Balmain Bugs

Saw this link in the R/C Universe forums. Figured you guys might get a kick out of it.

HSOK, thank you for your kind thought, we have had some discussion on this forum previously regarding the wonderful Balmain Bugs including from Steve Crewes who is the writer of these books.

This link will take you to the old thread where you may see what was said.
Unfortunately because of a format change the smilies all come out as gobbledeegook.:lol:

I love them! Where can the plans for these be found? Must have missed it…

There’s a couple plans floating around. Here’s the sail plan with some numbers on it from the R/C Universe thread.

My understanding is that it’s quite a complicated R/C build because it’s traditionally sailed using 3 sails, main, jib, and spinnaker. Also, the ballast and daggerboard have to be changed, depending on sailing conditions and direction. I don’t know of anywhere on the net that has R/C buildups, but I’m told they’re out there.

Before building a R/C Balmain Bug, be sure to read the comments Steve made on his website. He was not happy with some of the attempts. Being able to move the fin fore and aft is crucial to the ability of these little boats to carry their huge sail plans. Any version without that ability will be unlikely to be successful.


A couple of Christmases ago John Gale, our local wooden boat builder of choice made me a 6 inch bug as a present. Despite his skill as a woodworker, the wooden mast and the plethora of brass fittings meant that it was seriously under ballasted. Only 3.5 ounces of lead. Our sole attempt to sail it was a complete failure. Eventually I stripped the hull down and used it as a plug for a paper moulded version, using newsprint and Burgess Wood Sealer, a water based resin. Substituting carbon spars and minimal wire fittings I was able to get another 5 ounces of lead on the bottom and a trial sail with a lash up fin and ballast suggested that it was going to work. The original came with a choice of three fins. The first photo shows her with her shortest fin and biggest rig before she went on the wall as an ornament. The second shows her final form, with her longest fin and a new bigger mylar suit. The third is the intermediate stage with a suit in tyvek and a temporary lead taped onto the middle size of fin.

We now have a boat with just under half a pound of lead on her longest fin and a bigger rig in decent mylar. Provided the next lake I get to is deep enough I shall be able to do some fine tuning. Then we think about how to radio the beast. The amount of power need to move the fin suggests that a boat as small as this is not going to work.



Try looking at some very small ‘Executive toy’, model helicopters.

I’ve done that, but without ripping it to pieces to see exactly what’s inside. Potentially you could run a rudder system for a 6 inch boat, but hardly a sail control and certainly not a fin movement.

After the footy has become the standard world wide RC model class, how about a 6 inch class, rudder only, compteing on a straight speed course?


How about 4 inches with SAIL and rudder control?

Ah Yes Brett, I saw your 6 and 4 inch versions after I wrote that. But as I have an aversion to powered anything, I don’t have a stock of cheap Chinese stunt cars and similar toys to cannibalise.