BlueJacket blue sailor logo

March 2013
Vol 3, Issue3


News,Tips and Happenings

Dear Shipmate:


Spring is finally arriving in Maine. Besides looking at the calendar, we have the usual clues of robins, green shoots, etc.  One of the less obvious clues is that we are beginning to see more people in our gallery, many of whom say, "I didn't know that you would be open this time of year."

Well, we are open. In fact, we remain open all year long, Monday-Friday, 9AM-4PM. Mid-June to mid-October, our hours are extended to Monday-Saturday, 9AM to 5PM.

Even though, in many respects, our gallery has the look and feel of a tourist related retail operation, that couldn't be further from the truth. We are manufacturers and that is our mindset.

As manufacturers, we are making fittings on a daily basis, building kits so they are in inventory when someone wants it, building cases and baseboards, and creating new kits for all that it entails.

We also are kept busy performing ship model
Assorted restorations
repairs/restorations on all types and sizes of models. I'm very proud of the fact that, in over 100 years, we have never had a ship model that we couldn't restore. The owner only has to decide whether the model is worth restoring, either from  an emotional/sentimental point of view, or based upon intrinsic worth. People have chosen to spend thousands of dollars restoring a very badly modeled clipper, because great grandad built it when he was a boy, and even though it had no intrinsic value, it was worth everything to the family. We always try to assess a model's intrinsic value before beginning a restoration project, so that the owner can make an informed choice.

Even though we don't see many visitors in the winter, we
Schooner Chas. P. Notman
are often called for completed models of our kits. This winter we sold our models PORTLAND, JEREMIAH O'BRIEN, CHARLES P. NOTMAN, New Bedford Whaleboat, CNS ALFRED, etc. These all have to be built to place back on display in our gallery.
 And last, but certainly not least are our custom projects. We are in the process of finishing off a model of a downeast classic, a Calvin Beal 38' lobster yacht. We are also building a model of a very lovely sailboat, a Hinckley Bermuda 40 yawl. We have also just completed a model of a 55' center cockpit sloop, featured below.

There are always numerous half hull's to build, in the traditional manner, hand carving them from laminated "lifts".

One of our very exciting custom projects is to build 2 models, exactly the same, of an 1850's Baltimore clipper, one of which will be in the client's home and one of which will be donated to his very prestigious alma mater ( I bet you can't guess which one, given that it is a model of a Baltimore clipper).

I am very pleased and honored that BlueJacket has been chosen to build a model of the National Historic Landmark wooden tugboat, LUNA, now under re-construction and slated to be on exhibit in Boston, MA. LUNA is important because she was the first commercial diesel ship docking tug. You will certainly see much more of our LUNA model in the next 8 or 10 months, featured in ShipShape.
Diesel wooden tugboat LUNA
Yes, we are open year 'round, and manage to keep ourselves busy! Please drop on by, or give us a call, and say hello.

In This Issue
Model of the Month-Custom center cockpit sloop
Tip of the month-Shipping your model
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 Model of the Month-Custom center cockpit sloop


This very lovely 55' center cockpit sloop was custom designed by the well respected naval architect, Mr. Bill Cook and built by the impeccable Alden Yacht Yard, in Bristol, Rhode Island. 

BlueJacket Shipcrafters was commissioned to build this model in a scale of 1/2"=1' (1:24). We had several advantages in building this model. First, we had complete access to her full plans. We took advantage of her hull lines, profile drawings, plan view of deck, appendage drawings, spar, and sail plans to build an exact miniature of the original. Also, the yacht was made available to us. I consequently was able to take more than 250 images of her many details, so that we could build an accurate model for her very discerning owner.

Because this is a totally custom yacht, there are innumerable features that can be seen reflected in our model of her.  The sloop is painted with Awlgrip, flag blue. Sailboat propellers are notoriously inefficient. To help a boat of this size maneuver in tight spaces, a bow thruster can be seen below the water line, in her bow. Her very tall rig features carbon fiber spars, painted white. The owners of this yacht often cruise the boat themselves. To assist in sail handing, there is an infurl boom, to house the mainsail.

Because of the tremendous forces that occur on a boat of this size, hydraulics are utilized where possible. For example, on our model we show a hydraulically controlled head stay furler, main boom vang, main sail furler, and backstay adjusters. There are numerous powered winches found in strategic locations.

The owners' experience is reflected throughout this very lovely sloop. Note the numerous handholds all over the deck, included inside the cockpit. Rather than having to climb over the cockpit sides to access it, note the access points. While not evident in these photos, BlueJacket was even able to reproduce the inlaid compass rose in the table top and in back of the helm. The very extensive topside electronics are visible on the model.
 BlueJacket takes a great deal of pride in being able to produce an accurate model of what is truly a very "proper yacht".    
Tip of the month....Shipping your model

I first wrote about shipping models about a year and half ago, but I continue to get frequent calls about this subject. That's the reason that I am again addressing and amplifying on our methodology.

Over the course of many years, and after shipping many models, BlueJacket has developed methods that work well for us. We regularly ship our models and restorations all over the world. It would be disingenuous of me to say that we never have damage during shipping, but I can honestly tell you that damage is rare and is usually minimal.

It may seem strange, but we feel a lot more secure shipping a model in a glass case, rather than an uncased model.

O.K., let's deal with the more difficult issue first, an uncased model. The concept is that we create a rigid enclosure for the model, make sure that absolutely nothing is touching it, and securely
Enclosure for uncased model
affix the model to the base of the enclosure. BlueJacket normally builds our shipping enclosures out of either plywood or particle board. All interior surfaces (four sides, top and bottom) are lined with rigid, closed cel (pink) foam board material, typically used for home insulation. The foam adds additional rigidity to the plywood and offers both shock and insulating protection to the model. 

All of this TLC doesn't mean anything unless the model is firmly affixed to the base
Affixing model to enclosure

of the enclosure. In the photo at the right, the model is mounted on a baseboard, the bottom rigid foam has been cut out to accommodate the baseboard,and wood slats have been screwed to the enclosure base, to hold the model firmly in position. If you look carefully, you can see foam between the wooden slat and the baseboard, to assure absolute rigidity. The model can't possibly move front to back, nor side to side, not even if it is turned completely over.

The most common mistake people make in packing an uncased model is to merely fill a box with open cell (soft)  foam peanuts, and nestle the model in the middle and trust to luck, which I can guarantee will be bad.

To prepare an encased model for shipment, we first wrap the entire case in stretch poly, with styrofoam edge protectors on all corners. We then overwrap this with aircel poly. This constitutes the "inner protection". An oversized outer enclosure is built using the same methods as mentioned above. The reason for an oversized enclosure is to allow us to fill the bottom and sides with foam peanuts. We place the encased model in the enclosure and fill all the voids with the foam peanuts, adding a thick layer on the top and bottom, as well as the sides. The top is then screwed into place. In essence, we are "floating" the inner encased model inside the outer rigid container. Conceptually, it is like an egg in an egg.

Because we live in the real world, we do take several other precautions. To discourage shippers from mishandling our model, we secure the entire shipping crate to a wooden pallet, making it unwieldy for the shipper to throw it around, drop , or turn it upside down. We also affix both tilt and shock indicators on the shipping crate, which change color upon being subjected to rough or improper handling.

Fine art movers, while extremely expensive, are always our first choice for shipping delicate models. Absent this, we utilize over the road carriers, such as FedEx ground, for shipment in the Continental US. Obviously, special arrangements have to be made for overseas shipments.

Even with all of the precautions that we take, adequate insurance is an absolute must. Along with this, document everything by taking photographs of the unpacked model, the packing process and materials, the finished package, etc. Too many photos, at various stages, is better than not enough.

Please don't call BlueJacket to pack/ship your model. This is not a service that we provide unless it is one of our models. We will be happy to pack and ship any/all models that we have built or restored. It also has to be noted that everything that we do is FOB Searsport, ME, meaning that packing/shipping/insurance costs are not part of the price and are the responsibility of the model owner.

As a final word, a sure recipe for a disastrous result is to take your model to a local packing/shipping service and leave it to their discretion or experience! You'll soon be calling me to repair your model or write an insurance estimate letter. Good luck!

Thanks for your support


My final message in these newsletters is always the same because it is the underlying truth to what we do and how we conduct ourselves. 


In these really tough economic times, your support and words of encouragement  mean more to us than ever before. They are very appreciated.   


BlueJacket has been in business for over 100 years because what we do is fun, just as I have tried to make this newsletter. If you have any suggestions or comments, as always, just give us a shout!


Ain't nothin' we'd rather be doing than messing with, or talking about boats. Have fun!  



 "Jeff" signature  

Jeff Marger

BlueJacket Shipcrafters, Inc.