Tiny hull and massive rig, the modern replica of the classic 1800's Australian 'Balmain Bug" is joined by the flowing lines of the 'Fife" classic, a study of the designs of William Fife Jnr.
The "Mini Bug" has a hull length of 150mm and a rig massive in comparison, she is built to be a free sailer like the originals.
At twice the length the 1 footer "Balmain Bug" at 30cm hull length is built for remote controls for a unique way of sailing!
Both the bugs feature fixed keels unlike most of the original boats of yester year, however they have room to fit a sliding keel if you wish to.
The "Fife" has Gaff or Bermudian rig options and her lines are flowing and inspiring even on the mantle piece.
The Balmain Bug was more than a pond yacht, it was the evolutionary peak of model yacht design.
Originally raced in Sydney , Australia there were numerous sizes the most typical being, the 6 incher, 1 footer and two footers. (hull length)
The 1 and 2 footers were typically raced in open waters on Sydney harbour while the skippers rowed behind and altered sail trim at the marks and corrected heading by rudder adjustment, no mean feat when the 2 footer had a mast in excess of 6 feet high!
The speed of the "bug" saw harbour ferries packed with spectators betting on the outcome of races, this is why the boats evolved to such a point.
The 1 footer for example at a hull length of 1 foot would have a bow sprit of 2 foot, a boom similar length and a mast of potentially 4 foot!
To keep such a large rig aloft the 1 foot hull was at least half that wide so as to give enough volume in the hull and enough bouyancy to support the large keel needed to balance this massive rig.
Added to this many of the bugs had sliding keels that would be altered and slid aft at the top mark when an additional spinnaker was also hooked on.
The yachts you see here were developed with the help of the researchers who set up the Bug displays at the Australian National Maritime Museum.
Original bugs were traditionally hollow carved timber made in layers called a bread and butter layup or even paper mache whilst the "new" 6 inch (150mm) bug has a plastic formed hull and the1 footer (30cm) has a fibreglass hull, as does the Fife.
Classics come with soild brass fittings that patina with age or can be high polished.
Due to the extreme nature of the Bug it is so out of proportion compared to real boats that it is no suprise that to sail her she floats just above the water, do not worry this is normal!
Typically at the turn of the century each owner would put his own logo on the mainsail so it was easy to see which boat was in the lead of the race, you will see several versions here, the diamond logo boat belongs to Bob Francis in the Usa whilst the star logo boat sails in Canada and the St.Andrews cross is my boats normal logo, what will you choose?
The Fife classic was developed from the hull lines as drawn by Willaim Fife Jnr, an epic name in the field of yacht design responsible for many designs such as Moonbean, Cambria, Marquita , and Sir Thomas Liptons Americas cup yachts Shamrock 1 and 3.
This classic pond yacht has the advantage that remote controls can be fitted to aid in controlling her back to you at the pond side!
Indeed the reason for her creation was the need for a shallow draught yacht without a long keel, the ablility to not get stuck in reeds that became more present in the drought was a primary concern when sailing and so she was penned.
Using a wooden deck and spars the classic pond yacht look is maintained whilst down below modern electrics sit inside to provide rudder and sail control.
With many Fifes out there sailing it is always interesting to see how people rig them and what detailing in the way of cabins or colour schemes they use to enhance the basic kit.
Whilst the Bugs come with ballast keels the Fife is left for the builder to source lead shot locally so as to avoid the extra shiping weight and accomodate those who wish to build her for the mantle piece!
The Classics are made to order kits and can be customised to sailors requirements and parts provided for many different levels of finish or indeed just hulls can be ordered to allow the use of locally obtainable timbers and fittings, the options are limitless!
To find out more about your own classic you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask away!
More Classics details, below!
Spectre Marine by ARC Design since 1996.
Quality pond yachts made in Australia