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flying by the seat of my pants!

Old 05-08-2007, 07:39 AM
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icyuod2
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Default flying by the seat of my pants!

hi folks!

my names leigh and i could do with your help. let me start with alittle background info about my project/experiance.

i have very little rc knowledge. a few of my friends have cars/boats/planes. i've seen them close up, experimented with a few but thats about it. (excluding cheeper rc toys found under the xmas tree over the years.

now i've always wanted to build an rc steamboat. until recently the concept has always seemed quite overwhelming.

anyhoo,last week i broke a small mirror and it kick started my model boating experiance. the back of the mirror was coverer with a very thin plywood, and it got me to thinking. this stuff would be fantastic to build a model boat. (to be honest this was the first time i'd seen ply less than 1/4" thick.

with no experiance building boats, no plans, and totally flying by the seat of my pants, i started to design my boat. i sketched it first. after i was happy with a design i started to build the hull out of paper. 4 or 5 hours later i had all the pieces i needed layed out on the ply. its a very small boat measuring only 13" (I USED THE ENTIRE PIECE OF PLY TO THE MAX)

excluding prop/motor everything is from scratch including the design and all the hardware. the horn/flag pole etc i just turned brass rod in my drill and used a small file to do the shaping.
i never really intended to finish this boat. it was just a test to gauge my interest in boat building before i threw down the cake on an rc steamboat. now the boats nearing completion and starting to look like a boat lol, i'd like to see it through and actually use this little boat. (figure it would be perfect for my pool)

enough with the background and on to the problems at hand. keep inmind, this is my only boat. however in the future i'd like to purchase/build an rc steamboat and be able to use one radio for both boats.
so heres my little boat. it measures approx 13"x 5"x2.5" at its deepest point. it floats! actually it sits very well in the water. (red paint is pretty much the waterline-back of the boat anyway)
the motor was a $1.99 special from a surplus automotive center. its only marked 12volts. i clipped a 9.volt batt to the boat, and it seems more than enough to power this small model (threw it in the swimming pool) changing out the motor isnt out of the question, but seeing as this will mainly be for boating around in the pool with my nepthew, it doesnt need to be fast








i did vist the hobby shop to pick up a prop,oiless bushings, dog bone etc for the the drivetrain.

now i'm really limited for space. a friend of mine has a small plane (fiberglass nova?) it houses a small lithium ion batt, a tiny reciever, tiny speed control and servo's. i'd like to fine similar products for my boat.

i'm gonna need a one radio (for both boats),speed control,servo and battery, and eventually the same for the steamboat in the future (approx 3')
i'm not a die hard rc kinda guy, so i dont need the best of the best. i would however like to purchase quality components and not brake the bank.lol. i realize ya get what ya pay for and its not a cheap hobby. other than knowing the items i need, i have no product knowledge. i was hoping you guys could help with the selections and turn my model boat into an rc boat. i realize this is probably not the sort of models that are made here(speed wise) but any help would be greatly appreciated.

what do you suggest for a radio/full sized servo's for the steamboat? can i purchase mini servo's/reciever/speed control for the smaller boat to run on the same system? i know i can match crystals, but are all radio's compatable with the right crystal? or will i need to stay with the same company products for compatability?
love to hear from the pro's. (thats you guys. )
thanks guys and gals.
leigh

if ya have any questions/need more info, please feel free to ask.




Old 05-08-2007, 04:43 PM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

Can't help you too much with those questions since I'm pretty new to the boating thing myself, but just wanted to say that you did a fantastic job.

Old 05-08-2007, 05:32 PM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

Thats a cool little boat. How did you go about finishing the clears and stains I have a boat Im wanting to leave clear and put a bit of gold leaf lettering on and then stripe around the lettering then clear the whole thing.
Old 05-08-2007, 08:49 PM
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icyuod2
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

thanks guys.

i actually purchased a large pizza box full of exotic veneers a couple years back.

the boat isnt stained. it's been completely skinned in the veneers and clear coated with an exterior lacquer. spar varnish would probably be a better chioce but i hate the stuff. lacquer is easy to spray and dries fast. i doubt its as water resistant over the long haul. the veneer is easy to cut with scissors or an xacto. it was glued inplace with woodglue. the veneers are so thin they like to curl. i used tape to do most of my clamping.





the red white and gold were also colored lacquer. it probably has 15 to 20 very thin coats. (extreemly fast drying time, but its best to allow the lacquer to cure)
Old 05-08-2007, 10:12 PM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

you made that from scratch? im impressed! [X(]
Old 05-09-2007, 12:19 AM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

Leigh,
The electronics stuff. In general, it's a fairly good idea to stick to the same brand with radios and their components, crystals mainly. With receivers you have a choice, sort of. You can use the same receiver and just swap between boats, or get additional receivers. Depending on the type of radio you get, and it's age, finding additional receivers may or may not be very easy/cheap. Shouldn't be all that difficult though, sort of.
Servos are sort of 'generic', biggest difference in most of them is the kind of connector on the end of the cable. In most cases, 'trimming' that connector's 'key' will allow it to be used. Just don't get it backwards (no clouds of smoke, but no 'worky' either). Servos come in four basic 'sizes'. "Tiny", "standard", "large", and "humongus". Those 'sizes' are relative, and in most cases for the type of boats you are talking about, the 'standard' size ought'a do just fine.
ESCs, Electronic Speed Controllers (for electric motors) are where you are going to have to 'bite the bullet' a little bit, not exactly cheap. The 'right' one for a boat depends entirely on how much current and at what voltage your motor does what it's supposed to do. Low current draws mean a 'little' ESC. Huge current draws mean a trip to the bank. It's always better to have 'more' than you need than to not have what you need. So, 'over-doing' the ESC is better than not, sort of. Mechanical speed controllers are very nice things to stay away from! Batteries just don't last as long and the fire insurance is kind'a high. For steam, the speed controler is usually a servo moving a valve.
Batteries are a huge category, and unfortunately, not a super simple one. The biggy is to have the proper charger for the rechargeable ones, and a cheap source for the non-rechargeable ones. Then it's just a matter of finding the right 'size', voltage, current capacity, and physical size/weight to fit your need. The 'Li-po's are typically used for high discharge rates and small size. 'Ni-cad's and the Nimh's are sort of the 'medium' sized thingys and the 'gell-cell's are the big ones. Again, sort of. Weight is a consideration cuz boats almost always need ballast. The 'best' ballast also contributes power to the electrical system (bigger battery!). The 'trick' is to squeeze all that @#$% into the hull - LOL.
Perhaps the best advice anyone can give is to have fun with it! Second best advice is to learn how to correct the mistakes. And the third best advice is if you can't fix it, beat the @#$ thing to death with a very large hammer! You'd be surprised at how good that makes you feel... before you start all over again.
- 'Doc
Old 05-09-2007, 01:07 AM
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icyuod2
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

from scratch and thrown together in a week. the next one i'll take my time. like i said, i just wanted to get a grasp on my interest. i have alot of hobbies, and tend to do alot of "experimenting" somethings i stick with, others i lose interest in, after learning the basic concept/knowledge.

i had alot of fun and cant wait to run this boat and start the steam ship.

ltdoc thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. i've been doing some reading and think i have the basic idea. however i do have a couple more questions.

brand names? which companies do you suggest? and which should i stay away from? and what features should i look for in a radio?
and what about distance? what should i be looking for?
thanks again

here another shot of the boat before i veneered the deck uncle crash
Old 05-09-2007, 04:11 AM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

Off the top of my head the only companies that I know of that sell scale boats are Dumas Products and Billing Boats.

I know Dumas has a website but it is down at the moment so I can't provide the link.

Billing Boats:

http://www.billingboats.com/
Old 05-09-2007, 06:33 PM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

The easy part first, range. All the 'standard' R/C model radios have about the same range because the output power is limited. The thing that will make the biggest difference in range is the length of the receiving antenna, and how high you can get it. That length and height thingy is one of those relative things. Relative to the size of your boat. Having a 30" antenna sticking out of a 19" boat is sort of not reasonable. The other limitation is just how far away can you see that thing and what it's doing? A 100 yards for a -big- boat is sort of reasonable, but not for a 19" boat. The first thing to do is a range test. See how far you can get from the boat and still have it answer commands. If you can see it, and tell one end from the other, it ought work okay.
There are several 'name brands' that are pretty common. Futaba, Hi-Tech, Airtronics, and no telling how many I just can't bring to mind right now. I like Futaba, it's sort of the "Ford" of R/C'ing, sort of. Others have very good luck with other brands. All of them come in various configurations, the more 'bells-n-whistles' the more expensive. Let your wallet be your guide, within reason. The number of channels is one of 'those' things, you never have enough of them, and probably will never use half of them anyway, but you got'em, right? Two channels is about the minimum for a boat, single-throttle and rudder. Need two throttles? Add another channel. Lights, horns, working machinery, bilge pump, fire monitor, shimmying hula girl, add the appropriate number of channels. Starting to get sort of 'serious' now, huh? Oh well, go for at least two channels and maybe one or two extra, sort of.
Remember the battery charger for the radio batteries too! If it uses rechargeable batteries.
There are 'stick' radios and there are 'pistol' radios. The 'pistol' radios are sort of limited in the number of channels, but they almost all have two. Both types will work. It's more a matter of which type you would feel most comfortable with (aside from the number of channels thingy). I started with a 'stick' radio so that's the kind that seems more 'natural' to me. It's personal preference mostly.
- 'Doc

Oh. The 'itty-bitty' radios that'll fit in your shirt pocket are not the 'best' things around. They definitely have limits in range and abilities. They are not bargains (unless they pay you to take it!).
Old 05-09-2007, 10:19 PM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

You had me fooled till you posted the new pics I can see now that they are verneers from the end grain. Nice work
Old 05-10-2007, 11:23 AM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

i added lights to my boat on a seperate system and hid a toggle switch under the dash. there powered by 2 rechargable aaa's. it never occured to me they could be connect to the reciever.


still not sure what i'm gonna mount the front lights in, or how i'm gonna go about turning the white led green (couldn't find a green one).

building the steamship is gonna be fun! what other sorts of radio controls do peeps put on thier boats?

i went down to see a guy here intown that sells rc boats (racing) he's got a brand new radio with 2 servo's,reciever, and a batt clip that holds 4 aa batteries for $50 canadian (2005 model).
he said it was a decent radio just a couple years old. i'm thinking about making the purchase for this boat and getting a second for the steam boat. $50 i figure i cant go wrong.

i have a couple question about the set up. i'm very limited for space. i'm gonna purchase the smallest battery and speed control possible. now the system does have the 4 aa batt's and this is what puzzles me. i assume this pack is for use with a gas motor to supply electricty to the servo's/reciever. i'm gonna be running an electric motor.

can i run an 8 watt motor and servo's from the 4 rechargable batteries? (assuming play time is limited) keep inmind this is only a 13" boat. other than in the pool, i dont think it will get much playtime. i'll be moving on to bigger and better real soon.
if i purchased a rechargable battery pack, could i run both the reciever and electric motor from it? or will i have to run the 4 aa batteries for the reciever and an additional pack for the motor? if i can run both from one pack, how do i go about matching up the correct power for both reciever and motor? will both have to be the same wattage?

thanks again.
Old 05-11-2007, 02:34 AM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

beautiful little boat and im extremely impressed! good work man.
Old 05-11-2007, 03:09 AM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

For the lights, you can make simple molds for pouring epoxy resin into, and sinking the lights inside the liquid resin, then painting the metal silver housing on it or using press and stick chrome foil that plastic modelers use, and leaving the lens clear.

Just carve a small master out of balsa, mount it to a flat surface and coat it with white glue. After that dries, use red RTV out of the tube to coat that for your rubber mold. When that is dry, peel it off and you will have a mold cavity to sink your LED into and pour with epoxy.

Sounds like a lot of work but thats just one idea.
Old 05-11-2007, 05:39 AM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

thanks oldschool! since this is my first boat, and i didnt do any planning, i'm rather impressed myself. i cant wait for the next project.
jetpack, thanks once again. i can see i'm gonna have to spend alot more time here. you guys are full of fantastic idea's.
i ended up fashioning a front light out some brass tubing before i read the epoxy mold trick. alittle green model paint also fixed my color problem.




i picked up my radio. its a magnum 2pl am radio by futaba. pistol grip, 2 channels and dirt cheap. figured i'd keep it for this boat and move on to a better radio for the steam ship when im ready (end of the year) my girlfriend always has a hard time purchasing xmas gifts for me anyway.

i ordered a miniture speed control and mini servo. i'm still unsure about the battery and motor though. i need one as small as possible, so i'm thinking lithium ion. i'm still confused how i match up the speed control, motor and battery pack with the correct voltage.

what do i need? thanks again
Old 05-12-2007, 01:12 PM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

almost all rec. on the market have bec battery eliminator circuit built in so you plug the esc in the rec. and hook the batt. to the esc and it in turn powers the rec. and the speed control and servo for rudder all off one battery and if your space is aproblem get a cheap lipo and charger just be careful not to discharge it too low (3 volts per cell) try e-flite for [email protected] good luck
Old 05-12-2007, 03:27 PM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

It's fairly simple. You should know what current draw the motor 'likes' at what voltage. The ESC would have to be rated to supply that amount of current at that voltage, and the battery should be able to supply both to the ESC. The capacity of the battery Ah/mAh can tell you how long it will last (close anyway). You have a little 'fudge' room with voltages, but there definitely are upper limits. The smallest 'upper limit' is the actual 'limit' of the system and shouldn't be exceeded. Most of those 'limits' just require some thinking and common sense. And from there the choices for each component gets sort of 'huge', lots of choices. And of course, adding a fuse never hurts much...
- 'Doc
Old 05-13-2007, 08:24 AM
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icyuod2
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

so after a few attemps at fitting my reciever and servo's, i finally have a combination that works. (i think)



i should have just enough room to upgrade the batteries to a rechargable pack and add my speed control.
my first attempt at placing the electronic's was a complete failure. after fitting everything in place this tiny little boat was very lop sided with most of the weight in the rear left corner of the boat. my battery placement was the problem. i centered the battery and moved it as far forward as possible. heres how it sits in the water.

the kitchen sink should give you an idea of just how small the boat is.

what do you guys think about the position the boat sits in the water? does it look alright? i've considered purchasing single batt cells and fashioning my own rechargable battery (or just rewiring a battery pack to fit my space). theres not enough space in the nose to fit a pack but i do have room to fit a couple/few single cells on each side of the motor. good idea? or should i leave them where they are?

and one last question.
can i use any metal object as an attenna? i used on old bass guitar string and and connect the attena to it. (didn't want a big plastic sleeved attena on the boat) will it work? or will it hinder my reception? it seems o.k. but i just wanted to double check.


i'd just like to thank you all once again. and sorry about all the questions.
couldn't have done it without ya.
Old 05-13-2007, 08:42 AM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

Changing the receivers antenna WILL affect your distance for operation .
Each manufacturer has tuned their receivers to a certain ohms and is done so within the receiver itself and is set for whatever length the antenna is set at . ( as is the same with how many strands and how thick each individual wire inside the braid is , OR , how thick a single wired one is )
You CAN leave any excess antenna wire INSIDE the hull , but do NOT wind it around anything , or wad it up . Leave it as stretched as possible .
Think of years ago , before cable TV came about , when you ( or your dad ) had to get up on the roof of your house and mess with a TV antenna .... the higher up the antenna , the better your reception . The lower ... the worse your reception . This basically holds true for ANYTHING that receives a radio signal transmitted thru the air .
Old 05-13-2007, 12:10 PM
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icyuod2
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

well thats a good thing to know. lol

ok so how much will it effect the distance? this is a 13" boat and distance is realitive (as i've been told) it small and i cant see this thing ever being more than a hundred feet from me (mainly to play in the pool)

it works at that distance. and seems to function fine the way it is. should i change it back to just the original attena? is it ok to leave it the way it is considering i'll probably never max out the recievers distance? can it cause any other problems to the rec. etc? thanks again.

Old 05-13-2007, 08:44 PM
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LtDoc
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

icyuod2,
Your home-made antenna should work just fine. The length of the receiver's antenna/aerial isn't "life/death" critical at all. Of course, longer is going to have more range than shorter. That "longer" also pertains to 'shape'. The higher you get the thing above deck/water, and the least you 'hide' inside the boat, the better. Coiling an antenna, or wadding it up, etc, is just like cutting the wadded up portion out of the circuit. I may not have a bad affect depending on a lot of factors, but it doesn't really do any good either (the wadding it up thingy).
The receiver's antenna length, no matter what it is, isn't going to affect the receiver's 'health' at all. Usable range, yes. Health, as in letting the smoke out, no.
Wanna 'chop' that antenna down to a sort of 'scale' length on that 13" boat? Try it, but do a range test! If it works at the distances you require, fine. If not, then lengthen it till it does. If it's conductive, you can make an antenna out of anything.
R/C radios are not 'communications' grade by orders of magnitude! They are very simple, uncomplicated things with limited range (primarily from antenna length). Would you really want it to be able to 'hear' transmitters in another town, much less country?
- 'Doc

[Got a TV antenna? If you really get bored, try hooking your R/C receiver up to it with a servo attached. See if it 'twitches'. Bet it does. It isn't 'interference', but misc. signals on that band from who knows where.]
Old 05-15-2007, 10:31 AM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

well i cant wait to get this in the water and actually test it. i've had it in the tub with the motor hooked dirrectly up to a 9v/full throttle (not a good test i know, but the motors were cheap. ). pretty sure i'm gonna need a better motor. the 350 seems slow, with very little torque. they were dirt cheap motors purchased from an automotive surplus. my speed control should be here this week, so we'll see what happens.

i have 3 different sized motors inhouse.

a tiny little x mods stage 1 rpm- 26ki, a couple cheap 12v 350 motors and was also given a duratrax photospeed 20 turn single wound motor. i'm thinking the first 2 are too small and the last is too big. do you think it will be too much for this tiny little boat that weighs in under a pound?

i'm reluctant to install the duratrax. i figure the boats gonna take flight or do a quick back flip.? i'm i correct in assuming so? what would be a better suited motor? i believe i ordered a esc for a smaller motor. what would be a good sized motor? and with this little boat, how many turns and how many wraps should i be looking for. (i have very little motor knowledge. just what i've read on the net in the last couple/few days)

the boat itself is really coming along.
i finished both hatches and added a couple wraps of yellow teflon tape to make for a waterproof seal.

i also started to add the finishing touches to the boat. i turned some bumpers outta balsa. i used sand paper and just turned them by hand.
i also fashioned some tie downs outta screw hole buttons. i sanded the sides and used a small carbide dremel piece to make the hole for the rope. a little gold paint to finish them off.





i still have to add my :esc
:new motor
:build one more tie down/bumper
:find/fashion a jolly roger. (skull and crossbones)
and find/build somebody to drive.

list is getting shorter. thanks again guys for all your help.
Old 05-15-2007, 11:56 AM
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icyuod2
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

if i added the dura trax, could i just limit the throttle on my radio settings? (futaba magnum 2 pl) are there any disadvantages other than weigh, when it comes to running an oversized motor at 1/2 throttle?

would the excelaration still be too much for this little boat and cause it to flip? thanks again, dont know where i'd be without ya.
Old 05-17-2007, 04:28 AM
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icyuod2
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

i'm finding myself as eager as a kid on christmas morning, while waiting for my esc to show up.
i'm still unsure about the motor, but i figure trial and error will probably be the best (starting small and working up to a larger motor.)

this first build excluding prop and radio, has been completed with items laying around my place. with esc i think i'll have $85 into this boat (including all electronics/radio) for a guy with no modeling knowledge, i'm quite impressed. granted it looks nothing like some of the chris craft kits/finished boats on the market, but i didnt use any lazer cut pieces or prefab parts. i literally built the enire boat for pieces in my junk dresser. (most have a junk draw, i got a junk dresser. )

with all the fun i've had on this build, i've been giving the steamboat alot of thought. i'm still unsure if i'll buy a kit, or build from scratch. after seeing all the cool stuff on this forum i might research/plan out a scale model (with alot more detail than my 13" toy)
couple ways i might go. scratch build of a scale steam powered riverboat using one of those toy steam engines. (not marine engine) or a kit/scratch build of something like this.

http://www.rcxtc.com/store/images/fantail1.jpg.
either way it's gonna be a scale model and i'll take my time.
i'm jumping the gun, so back to the model at hand. my boat needed a pilot for the craft. i wanted to keep it a scratch build, but to be honest i dont think i have the skills to fashion a person. i took the easy way out and crafted the master of disaster himself outta some 40 000 year old mastadon ivory scrapes i had in my just draw.

just cut/shaped it real quick with the dremel.



so here it is, the almost finished project (just waiting on esc/motor)

thanks for putting up with me and answering all my silly noob questions.
i'll be sure to update the post as soon as it hits the water. (i'm sure i'll have more questions by then) thanks again.


Old 05-17-2007, 04:53 AM
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

you have some serious skill if thats your first boat and its scratch built!!!
Old 05-17-2007, 07:02 AM
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icyuod2
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: london, ON, CANADA
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Default RE: flying by the seat of my pants!

well i guess its my second build, i made the same boat outta paper first. lol thanks for the kind words.

would i be making an ass of u and me if i were to assume you have a mahogony boat of your own? if you do i'd love to see it.

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