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
Photo shows variety of boats owned by members.
A number are radio controlled. Racing boat has 4-cylinder water-cooled
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.
The beautiful sternwheeler river boat "Delta
King" has removable superstructure which permits the owner to get
at the steam engine.
Two powerboat enthusiasts getting set for a run
on the lake. Minute adjustment of the engine is important to get
full benefit of power.
A variety of gas engines power the boats.
This one is a 4-cycle one-lunger equipped with
magneto and rocker-arm operated valves.
About two-thirds of the members are sailboat
enthusiasts. These are "X" type craft. More than 100 yachts can
be stored in clubhouse.
Typical sailboat hull in construction. Workmanship
is painstaking. and follows closely shipbuilding practice. Planked
portion is being shaped.
Posted April 25, 2015