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Model yacht SNOOPY

Date: 1969 - 1970
Overall: 2265 x 1425 x 253 mm, 16 kg
Medium: Tasmanian King William pine, fibreglass, fabric, rubber, metal, plastic
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Hull
Object No: 00032304
Place Manufactured:South Australia

User Terms

    A Marblehead class vane steered model yacht SNOOPY. Approximatrely four foot long and 7 foot high.
    The plank on frame hull is made of Tasmanian King William pine and are 1/8" thick and 5/8" wide. There are 13 planks on each side and the internal ribs are of aircraft plywood as is the deck.
    The total weight of the rigged hull is 6.1 kilos (13 1/2 lbs), considered a light weight boat compared with the average weight of 8 - 10.8 kilos (18-24 lbs).
    Pocket luff sails were the first used in model racing and when raced downwind with a spinnaker, the hull would lift and shim off a plane on the top of the water. The model comes with original sails and sail number MKA50, shrouds and rubber fender. All metal fittings were handmade and chromeplated by the builder and skipper John Pollintz.
    Designed by S Witty.
    SignificanceSNOOPY is one of the last of the vane steered models to be built and sailed before the introduction of radio controlled yachts in the 1970s. Built in South Australia by John Pollnitz in 1969/70, it was raced fortnightly until 1978.
    At the time when SNOOPY was built model fittings were not commercially available and had to be manufactured by the model maker.
    This Marble head model represents an international tradition of racing vane steered pond models which was popular in Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT. The sport changed in the 1970s when vane steered models were replaced by radio controlled models.
    HistoryModel pond yachts fall into two broad categories, toy model pond yachts and racing model pond yachts. Toy model pond yachts are usually made as miniature copies of lifesize yachts with details such as cabins, cockpits, anchors and wheel helms and they are used as children's toys .

    Racing model pond yachts are not toys. They were built and raced as part of organised Model Yacht Club regattas from the later part of the nineteenth century. Racing model yachts of the nineteenth century were of various shapes and sizes. Although they were all gaff rigged there was no limit to the number of sails so races were handicapped. Decks of the models were kept free of details such as cabins in order to make the yacht lighter.

    Classes of model yachts were introduced where by models were built under guidance of strict measurement rules as to sail area, length etc to standardise models and eliminate the need for handicapping. Several early classes of pond racing yachts have disappeared from competition in Australia, such as the 91 cm (36 inch) restricted class and the 'Sydney / Balmain Bugs' ranging in size from 15 cm (six inches) to 61 cm (two feet).

    Pond models are raced in Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria, New Spouth Wales and the ACT. Jock Muir, one of Australia's successful boatbuilders and sailors, raced Derwent class model yachts in his youth and claims they taught a whole generation of Tasmanians how to sail. The Royal Tasmanian Yacht Club provided pennants for the championships. Races could take up to eleven hours and 'skippers' followed the models in dinghies.

    Racing yachts are complex racing machines and have always been on the cutting edge of technology. Boom vangs, a mechanism for holding the boom horizontal while a yacht is running into the wind, were first used on pond yachts and appropriated by full scale yacht designers.

    There are three important classes of twentieth century pond yachts raced internationally and in Australia.
    1 .The Ten Rater based on an English design of the 1880s that was adapted in the early twentieth century by Bill Daniels.

    2.The Marblehead class, of which SNOOPY is an example, was invented in America in the 1930s and named after Marblehead in Massachusetts. It is now the most widely raced class in the world. In the 1930s there was resistance to its introduction in Britain.The class had a shorter boat length and was more manageable. It could sit
    across the backseat of a car but was long enough for a good turn of speed.This class became widely accepted in Australia, and particularly in Adelaide, when English migrants settled here after WWII.

    3. 'A' Class model yachts were developed in the 1920s to be raced in international competition under a new rating rule known as the International 'A' Class Rule. 'A' Class yachts are large, over 1800mm long. Australia was importing English boats purchased from catalogues in kit form from the mid 1920s.

    Until the late 1960s all models were made of wood. Fibreglass became popular as it was stronger and lighter than wood. Wooden hulls were constructed from a solid piece of timber, 'bread and butter' construction where planks were piled on top of each other with a layer of glue in between, or plank on frame where strips of wood are nailed to ribs.

    Most early models had no rudder because they were only sailed and raced to windward. Direction was controlled by sail / trim alone. Early rudders were adjusted by locking them in various positions with pins on a rack allowing for whether the yacht has a tendency to run away from the wind or turn dead into the eye of the wind. Rudder shadweights
    attached either on the tiller or on the trailing edge of the rudder itself.

    Braine steering gear was introduced in 1904 in Britain. In the late 1930s vane steering became popular. A weather vane 'feather' of light wood fitted above the helm was adjusted to the angle of the wind. If the yacht veered off that angle the vane feather turned the boat to the prescribed set of degrees off the wind again.This is the steering
    technology used on SNOOPY.

    The Australian Model Yachting Association was formed in 1968; registering vane steered yachts for competition. Races were run in pairs on courses, which has the yachts going in a straight line parallel to the bank. Spinnakers were allowed, both flat reaching and balloon spinnakers provided they were carried in the boat at all times.
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