For those of you who have been to the Sam L. Morse Co. back in the day, probably had noticed a 1/12th scale model of the Bristol Channel Cutter hull sitting on the shelf. Wayne Edney had built this hull in a strip plank way, and it sat there for many years.
When the company closed its doors, the word was put out if anyone wanted any of the residuals in the office, “To get up there and finish cleaning the room”. Mike Hooper sprung into action and gathered up plans and found the model hull. He sat on it for a few years in storage and eventually the storage area was called in and he was throwing things out. One of the things was the scale striplank hull. As he walked by the shop to the trash can, he asked me if I wanted it.
At that time I had about five years experience in Radio Control Planes, Jets and Helicopters and doing a boat could be fun, within a second I said yes, bring it in.
Two-thirds of the boat was dead on, however the bow section didn’t quite look right. It was missing that distinctive ‘Stem and Cutwater’ that naval architect Lyle Hess designed on all his boats. It was a bit bulbous looking too… so, out came the grinder and off came the fat… with some effort, the tune up turned out right on.
So, here was a plug, now it was time to do a mold… My good friend and neighbor Gary Jackson came to the idea of backing me and in return he would get a boat out of it. Absolutely I thought, it’ll be fun for the two of us, we could have races and it was twice as fast getting it done.
The next four months were full time as we had the idea to feature the boats in San Diego at the reception of the transpacific double handed crossing with one crew member who was blind. August was the crossing date and so was our rush to make sure everything was perfect.
As in any schedule, it always seem that due dates and deadlines are always around the corner. And so it was for us as we worked through each phase of the build until both boats were done and all bugs were worked out, cumulating with both boats sailing side by side with serious but friendly square off.
The Lyle Hess design Bristol Channel Cutter became world famous through the adventure books of Larry and Lin Pardey, and for the Japanese it became the country’s most favorite sailboat design through the evolution of ‘Earth Marathon’, an amazing feet and world record.
Hiro Hiromitsu the runner and Hiroyuki Hiki the sailor and boat owner were to circumnavigate the world in a straight line and where they met the land, a 60 year old marathoner would traverse every mile on land, Mr. Hiki, owner of the B.C.C yacht ‘Aeolus’ and his News agency would document and post that days mileage during the last five minutes of the evening news.
So, here we have a Japanese comedian and the boat owner / T.V. producer use his BCC to cross the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean then the comedian crossed US, Europe and Asia by himself with 50km marathon for 5 days a week for 2.5 years to circumnavigate. Amazing!
After their successful completion they were treated like rock stars, drawing crowds of ten thousand at a time for a lecture. Subsequently, and unofficially, because of such an incredible feat, the B.C.C was adopted as the countries favorite sailboat. And to me that was the my reason for building this model. It hasn’t been done before and I knew that through there huge lectures that a model might excite the kids… and kids might light the fire of production.
After a few years, ‘Aeolus’ was up for another adventure. This time a blind sailor, Mr. Mitsuhiro Iwamoto and Mr. Jiro Shinbou were to set sail from Iwaki, Fukushima bound for San Diego the summer of 2015.
For us, it was a couple of weeks before ‘Aeolus’ was expected to arrive in San Diego… I was frantically getting everything together and trying to figure out expenses and a price and so forth.
Then it happened… word came out that about 1000 miles off the South end of Japan the yacht was hit by a sperm whale and sunk…the crew was saved, but the boat went down. They even had footage of it, shot from just above the Freehand sail.
Wow, that amazingly bad luck for there adventure and there went our unveiling in front of the media both from Japan and San Diego.
Discouraged, but not beaten… we decided to carry on with a plan to make a movie short – which meant building a dock. And, that’s what we did, two movies came next and here are those links.
Lastly, I entered my BCCM in the scale model category at the San Diego Del Mar Fair, ‘Design in Wood’ 2015 venue and she won 2nd place.
Now, If you’re not interested in the full R.C. model, then maybe a half hull is for you. Think about a scale replica of your own boat for the office or reception room.
I’m up to building you one any way you want it. Give me a call and we’ll discuss.