San Francisco's Busy Boatmen
September 1954 Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men

September 1954 Air Trails
September 1954 Air Trails Cover - Airplanes and RocketsTable of Contents

These pages from vintage modeling magazines like American Aircraft Modeler, American Modeler, Air Trails, Flying Aces, Flying Models, Model Airplane News, & Young Men captured the era. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

The craftsmanship skill level exhibited by many of the early model boat builders is amazing, but then so is that of model airplane, model train, and model car builders. Scale model rocket builders have had it relatively easy because typically other than a faithful reproduction of a paint job, there is very little in the way of external ornamentation or functional gadgetry to replicate. The number of hours required to turn out even a fairly simple wooden-hulled sailboat or tugboat is a lot more than most modelers would be willing to dedicate to a single project. As with so many other models that appear in these vintage magazines, I wonder where these models are today. How many have survived the ravages of time, household moves, fires, floods, or a disinterested relative merely discarding of a work of art once the creator is gone? 

San Francisco's Busy Boatmen

Photos by Louis Jacobs, Jr.

Courtesy Buick Magazine

Miniature boats, authentic in every detail, turn park lake into heavy-traffic ocean.

Radio controlled racing boat - Airplanes and Rockets

Photo shows variety of boats owned by members. A number are radio controlled. Racing boat has 4-cylinder water-cooled engine.

Casual Sunday strollers near Spreckles Lake in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park are often startled to find its usually calm waters swarming with a miniature navy. Graceful yachts cleave its surface, tiny ocean tugs, sternwheelers, and steamships chug along under their own power, while speedboats with engines screaming race in circles leaving rooster tails behind. Supervising the bustling activities are members of the San Francisco Model Yacht Club who range in age from the teens to the eighties. The craft they sail, their own handiwork, are noted for authenticity and high-quality workmanship. Majority are real sailing enthusiasts, holding frequent races and regattas. The remaining members are steam or powerboat fanciers engaged in radio control, free or tethered running of their craft. On Sundays, the lake is crowded with visitors and model yachtsmen.

Sternwheeler river boat "Delta King" - Airplanes and Rockets

The beautiful sternwheeler river boat "Delta King" has removable superstructure which permits the owner to get at the steam engine.

Two powerboat enthusiasts - Airplanes and Rockets

Two powerboat enthusiasts getting set for a run on the lake. Minute adjustment of the engine is important to get full benefit of power.

San Francisco's Busy Boatmen, September 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and Rockets

A variety of gas engines power the boats.

Gas engines power the boats - Airplanes and Rockets

This one is a 4-cycle one-lunger equipped with magneto and rocker-arm operated valves.

Two-thirds of the members are sailboat enthusiasts - Airplanes and Rockets

About two-thirds of the members are sailboat enthusiasts. These are "X" type craft. More than 100 yachts can be stored in clubhouse.

ypical sailboat hull in construction - Airplanes and Rockets

Typical sailboat hull in construction. Workmanship is painstaking. and follows closely shipbuilding practice. Planked portion is being shaped.




Posted April 25, 2015