Book News

This is an extract from the Bibliography of Model Yachting that I wrote with Paul Croxson in 2000 it relates to what I then took to be a small magazine run by a model yacht club.

246 Tribord Amures; pour le Propagation de l'Idée Maritime par la Construction de Modèles de Bateaux (edited by Gussy JAMBIERS): Brussels, MYC de Bruxelles, monthly from January 1945.

This entry was noted from a French bibliographical source. We know no more about it, not even how long it survived. It deserves inclusion, if only in recognition of the huge effort of will required to produce a new magazine, however slight, while the war was still in progress and within four months of the liberation of Brussels in the previous September. There does not appear to be a copy in the Belgian Royal Library.

Recently I was trawling the ABEbooks site under the keyword ‘model yachting’, (incidentally a practice I recommend, as cheap reprints of old and expensive books on model yachting are becoming increasingly common) and discovered a bookseller in France offering the first two monthly issues from January and February 1945. For the vast expense of 12 Euros, including postage, I acquired them and discovered something rather different.

Though quite slight in size, 12 pages on rather poor quality paper, this was a very serious magazine supported by the Directeur Général de la Marine, presumably with government money, and explicitly aimed at inculcating a more favourable attitude to maritime affairs and particularly the building up of a substantial Belgian merchant fleet. This can’t have been the only propaganda organ devoted to this end, because the content of this title is almost exclusively aimed at modellers. There are brief sections, each of about a page, on warships through the ages, on model yachts and on glass case miniatues, together with editorial pages, and a books and magazine section which draws the attention of readers to recent publications, many of them of British origin and to small items of maritime interest in general news magazines/ One title that attracts both favourable attention and some enthusiasm is a Magazine Marine, produced in London by emigré Belgians and only very recently available in Belgium itself.

The two pages on model yachting that are all we have are devoted to discussion of Rating Rules and some basic concepts of design theory. Interestingly the Rules discussed in these two issues are the 10-rater Rule and the 36 inch Restricted, both of course British Rules. We don’t know what would have come next, or whether there would have been coverage of Belgian Rules. A photograph appears in the February issue that is described as ‘Modelyacht de la Serie Nationale Belge’. It’s not clear whether this means that it’s to a Belgian Rule, or whether it is intended to mean a boat on the Belgian register. The picture looks very like an A boat to me.

The magazine contains other interesting snippets, for instance that the Brussels club covered all forms of marine modelling and had several hundred members and, in the second issue, an advertisement for a specialist marine model shop l’Hélice Maritime in Liège .

We still don’t know how long the magazine lasted or how its coverage of model yachting developed. If anyone has any more information I would be glad to know.

Russell Potts

Herbert Fisher: How to Build a Model Yacht

The Curved Air Press has produced another reprint of an early 'how to do it' book. This one is the earliest known US title on model yachting and dates originally from the 1890s. More important than the text itself, fascinating though that is, Russell Potts has written a substantial commentary putting the book into the context of what we know about model yachting in the New York area at the turn of the 20th century and taking the opportunity to discuss the design problems faced my model yachtsmen of the period and the rather different solutions attempted in Britain and in the US. Many lines plans and contemporary photographs, Herbert Fisher: How to Build a Model Yacht, with a new Introduction and Commentary by Russell Potts. London ,

The Curved Air Press 2006. ISBN: 1 873148 22 4. A5, Perfect bound paperback, 122 pages. Colour cover. Many line and half tone illustrations.Price 12.00 plus 75p. P&P in the UK Order from The Curved Air Press, 8 Sherard Road , London SE9 6EP . Make cheques payable to R R Potts. Sorry no credit cards

Also available from Earl Boebert, 9219 Flushing Meadows NE, Albuquerque, NM 87111, USA. Price $20 post paid to US addresses. Make cheques payable to USVMYG, or make PayPal payment to . Sorry no credit cards

Yacht Designs 1991 to 2002

Yacht Designs 1991 to 2002 - new John Lewis £20.00 available from Sailsetc

Following on from where A Manual of Yacht Designs left off this collection includes the author’s recent designs. As well as 6M and A class designs there are also designs for the One Metre and AC Class at 1/12th scale. In addition there are designs for 1.5 Metre and 2 Metre yachts in classes not yet formalised. A4 portrait format, 117 pages, plastic ring binding.

Purchase the earlier book BK-31 A Manual of Yacht Designs and this one together for £35 and save on postage at the same time.

Yankee III


Earl Boebert has written a new book on Yankee III, a 36 in. LOA radio control model of the famous J Boat. The cover is shown here. A whole resource page for Yankee III, including a description of the book, how to get one, where to buy the materials to build the boat, and builder's comments and corrections can be found here on the USVMYG website.

Three years in the making, this book gives a short history of the celebrated J Boat Yankee, the 1935 36 inch long free-sailing model based on her, and an easy to build and sail radio control version. The modern model is made from structural foam covered with fibreglass, and was designed with the beginning builder in mind. 130 pages authored by Earl Boebert and illustrated with drawings by M de Lesseps.

Graham Bantock's review is here

A joint publication of the U S Vintage Model Yacht Group and the Curved Air Press. $30.00 post-paid in the U S and Canada, checks or money orders to U S Vintage Model Yacht Group.

Orders to:
Yankee III
9219 Flushing Meadows NE
Albuquerque NM 87111

PayPal information available from boebert[at]

(replace [at] with @ to get proper email address --- the spammers force us into this ruse)

United Kingdom, Commonwealth and European enquiries to: curvedairpress[at]

Copies supplied by Curved Air Press will be £17 post paid in the UK. Europe, £18.50, elsewhere, £20. Payment by sterling cheque or bankers draft or by PayPal. Please email first before using PayPal.



This brief bibliography concentrates on ‘how to do it’ material from the past. To get guidance on the style appropriate to the age of the boat you are seeking to restore, get a copy of a book from around that date. All the books offer guidance on construction techniques, though there is wide variation in the quality of the writing and thus their usefulness to a reader seeking help from them. See Ghillian and Russell Potts ‘Learning by the Book: the Problem of Writing
Instructions in Manual Skills’, in History of Technology, 23, (2001), 129-156.

Except where noted, all are out of print. Some may be available through local libraries or inter-library loan. Second hand copies do turn up from time to time, at increasingly unattractive prices. Contact Russell Potts, who makes a habit of liberating copies from booksellers around the world for the benefit of vintage modellers.

For a full (not to say discursive) bibliography of model yachting, including the development of radio control and a treatment of the magazines that have covered the sport since 1854, see Russell Potts and Paul Croxson: A Bibliography of Model Yachting, (London, The Curved Air Press, 1999) £12.00, plus £1.50 P&P (review).

BLACK, John: Yachting with Models: New York and London, McGraw Hill, (Whittlesey House),

BOWDEN, Claude Evelyn: Model Yacht Construction & Sailing: the Principles of the Design,
Construction and Operation of Model and Small Racing Craft in the Light of Modern Knowledge of
Aerodynamics and Hydrodynamics: London, Percival Marshall, 1946: 1949: 1952: 1956. US edition,

DANIELS , William John & Herbert Boswell TUCKER: Model Sailing Craft: London, Chapman
& Hall, New York, Rudder Publishing Co., 1932: 1939: 1952.

DANIELS, William John & Herbert Boswell TUCKER: Build Yourself a Model Yacht: London,
Percival Marshall, 1950.

DANIELS, William John & Herbert Boswell TUCKER: Model Sailing Yachts: London, Percival
Marshall, 1951.

DARLING, Thomas: Miniature Racing Yachts and How to Build Them: New York and London,
Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1936.

DRURY, Jack, et al: Jack’s Guide to the Restoration of Older Model Yachts, (London, The
Curved Air Press, 1999) £6.00, plus 50p P&P. From The Curved Air Press

FARLEY, Charles H, edited by William Earl BOEBERT, Afterword by Rod CARR: Building
Planked Models. A Manual of Vintage Model Yacht Construction: Albuquerque NM, US Vintage
Model Yacht Group, 1997.
Copies are available from The Curved Air Press £15. 00, plus £1. 50 P&P

FISHER, Herbert et al: How to Build a Model Yacht: New York, Rudder Publishing, 1902: 1917.
A reprint of the 1917 edition with a substantial new introduction and much other new
material culled from contemporary American sources will be available from The
Curved Air Press in due course

GRIFFIN, Roy: Model Racing Yacht Construction: Hemel Hempstead, MAP, 1973: 1979.

HOBBS, Edward Walter: Model Sailing Boats: Their Design, Building and Sailing: London,
Cassell, New York, Funk and Wagnall, 1923: 1929.

MARSHALL, Percival (ed): Model Sailing Yachts, How to Build Rig and Sail Them: London,
Percival Marshall, 1905: 1913: many reprints until 1950.
A reprint of the first, 1905, edition is available from The Curved Air Press £12. 00, plus
£1.00 P&P.

NELLIST, Ralph: Ralph’s Guide to Vintage Sailmaking: Cotton Sails for Older Styles of Model
Yacht, (London, The Curved Air Press, 2000) £8.00, plus £1.00 P&P. From The Curved Air Press

MOORE, Thomas: Build a Winning Model Yacht, (New York, Frederick A Stokes, 1928)

PRIEST, B Hamilton & John A LEWIS: Model Racing Yachts. Their Architecture, Design,
Construction and Handling: Hemel Hempstead, MAP, 1966.

SMEED, Victor Ernest: Model Yachting: Rickmansworth, Smeed 1977: 1984.

GROSVENOR, J duV: Model Yachts and Boats: London, J Upcott Gill, 1882, 1905, 1910
A reprint edition is available from D N Goodchild, PO Box 2814, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, USA

How to Draw Sail and Sea

Ebay is a wonderful resource. Not only can you find interesting old model boats, hidden among mountains of dreck and at prices that vary wildly around what I would regard as sensible, you can be transported back to your childhood.

Recently I dropped across a copy of what was probably the first grown up book I bought with my own money. It is How to Draw Sail and Sea by Michal Lezczynski. (The Studio, London and New York, 1944). He was a Polish artist who had started his life as a mariner. During the war he was in the UK running welfare organisations for Polish refugees. He was also skipper and part owner of Garlandstone, one of the last surviving trading schooners. Much of his book is taken up with drawings of this type of vessel, which he must have seen in his travels round the coast of Britain in his own ship. It opens with just about the simplest representation of a ship that you could imagine, something that makes a 10-year-old think that he too could be an artist.

In fact it's much more considered and artistic than I realised at the time and the later drawings are sophisticated and serious stuff.

But the reason for including a mention of this book in a site on model yachts and toy boats is his final page, in which he recommends study of your own ship as the best way to master the problems of drawing sailing craft.