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                     By Dave & Stuart Small

 Louis Heloise is a model of a French fishing boat or Bautier built

 circa. 1900 on the northern French coast

 My son Stuart and I decided on this model after seeing an article in

 an old Issue of Marine Modelling Monthly

 We sent off for the plans supplied by Traplet Plans Service Ref. MAR  2431 and upon receipt immediately started to worry. As we laid out  the plans, we realized just how big it is, overall including bowsprit it  is 62” long with a beam of 12.5” and 48” high from the waterline. It  also had any number of dead eyes, blocks, reefing lines and other  rigging that we had never heard of. Reassuring myself that there is a  large amount of knowledge within the club that I can learn from we  decide to go for it and make a start.

 As we could not work together due to the distance between us,  Stuart  agreed to start the hull while I would concentrate on the  mast  and  rigging. The keel was cut from 20mm Sapele and  incorporated  the  lead ballast of approx. 6 Kg sandwiched under  the  keelson.  After  the  keel components were set and glued as per  plan  the frames were  added and planking could begin.

 While Stuart progressed with the planking I started  to think about the rigging. The first problem was  how to make the pulley blocks. After several  attempts, I decided to make them out of solid  mahogany incorporating commercially available  brass reeves.

 Progress was quite slow during this period of the  build but after finishing all the pulley blocks (I hope)  next was to have a go at the mast and fittings.

 The rigging lines and shrouds are temporary  at this stage and will no doubt be changed  on final assembly.

 With the basic hull now completed Stuart handed it back to me for the next stage. The exterior of the hull  was  treated with glass fibre resin and 10-ounce glass cloth while the interior was painted with 2 coats of very  thin  resin. The outside was then given a cover of light weight filler and sanded back to the glass cloth. This has  given  the hull a smooth finish which in some ways is a shame as the original boats were quite roughly made  and the  planking was quite pronounced

 However, it has resulted in a good  strong hull which hopefully will  withstand the rigours of transport in  the back of the car

 Decisions, decisions. Shall we fit a motor, which type of sail winch, how to drill a hole parallel to the stern through the pintle and into the hull ?  After much discussion we decided to fit a small subsidiary motor and use a  sail arm rather than winch.

 Using 3 very extended drills and some luck I managed to drill a hole through the hull and pintle parallel to the  stern post for the rudder tubes and hopefully this motor and setup will be powerful enough to assist when  necessary.

The next job was to fit the stanchions, gutter and supports ready for the deck beams

With the stanchions finished and rubbing strakes fitted I could now re-fit the hardware and step the mast.

Still a very long way to go but at last it starting to look like a boat.

 Before the deck beams were fitted it was time to wire up the electrics and check that everything works.  Which it eventually did after initially managing to blow up the Turnigy remote switch.

 Now came a big shock. Deciding to do a float test before fitting the deck beams and underdeck we had to  add another 6 Kg of lead to get even close to the water line shown on the plan. This brings the ballast up to  12 Kg and may eventually require even more. If so this will have to be bolted to the bottom of the keel.

 With the ballast fixed in with resin  the deck beams and underdeck were  then fitted allowing hatches for the  sail arm servo, rudder horn and deck  house

 So that’s the story so far. Amazing  how 12 months can be reduced to

 5 minutes of reading.

 Hopefully I will eventually cover the  decking, painting, detailing and sail  making. However, this may take  some time.


Loise Heloise is a model of a French fishing boat or Bautier built circa. 1900

My son Stuart and I started the model nearly two years ago, but what with

the Corovid19 virus and family commitments there have been a number of


However here we are at last, nearly finished.

The decking was completed using 12 x 1.6 mm Obechi with 1.0 mm black plasticard representing the caulking.

I could not put it off any longer it was now time to paint.  I say that because I have had problems in the past with different paints reacting with each other or fillers. We eventually decided to go with Vallejo for the undercoat, topcoats and clear satin lacquer.  

         I will not describe every detail, hopefully the photo’s show the progress.

    It was now time to finalise the rigging. I was lucky to find some pre-waxed line on Amazon, not cheap but excellent quality with a choice of colours.

  Now to the sails.

   This was an area that I really was not looking forward to. I have never used a sewing machine or done hand sewing. I was worried that I would spend hours making them and then not be happy, and as it turned out, I was right. Still live and learn.  The second set (red) were much better, far from perfect, but much better.

    Trying to hold everything straight while sewing the bolt rope

  Well that’s it really. We did get a chance to have a maiden sail with the original sails and were very relieved to see that she sits well in the water and gets underway nicely even in a light breeze.  I hope to get a proper video when we are allowed at last to sail at the lake and Covid is under some kind of control.