Classic Wooden Small Boats In the days before remote controlled model yachts – the yachts were divided into two kinds – Free sailing – were boats were sailed in open water and ‘chased’ by their skippers in dinghies who ’touched’ the yachts during the course of the race to adjust their course.
The other kind was – Pond yachts, sailed on small lakes, basins or special ponds (in parks), the skipper would race around the pond to tack or gybe the model as it got close to shore. Refer b/w photos below for examples of the racing.
The top colour photos were sent to me by an ex work colleague – John Maxwell, we worked together over 30 years ago in the crazy world of advertising in the late 1980’s. Unknown to me, one of John’s passions is the building of old style pond yachts, but with a modern take, refer examples above of Ranger, Innismara, Infidel, Meter class (black hull) and one in the vein of an A class. Not exactly accurate, but instantly recognizable as the original. They are all hand painted, so as to faithful to the old style. John commented that the problem with making the models sail, is that the depth of the keel, mast position/ height etc, have to be altered slightly from the plans of the real boat, otherwise it just sails sideways or rounds up into the wind. John aims to capture the spirit of the original, but still maintaining the ‘Old school’ charm of the yesteryear pond yachts. They are all free sailing models and quite big ie 1.8 m long. Typically they have a lot of lead on the keels approx 15-20 lbs., most are balsa over wooden frames with glass over the top. Stunning work – but it doesn’t surprise me, John was / is a very talented man, and rather good with a paint brush and canvas.
If you are a regular WW reader you may recall that I have a fondness for pond yachts or as we call them in NZ – model yachts. One of my favourites makes a cameo appearance in the photo below. I don’t ’sail’ them, just collect. Last week I uncovered this very cool video of Rich Hilsinger (WoodenBoat School director) chatting with pond yacht guru – Them McLaughlin.
The video is labeled ‘The Elegance & Joy of Wooden Pond Yachts’ – grab your favourite chair and push play, then sit back as these two gents entertain and enlighten you 🙂
Howard Pascoe Wins his first Race With “White Heather”
White Heather Under Sail
Sloop Archie Logan
Schooner Yankee (ecu)
Half Model Lady Eva
Baden’s restored pond yacht
The Pascoe Model Collection by Baden Pascoe
The Pascoe family has been associated with model yachting for almost 100 years.
In about 1912 Charles “Charlie” Pascoe, my grandfather, meet “Chips” Fordyce” and had a 30” hull shaped. He finished off this hull, rigged it and gave it the name “ Star “. From what I understand this was the beginning of the Pascoe’s association with model yachting.
Shortly before my father Howard Pascoe was born in 1918, Charlie had a larger hull built. He again finished it off and she was given the name “White Heather”. Charlie’s other three sons, my brothers Bruce, Stan and Les all had models built for them. These models are all fine examples of “pure pond yachts” and have been treasured by the Pascoe family ever since. These models initialy inspired all of the Pascoe boys to become champion yachtsmen in whatever class they chose to sail in.
All of these models are unique in their design and construction. They are all tuned to sail and race. This is a very unique feature when comparing these models to other examples which are purely decorative.
The family tradition is now keep alive by Wayne Pascoe, 3 of whose models are featured above – the schooner Yankee, the sloop Archie Logan & a 1/2 model of Lady Eva.
Now I have a bit of thing for what the English call ‘pond yachts’. The one on the mantlepiece above, my wife rescued from a Devonport junk shop as a bare hull & in the halcyon days of the 1980’s, I paid a man to make the rig & sails for it, thank god I did not re-paint the hull, that would have halved its value. These days they sell on e-bay for really silly money but mines not for sale.
During last years classic yacht & launch show at the viaduct, Baden Pascoe popped below on his launch ‘John Dory’ & surfaced with his pond yacht – built for him 48 years ago by his father Howard. She is built from spruce, an off cut from a mast Howard built for the C class keeler ‘Florence’. Baden has restored her & as I witnessed on the day, she is lighting fast under sail.
The Pascoe family have a 100+ year tradition of model building – but that story & photos will have to wait for another posting.