Scratch Building

Forgive a newbie’s questions.

I’ve been exploring R/C sailing a little bit and am having trouble finding a boat that really sparks my interest. I tend to prefer something a little old school in design.

Given the fact that I’m having trouble finding something of interest, I’m curious about doing some scratch building.

In order to make the process a little easier my approach would NOT be a plank on rib construction, but rather a stacked profile construction. Envision taking a hull longitudinal section, cutting 1" thick sections of wood that have the same outline as each section. Then stacking them like a wedding cake and shaping from there. Each wood section is hollow inside allowing for an interior to mount necessary electronics.

Has anybody ever done a construction like that?

Any comments or inputs?

The boat that most interests me a is Baltimore clipper design. I imagine this would require at least 4 servos

1 for the mainsails, 1 for the rudder, 1 for the headsail and 1 for the jibs.

Am I biting off more than I can chew?


The approach you describe is well established and known, at least here in the UK, as Bread and Butter construction. I use a similar approach to build a plug to construct in glass/carbon/epoxy, except that I don’t bother to hollow out the inside.

You know your capabilities and whether this is more than you can chew but life should have challenges and you have a source of help and advice here so if you’re in the ballpark then go for it.


I’m jus’ gettin’ into this sail-thing, too. And MY problem is, I want to build a J-Boat and can’t find a plan. Or an EC-12, same hassle.
‘Just HATE to go to all th’ hassle of building something no-one’ll recognise. :O)

The EC-12 is a restricted, one design clss with hulls only available for purchase from approved manufacturer.
[FONT=Arial,Arial][SIZE=2][LEFT]2.1 All molds issued after January 1, 2005 for manufacturing certified East Coast 12 Meter Yacht hulls shall be owned and supplied by the class administration to class authorized manufacturers.
2.1.1 Authorized manufacturers, approved by the class as of January 30, 2005 may continue to produce certified hulls using the manufacturer’s existing molds fabricated from daughter plugs provided by the class between July 1, 1995 and January 1, 2005 until June 30, 2007.
2.1.2 Manufacturers using molds provided by the class are required to return (at their expense) the molds to the class, if production is stopped for more than one year or authorization is revoked.
2.2 Manufacturers shall only be authorized by the class administration after submitting (at the manufacturer’s expense) a sample hull for inspection and measurement. The sample hull shall meet all class rules and specifications for approval. All submitted hulls remain the property of the Class.
2.3 Authorized manufacturers shall acquire certificates, specific for each hull, from the Class Secretary. The certificate shall be molded into hull by the manufacturer.
2.4 Hull material shall be restricted to fiberglass although resin type is unrestricted. The interior of the hull must be left unpainted or without pigment to allow inspection.
2.5 Maximum keel width after joining of hull halves and placement of lead shall not exceed 2.1"(53 mm). [/LEFT]
2.6 Minimum hull weight, including deck flange or inwales (if any), shall not be less than 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram). "

J- Boats - Hulls available from Larry Ludwig. You can get plans but usually must be purchased - due to copyright/ownership issues.

Have you thought of building a Marblehead (vintage or modern) instead? There are plans out there, free or purchase.

I just got a set of plans for a Monarch, designed by Grahm Bantock from Traplet. Very nice set of plans.

To build a nice and competitive boat it isn’t easy as it looks.
To somebody new to the RC Sailing Hobby I suggest to find the boat they like than purchase a used one. Go in " " and “Boats” to see the different boats. Just for the material to build a boat from scratch is expensive as buying a used one. If you are a skilled person you don’t need detailed drawing to build a boat but you have to have time to dedicate to the project. Attached from where I started to build a model of Australia II scaled according to the EC 12 Class. rules.

link to non-class legal EC-12 shadows. This boat is what I call a relic as it has the old narrow keel before the class standard became the 2.1 inches wide keel in about 1998. The boat in the link can be built but not registered or raced in EC-12 class regattas.

There is a thread on back in May 2010 titled 12 meter in scale sailboats discussion group that has a bit of info.

for what it’s worth I’ve made a dozen hulls using the carved bread and butter method and I gotta say its a great way to make a boat. They do get pretty heavy for a racing boat so they need to be carved pretty thin but you can make a remarkably fast boat that way if that’s your aim. If you’re not really after speed, but just to get the shape of the boat floating, this method works great too, but carving it as light as possible is a good idea anyway if you don’t want your ship to flop over at the slightest puff sibecause you have less ballast than you would have with a lighter hull with same over-all displacement. Don’t know if I explained that right but…

I really love to get “In the zone” meaning its just me and my boat and I’m slowly carving, sanding, and fairing the hull. there’s something about carving that really connects you to the wood itself in the moment. I don’t know if thats sortof a buddhist thing, but it could be.

happy sailing

If considering bread and butter, I would recommend a design which was originally intended for this technique. In other words - go vintage (sounds like that is your plan anyway). Check out some Popular Mechanics magazines from the 1930s - you’ll find some guidance on how it was done “back in the day”.

For one of my dream projects (one day) put this search into Google Books “popular science model enterprise”. The article is by W. Starling Burgess himself.

I did as suggested and googled that Enterprise model. ‘Found it! But can’t get any of the images to d/l to my computer. What a pain in th’ tutu!