Complete the building of an Almost-Ready-to-Sail Micro Magic V2 (2017)

The Micro Magic built from the directions in this post is for sale. Purchase this completed Micro Magic or use the instructons in this post to learn how to complete the building of your own Micro Magic almost-ready-to-race (ARTR) model yacht.

Maiden voyage

New Micro Magic For Sale by PMYC

This Micro Magic radio controlled model yacht was assembled from an ARTR kit from GraupnerUSA according to the directions contained in the kit and the contents of this Post

nearby is a pic of the finished Micro Magic, the boat used to develop this post. This boat is owned by the Pima Micro Yacht Club. It has been sailed one time; just to make sure it could. It is registered with the American Model Yachting Association. The registration will be transferred to its new owner at no cost.

The Graupner instructions are of little to no value to the assembly process. The assembly was based upon the myriad of materials on the Internet regarding this boat and my model yacht building experieince. If you want the boat for pleasure sailing it is ready to go with the addition of a receiver and transmitter. These two items can be purchased new from your local hobby shop (Hobby Town in Tucson, AZ). Or you can purchase them on the Internet from for about $80.

If you plan on racing your Micro Magic ,this post gives guidance on making the boat race-worthy. The weight of the boat as built ready-to-sail is 963 gm.  This post gives guidance on reducing the weight.

The price of the Micro Magic ARTR kit from Graupner is $299 (Sept. 2017).

Introduction 1 (will be combined with Intro 2)

This post explains the building of a Micro Magic almost-ready-to-race model yacht.

Assembling a Graupner V2 almost-ready-to-race (ARTR) Micro Magic model yacht is a reasonably straight forward project for those who have built model yachts in the past. "Non-modelers" may be a challenged - but it is certainly doable. PMYC members have access to other members who have building experience.

The Graupner MM Manual makes the point "This item is not a toy. .... Assembly.... must be performed by experienced modelers...."  I think Graupner is overstating the matter. That said, the detail in the Manual is sparse -- I think that's an understatement.

This post has two perspectives. One is what I have named "Casual Sailing".  The other is "Racing". The Casual Sailing topics are, essentially, a reflection of the Graupner instructions. The goal is to get a boat in the water and sailing. The Racing topics modify the Casual Sailing procedures to reflect modifications that will make the boat easier to sail and go faster in a race. The post is not consistent throughout on this dividing because the idea evolved while assembly was underway.

My immediate focus is to complete the assembly and the Casual Sailing instructions. Upon completion of the Casual Sailing instructions I will return to the Racing info.
The Racing sections will be focused on the changes to the Casual Sailing instructions. Those changes will have to be modified by the input one receives by studying the several articles covering the building of a Micro Magic from a kit and the creation of a fast racing Micro Magic.
This post has become larger than I anticipated at the beginning. I am noticing that it is loading a bit slowly. I am going to divide it into multiple posts with an appropriate indexing at the beginning of the first piece.

The boat assembly and the Post content development are ongoing.

Please read these next few paragraphs (July 2017)

I am documenting the assembly of the boat as I do the assembly. So, if you are thinking about or already committed to the assembly of an MM ARTR, come back regularly. I don't spend all of my time on this assembly or writing. So, the assembly project that I estimate will take most people 10 - 15 hours may extend over  weeks for me.

You may find this tedious reading. However, I assure you, that if you have to figure all of this out as I have done you will feel like you are building the kit from scratch -- another challenging project. Be patient and work through the steps. The labor savings and resulting build quality will be worth it.

Call me (520-461-6473) if you want to discuss the topic. Or, email me.


Introduction 2 (will be combined with Intro 1)

Mid-June, 2017, the Pima Micro Yacht Club purchased two Graupner SA  MM ARTR (Almost-Ready-to-Race) boats. These boats are constructed by the manufacturer needing only final assembly. The idea for PMYC to buy a kit  was a hedge against a repeat shortage of MM's experienced this year and to make it possible for persons new to the Club to easily obtain a boat that they could be sailing  relatively quickly.

The Graupner SA instructions are minimal. So, I decided to assemble the PMYC-purchased boat. And, will sell it when the boat and documentation is done. The focus of the build is  lot of research is going into this build. My sources are the multiple writings of MM gurus. The more significant of those writings are listed in the References Section below. I strongly recommending looking at all of them. My writings have drawn heavily on the content of these documents plus my experience as a model yacht builder going back to 2010.

The Manual notably lacks details and what information is there can be difficult to interpret unless you can examine a finished boat. This Post supplements the Manual, providing the desperately needed detail. It contains two perspectives on the assembly. One, to build the boat by the instruction (vague as they are). I label these sections "Casual Sailing". This is a boat that can be assembled rather quickly and will make for a fine casual sailing experience. The second perspective is racing. I label these sections "Racing".  This is the same boat but with multiple extra and sometimes time consuming steps, but will result in a boat that will be capable of being competitive - within the range of your boat handling skills and racing expertise. If you only interest is the casual sailing then use the label info. only.

As I said above, the focus of this post is primarily to help non-modelers. I have tried to give the guidance in a way that requires the least amount of purchases of tools and materials. If you are a modeler and/or have many, many tools, use the guidance to help yourself pick out the right tool or a better material based upon your experience.

Beyond the contents of this Post you can ask PMYC members for advice. And, be sure to look carefully at other boats for fitting-out ideas. A particularly good source is Jerry Robertson, Bill Brown and myself.

The emails for these PMYC members are:

A link to this Post is on the menu at the top of each page on the website (Assemble a MM V2 ARTR) so you can easily find it. It will be updated as I go along with pictures and narrative. As I am writing and assembling, I am thinking about assembling a package of "stuff" (I don't really know what that might fully mean at the moment) that could be purchased along with the boat to make the assembly easier -- removing most of the need to make yet another run to the hardware store.


If you are new to sail boats check out these documents that are available from the American Model Yachting Association (AMYA).

American Model Yachting Association Website

Micro Magic Website

Boats and Sailing - from the AMYA website


  • Greg Norris' article, "Building a Micro Magic". This article is about building from a kit. Even so, it contains relevant information.
  • Mike Eades article about the ARTR version of the MM
  • Remember to read the Summer 2017, #188, issue of Model Yachting magazine. Several articles appear there that are of particular help in the assembly project. This issue of Model Yachting is a must have if you are to be a Micro Magic racer.

In this post (the one you are reading), references to Mike Eades or Greg Norris are references to the above two documents.




West Marine -

Model Yachting

Want to race?

Take a look at this Facebook tuning video. As usual with Facebook, at the end of one video there are always additional related videos. Check them out.

Take a look at this tuning guide.

Materials Needed In Addition to the Box Contents

The following is a list of items, in addition to those in the box, that you will need to do the assembly -- prices are approximate where given. For my own convenience, I looked up item prices on the Internet. So, the numbers I give may be a bit low compared to local stores. For what I want to accomplish here they are good enough.

  • Stand Assembly
    • two wood blocks (2" x 6") to stabilize the stand-ends during assembly - get them at your local hardware or lumber store for free from their castoffs. - $0
    • Thin CA (3 sec. set) - $6.
    • Thick CA (30 sec. set) - $5. (Note: when using thick CA, you can instantly make it set by sprinkling Baking Soda on it. It makes the surface rough but does the job.)
    • Nail Polish - $.99 for a small bottle of wet-n-wild Clear Protector. Used for cementing knots. Slower drying than thin CA for setting knots, but easier to control.
    • Wood screws size: xx phillips head (for securing the stand ends to the wood blocks during assembly)
      Carpenters Framing Square - 8" x 12"
    • Varnish or paint to protect wood - optional (krylon Clear Interior/Exterior spray - $5.)
    • A simple carpenters framing square 8" x 12" (See pic on right) - $5 - borrow it if you don't have one
    • Drill to drill holes in the ends so that they can be stabilized during assembly.
    • Phillips screwdriver - borrow it if you don't have one
  • Hull
    • Sheets - Tufline XP 15# - replaces the lines that come with the kit.
    • A small amount of 1 mm plastic sheeting to build a mounting platform for hte screw eye for the jib sheet. See the xxx figure.
  • Rudder
    • Allen keys (hex wrenches) - 1.5mm and 2.5mm. If you do not have a set of these keys, you can buy them at Ace for about $1.00 each.
  • Sails
    • Sail Tape or Sail Patch Tape - approx. $23 for 3" x 15', enough to strengthen the luff of the MM sails for 60 boats (3" x 3" piece). This could be part of a "PMYC MM Building Package" NOTE: I have enough to support the build of a dozen boats.
    • Sail Numbering Tools. I have access to my wife's quilters cutting mat and transparent grid tool. It made the number application process easier. If someone in your household does quilting your have an immediate leg up on the sail application process.  Check around your neighborhood for a quilter. For reference the two products shown are made by Creative Grid and Crafty World (look them up on the Internet). The grid is 6" x 12" and the mat is 24" x 18". The mat is a bit pricey for this one project. So, the same carpenters square identified above would work as well. Use the grid that is in the sail material to help align the numbers.
Crafty World Quilters Cutting Mat
Crafty World Quilters Cutting Mat
Creative Grid

My First Impressions

My first impression upon opening the box is that Graupner does an outstanding job of providing a ready-to-sail product. Everything in the box was secured and neatly arranged. There were multiple packets of parts. The most impressive part of the package was the hull. It has a gleaming white painted finish that was obviously done by someone with a paint gun and skilled; not a spray can. The finish is smooth and dust-free. It was not until a few days after I opened the box that I removed the canopy. I was surprised at the neatness of the interior installation which included the servos and the power switch. If one does not particularly care to build a boat this is a great solution.

If you want to see the boat I have let me know. Unless you are strongly motivated to build, this is an excellent way to get into MM sailing.

Jerry Robertson and I agree that this boat is more fun to sail than the Victoria. The MM is very suited to the Tucson wind conditions. In Europe, it appears from the video available on the Internet that high winds are common. In contrast, here in Tucson, we will experience "too much wind" at most twice during the year. The rest of the time, we will usually be sailing in 0 - 10mph  conditions. We know from our experiences, that sailing in strong winds with our little boats is very challenging and, sometimes, not so much fun. Our light air is perfect for the MM.

MM Class Measurements

The items in the list reference the Class rules paragraph number. Link to MM class rules.

Item (Class Rules reference)RuleThis Boat
2.1 - Weight of ready to sail boat860 gm (min) 963 gm (Note 1)
3.2 - Axis of rudder from inner back-side of keelbox=210 mm 205 mm
3.4 - Bottom of lead ballast to the hull<=135 mm137+ mm
3.9 - Leading edge of keel to front tip of bulb=> 25 mm 38 mm
3.10 - Weight of the keel assembly including spacers380-420 gm 415 gm
4.10 - distance from the deck to top of mast<=780 mm 
 4.12 - Middle of mast-positioning slot to the jib boom deck connection =176 mm 176 mm
 Mast diameter 5-7 mm 5/6 mm (Note 2)
 Boom diameter >=4 mm 4 mm
Note 1 - Weight is with the plastic AA battery pak that came with the kit and Duracel batteries. Changing the battery to a 4-cell AAA shrink wrapped pak would reduce the weight by about 65 gm. leaving the total weight at about 900 gm, or less than 2 oz. "over weight". Replacing the clunky receiver that is in the boat at the moment with a lighter receiver would yield more weight reduction. Note that his "over weight" condition is only of interest to hard core racers. Good boat handling skills and solid racing knowledge easily overcomes the excessive weight in all but the most competitive situations.
Note 2 - Top and bottom of mast are 5 mm, center is 6 mm.

The MM V2 ARTR boat may not adhere exactly to the Class Rules.  See Blue items in table above. The following paragraph is from the Micro Magic Class Rules - 2017.

Recommendation concerning the Ready To Race (RTR) boats.
These boats, entirely built by Graupner, like the Graupner 2014 HOTT or RFH (Ready For Hott Version), may not be 100% class-conforming. Their keel may be a little too long and slightly overweight. Also the position of the jib and rudder may be different a little bit.
Nevertheless the organizers of a Micro Magic Regatta are advised to accept these boats to participate for the time being. This is very important for the growth of the class. Exclusion of these boats could mean that new MM-sailors with such a boat are not allowed to race, and this is undesirable.
July 2017 - Since this addition to the rules was made the manufacturing has been moved to China. The Chinese boats will be available in the USA in mid-August.

Editor: The new boats are expected to be available before the end of August, 2017.

What's in the Box?

The Box.
The hull. Notice the shiny, very good finish
Keel and Keel Bulb - without the spacers. You will be introduced to the spacers later in these instructions. See the spacers in the image containing the rudder.
Deck from the front of the cockpit to approximately half way to the bow.

Mast positioner (black piece) and jib sheet exit (round button) from deck. The white line entering the deck at the jib sheet exit is the jib sheet. At the top of the image, you see the cabin top in place. Near the bottom, is one of the components associated wtih the jib boom attachment.

Servos, sail servo arm, rudder push rod and power switch - already mounted.
AA Battery Pak
AA Battery Pak.
The instructions -- in four languages
This is what you will see when you remove the box cover.
Rudder, narrow white keel spacers (two sizes - four pieces) and the rudder horn (black) and rudder tension spring (immediately below the rudder horn.
Rudder post, rudder push rod, the mail sail sheet entry hole and the main sail adjustment are assembled and installed.

At the top of the image is the cabin top with two of its retainers.

Sail sheets are already installed - cabin top removeable for radio, etc. access
Servos, sail servo arm, rudder push rod and power switch - installed. Interior is very neat and clean.
cabin top
Cabin top -- view from the front (tapered side)
MM decals-3
Micro Magic decals.

The two black pieces in the lower left corner are the side "windows" for the cabin top. (See the Cabin top image above) The rectangular piece to the right are the "front' window and the piece with the white lines is the "cabin top" hatch. Place the square edge of the cabin top decal at the rear edge of the cabin top. The blue and black pieces are attached to the hull just below the deck edge. Do what you want with the other pieces. The estimated weight of the decals is 2 gm.

The More Detailed Parts of the Kit  are Already Assembled

The hull, mast and keel are completely assembled.  This is a step that allows you to skip about 10 hours of build time compared to building the kit. The completed items include:

  • The sail and rudder servo platforms are in place and the sail and rudder servos are installed and the arm connecting the rudder servo to the rudder in the cock pit is installed.
  • Keel box is in place
  • All deck fittings are installed
  • Deck is glued to hull
  • Rudder tube extending from the bottom of the hull to the top of the deck are installed
  • The keel is assembled
  • The sail sheets are installed. Note: the sheets are replaced for racing -- and that I did change them in accordance with the Racing section below.
  • The mast and boom are assembled, including stays and jib topping lift
  • The sail and rudder servo arms are installed
  • the boot for the rudder push rod is in place
  • The rudder servo to rudder push rod is installed
  • Hull and deck are painted - and the job was well done
  • The sheets are in place. The jib sheet routing in the boat was changed. See Jib Sheets section below.

Note: you must provide the receiver and battery. This will be covered further along in this post.

How Long Does it Take to Complete the Job?

It depends. Some of the variables are:

  • Your model building experience,
  • Your "fussiness level"
  • Your prospects of racing it.

My estimate of my build time, with a lot of writing time interspersed is about 10 hours. This will vary significantly depending upon your comfort level with this kind of project. However, it is not a difficult project. It does, however, require patience.

Micro Magic Assembly

Important stuff before we get Started

Rigging diagram-2

Sail Terminology that is used in this rigging section.

If you are not familiar with sailboat terminology, it will be helpful to carefully study the diagram. I did the details in the diagram to match the Micro Magic as close as I could.

square knot

Square Knot or Reef Knot: the knot of choice for tieing string on a model yacht.

The Reef Knot or Square Knot is quick and easy to tie (Section 9). This knot was used for centuries by sailors for reefing sails, hence the name Reef Knot, and tying things aboard ship. This is the knot you will use for the knots needed to build your rigging. As soon as you tie a know on your boat put the dab of thin CA or nail polish on it. If you use thin CA, it will set in a few seconds, nail polish takes a little longer.

CA and nail polish

Use thin CA or a clear nail polish to secure knots.

If you opt for the thin CA, be careful with it. It's very thin and runs along cracks in materials and along thin string, frequently ending up on your fingers - and, all too often, sticking them together. The bottle label indicates a set time of 1 - 3 seconds. That's instantaneous. A very small amount is all that is needed to secure your knots. A wooden toothpick works well. When you are applying the CA keep a folded half paper towel under the knot, in case the CA drips. When you are working with CA on your work surface, keep a piece of waxed paper under the work. CA does not stick to it. With CA you can put tension on the knot almost immediately. The nail polish won't run and won't stick you fingers together before you can clean them. That's all good. However, it takes some time to set. Do not tension the know for a minutes. Not a big deal, but it must be remembered. To avoid the Dyneema cord fraying when cut, put a few drops of thin CA glue into the cord at the position of the cut then cut through the glued cord at an angle. You will then have a hard, sharp point to the cut end that will be easy to thread through the Bowsies.

The thin CA sets in a couple of seconds - great when you are "sealing" a knot. When you are using the Thick CA, the set time is more like 30 seconds, but is a great gap filler and a good selection when you want the joint stronger. However, the longer set time is not always desired. When you want the CA to set "immediately", sprinkle a litter baking soda on it. Depending upon the situation, you may want to sand the joint a bit as it will be rough.


Using a bowsie

The above image is of a bowsie demonstration board I assembled a few years ago to help Club members understand the difference between how the two ways to string a bowsie work. Note, that the rubber bands represent the boat part that you are adjusting (or you can think of it as the load). That could be a sail adjustment, the length of a sail sheet, or a sail halyard. So, the right end of the rubber band as the item being adjusted. The top example indicates it is 1 X 1 meaning that for each 1" movement of the item/load the bowsie must move 2". The meaning to you is that the 2 X 1 method allows for finer and easier adjustments. I use the 2 X 1 method for my sail sheet and halyard and forestay adjustments. When the space available for the bowsie to move is restricted I use the 1 X 1 method.

Tuf-Line 15#

All of the rigging is done with fishing line

I suppose that the string that comes with the boat is fine. My persoanl preference for model yacht racing has been to rig with a fishing line. My own Micro uses the TuffLine 30# line for the fore and back stay. I use 15# TuffLine (Walmarts; $20/150 yds) for the sail sheets. Also a good choices are the PowerPro products (Walmarts; approx. $15 for 150 yd.). The PowerPro and Tuffline products are easier to work with than the string that comes with the kit. And, I do not know anything about the strength or durability of the string that comes with the boat.

dust mask 2017-09-20

Working with Carbon Fiber materials

The mast and booms are made of carbon fibre. Carbon fibre dust and fly is considered hazardous to our health. Excercise caution by wearing a dust make when you are cutting or drilling this stuff. For reference, I use the 3M 8577CA1-C-PS Chemical Odor Valved Respirator, 2-Pack. You can buy them locally or for $11 on Amazon.

Step 1 - Register Your Boat with the AMYA and the Micro Magic Class


American Model Yachting Association

Join the American Model Yacht Club (AMYA) by joining. The annual cost is $7 with a first time extra cost of $1. Your dues help the AMYA continue its activites on behalf of model yacht owners all over the country.

MM registration

Register your Micro Magic with the Class Secretary

Also, please register MM with the Class Secretary. What you get for registering your MM with the MM Class Secretary. File the red card. Place one of the white stickers on the inside hull of your boat about an inch below the deck. It would be good if you could also place a piece of transparent packing tape over the sticker so that it can't get wet. Upon registering your MM you will receive, from the MM Class Secretary, a registration card, two stickers identifying your sail number and two decals of the MM Class. This process will take about a week. See Fig xx). Contact the Micro Magic Class Secretary to register your boat.



Step 2 - Assemble the Stand (MM 7)


Assemble the wood pieces

Assembling the stand was one of the more frustrating tasks I have undertaken in a long time. The long front and rear cross pieces are slightly warped making a straight forward assemnbly impossible. There may be an easy solution but I don't know what it is. Maybe Jim Haines will improve this section when he builds his boat.

So, the challenge is to either find a way to strap it all together before you glue, fight the twisting or make new pieces. I chose to fight -- not especially bright, but...

I used small wood screws to attach the stand-ends to wood blocks to temporarily stabilize them while I worked. (You can see the blocks under the stand in the image above.) Then one at a time I added the cross pieces fastening them with Thin CA. After I completed the assembly I removed the screws then went back to the joints with the Thick CA. With four slightly twisted cross pieces, the resulting assembly was inevitably also twisted. The good news is that the boat on the stand puts all four corners down on the table. so, in the end, it's not a big deal. Even better news is that the stand straightened out after the boat had set on it for a week.

Finally I put a coat of clear finish on the stand to protect it from moisture. That process caused the wood grain to rise. But, a light sanding with fine sandpaper made the surfaces smooth .


Add the hull cushioning pieces

After assembly, put the black thin strips with the sticky back on the tops of the end pieces to serve as a smooth surface for the hull to rest on. I found that one piece served both ends. So, I have an extra piece. The challenge will be keeping track of it over time.

Comment about the stand

Here is a Comment submitted to this Post about the stand on July 1.

The wood stand issue that Jerry Walker points out here may be common to many MM boats either in either kit or ARTR form. I opened my own ARTR package only to find that two of the horizontal plywood braces for the stand were in bad shape. The braces are made of a thin (0.5mm) solid wood core with a single layer of nearly paper thin wood laminate on each side. The laminate on one side of each brace was delaminated nearly completely from the core. I attempted to re-glue the laminate to the core but it ended up a floppy, twisted mess. I would suggest buying a sheet of plywood at the hobby shop and making your own sturdy braces to replace the faulty Graupner parts. Don’t waste your time on re-gluing.
Jim H.
PMYC member and MM builder

Step 3 - Hull and deck


This step does not have an equivalent in the Manual.

Check the hull for leaks

There are three potential places where water can enter the hull. The two small ones are the holes on the deck where the sail sheets pass through the deck. There is nothing we can do about these holes. Water will only enter the boat through these holes on windy days and then usually only in small amounts. On windy days i put a 1" square piece of sponge. After each race I squeeze the sponge removing all of the water. Micro Magic owners also tend to put a hole in the deck near the transom and insert a plug in it.

Remember that the MM ARTR has been partially assembled. The rudder tube and keel box have been installed and the deck attached. You need to  make sure that water cannot get into the hull around the keel box and the rudder tube and any where along the deck/hull joint. Put the boat in the bath tub or pool and push it down until the water line is near the deck. Look for leakage inside the boat.  Also, put the boat on its side in the water submerging it along the deck/hull joint, again looking for leaks. Fix any leaking with some silicon seal. If there is any leakage along the deck/hull joint I recommend sealing the joint all the way around the boat.


Note that the hull and deck have been painted. And, a very good job was done. That said, you can add color to the deck and/or hull as you desire. Be sure to sand lightly with 400 Wet or Dry, wet before painting. Use any good quality spray can paint. You can finish off the look by painting a thin colored line along the water line. Put the boat in your bath tub or pool.Put pieces of  paper tape along the water line. Mark the hull with a pencil and then apply masking tape on the hull. Then apply another line of tape 2 mm away. There is masking tape available at hobby stores that makes a very fine line for your painting. When the tape is removed after painting the line is clean. Carefully complete the masking and paint. I'm sure that there are other means, probably easier, to get this water line on the boat. The alternative to painting is the colored vinyl pinstriping. Again, a hobby store is a good source.


Apply the decals.


Fig. xx. Opposite sides of the battery mounting strip. The black squares on the strip are velcro. The left side image is the bottom. The round cutout on the right end will engage the rudder post below deck at the back of the boat. The velcrow patch will stick to the velcro patch in the hull, just aft of the servo platform. The right side image is the top. Using velcro on one of the solid sides of the battery pak you can place the battery just aft of the servo (this will be its most used position for light winds) or about two inches aft on the center patch. Unless you purchase or make a 5-cell AAA battery pak, you will not be able to move the battery back tg the rudder post.

The battery strip is for mounting the battery in the boat in a manner that the battery can be moved aft on a windy day. The original placement of the velcro on the plastic strip is not conducive to effective use. There are  three pieces of velcroon each side of the plastic strip and three on the bottom of the boat as well. Our goal is to make the insertion and removal of the plastic strip easy and quick. 

Remove the two squares of velcro on the bottom of the hull under the rear deck -- keeping only the square immediately behind the servo platform. And, remove two of the three squares on one side of the strip and make a round indent in one end as shown on the Figure.





Jib Sheet routing

Jib Sheet Routing - General

Routing of jib sheet from bowsie adjustment in cockpit to the jib. See the nearby figure for detail about the screw eye turning point on the keel box.


Jib Sheet Routing - the turning point at the front fo the cockpit

Note the orange rectangle in the center of the figure. The color is to draw attention to the area. A 1/8" screw eye was embedded in a piece of plastic cut out of the unused keel spacers. I made a groove on one side of the piece, put the screw eye threads into it and cemented it to hte vertical piece shown in the figure. This screw eye serves as a turning point for the sheet coming off of the servo arm and makes its way to the cockpit and a bowsie adjustment. The line running from the screw eye through the photo date in the lower right corner is the sheet going to the cockpit.

2017-05-24 BB Build - 4

Painting the hull and deck

Here is an example of the hull and deck finishing done by or most creative member, Bill Brown.

A big challenge to becoming an above average model yacht racer is developing your boat handling and racing skills. As your boat handling skills and racing skills improve you will be looking for other ways to go faster. One of the long term goals you will have is to keep the boat as light as possible, ie. no more than 860 gm. Paint adds weight. You will see many videos of Micro Magics on the Internet with very nice paint jobs. And, surely a good number of them do well at regattas. Enough said. However, DECALS Apply the paint words to decals.

Step 4 - Install the Rudder (MM 8) (Micro Magic instructions, pg. 8)

Casual Sailing


The instructions, Page 8 are a little hard to follow. But, it is just three parts; the rudder, a spring and the arm. The push rod post has already been added to the rudder arm -- see the right side of the page near the Allen key for this assembly. You will need a 1.5 mm and a 2.5 mm keys in the future to make adjustments to the boat. If you do not have the two Allen key sizes: 1.5 mm and 2.5 mm, you can get a set of metric keys at Ace, making sure that the two sizes ares included. You will need these two keys in the future to make adjustments to the boat. The 1.5 mm key also fits the post on the rudder servo arm in the boat.

The rudder shaft is steel and will rust. Simply use petroleum jelly to grease it. And, periodically, remove the rudder, clean the shaft with steel wool or kitchen cleanser and replace it, renewing the grease. I am not going to lube the shaft until the end, in case I have to remove the rudder during the rest of the boat assembly.


The positioning of the rudder push rod oat the two ends needs a bit of explaining. (See Rudder/servo connection image . Notice that the connector on the servo end of the rod is in the last hole. The connection is on the inner hold on the rudder end.

Rudder/rudder servo connection. Use outer hole on servo end, inner hole on rudder. The hole will have to be enlarged a bit to accommodate the post. The rudder arm is not tightly attached. See the text about the solution.

If you do not use these two hole positions you will find that the rudder arc is narrow and that the boat does not turn easily. If you have a transmitter with a Travel Adjust setting, then also adjust the travel so that you get about a 45 degree travel on each side of neutral. If you do not know how to make setup changes on your radio contact a local hobby shop (In Tucson contact Hobby Town on E. Speedway.). As a last resort, read the transmitter manual.

See the next section for dealing with the hole in the rudder-end control arm.


In the process of moving the connector post to the inner hole in the rudder control arm, I noted that the threaded lock nut fitting on the underside of the connector on the rudder arm was not tight - and could not be tightened without binding. Worse, the nut could not be threaded on far enough to engage the locking portion of nut. My solution was to drill out a small indent in the bottom of the arm - enough to allow the lock nut to engage the threaded post. Be very careful with the drilling. The bit tends to bind in the soft material of the arm and could go all the way thru - then time for a new arm.



I ground down the metal rudder tube protruding below the hull so that the rudder fit closer to the hull. You may have to shave the top edge of the rudder slightly to make it fit the hull shape.

Step 5 - Install the Keel (MM 9)

The MM instructions, Page 9, do not identify the spacers needed for keel installation.  You will use the narrow spacers. Discard the wide ones.

The keel fits very tightly inside the keel trunk. The first step is to sand the keel box a bit with particular emphasis on the immediate opening at the hull. It appears that paint has gotten inside. Also sand the keel insert until the fit is snug but not tight. Never force it in, as this could blow the keel box apart, and that is a very difficult repair.

Use a 1/8" drill bit to open the deck hole a little to allow passage of the screw. There was paint in it making it a bit too small for the screw on the top of the keel.

The keel will be centered in the slot. This means that only the narrower of the spacers will be used, one each on the forward and aft side of the top of the keel.

Figure xxx.Keel with narrow spacers on the forward and aft side of the keel insert. - marked with the striped black lines. An additional spacer, shown in black was added by me to the aft edge of the keel insert to make the keel insert fit snugly into the keel box.. See Fig xx. Retain the wide spacers for another use.
elsewhere. Sand the spacers to remove the mold marks. Glue both in place with CA glue. Note the length difference.  This build concluded here with the keel able to rotate fore and aft. by about 3/16" pivoting on the screw at the deck. No good. I added a 1" long spacer on the aft side of the insert approximately 3 mm thick (fore and aft).  The keel fits snugly now. The screw prevents motion at the deck. Note the image showing the keel with the box spacers and the additional one immediately above the keel fin.
These are the keel spacers they are not used. Keep them for another use.

Insert the keel into the trunk until it won't go further. Move it back and forth until the screw comes out of the hole. The screw will be sticking out of the deck by about a 1/4".  Put the washer and nut on the screw sticking out of the deck and finger tighten it.

Notice that the forward edge of the keel is recessed in the hull by about 2 mm. That is expected with the MM.

The keel is installed. The topic of the angle of the keel bulb to the water line will be revisited at the end of this post. Meanwhile its time to move on.

Step 6 - Check the Alignment of the Keel and Rudder

Casual Sailing

Any misalignment of the rudder and keel is of no consequence.


At this point in our assembly, you can check the alignment by putting the boat on the stand and then sighting between the keel and the rudder. This boat's keel and rudder are slightly out of alignment. Note: my own MM, #180 has the same condition -- built from a kit. The is an item that needs to be investigated with the MM gurus. I put it on the Finalizing Items list at the end of the post.

Step 7 - Obtain an RC Transmitter/Receiver

a. Transmitter

Hobby King 2.4Ghz 4Ch Tx & Rx V2 (Mode 2), Model: HK-T4A-M2

The topic of transmitters tends to be very personal. All of the better known transmitter brands are of good quality. You may find that everyone you talk to has their own preference for a radio and thinks all of the others are inferior. If you need a radio, talk to the guys at the pond watch eBay for deals.

For reference you can obtain a new HobbyKing Transmitter and receiver for under $25.


You can view this radio at the HobbyKing website.

b. Receiver Orange Receiver R610V2 DSM2 6 channel receiver for under $10.

You can purchase a HobbyKing Orange R610V2 DSM2 6 channel receiver for under $10. No matter what choice you make for a transmitter, make sure you get a compatible receiver.


You can view this receiver on the HobbyKing site.

Step 8 - Get some power in the boat

AA Battery Pak

Battery Option 1 - battery holder for AA/AAA batteries

The simplest battery solution is to use the AA battery pak that comes in the MM box. You can use Duracell Alkaline AA batteries that can be found everywhere. Note, Costco has the best battery prices. Simple (non-rechargeable) batteries will power the boat for at least a half-dozen outings of 2 or 3 hours each. The Duracell AA battery at Costco has the part number MN1500. My estimate is that this is a 1500 mah battery; plenty for the MM.


Battery Option 2 - 800 mah AAA 5-Pak

You can also use rechargeable NiMH AA batteries with the battery pak. The 5-pak pictured can power the boat for at least several 3-hour outings. It weighs 64 gm. If a four-cell pak is used the weight drops to 52 gm.

A 5-pak of cells can be obtained on the Internet. The one shown above was built by Batteries Plus while I waited. I had to provide the pigtail.

See the charger discussion below about chargers.

lipo batter pak - 2

Battery Option 3 - LiFe (Lithium Iron Phosphate)

LiPo or LiFe batteries are 6.6 V. An 1100ma battery costs approximately $35. A compatible charger is going to cost about $50. My research suggests that a five-cell AAA pak will weigh about 10 gm less than the LiFe equivilent. At $85 for a battery adn charger is appears that the NiMh is the better choice.

Tenergy Battery Charger

Battery Charger - Tenergy TB6-B Balance Charger for NiMH/NiCD/Li-PO/Li-Fe Battery Packs + Power Supply

If you are needing a battery charger I recommend one that can charge our common AA and AAA batteries as well as the LIPO's. I say this because I suspect there is Li technology in all of futures. Here is one that is able to do it all. I do not have experience with it but the Internet write-up was impressive. $60 on Amazon.

Alternatively, you can purchase a Prophet Sport Ni-MH, a charger only for NiMH and iCD's for $30, plus a few more dollars for a cable adapter.

Mike Eades, Aug. 2017, said: "I use 6v batteries for all my RC boats -- the radio systems seem to work best at 6v. I use for the MM a 5-AAA cell 1000 mah NiMH battery in 3 x 2 configuration. The 3 cell layer fits nicely on the base of the hull while I can Velcro my Rx to the upper 2-cell layer."
Mike Eades, Aug. 2017
Micro Magic sailor from the West Valley R/C Mariners in AZ

Step 9 - Install the Boat Receiver and Test

Wiring Diagram

Connecting the electrical components

You have your transmitter and receiver. The rudder and sail servo and the power switch come installed in the boat. You must add the battery and receiver. If your receiver connections are positioned at the end of the receiver, the black leads of the servos and battery connect at the bottom. If the receiver connections are on top, then the black leads are toward the outside of the reciever. Don't try to neatly position your battery and receiver into the boat initially. The first step is to just determine if every thing works. Connect your battery and receiver in accordance with the instructions for them. Note; before you can perform your test you will likely heve to perform a binding of the transmitter and receiver. If you are new to rc use the instructions to perform the binding. If they are unclear search the Internet for help. There are multiple sources there.

Step 10 - Rig the boat

In this step we will install the mast, booms and sails. Before getting into the details, the following information is offered to help make the job a little easier if you are new to sailboats and/or model building -- parts of a sailboat and its sails, the knot used to tie strings, and the glue for tying.


Put the sail numbers on the sails

Add the sail numbers and your country code, if desired. Having numbers on your sails is mandatory for participation in Micro Magic Class sanctioned racing. PMYC requires a sail number though MM Class registration is not required. Any number unique among those in the local fleet is acceptable. That said, I strongly recommend registering your boat with the Micro Magic Class. By doing so you are supporting the work of the Class.

Putting your numbers on the sail before it is on the mast is much easier than after it is on the boat. Get your sail number by contacting the Micro Magic Class Secretary. Send your sail number request to  The sail numbers are three digits. You can request a specific number though there is no guarantee of its availability. Ask for several numbers. Or, in my case, I asked for a number with sevens and ones. I got #717. This is a number that is easy to put on the sail. You can pay by check or PayPal (perhaps some credit cards).

Putting the numbers on the sail is tedious but not difficult. The greatest challenge is to end up with the numbers evenly spaced and more or less parallel to the water. See the Figure of my sails. I will give the dimensions I used for your convenience.

Number and country approximate positioning on the sails Jib with numbers near foot of sail Main Sail with numbers near middle of sail. USA letters not on yet.

Example - Sail and numbers template taped to cutting board. Use Sharpie to draw the numbers on the sails Now for the number positioning on the sails. The size of the numbers and letters on the sails are specified in the "Locating The Numbers on the Sail" in the Reference Section near the top of this Post. The document referenced provides an exact size template for the required lettering, the MM logo and the numbers 0 - 9. The MM Class rules do not address the detailed placement of the sail numbers on the sail.

The MM Class Rules state: The mainsail must display a class provided sail number and country designation.... Letters and numbers should be of a good contrasting color and completely filled in.

It is conventional to place the numbers on the starboard side of the sail above those on the port side.  The placement of hte numbers is identified in the "Locating The Numbers on the Sail" link in the Reference Section near the top of this Post.

Noting the comments in Greg's article, I measured the above-deck part of the mast. It is about 28 5/8 ". With the boom and mast installed on the boat the distance between the top of the boom and the bottom of the mast head crane is 5/8".

Location of the numbers on the posrt (upper) and starboard (lower) sides of the jib sail.
Using the sail number template that you get when you register your Micro Magic with the Class. The template contains actual sized numbers and the USA designation.
Sail number on the port side of the main sail. (starboard side not yet added)
Metal rings on mail sail

Put the metal rings on the mainsail luff

The main sail has holes along the luff for the metal rings. Install the rings - with the temporary exception of the top one (the top ring is above the jib mount fitting on the mast). For consistency place all of the rings in the same direction. With the rings installed insert the mast , foot first through the rings. Add the top ring.  Make new holes along the main sail luff offset from the existing holes by 1/4" (this is keep0ing the original and new holes separated). We are doing this to allow us to control how far the main sail luff edge is saparated from the mast.

Tie strings to the holes in the head and tack of the sails

The strings, suggested to be the 30# Tuffline or Specktra, connect the top of the sail to the base of the mast crane -- as shown on the image of the left below. Make the initial string length on the hed of the 6" long to give yourself plenty of string to work with as you make knots. The string at the foot of the sail should be 10" long as you will be adding a bowsie to this one. Tie the string to the sail, using the square knot.

Step 10 - Mast & Main Sail

Remove the two pieces of tape from the mast. We'll sort out the use of the strings later.

The total mast length is 31 7/8".

Jib (short sting connects to the top of the jib), fore stay string (attaches to the deck at the frront of the boat.), topping lift (attaches to the aft end of the jib boom.

The three mast pieces have been connected (above the jib attachment point and the bottom 2" of mast) and the mast head crane and jib/topping lift attachment point have been installed. The long string from the end of the mast head crane is the back stay. The long strings attached to the jib attachment point (the strings extending to the left of the mast) are the topping lift (string connects to the aft end of the jib boom) and the jib fore stay (string connects to the deck at the bow). The short string attached to the jib attachment point is the jib halyard -- attaches to the top (head) of the jib sail.

Step 11 - Mast & Boom Installation Proparation

Prevent the gooseneck from rising on the mast

The first time you put the mast and boom on the boat (just to see what it looks like) notice that the gooseneck/boom fits into a matching slot in the deck. However, also note, that the gooseneck is not restricted from moving up the mast -- disengaging from the deck. Not good. Wrap a couple of turns of line around the mast just above the gooseneck and set it with a drop of thin CA. Do not glue the gooseneck to the mast.

Side stays are not used; topping lift is added (MM 13)

With the use of a carbon fiber mast the side stays are not needed on your Micro Magic. Note the two lines connected to the mast about 3" down from the top. Remove one of them -- cut it off being careful not to cut the second line. We will use the second line as a topping lift for the jib. A topping lift connects to the aft end of the jib boom and provides a means to bend the boom, changing the shape of the jib and facilitating air flow over the jib and main sail. When you have the jib boom on the boat and connected you will notice that tightening the topping lift bends the jib boom putting more tension on the forestay and allowing the jib to bow out from the boat when under sail. Don't put more than a very little tension of the topping lift until the boat is ready to go in the water. Then talk to someone at the pond about what various tensions do to the boat's sailing.

Prepare temporary line from mast to bow.


Main Sail Downhaul (also referred to as a cunningham) (MM 13)


I plan on racing my Micro Magic


Everything that has preceded this section has been focused on getting your ARTR boat in the water. The details of making the boat as fast as possible are not addressed. This section addresses some of those topics that can improve your boat's performance. If you are serious about the racing, you might want to build your boat from a kit. Most importantly, in order to do your best racing it is recommended that you read every thing you can find about Micro Magics, starting with all of the links in this post.

  • As you have already read in the Class Measurements section, the MM ARTR is not totally compliant with the class rules. Compliance with Rule 3.4 is straight forward. Shave the top of the keel insert to get the measurement in compliance. Establishing compliance with Rule 3.3 i. will require removal of the rudder tube and resetting it. That is not difficult but will require some redo on the construction and will be a bit tedious.
  • There is another matter that is important to MM performance. That is the angle of the keel to the surface of the water. When this keel was installed after the spacers had been inserted, the bulb was pointed downward by a couple of degrees. Greg Norris' "Building a Micro Magic" article appearing in the Summer 2017 issue (#188) of Model Yachting and on this website (  addresses the topic of the preferred angle of the keel bulb relative to horizontal in the section titled "On to the keel fin and bulb and rudders". In that section, it is desirable to have the front of the bulb angled upward between 0 and 3 degrees. Given that the keel on this current boat is already built we cannot exactly follow Greg's instructions. My approach to assessing (and fixing) the bulb tilt are presented in the "Bulb Tilt" section at the end of this post.
  • Wet sand the hull using 400 and 600 grit wet or dry paper. A shiny surface is not conducive to speed.

Taper the aft edges of the keel and rudder

Taper the aft edges of the keel and rudder until they are quite sharp.

Reduce the weight

Reduce the total weight by what ever means you can identify. Start with a light battery pak.

Change the main and jib sheets

Mike Eades recommends changing the main and jib sheet materials. Mike recommends a 50# test line. I recommend the 15# TufLine XP line. A spool contains 300 yards, enough to do more than a few boats. I have used this product on two Victoria models for three years without visible wear or breakage. A big benefit of this product is its high flexibility. The sail positioning will never be influenced by a stiffness in the sheets. It is easier to make this change now as it will be tedious once the mast is on. Make the new sheets the same length as the original and reuse the bowsies. (Jim Haines is experimenting with a smaller bowsie. This post will be updated to reflect his experience.) For this project I changed the sheets.

wind vane with teal stream

Make a wind vane

This 3 gm. wind vane uses an .8 mm OD while the tube is 1.3mm ID. That makes for a rather loose fit but it worked well on the pond in windy conditions (most any design would likely work well on a windy day). We'll see how it works in our typical AZ day of 0 - 5 mph.

Vane mount

The mount on the mast is a 5.8" piece of aluminum tubing attached to the mast using a piece of carbon fibre tube with a sosmewhat smaller ID than the mast crane fitting. This results in the CF tube stanging out from the mast about 3/16". That, in turn, makes it possible to attach the small piece of putty (the white blob). The putty prevents the vane from blowing off the boat. The putty also allows for an easy removal of the vane. The bead is the rotating surface and sets the position of the vane above the mount.

Vane design

The horizontal component of the vane is a 5" 2 mm. CF rod. The fin is 2 1/4" along its base, 1 3/8" along the top and 1 1/2" high. The piece of putty stuck to the front of the CFR rod is to balance the vane. The mounting rod is bent at right angles and is about 5/8" on its horizontal section and raises the vane 1" above the mast.

Add a foil streamer to the wind vane

PMYC skippers have been using a foil-like product for their wind vanes for years. I wanted to identify the product (the one shown in the image above) we have been using. Within a few minutes of searching on the internet I knew I was not going to find it. So, on the way to the pond today, I stopped at Micheal's (The Michaels Companies, Inc). After showing them the stuff I have been using they took me directly to their offering.

Orx Tx

Transmitter Exponential Rudder


This is a place holder for topics needed in the post.

  • the mast mount

  • The boat does not need side stays - remove them
  • retainer on mast above boom
  • step 1 - boom retainer
  • step 2 sail on mast
  • step 3 back stay
  • install mast
  • jib boom mount to deck - make it close
  • topping list - last


Keel Tilt

This section was referenced in the earlier "Install the Keel" section. The purpose of this section is to address the subject of the tilt of the keel bulb and to explain how the bulb tilt was estimated and what was done to correct it. (Its original tilt was front down. The desired is the front tilt up 0 - 3 degrees relative to the rear of the bulb.

I placed this section at the end because unless you want to participate in inter-club regattas this topic is not of great importance. For PMYC club racing any disadvantage it may represent could be offset by good sailing and racing skills against all but the fastest boats.

Before getting into the details I have included the words from an email I sent to Greg Norris along with his response.

June 30, 2017 Jerry wrote to Greg Norris:

In you’re Model Yachting article you state that the mark on the bow “…just above the round area at the bottom of the bow”. However, the picture appears to be showing the mark near the bottom of the round area. To me this is where the mark needs to be – at the water line at the bow. That is exactly where the water line on my boat is.

June 30, 2017 Greg responded:

So, in light to moderate air I place the battery so that the transom is just kissing the water at rest, and I now make my keels with the bulb cant at 2-3 degrees upwards, or 87-88 degrees as you likely measure it.

What is truly optimal in a MM is however unknown.  Optimal bulb cant in a towing tank with an IOM is 3 degrees, with 0-2 degrees being very similar, but anything over 3 degrees upward or any negative (downward) can't being much worse.  I know of no testing in rc boats in waves or under actual sailing.

  1. Put keel in boat and gently tighten the nut.
  2. Put a pencil mark at the bottom of the round of the round area at the bottom of the bow.
  3. Put boat in stand on a smooth table.
  4. Position the boat on the stand until the distance between the mark on the hull and the table and the bottom of the center of the transom are equal.
  5. Measure the distance from the front and back tip of the keel bulb -- the hypotenuse of a right triangle (130.5mm).
  6. Measure the distance from the front and rear tips of the bulb to the table.
  7. Subtract the two values. Hopefully, the front value will be larger than the rear. This is the Opposite side of a right triangle.
  8. Calculate the angles using a calculus calculator such as One angle will be approx. 88, the other 2. You want the larger angle to be between 87 and 90 degrees.

After all of this be sure to read Greg Norris' Summer 2017, Model Yachting article. or, read it here:

Finalizing Items

  • Shorten the keel according to the manual on Page 9-20
  • lubricate the rudder shaft
  • Remove the text at the top of the doc.
  • Neaten up the images at the beginning of the doc
  • Snug up the keel nut.
  • Keel/rudder slightly out of alignment.

New Micro Magic For Sale by PMYC

Get on the pond today with this new Micro Magic. This boat was built from a Graupner Micro Magic ARTR kit. It was used to help create the building instructions on the PMYC website.
It’s a lot of fun to sail and a whole lot easier to transport — it will stand upright in its cradle on the front or rear seat floor.

Price: $350

August 2017

Reveiw the instructions for building this Micro Magic from the Graupner Almost Ready to Race (ARTR) kit.

This Micro Magic was assembled from an ARTR kit from GraupnerUSA according to the directions contained in the kit and the PMYC assembly guidance Post.

At the end of this post are a couple of pics of the finished Micro Magic. This boat is owned by the Pima Micro Yacht Club. It has been sailed one time in our Community pool; just to make sure it could. It is registered with the American Model Yachting Association. The registration will be transferred to its new owner at no cost.

The Graupner instructions are of little to no value to the assembly process. The assembly was based upon the myriad of materials on the Internet regarding this boat and my model yacht building experieince.

If you want the boat for pleasure sailing it is ready to go with the addition of a receiver and transmitter. These two items can be purchased new from your local hobby shop (Hobby Town in Tucson, AZ), or you can purchase them on the Internet from for about $80 (Tx: $70, Rx: $10). With patience, you can find a transmitter on the Internet.

If you plan on racing your Micro Magic, this post gives guidance on making the boat race-worthy. The weight of the boat as built ready-to-sail is 963 gm.  This post gives guidance on reducing the weight.

Price: $350

Contact: Jerry at

Typical Graupner assembly instructions - very little detail.
Parts of a Micro Magic ARTR kit.