and in the USA is John Hanks 1/16 scale model of the same boat, this model weighing 81lbs shown on flat water. These US built models are seven to eight and a half feet long.

Gilles Brouillette lives near Montreal, Canada in the province of Quebec and builds only in his spare time. Four years work and he completed this fine RC sailing model of a Jeanneau 54DS, the real boat a 54 foot long Sun Odyssey made by the company of that name in France.

Gilles sails his model mainly on small lakes in the area and occasionally near to the shore on the St Lawrence river, when conditions are not excessively windy. The model is scratchbuilt and built using based 3D plans on Rhino 3D software, cross sections of the hull reproduced on thin marine ply, basswood strips to enclose the hull and a thin fiberglass cloth over it afterwards.


the original Jeanneau model 54DS

On board is Futaba radio gear, one servo for the rudder, two winch servos for the genoa and one winch servo for the mainsail. The deck was made of a very thin strip of teak, and the sails were made by Carr Sails.

Overall length is 41.2 inches, Beam is 11.9" the weight of the solid bronze keel is 5.7lbs, and the sail height is 49".


I know it is not a yacht and neither is it `sailing’ but it is such an absolutely dramatic image of Louis Aulbach paddling in Mariscal Canyon on the Rio Grande, that I just had to include it. You can pretend it is a sailboat dismasted if you are wondering why I am using it here! Taken by friend, Chuck Leinweber, I think you will agree it is nothing short of a stunning and mood-evoking image, a definite `wish I could have been there ‘ sort of place!).

The river which is in New Mexico is 1,885 miles or about 3,000 odd kilometers long. I read somewhere, it actually serves as a natural boundary between the US state of Texas and four states of Mexico. To the writer it is a refreshing reminder that despite the man-created mess on this planet of ours, beautiful and peaceful places can still be found, New Zealand’s Milford Sound being another.

Tony Searle of Poole, Dorset in Britain known for his Man O War `ships of the line RC models has all but completed his model of the 1905 four masted barque, Archibald Russell, the model shown above in his home workshop. I hope to have photos of the boat on the water in time to include, maybe in the November or December columns.

1880’s cutter at the Round Pond

Russell Potts restored William Paxton schooner

Treasured models of the past

Geoffrey Turner’s restored cutter, guided by the hand of God.

Most model yachting devotees today are either principally interested in boats used in racing in the International Classes, or the recreation of classic cruising yachts for `windling’ (cruising), but in Britain and the US the interest in true vintage models from the 1920’s and 1930’s enjoys healthy followings largely through the Vintage Model Yacht Group(s) in both countries whose members are generally passionate about preservation and restoration, and in addition enjoying such models on the water.

I have great respect for Russell Potts in the UK (and also for John Snow in the US both of whom own collections of early boats and promote them). I shall be forever thankful to the former whose Sherard Road, London home I visited on a trip to Britain some years back, for showing me some of his many boats and where I enjoyed a delightful meal with him and his wife.

Russell is Chairman of the Vintage Model Yacht Group whose website, is well worth exploring. Take time if you do visit the site, to explore the `events sections’ which give viewers a comprehensive look at a wide range of various models in use. Many of the vintage models shown on the website have been restored and are owned by Russell Potts, the driving force of the VMYG in UK.

I was sorry when I heard of the passing of Paul Newman when he died at the ripe old age of 83. As most know he was a philanthropist whose company producing his range of salad dressing gave generously. If you want to see a really good video about the man and his deeds, get hold of a copy of the DVD, Biography. My wife smiles every week when she hears me saying “Morning Paul, how ya doin!” to his face on shelf stocks of Newmans Own salad dressings at our Supermarket!

To conclewd I’m just testing your sailing ship terminology knowledge by asking you `what is a clew?’ Well you could say that it is `an indication from the skipper as to what he might do next! Then again I might just be `funning’ or `spooksing’ you!


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