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Thread: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by Wooden Boat Fittings View Post
    Yes, read all the posts, looked at all the pictures. Nowhere did I see where Childers says his boat Vixen was used as the model for the fictional Dulcibella. This was exactly the sort of information which, if you'd had it, might have helped the discussion. Seems you don't.

    It also seems that we're at the end of this conversation, I guess. But perhaps Frankie might have learnt something from it anyway.
    Did you read this from the posted link?
    It’s now universally acknowledged that the model for the Dulcibella was a boat called the Vixen, which Childers acquired in or around 1897. He wrote an article about the Vixen for Yachting Monthly Magazine (my source for all this is the book The Riddle, by the magnificently-named Maldwin Drummond). In this article, he described the Vixen like this:

    To start with, no one could call Vixen beautiful. We grew to love her in the end, but never to admire her. At first I did not even love her for she was a pis aller, bought in a hurry in default of a better, and a week spent fitting her for cruising – a new era for her – had somehow not cemented our affections.
    Childers was refitting the Vixen for his own voyage to the East Frisians, which became the inspiration for The Riddle of the Sands and which we’ll cover in a future post. In his article, Childers describes Vixen as being thirty foot long with a draft of four foot, or six foot four inches with the centre-board down. She is listed in Hunt’s Universal Yacht List as being the property of R.E.Childers of 20 Carlyle Mansions, Cheyne Walk, London SW from 1898 to 1903.
    That is as close as any one can get, and seems to hang together.

    Furthermore, I would be surprised if Frankie disagrees.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    I hope the following helps

    The RNLI have an archive here: http://rnli.org/aboutus/historyandhe...llections.aspx I think if you email them they will have the plans for the boat that became Vixen and then Dulcibella

    The national maratime museum have Erskine Childers log books: http://collections.rmg.co.uk/archive...ts/521212.html which document his cruise to the Friesian islands.

    The Scottish Maratime museum at Anstruther have a lifeboat that may be similar to the Thomas Chapman? http://www.anstruther.org.uk/jmw.html it had two center boards. (There is a picture on their site.)

    And two more links. The first has a picture of Vixen sailing.

    http://afloat.ie/item/28318-dublin-b...stic-endeavour

    http://riddleofthesands.net/wordpres...the-steam-box/

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Thanks so much JD this is some great material! I am a fan of the podcast of your last link and have listened to all the episodes. I had emailed the RNLI but they were unable to help me at the time, but back then I didn't know which lifeboat to ask about and could only mention the story in the novel. I have since moved forward with my model and have carved the hull. I will put up pictures if it is allowed to digress so far from actual real world sailing? I know this is a forum for real vessels after all.
    -Frank

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyCity Frankie View Post
    Thanks so much JD this is some great material! I am a fan of the podcast of your last link and have listened to all the episodes. I had emailed the RNLI but they were unable to help me at the time, but back then I didn't know which lifeboat to ask about and could only mention the story in the novel. I have since moved forward with my model and have carved the hull. I will put up pictures if it is allowed to digress so far from actual real world sailing? I know this is a forum for real vessels after all.
    -Frank
    We love pictures, and you will not be the first to post photos of a model build. Go for it.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    I'd like to see some pictures and I'm sure I'm not the only one. The wooden boat magazine has run many articles on model making so you will be following an honorable tradition.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Here is the photo from the article linked above: http://afloat.ie/item/28318-dublin-b...stic-endeavour



    Erskine Childers' Vixen (on which "Dulcibella of The Riddle" was based) in one of his last seasons of ownership in 1899. At first glance, she looks like a typical old-style cruising cutter of her era. But somewhere in there is a classic canoe-sterned RNLI lifeboat hull to which an afterdeck on a counter stern have been fitted as an add-on.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    It has been entertaining trying to match the vessel in the novel with the associated real world vessels. In the novel the Dulcibella starts out as a gaff cutter and in a flashback we learn she gets a mizzen and becomes a yawl. So I wonder did the Vixen also undergo conversion to a yawl later too? There are some other things that do not line up with the above photo: Dulcibella is described as having three reef bands, and also a martingale. I puzzle over the martingale since I don't see the headrig as being that large or complex.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    I put some shots of my 1:48 scale Dulcibella model on flikr, not sure if the image will appear in my post, I do not understand the process of maybe my browser and computer are too old, but here are the URLs:



    https://flic.kr/p/CYdSob

    https://flic.kr/p/DTptTd
    https://flic.kr/p/Dnfcfp

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!






    Dulcibella is fictional, hence the change in rig and talk of martingales.
    However if you want to make her look more like Vixen, you need to take away more fullness under the counter. The counter added to the boat was very shallow. Those new topside planks were planted on top of the original hull plank, so there was a doubling of thickness to the hull plank there, and they did not fair out at the stem.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  10. #45
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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    I dissagree about the fullness under the counter. This portion of the deck has to support the jigger mast too and while probably not too much of a load on the structure, it would have to be more than a cantilevered deck brought further aft. Also some deadwood would have to go into the (originally) double ended stern to accommodate the rudder assembly and this would need to be faired into the new shape of the stern. But speaking of the hull, I have some paint on the model now and I have to wonder what they had available for bottom paint back in the late 1800's? I can't imagine the hull coppered. "White stuff"? I put on a coat of some red oxide looking brown but I am not very confident in its veracity. Here are some recent shots of the model: http://imgur.com/s4Rimbp
    http://imgur.com/liBmKAn
    I wish I could learn the trick of putting up images so they are visible in the post and not exist only as links......
    Last edited by JerseyCity Frankie; 02-23-2016 at 06:11 PM.

  11. #46
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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyCity Frankie View Post
    I dissagree about the fullness under the counter. This portion of the deck has to support the jigger mast too and while probably not too much of a load on the structure, it would have to be more than a cantilevered deck brought further aft. Also some deadwood would have to go into the (originally) double ended stern to accommodate the rudder assembly and this would need to be faired into the new shape of the stern. But speaking of the hull, I have some paint on the model now and I have to wonder what they had available for bottom paint back in the late 1800's? I can't imagine the hull coppered. "White stuff"? I put on a coat of some red oxide looking brown but I am not very confident in its veracity. Here are some recent shots of the model: http://imgur.com/s4Rimbp
    http://imgur.com/liBmKAn
    I wish I could learn the trick of putting up images so they are visible in the post and not exist only as links......
    That depends on whether you are building a model of an imaginary yacht from a novel, or are building a model of Childers Vixen, Dulcibellas prototype.
    If it is Vixen, this is what her counter looked like:You can see how shallow the counter was.


    The first strake of new stuff ran round to the stern post, the next four spread out to form the tuck and the bottom of the counter with the new shear strake standing more upright but tapering to nearly nothing. The new deadwood would not have been faired in, it would have been the same thickness as the original sternpost just planted on. The boat builder who converted her will have done the least amount of work possible. The more he did the less his profit.

    Bottom paint would either have been tar, or possibly copper paint that turned verdigris green.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    The novel has a flashback that is integral to the plot. In the flashback the Dulcibella is a Sloop and is then damaged badly in a grounding with her rudder beat off and who knows what else. By the time the action in the novel is taking place she has been repaired and converted into a yawl. I am inclined to believe the conversion was done well and not motivated by cost as you appear to suggest. I AM Building the fictional vessel but the lines I have, such as they are, appear to be of the movie prop vessel. To my eye, I have matched the profile shown in my drawing. I am surprised there are no other models of the Dulcibella on the internet. At least I have not found any. It would be very interesting to see how she is being interpreted.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    All to the good, you are building the film Dulcibella but not Vixen. It is good to clear that up.
    You are right this counter does not look like Vixen's
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  14. #49
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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Well, sparked by all this, I've just re-read the book. Nowhere did I see any reference to the companionway leading athwartships, as suggested in Post #1. I can't imagine it leading from anywhere other than forward from the cockpit, although it may not necessarily have been on the centreline.

    If the fictional Dulcibella (not Vixen) was indeed a converted RNLI lifeboat (Nick will go to his grave swearing she was one, presumably on the basis of the unsupported assertion quoted in his linked article by Lloyd Shepherd*, but I remain to be convinced), then she already had a centreboard. Some suggestions have been made as to how it might have been designed or rigged, but no-one seems to know for sure (other than that the pendant was below-deck, and in the forecsatle). Of course, whether the fictional Dulcibella were in fact a converted ship's lifeboat -- of which plenty abounded for conversion -- the same comment might anyway apply.)

    I note that the first photo in Post #10 shows the real Vixen's having been renamed Dulcibella by 1942. However, she had been sold by Childers some time between 1898 and 1903, being replaced by Asgard around 1905, and I think there's little doubt that someone other than Childers did the renaming (presumably some time after the book became well-known).

    But while you're not building a model of Vixen herself, are you building one of the film version or the book version of Dulcibella, because it seems they're not the same -- the film Dulcibella was apparently converted from an Isle of Wight (presumably ex-RNLI) lifeboat.

    Mike
    * -- in which there are several incorrect statements
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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    I remember discussion when the film was made. They found an old an RNLI boat to convert.
    The "Dulcibella" in the Riddle of the Sands film was an ex-RNLI lifeboat as was Childers' actual "Vixen" on which she was based - she was a very accurate reconstruction of Childers' own boat, just like this (http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi...l&photo=1&url=).
    from http://www.pprune.org/archive/index.php/t-343270.html
    see also http://www.brookvillagehistory.co.uk...rooke-lifeboat
    from Wiki
    Davies' boat, the Dulcibella, was converted from an Isle of Wight lifeboat.
    this seems to be a bit difinitive https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...20Boat&f=false
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    For those like me who are having trouble with the links to off-site fora & articles:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wooden Boat Fittings View Post

    If the fictional Dulcibella (not Vixen) was indeed a converted RNLI lifeboat (Nick will go to his grave swearing she was one, presumably on the basis of the unsupported assertion quoted in his linked article by Lloyd Shepherd*, but I remain to be convinced)


    From "The Riddle of the Sands", chapter 3, "Davies":

    "I should add here that in the distant past she had been a lifeboat,
    and had been clumsily converted into a yacht by the addition of a counter, deck, and the necessary spars.
    She was built, as all lifeboats are, diagonally, of
    two skins of teak, and thus had immense strength, though, in the matter of looks, all a hybrid's failings."

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by sharpiefan View Post
    For those like me who are having trouble with the links to off-site fora & articles:





    From "The Riddle of the Sands", chapter 3, "Davies":

    "I should add here that in the distant past she had been a lifeboat,
    and had been clumsily converted into a yacht by the addition of a counter, deck, and the necessary spars.
    She was built, as all lifeboats are, diagonally, of
    two skins of teak, and thus had immense strength, though, in the matter of looks, all a hybrid's failings."
    The key thing being that few if any ships lifeboats of that era were double diagonal. Most if not all were clinker.
    The links that you cannot access state which RNLI lifeboats were converted for both Vixen and the film Dulcibella. Google will find them both for you as they did for me.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  18. #53
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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by sharpiefan View Post
    For those like me who are having trouble with the links to off-site fora & articles:





    From "The Riddle of the Sands", chapter 3, "Davies":

    "I should add here that in the distant past she had been a lifeboat,
    and had been clumsily converted into a yacht by the addition of a counter, deck, and the necessary spars.
    She was built, as all lifeboats are, diagonally, of
    two skins of teak, and thus had immense strength, though, in the matter of looks, all a hybrid's failings."
    The key thing being that few if any ships lifeboats of that era were double diagonal. Most if not all were clinker.
    The links that you cannot access state which RNLI lifeboats were converted for both Vixen and the film Dulcibella. Google will find them both for you as they did for me.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Regrettably, only one of Nick's links works for me. However, that shows a 42' lifeboat conversion, whereas Dulcibella was "something over thirty feet in length and nine in beam". I know that RNLI lifeboats were made in different sizes, but were they that much different? Perhaps they were.

    However, it seems that the key factor is Dulcibella's double-diagonal construction (which is mentioned in the text as SF quotes, and which, despite re-reading it, I'd somehow missed). This would indicate that she had indeed been an RNLI lifeboat, as I understand this to be their typical construction, for strength, rather than the more-normal clinker ship's lifeboat. Even though there was a far greater availability of ship's lifeboats for conversion, very few would have been double-diagonal. So I think I'm coming round to Nick's point of view after all -- that Dulcibella was indeed modelled on Vixen. (This always was quite logical of course, but all I'd found were asseverations, not evidence.)

    A most interesting and enlightening discussion, and I hope Frankie finds it the same.

    Mike
    Last edited by Wooden Boat Fittings; 02-24-2016 at 06:45 PM.
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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by Wooden Boat Fittings View Post
    Regrettably, only one of Nick's links works for me. However, that shows a 42' lifeboat conversion, whereas Dulcibella was "something over thirty feet in length and nine in beam". I know that RNLI lifeboats were made in different sizes, but were they that much different? Perhaps they were.

    However, it seems that the key factor is Dulcibella's double-diagonal construction (which is mentioned in the text as SF quotes, and which, despite re-reading it, I'd somehow missed). This would indicate that she had indeed been an RNLI lifeboat, as I understand this to be their typical construction, for strength, rather than the more-normal clinker ship's lifeboat. Even though there was a far greater availability of ship's lifeboats for conversion, very few would have been double-diagonal. So I think I'm coming round to Nick's point of view after all -- that Dulcibella was indeed modelled on Vixen. (This always was quite logical of course, but all I'd found were asseverations, not evidence.)

    A most interesting and enlightening discussion, and I hope Frankie finds it the same.

    Mike
    I found this interesting list: Former Tynemouth Lifeboats, but wondered about the weights. Would yachtification double the weight? Could the boat take it? Any N.A.s care to join in?

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by sharpiefan View Post
    I found this interesting list: Former Tynemouth Lifeboats, but wondered about the weights. Would yachtification double the weight? Could the boat take it? Any N.A.s care to join in?
    Life boats are built light for handling ashore. Pulling sailing lifeboats were routinely dragged overland so that they could be launched to windward of a wreck. http://www.lyntonandlynmouth.org.uk/...-12th-13th1899 As soon as they were afloat ballast tanks were flooded for stability.
    When converted for a yacht the tank top/deck and rowing thwarts were stripped out and solid ballast would be added for stability and to bring her down to her marks, hence the change in weight.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Life boats are built light for handling ashore. Pulling sailing lifeboats were routinely dragged overland so that they could be launched to windward of a wreck. http://www.lyntonandlynmouth.org.uk/...-12th-13th1899 As soon as they were afloat ballast tanks were flooded for stability.
    When converted for a yacht the tank top/deck and rowing thwarts were stripped out and solid ballast would be added for stability and to bring her down to her marks, hence the change in weight.
    Thanks for the great info, Nick! The "clumsily converted into a yacht" was more complicated than I knew.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by Wooden Boat Fittings View Post
    Regrettably, only one of Nick's links works for me. However, that shows a 42' lifeboat conversion, whereas Dulcibella was "something over thirty feet in length and nine in beam". I know that RNLI lifeboats were made in different sizes, but were they that much different? Perhaps they were.

    Mike
    For those interested in the fine detail, this link http://www.brookvillagehistory.co.uk...t/susan-ashley gives us
    Susan Ashley. She was 35ft by 8ft 6in. A self-righter she was built by Thames Ironworks and cost £844.
    <snip>
    Sold out of service in 1937 and converted into a motor yacht, the Susan Ashley had her second starring role in 1978 when she played the part of Dulcibella in the feature film of the novel, ‘The Riddle of the Sands,’
    Whereas Vixen :
    According to Maldwin Drummond, the Vixen was initially the lifeboat Thomas Chapman, built by Thomas William Woolfe & Sons of 46-47 Lower Shadwell
    look here for more info on her RNLI service https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...feboat&f=false
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    I have not posted in a while but I have been steadily plugging away at my Dulcibella model and here is an update: I've manufactured all the sub assemblies and now I'm at the stage of bending on sail. Here is the link to the complete flicker photo archive: https://www.flickr.com/gp/140039433@N06/8Xg0k4. At some point in the past was able to upload photos but now I've forgotten the trick, I will try to work it out but the Flickr link should work

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Great job! Cheers!!!

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Finastkind.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Great craftmanship.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    Great craftmanship.
    lovely model!

    but I cant imagine trying to climb up through that hatch with Dulcibella rail down and driving hard on Port tack! like climbing a ladder upside down.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Just to stir the pot, here is the german version of the movie:


    Nice model though.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyCity Frankie View Post
    I have not posted in a while but I have been steadily plugging away at my Dulcibella model and here is an update: I've manufactured all the sub assemblies and now I'm at the stage of bending on sail. Here is the link to the complete flicker photo archive: https://www.flickr.com/gp/140039433@N06/8Xg0k4. At some point in the past was able to upload photos but now I've forgotten the trick, I will try to work it out but the Flickr link should work
    Love the sails and iron work.
    A small matter of detail,


    The clew should be shackled to the outhaul horse, which holds the clew down onto the boom. Then the outhaul just controls the fullness of the sail.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!


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    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Strange that i have missed this thread.
    I reread "The riddle of the sands" every year
    Good looking model, great job.
    Don't worry I'm happy

    "The law is what we have to live with.
    Justice is sometimes harder to achieve."

    Sherlock Holmes

  33. #68
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Jersey City, New Jersey, united states
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    I'm curious how you guys can post photos from the Flickr page. I tried following the WBF instructions, which are Flickr-specific, but was unable to get the URLs I cut and pasted into the edit window in the proper field after clicking on the icon of a tree in the edit menus. Never resulted in an image visible. Maybe it's because I'm using an iPad?

  34. #69
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Walney, near Cumbria UK
    Posts
    34,585

    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyCity Frankie View Post
    I'm curious how you guys can post photos from the Flickr page. I tried following the WBF instructions, which are Flickr-specific, but was unable to get the URLs I cut and pasted into the edit window in the proper field after clicking on the icon of a tree in the edit menus. Never resulted in an image visible. Maybe it's because I'm using an iPad?
    The tool bar has a right pointing arrow labelled "Share photo" that opens a menu. The third option is BBCode, c&p that into your post then delete everything outside the [img[...[/i,g] brackets
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

    The power of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web
    The weakness of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web.

  35. #70
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Walney, near Cumbria UK
    Posts
    34,585

    Default Re: Building a model of Dulcibella from Riddle of the Sands. Have questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    What dia drill you using on those shackles J C Frankie?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

    The power of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web
    The weakness of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web.

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