I've always wanted a large radio-controlled schooner and after many years of other projects, I have finally decided to start building one. I chose the pinky "Dove", a schooner built on the Bay of Fundy in 1875. Howard Chappelle's "The American Fishing Schooners 1825-1935" has very complete plans, one plate of which is shown above. The original "Dove" was employed as a pilot schooner because of her exceptional sailing qualities. It was approximately 43 feet in length. My model of it will measure approximately six feet overall from the end of the bowsprit to the end of the main boom, and will weigh approximately 50 lbs fully loaded. I plan to fully detail the boat to scale, and have even acquired a bit of teak for the decking.

The first task was to scale up the plans from the Chapelle's book (approx. 13X) on the computer. Using mostly oak salvaged from an old desk, The keel, stem, and sternpost are cut and assembled first. Pictured above is the sternpost with slots for the 14 frames already in place. The lead ballast will be attached on the bottom of the keel with stainless steel bolts running through brass-lined vertical holes in the keel, held by o-rings and nuts on the top of the keelson.

Next, the frames are cut from 1/4-inch plywood (again, something I had lying around the shop). The 1/2 x 1/2 inch pine deck beams were pre-cut with the correct deck camber. The deck beams are marked for width at the sheer and aid in positioning the plywood frames.

Most of the frames are in place, with the deck beams clamped in place to aid in alignment. My old Dremel scrollsaw is still useful after many decades--easier to use it on the frames than to change out the 1/2" blade on my bandsaw.

A view down the deck. The "Dove" is a double-ender, and this is a view from aft showing the sharp lines at the stern. The hull shape is actually very similar to that of the Tancook Whalers, which are much smaller boats. All of the frames are now glued in place, after which the deck beams are faired and leveled and glued. The three fore-and-aft strips are temporary and will be removed once the hull is planked. To save time I did not fair the hull lines after enlarging them 13 times. Thanks to Howard Chapelle's good draftsmanship, everything looks fair and is lining up nicely.

Most of the deck framing is now in place. There are two hatches and a cabin forward. Other projects are getting in the way, but I'll be back to the Dove eventually with more photos!

Finishing up the bulwarks near the bow.

And the pink stern is nearing completion. More photos to come as I make more progress.