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Bottled Ship Builder

Yacht America 1851


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To misquote The Most Interesting Man in the World, "I don't often post build logs, but when I do, I usually do it after I've finished the model..."

I'm breaking that rule with this build.  We'll just see how it goes.

I've decided to build the yacht America in a bottle.  First, the boat is lovely.  Second, I have no end of research materials available, so I should use it.

Several years ago, I bought the Chappelle plans from the Smithsonian.



I have the book The Low Black Schooner, which, even if you don't want to build a model, is a great book.


And I have a great set of rigging diagrams and plans, so, at least from that perspective, I have what I need.

I had a couple of bottles to choose from and I cleaned off the labels.


I scanned an image of America from Chappelle's The Search for Speed Under Sail and scaled it to fit in the smaller bottle.


Rather than monkey around with the "sea" as I did on my first ship in a bottle, I'm going for the full hull on this one.  The hull lines of America are so striking that it would be a shame to just show her from the waterline up.

So, off to carving a hull and seeing what's going to be needed to get it into the bottle.




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I've made some progress on my America.

Using John Fox's article from 1988 in Model Ship Builder, I made the hull blank.


I sandwiched a thin piece of basswood between two others, establishing a keel line for the hull below the waterline.  I used 0.010" styrene to establish a waterline.  And then I cut another piece of basswood for the upperworks.  I turned a couple of toothpicks down to 1/16" to pin them all together.


I've made two templates, mounting them on basswood.

Here's the side view.


So now my question.  I decided on the size of the ship based on the internal dimensions of the bottle.  Is that the right way to think about this?  I made the blank per the article:  3/4" thick, 1-1/8" wide, about 4" long.  That'll make a model the same size as John's Bluenose.  Bluenose's hull lines are similar to America's, but the yacht carried a lot more sail area. so the model would be taller than the inside the bottle if I built it to the same dimensions as Bluenose.  

So, do I build it a little bigger and find a bottle that will fit later?  Or build it small and fit it into the bottle I have?




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Keep the proportions and scale, that's how I understand these constructions... so either you find a bigger bottle or it's dry docked to wait for its bottle and then make one smaller than the dimensions and proportions between hull and sail is the authentic.

That's my way of thinking.

Greetings, it looks nice.

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