MY81  Mary


I recently inherited the "Mary", as pictured. I have since discovered she is called a Pond Yacht. Her provenance is hazy, having come from either a great grandfather who was a ship owner and boat builder in the late 1800's, or perhaps a toy given to the grand father in the 1920-30's. The hull is planked and fastened with screws to the ribs, with a  heavy lead keel with handle inside the water tight hatch. The fittings are very fine and detailed and the sheets and tiller arrangements indicate that it was built as a sailing model and is closer to being a museum piece rather than a toy. It is a large model with a 54" mast and is 44" LOA. Any information you may have regarding it's possible origins would be appreciated.

Reply: It's a bit of a poser, because the hull is clearly 19th century, but the rig is much later, probably between the wars. I should like some further information to help sort it out and to decide whether the boat was built to one or other of the Rating Rules that model yachtsmen used at the end of the 19th century. You can see the options in the Rules pages of our web site.

Can you tell me please what the beam of the boat is. It looks to be quite substantial and probably too wide to fit into the '1730' Tonnage Rule, which produced a very narrow 'plank on edge' hull. On the other hand if it's a boat to the LSA Rule, the hull form is rather untypical and probably dates from the very early years of modellers' use of the Rule, as they were transitioning from the '1730' to the LSA rule in the early 1890s. The steering gear also suggests that sort of period, though it is of a type that I had not seen before until the day before your boat turned up, when a pair of boats with very similar gear were offered on Ebay. It is of course possible that the boat was not designed to a class Rule, though vey few as large as this were built without some competitive aim in view. The rig is clearly much later. The original rig would have been a gaff main and probably two headsails and possibly a topsail as well. What you have now is very typical of what serious model yachtsmen were using in the 1930s. Re-rigging a boat in this way is uncommon but not unknown, Brooke Heckstall-Smith who was Secretary of the (full-size) Yacht Racing Association gave a boat that he had sailed as a boy to a godson in the mid 30s, but before dong so had her updated and re-rigged by Bill Daniels, then the premier designer, builder and skipper of models in his generation. One other thought. Can you tell me what the boat weighs? this will again help in assigning her to a class. RP - VMYG.

Further info. on "Mary" : She weighs a little over 6KG, has a 9" beam, 7" draft, 2 1/8" freeboard, 44" LOA, 39 1/2" deck, 29" waterline, mast height 54", main 49" luff, 23" foot, 53" leech, jib 34 3/4" luff, "30" leech, 13 3/4" foot. The jib sheet is pegged to the jib boom with 18 spaced holes, and the main to the main mast with 49 peg holes. There is also an "auxiliary" jib on a pole with sheets that looks like it may have been used for downwind sailing. Looking at your rules pages, the closest hull shape seems to be the 1 Meter International, but "Mary" has a straight lined bow down to the keel.

Thanks for the additional photos and for the information that the sheets peg into the booms. This is pretty uncommon, but not unknown. It's slightly more common to use a peg board on the deck, but both are signs of early construction. It's odd that this method of sheet adjustment should have been retained when the boat was re-rigged. Possibly the original spars were re-used and it seemed sensible to keep the sheeting system.
I don't think the boat can be built to the International Rule. The first generation were all 12-metres at 1 inch to the foot and Mary is too light, quite apart from not having the characteristic I Rule hull form. Though it's far from certain, I think her most likely to be built to the LSA Rule, if to any Rule at all, and to be a 10-rater. RP - VMYG.