Theresa Marie Model Ship Project

Theresa Marie Model Ship Project

Week 10: Sirens, Scuppers, Figurehead (Oct 29 - Nov 4, 2012)

Mizzenmast siren song (aka progress interruptus). So now was the time to make the final decision if I was going to try to add a mizzenmast to the Theresa Marie or not, something I'd been pondering since before I ordered the kit. Many previous builders have considered converting the SC&H brig to a three masted ship like the HMS Snake or HMS Fly. For those who love these wooden sailing ships, the classic three masted look has a lot of appeal.

The main issue has always been that the deck hatch prevents you from repositioning the mainmast the full three inches or so farther forward that you need to make the sail plan balance. The additional mast also adds more complications (and weight) for the build and would add more strain to your servo (assuming you slave the mizzen to the main). And from what I understand these models DO NOT need any additional sail area to outpace your pursuit boat.

Another headache (for those without a six foot tall trailer) is that when you transport your ship you have another mast to install and rig at your sailing location. Given the lengthy setup time most owners admit to, that's probably no small detail.

But after realizing that our Ford Escape was actually tall enough for the lower masts to fit in without having to use the hinge system for transport, the siren song of the mizzenmast called out yet again.

So I spent a week seriously pondering the idea of extending the transom out a couple of inches, which might make the mast spacing ratio look more prototypical. With a reduced driver and more weight in the stern it might be possible to make the sail plan work with the main and foremast in their brig positions. I would also add some nice galleries to the lengthened sides, raise the poop deck height and add a rail, making the transom a much more prominent feature.

So the smooth speed of progress on the Theresa Marie was about to come to a crashing halt (psst don't tell Philip, it's probably bad for his blood pressure).

Fortunately, after some insightful advice from rc forum members and the many SC&H build logs, I was able (like Odysseus) to enjoy the sweet siren song, pass on through, and shake it off.

Looking at all the beautiful SC&H brig models, as well as sailing pictures from the full size Lady Washington, Lady Nelson, Niagara, La Grace and Pilgrim convinced me that the visually compelling thing about these sailing ships really is the tall masts with their billowing sails and flags and the long wooden hulls underneath. So a proper two masted brig she will be. Ok, back to the progress.

Siren song of the mizzenmast.

The brig Niagara

The brig Pilgrim

The brig La Grace

The brig Niagara and USS De Wert

The brig Lady Nelson

The brig Lady Washington (aka The Enterprise from the Star Trek movie.  If two masts were good enough for Captain Picard...)

Scuppers! First I decided that I just didn't care if the scupper holes lined up perfectly or not. Then I took a wooden dowel and held it at an angle against the hull where I wanted the hole to come out. Next I lined up my smallest drill bit against the waterway, eyeballed the two lines so they matched, and drilled as straight as I could. Seemed to work pretty well.

I gradually opened the holes using eight different sized bits until they reached the needed 1/4 inch diameter for the fiberglass tubes. It was pretty fun drilling and took less than an hour. Happy times.

I cut the fiberglass tubes and glued them in place using the KwikWeld epoxy, then filed them flush with the hull and waterways. Finally, out came the latex gloves to apply lots of epoxy around the tubes inside the hull to assure waterproofing and strength. And we have scuppers!

Cutting the scupper tubes long.

Looks to give good drainage.

Lined-up well enough.  What are the odds someone will say 'Golly, that third scupper is a smidge lower than the ones next to it.'

Figurehead. After ordering the brig kit back in June the next step I took was to buy a Japanese-style Netsuke boxwood carving of a mermaid for my future figurehead. Five months later it was finally time to install it. I fashioned a support base from some PVC trim board, drilled holes for seven brass pins and used KwikWeld epoxy to attach the stemhead, support and figurehead all together.

Sinking some brass rods for the stemhead.

Basswood mermaid carving.  PVC trim board support piece.  7 brass rods.  KwikWeld epoxy.

One figurehead guaranteed to get her tail wet.

Week 11