A remote controlled sailboat

The TZU HANG

a Remote Controlled Model Sailboat out of Coventry, CT

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TZU HANG

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This project was started when I saw "Stewart Little" and fell in love with model sailboats. I began building a 1-meter sailboat but then wondered what would happen if the wind died down. This caused me to think twice about an unpowered boat so I decided to start again. I found the plans for the TZU HANG and built her very much like a real ship with "plank on bulkhead" construction. Although the actual ketch had two layers of planking, the sails and proportions of the ketch are scale. Solid state electronics control the motor speed and direction while the sheeting winch and tiller are driven directly from the receiver. Note that the sails and keel are home made.

 

 

FOR THE RECORD

This 46' ketch was the first Canadian yacht to transit both the Panama and Suez canals. Also Tzu Hang was the first Canadian yacht under 50 ft. to circumnavigate the globe in an eastbound direction. This ocean going ketch was built in Hong Kong in 1936, designed by A. R. Rouse, a prominent yacht designer of the 1930's. She was brought into fame by Miles and Beryl Smeeton during their 20 year life as cruising life aboard. Unfortunately several years later "Tzu Hang’s” notoriety provided a perfect disguise for her new drug running owners in the 1980's. Jeff Hart used the ketch extensively for this purpose and of course was eventually apprehended. The end came in 1991 when she was in San Juan Harbor, Puerto Rico. A hurricane swept over the island and through a series of unfortunate circumstances she was broken up on the shore and hauled to the city dump.   

 

 

 

                                                                                            

TZU_HANG_10_Lifeboat

The lifeboat for the TZU HANG was built first as a test of the methods used to warp the planks.  They were first soaked in an ammonia-water solution then ironed   under heat to approximate shape.   These planks have a more severe twist than that found on the mother ship.

 

RVC_TZU_HANG_HULL

The keel was built flat against a template. Here, the bulkheads were fastened to the building board and planking is well under way. Notice the rabbiting along the keel.

 

TZU_HANG_30_RC

The deck work has been partially framed and the cockpit installed.

 

TZU_HANG_62_RC

Here the sheeting winch and tiller servo have been installed on opposite sides of the receiver and receiver batteries.

 

TZU_HANG_50_RC

The solid state motor control can be seen on a platform above the motor which in turn is mounted just above the keel.

 

TZU_HANG_62_RC

The motor hatch now covers the motor and the motor batteries are in place. Notice the sheeting cable running through the bulkheads above.

 

TZU_HANG_70_Deck

An overall view of the hull after the cast lead keel and rudder have been added almost doubling the total weight of the craft.

 

TZU_HANG_80_Rudder

Close up of the tiller control and the sheeting cable at the stern.

 

TZU_HANG_90_Winch

View of the sheeting cable at the bow and the tension spring that keeps the cable taught

 

TZU_Hang_100_Boat

Another view of hull with removable masts and cabin in place.

 

TZU_Hang_110_Boat

The TZU HANG is ready for decking.

 

A bit of paint and rigging and we are ready for the maiden voyage.

 

Sailboat slowly backing out under motor power.

 

Motor off, sheeting in and under sail.

 

Tacking can be a real bear in a small clumsy ship like this.

 

Getting up to surprising speed, but will it ever return?

 

That tiny little dot at the very center is the TZU HANG sailing off in the distance.

 

And yes, it DID come back.

 

 

   

 

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Model Railroading is fun in Connecticut.
Bob Van Cleef, MMR

Last update
07/23/2012