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 Where the Winds Blow...
by Mark Steele, Auckland, New Zealand

I went carefully through my stored data base of images accumulated over the years one Sunday in late November to see if I could find any one particular image that I could clearly determine as being (in my opinion) the best picture over the period since I have been doing this column, the one that I consider as being the `image above all images’ that had `clicked my switch’ (and you could say) `turned me on’ even before I had been `plugged in ‘

Photographing model sailing boats on the water is a skill that requires a love of the model, a love of photography, tons of patience, repeated shots of successive runs  of the model in just the right amount of breeze, good light, the positioning of the photographer at the right angle in relation to the boat being photographed, a good camera and of course, always, a dollop of luck.

Andrew Charters fishing schooner Elizabeth Silsbee
Photographed by Pat Butterworth of MA USA

I have to be absolutely honest, the task was not an easy one with at least five or six excellent photographs, and in the end a trio of joint winners was the fairest decision. The first of them was taken by Pat Butterworth of Masachusetts  in the United States, a glorious image (shown above) of Andrew Charters model of the Starling Burgess designed fishing schooner Elizabeth Silsbee, so taken with it that with just a tad of imagination I swear I can hear the whoosh as she goes by, and with her decks awash you can see the escaping water exiting through the scuppers. It is a superb photograph and worthy of equal status with the one below taken by Harry Duncan of Hamilton, New Zealand, a real mood image of his brig the Black Rose about to set sail in stealth on an early foggy morning on perhaps a plundering mission.

Pirate ship Black Rose
Model and photo by Harry Duncan

Bisquine Gwen Ha Du by Felix Wehrli of Zurich

And the third winner shown above, a photograph taken by Jan Priem of the Netherlands of the Bisquine Gwen Ha Du. Built at a scale of 1 to 12 by Swiss modeler Felix Wehrli of Zurich and photographed in the best possible way at a Minisail Classic meeting at Bornerbroek, Netherlands.

Take note kind readers, there won’t be  columns in either June or July, for after so many years I am taking a wee break, hopefully to give the ageing brain time to think and `breathe’, a little time  to re-muster enthusiasm, and to search for and hopefully accumulate some new material with which to continue the column started in August 2006 maybe even for just a little while longer.

 I am just `out of gas’ at the moment, almost out of material, low on enthusiasm and out of ideas, and I hope that the break will enable me to `weather the storm’. It might of course  be a `bigger storm than anticipated, resulting in a `big ask’ especially when I throw into the `difficulty basket’ my ageing computer with Methusaleh software like XP which suffers regularly from bouts of  LOGUAG  (lack of get up and go)  menopause deficit  and AD (acute depression!)

Jason DeCaires Taylor is a sculptor whose underwater placed stone sculptures in a couple or three places in the world are becoming much talked about, and some of you may remember inclusion of items with his amazing photographs in previous Duckworks columns of mine. Take one of his latest works shown above, a Volkswagen beetle with a young lady perched upon it on its front and then you can ponder on the difficulties like `how the hell did he get out to the chosen site in Cancun and then into the sea?  If you take time to look at the You Tube video of his you will discover the time and difficulty it took, what’s more it is so good a video you will enjoy it.

Talking about `weathering’ of a different nature, this is a reminder about the `challenge’ involving the making of small models and entering them in a weathered appearance for the contest announced in the January issue of Marine Modelling International’s  February issue, and in this column last month.  You have the whole Northern hemisphere Winter period to work on something, a sailboat or powerboat style display model that has to float for photographs that will display your modelmaking weathering skills applied.

Awards as well, including one year subscriptions to Marine Modelling International.  Email for entry details and more information, but do it soon. There are three free one year subscriptions to Marine Modelling International to be won ….but time both runneth on and is running out!    Entries close on 30th September 2012.

Of course you could build an entry and lay it out on the back lawn for a few months and let whatever weather cometh do the `weathering’ for you, or be adventurous and  do like Jason DeCairies Taylor  – put a weight on it and stick it under the sea in say ten feet of water before retrieving it after a few months. See – I did have a couple of ideas up my sleeve and I might even just try the first one myself!

One of the very first RC ship models of Englishman turned Kiwi, Royston Lake that I can remember was his impressive looking Brixham trawler called Revive pictured above.I remember also having a short sail of the model at a private lake outside of Auckland and was very impressed, and the model which was extremely detailed looked so good, and so darn realistic.

Rex with his model of the trawler Renown

Allan Read's IBEX - Photo by Peter Taylor

Rex Rouse of the Auckland Ancient Mariners `windling’ group had also built one called  Renown and I later learnt when writing an article on the Solent Radio Control Model Boat Club that one of their members, Allan Read had built yet another called Ibex.

Have a look at this little video of Ibex kind courtesy of Allan and the Solent club which you may remember reading about in my June column posted on the 26th of that month and accessible in the archives listed at the conclusion of this column.

Brixham situated in South Devon is renowned for its fishing port and has one of the largest fishing fleets in Britain. Whereas the Brixham sailing trawlers over the years have been replaced by engine-powered vessels, there are still several of the sail versions around, some involved in taking people on cruises.

A slightly larger `Weekender' model

Some will scoff at this item (I think I know some of you well enough to know that they will).  Customs paper pocket yachts is what it is all about, put together by nimble fingers out of printed paper. But do they sail? (I can hear some asking?)  Oh yea, one builder has actually sailed his Weekender right across the English channel to Bordeaux!) They are made of paper – Yes PAPER, Got it ?

They are 1/32 scale display models and given a try yourself (unless your hands are like shovels) you’ll be amazed at the end result. Custom Paper Pocket Yachts by Kevin Green, just go on the internet, Google it and have a look – you might just be pretty well gob-smacked at these paper models based on `Stevenson Project Yachts’.

To be truthful, those who like the looks of them and are in the market to build their own sailing boats to `real sail’ can discover that plans of those are available from Stevenson Projects which Google can also find for you. Friends of the website have also built the little models a few shown below, some going on after to build the real `sail aboard yachts themselves. I did manage to make contact with Phil Gowans in Salt Lake City whose model shown was a study model out of wood and he has built several other fine model yachts as well as Aloha (shown) … a Stevenson `Weekender’.

Yes! It is a paper model on the dining table!

A tidy trio by Kevin

A true blue little `Weekender made on a weekend as a project model

Aloha Phil's full size boat

Kevin Green's full size Abundance

Phil Gowan's study model

Pre-sail adjustments

The original schooner was designed by B B Crowninshield and intending her to be his own personal 40’ 6” schooner he named her Fame and had her built in less than a month by Rice Brothers boatyard in Maine. It was 1910 and the schooner was to cost him $800.00 – yes just eight hundred US dollars!

In todays world you couldn’t even get an RC model of her built for that paltry sum I’d wager, not unless you built it yourself.  Well Derek Nicholson of Auckland, New Zealand’s Ancient Mariners did just that and added  an all-varnished model of Fame to his growing fleet. In 2010 the real schooner was purchased by Dennis Conner and underwent some restoration after falling head over heels in love with the vessel ten years earlier

Derek Nicholson with his Fame

There she goes

One shark that won’t eat you!

Model aircraft flown by RC is a popular pastime worldwide, others fly kites; now you can have a go with RC fish that fly, a new craze I have seen on the internet with the choice of a Clown fish or a menacing looking shark. They are known as Air Swimmers and they don’t need water just a modicum of air,
Some helium and space indoors up and down the halls, through bedrooms, corridors  and living rooms. No flying them outside even ahead of you on city pavements – and not across  highway
intersections please …and I wouldn’t fly it outside the `Cop Shop’ either, just in case the law is already having a bad day, or they haven’t taken their
`Humor 444S tablets that morning.

“Hey, who are you baring your teeth at?”

Maybe it is just that I am getting ratty, maybe it is my male menopause, maybe if I were a blogger instead of a `columnist’ I could handle it better, but as people in the world get more crazy I have the constant urge to express my opinion either in praise or in disgust.

People no longer seem to be `happy chappies’ (difficult to be a `chappie’ if you are a woman!) unless thinking `outside the box’ marked normal and rational and are running marathons every single day in a given year, are breaking time-honoured traditions, building bigger `everythings’ including cars as big as trains, planes that go under the sea and ships that fly, like in that dynamic nation of Singapore where an ugly monstrosity of a `building’ in the form of a huge ship straddles three tall towers two hundred metres up in the air. Well Jeez… Mother of Mince and Macaroni!  With unpredicted earthquakes all around the world these days you’d have to be completely off your rocker, as well as be ten times weirder than Jacko was to even visit this `ship in the sky’ let alone to stay there!

So be it and when this principally model and other yachting column returns (assuming that it does return – life often has tricks up both sleeves!) there will be a trial kinda inside-the-column column, one that goes `outside the box’ but within the range of subjects of interest to people.  Life is often funny HA HA and we are never too old to embrace the nonsense and laugh heartily.

Well, you guys and girls  (I do know of one lady who reads it!), be good, take care and enjoy life, and treat people kindly… and go model sailboating and add that wonderful activity to the strings already in your bow!


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