Building a MM – PMYC Members

This page holds the information and photos of the MM building experience of our members. The data is grouped by member.

All contributions to our MM building experience appear in separate posts labeled appropriately but all sharing the “Building an MM” post category.

The members whom have or will be contributing to this post are:

Bill Brown – coming soon


Jerry Robertson – coming soon



Jerry Walker

Running rigging (sheets)

Source: Walmart.

This product worked in an outstanding manner on my Victoria. I will use it again. It is a very pliable 15# weave.





Jim Bankson Sails for use on the Micro Magic
Jim Bankson Sails for use on the Micro Magic

The view has been expressed to us that the MM kit sails are not of a good shape but that they work. PMYC has standardized on the kit sails as a contribution to keeping the price of the boat in the water to a minim
um. The Kit sails are flat panel, meaning they are made of one piece of material. Jim Bankson a past member of PMYC has offered to make us flat panel sails – presumably of a higher quality. The images below are close-up images of the three suits of sails he made for us for evaluation. At this time he is offering to make us these sails for $40 per suit – material of our choosing.


Spinnaker Cloth Sail Material. Note the little squares.
Spinnaker Cloth Sail Material. Note the little squares.










505 - smooth, shiney surface on one side; rough surface of fibers on other side
505 – smooth, shiney surface on one side







505 - Rough surface of fibers on other side
505 – Rough surface of fibers embedded in the material on other side







Mylar - Smooth on both sides
Mylar – Smooth on both sides









Building a MM – Email Exchange with Mike Eades & Greg Norris, Late March, 2017

This post, dated March 27, 2017, contains two email exchanges between Jerry Walker and Mike Eades of the West Valley RC Mariners (WVRCM) regarding the building of a MM.

The writer of each email is identified.

Jerry to Mike

We still have just one MM on the pond here in Tucson. Each perso
n who sails it for the first time loves it. It performs surprisingly well against the Victorias.

We have two boats under construction (one by Jerry Robertson – he has communicated with you). We are working up to an order for seven kits from GraupnerUSA in time for an anticipated mid-May avail

We are finding with the two kits we have that the mast diameter is a lot closer to 6mm than to 5mm. Thus, mast fittings aren’t fitting. In general, switching to a thicker mast is problematic, especially for newbies.

Pima Micro yacht Club Micro Magic serving as a tug to get its own box top to the shore
The venerable Micro Magic succeeds in moving its own kit box top to the shore.

The issue with the rear corner mis match between the deck and hull is disturbing, but not an insurmountable problem.

We are finding that with the one boat we have on the pond, built in 2009, that the mast is 5mm. We do not have stays on this boat. It appears to us that in a 5 – 10 mph breeze that the boat shows much more inclination to heal than to bend its mast. What is your thought?

In the list of Graupner parts I see the refererence to servo sizes. It’s interesting to note the significant difference in performance between the base recommendation (C 261) and the C 3341) Is there a general agreement in the USA of which servos to use? Or, at least their capacity.

Of our two kits, one has a main sail that looks decent. The other one has significant wrinkles near the tack. It would not seem possible with a flat sail for that condition to arise. Presumably, this is the basis for your recommendation in your article to replace the sails right away. We are going to investigate the feasibility of making our own sails. We have a member who became quite proficient at making good performing Victoria sails.

I look forward to hearing from you. We are very excited about our MM decision. And, our website is evolving to reflect that excitement.

Jerry Walker

Mike to Jerry

I am glad to hear your club’s enthusiasm for the Micro Magic is increasing!

I will comment on those of your questions that I can answer however I have not built a MM from recent kits, only the ARTR version. Greg Norris built from a V2 kit and wrote it up for an article in the MM feature in the next issue of Model Yachting. I have copied him on this so that he can add his thoughts.

I did not encounter mast diameter problems with the ARTR version. My original MM had a 5 mm OD mast and I used it successfully without shrouds so I don’t believe they are necessary on any MM.

I don’t know of anyone who uses Graupner servos in the US. I used to use the Hitec HS485HB as sail winch and HS65HB for the rudder. However I encountered some strange problems with the HS485HB in which the servo would suddenly jump about 20 degrees and stay there requiring re-centering of the servo arm. Neither Hitec or I could explain this and I eventually went to the Futaba S3010 sail winch. This required drilling new holes in the servo arm to fit the Futaba spline but after modification this servo has worked well for several years without problems.

There seem to have been some issues with sails in recent kits and ARTR versions, not as well made as the original MM kit sails. While they perform fairly well they don’t look good. I made some sets of single panel sails for my original MM which were quite successful but for my Champ Spec MM built by Mike Weston, UK I bought 5 sets of Graphite sails from John Tushingham. I have since replaced the A suit, due to wear, with an A suit from Catsails UK which are excellent and reasonable priced. Several of our club members have bought from Catsails who give great service.

Hope this is helpful?

I look forward to hearing how your fleet develops and hope to see some of you sailing with us here in Phoenix.


Jerry Followup to Mike

What is the meaning of “Champ spec MM”?


Mike to Jerry

Mike Weston in the UK used to sell and build MM kits and based on his and John Tushingham’s experience developed  what he called his “Champ Spec” configuration and built and sold many MM’s to this spec. I bought one to see what he did so that our club members could modify their kit builds to conform to his spec. There is nothing radical but he incorporated several minor refinements that improved the room in the cockpit, ease of locating the battery further aft for higher winds and brought the main sheet adjustment down into the rear cockpit in addition to using the preferred Mark I fin and rudder and Mark II bulb, set back so that the front edge of the fin was 25 mm from the forward end of the bulb. All in all it produced a well-balanced boat easy to adjust and sail. In the article I did on the first ARTR MM I bought from Germany I compared the features of the ARTR version side by side with my Champ Spec boat on which the ARTR design was based.


Jerry to Mike

Using kit parts should we be moving the fin location on the bulb?

We have concluded that we want to get the main sheet away from the hatch cover. One idea is to place a tube at the forward edge of the cockpit that extends just a little above the hatch cover. Thus, the sheet clears the cover and has all of its effect on the boom to be (almost) horizontal.

Perhaps you could find a few minutes to send me a pic of the component arrangement in the boat. Perhaps we can take advantage of your ideas.

On our Victorias we typically made a flat platform that one could attach the battery to anywhere on its length (Velcro) and have it engage the rudder post. Thus, the battery could be moved almost to the stern. We use four and five cell flat battery paks. Are you doing something similar?



Mike to Jerry

Awaiting Mikes response.


Greg Norris Jumped in

In Mike’s first response, he indicated that he had forwarded my email to Greg Norris, the Micro Magic Class Secretary. Here is his response.

I’m happy that you’re making progress!

I liked the new kit well, and I wrote an article about putting it together.  That article will be out in the early summer edition of Model Yachting.  In the meantime, please call me with any assembly questions.  In particular, if you are assembling any carbon edition kits, please give me a call for sure.

To your specific questions:


Graupner has been very slowly but steadily improving the kit.  The one I put together had a 6mm mast with a tapered top.  The mast was thick walled, and much heavier than I would ever use.  I suggest using either an older kit 5mm mast or a ~ 6mm SkyShark 2P.  The latter have been the usual choice for MMs for years.  They are nice.  The 5mm old kit masts are also fine.  The current European champion uses them.

Both are easily available: SkyShark 2P –  They are a reliable supplier.

5mm old kit masts – I have some of these on order.  Should be here in a week or two at the latest.  I’ll be out of town from tomorrow through 4/9.  They should be here when I return, and I can send you one.


I agree with Mike.  I would not race with the current kit sails.  I don’t have current websites for Graphite or Cat, and I wasn’t aware that Graphite is currently making MM sails. (Mike will know the answer to the last question and have the CAT website.)  The other common choice is VAM (  These are sails made in Spain by a guy named Victor Izquerido.  They are the most common European sails.  The prices are competitive with everybody else, even including shipping.  Victor is very reliable and quick.  I think that Cat and VAM are both very good ways to go.


I agree exactly with Mike, though we’ve had no problems with the HiTec 485HB.  But given Mike’s experience, it makes sense to go with the Futaba sail servo.  I buy all of my servos from ServoCity.  I’ve found them to be reliable.  (

Hope that this helps!

Greg Norris, 970 210-4112

Model Yachts Retrieve a Box from the Pond

Conditions were a little breezy at the pond on Friday. During the frivolities, Bill Brown’s Micro Magic kit box top was blown onto the water. Two Victorias and a Micro Magic made repeated attempts to push the box back to shore, an upwind challenge. Finally, after about five minutes, it was decided among the box top’s world-be rescuers to push it to the other side of the pond – a decision made easy because the wind was blowing in that direction anyway. The story ended well. The mighty little Micro Magic, skippered by Fred Secker, succeeded in getting it to

Two PMYC model yachts maneuver to return the box top to its owner.
Two Victoria and Micro Magic doing there best to get a box top back to shore

the shore where Jerry Robertson was patiently waiting.






Pima Micro Yacht Club Micro Magic out-sails the Victorias
The PMYC Micro Magic is carrying the day having maneuvered the box top near the far shore.
Jerry Robertson, a PMYC member completes the adventure of Bill Brown's box top.
Finally Jerry Robertson retrieves the box top from the water. This day will end well.

PMYC Perennial Racing Trophy

Each year PMYC for the past three years PMYC has conducted a Winter Season Racing Series. This series is comprised of a monthly regatta, beginning in November and ending in May. During the 2015-2016 Winter Season a perennial trophy was designed and constructed by Bill Brown, one of our founding members.  The trophy is 7″ wide by 21″ high with plenty of room for nine years of winners. It is designed to be hung on a wall of each annual winner.

The winner of the 2015-2016 season was Bob Spraker, at the time a PMYC member.

As a result of a division of PMYC into two clubs, one sailing the Victoria model yacht (Tucson Model Yacht Club) and one sailing the Micro Magic (Pima Micro Yacht Club), there was no 2016-2017 series. Until PMYC has another winner, the trophy will hang on a wall in Jerry Walker’s den.  Jerry is PMYC’s most recent past Commodore.


Sailing Basics – Terminology

Sailing Terminology

This post defines the many terms used in sail boating. It is limited to terms relevant to model yachts. It contains terms about parts of a sailboat, functions of items on a sailboat, sailboat terms, and the parts of sails.

Like many sports or professions sailing has its own terminology. Developed over the last several hundred years with all the richness that comes along with that. At first glance many of our sailing terms may seem to have been assigned in a haphazard manner but, they have all developed out of nautical traditions, mostly from Europe.

For instance, the terms for right and left come from a time when ships used a steering board slung over one side of the boat. With sheer man-power or block and tackle they would apply leverage to the steering board to make their turns. Imagine coming into port and docking; you wouldn’t want to dock on the side the steering board is on so the other side of the boat, facing the port, came to be called ‘port’ and the side of the boat the steering board was on became known as ‘starboard’.


Note: Most of the content of this post is from the “School of Sailing” website. You can use the link to pursue building your sailing knowledge at that site.

This post has been edited to remove all, at least most, of the information that is not relevant to our models.

The entries below are copied from the Glossary.

Parts of a sailboat

A stay (line) that runs from near or at the top of the mast to the stern of the boat.
A spar that supports the foot of the mainsail. See figure #1.
The forward part of a boat also called ‘the pointy end’.
The fitting that attaches the boom to the mast.
Also called forestay, a cable /line that runs from the bow to the upper part of the mast. figure #5.
The underbody of a boat. See figure #5.
jib. A foresail (headsail) that fits inside the foretriangle. See figure #5.
keel. An extension of the hull that goes deeper into the water and provides stability from heel and sideways resistance to wind; as in: A well designed keel can provide lift to windward. See figure #5.
mainsail. The main sail of a boat, often the largest sail and raised on the
mainmast. See figures #1 and #5.
mast. A pole made from wood, aluminum, or carbon fiber on which a sail is set;. See figures #1 and #5.
shroud. A wire or cable holding up the mast athwartships (side to side)
spreader. A horizontal support for the stays that sticks out from the mast.
stern. The aftermost part of a vessel See figure #5.

Functions of Items on a Sailboat

topping lift. A line that runs from the end of the main boom to the mast in order to hold it up when the sail is not set.

boom vang. A device to hold the boom down; as in: Use the boom vang to
prevent the boom from rising up while on a run.
downhaul. Used to place tension in the luff of a sail.
halyard. A line attaches the sails to the mast.
jib sheet. A line that controls the jib.
mainsheet. A single line used to control the main.
outhaul. A sail control that attaches to the clew and allows tensioning of the foot of the sail.
rudder. An underwater appendage that controls the direction of the boat. See figure #5.

stay. A wire or cable supporting the mast, also see: “headstay” and “backstay”. See figure #5.

telltale. A fine string or ribbon which may be located on a sail or in the rigging to help determine wind direction and proper sail trim. See the Sail Trim post.

Sailboat terms

abeam. At a right angle to the boat.
astern. Behind the stern of the boat.
beam. The widest part of the boat.
draft. The depth of the boat underwater
heel. The angle the boat sails at.
jibe. To turn the stern of the boat through the eye of the wind. See Tacking and Jibing post.
lee and leeward (pronounced “lee” and “loo-ward”).
port. left side when looking toward the bow.
running rigging. All the lines that control any part of the sails including sheets, halyards, and outhaul.
standing rigging. All wires or cables that hold up the mast.
starboard. The right side facing the bow.
tack(ing). To change tacks by putting the bow through the eye of the wind.
weather helm. The tendency of a boat to turn into the wind.
windward. Towards the wind, upwind.

Sails and parts of a sail

Figure #5

Sailboat showing names of sails, hull, keel, rudder, bow, stern, forestay, backstay, battens, head, tack, clew, foot, luff, and leech.

batten. A strip used to stiffen the leech of a sail.
clew. The after lower corner of a sail.
foot. the bottom edge of a sail.
head. the top corner of a triangular sail.
jib. A foresail that fits inside the foretriangle of the mast and head stay.
leech. The back edge of a sail.
luff. the leading edge of a sail.
tack. To change tacks by putting the bow through the eye of the wind.

Sailing Basics – True and Apparent Wind


Note: Most of the content of this post is from the “School of Sailing” website. You can use the link to pursue building your sailing knowledge at that site.

True and Apparent Wind

There are two kinds of wind; true and apparent. We call the wind that blows across the land or water, the true wind. This is the wind talked about in the weather forecast of 10-15 knots for instance. It is the wind we feel when we are outside at rest and not moving.

As you might guess the other kind of wind, apparent, is the wind that is generated by our movement in combination with the true wind. The only time there is no apparent wind is when we are at rest and only feeling the effects of the true wind. When we move and the wind also moves the total wind we feel is the apparent wind. Stationary objects only feel true wind while all objects in motion feel apparent wind.

Let’s talk about some examples and start with the situation where there is no true wind. This is a day when it is completely calm with no detectable wind speed when we are standing still.


Boat with apparent wind only.

In this illustration we have calm conditions so we motor ahead at 5 knots producing an apparent wind of 5 knots from straight ahead.



On the next day, tied up at the dock, we have a true wind of 10 knots constant blowing across our port beam.

Boat with true wind only.

No wind from our boat’s forward motion. The true wind is 10 knots and that’s what we feel on the boat. What happens when we go sailing?


Lucky us! The wind will just blow us off the dock. We raise sails and move ahead on a close reach at 5 knots. We know the true wind is 10 knots and, since we will be moving forward we will be producing 5 knots of wind ourselves. How do these combine? We are combining our boat speed and direction with the true wind speed and direction.

boat with both true and apparent wind

We see the combined effects of the true wind and our boat’s motion forward. This produces the apparent wind, what we actually feel while sailing on the boat. Boats always sail in the apparent wind. Here, note the apparent wind is stronger than the true wind (the arrow is longer) and is coming from further towards the bow.

What if we fall off the wind and head down on a run? Let’s see what the combination of boat speed and direction along with the true wind produce now.

boat showing both true and apparent wind on a run.

As we turn away from the wind the boat slows down. It slows down because the apparent wind drops and the sails become less efficient. In this simple example we are going in the same direction as the wind so we just subtract our boat speed from the true wind speed and that gives us the correct apparent wind speed. If we have a wind speed indicator aboard it would show the same reading.

Sailing Basics – Tacking and Jibing


Note: Most of the content of this post is from the “School of Sailing” website. You can use the link to pursue building your sailing knowledge at that site.

Tacking and Jibing

If our destination or the direction of the wind change we will need to change our course. Many times this means changing the tack of the boat. If you refer back to Points of Sail you will see there are two tacks the boat can be on; starboard or port. Starboard tack boats carry their boom and mainsail on the port side while port tack boats do the opposite. When changes tacks we are moving the boom to the other side of the boat and usually move the head sail there also.


Tacking the boat is putting the bow through the eye of the wind. Sailboats can’t sail directly into the wind so if our destination lies upwind we will need to tack back and forth to get there. Let’s look at what a tack looks like.

Tacking a sailboat.

Some boat speed is required to insure we make it all the way through our tack. This is especially important for catamarans and slow, full keeled monohulls. If you do get stuck part way through it’s called ‘in irons’, just push the boom out and get the boat going backwards, if even a little. In short order you’ll be able to sail again. Tacking is a basic sailing skill, proficiency comes with a bit of practice.









Jibing is putting the stern of the boat through the eye of the wind. Here, we must be vigilSailboat jibing.ant about an accidental jibe. Unlike the tack above where the boom is moving slowly, when we jibe the boom is given to violent move and if we are not prepared damage can be done to boat equipment and any bodies that get in the way. Let’s take a close look at how this maneuver can be carried out.


Unlike tacking where we need boat speed to carry us through in jibing it is better to do it slowly until you’ve become very proficient. The boom coming across the boat is dangerous and must be done in a controlled manner.

Practice tacking and jibing often. A good way to do this is to practice lots of crew overboard recoveries. You can learn more by going to Crew Overboard.