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Miniature jewels: the small world of yacht models

Some say the happiest days of a yacht owner are usually the day of purchase and the day of sale. While this might be true for some, the emotional bond between owner and yacht is deeper. The passion for yachting and ownership are not always linked, allowing for different ways to participate. Shipwrights and boatbuilders, for example, are part of this by creating something very special. Some of them would not describe themselves as yachtsmen while certainly having a strong passion for yachting.

Model of #135: Despina/Nababbo/Istria made by Alessandro Skerlj

Taking this one step further, we can look at the linked yet separate world of yacht model making. In this miniature world we can recognize the same emotions slightly transformed through small scale. Much more is left to our imagination and things are suggested and inferred rather than actually existing.

Comparison between boat lines on the drawing and hull of the model. Foto and model by Alessandro Skerlj

The model maker goes through very similar stages in the building process: the study of the boat lines, the selection of proper material, timber type, all with some twists. Sometimes the actual material of the model is very different from that of the actual yacht, yet it draws from boatbuilding techniques on one side, while striving toward the aesthetic similarity between the finished model and the actual yacht. It is a tactile journey of materials and tools very similar to the one made by shipwrights in every yacht construction.

In this example, the hull of the model is actually made of paper laminated in layers. A construction technique similar to modern strip planking. The external layer is finished with a veneer of actual wood so the finished effect will replicate as much as possible the actual boat. Foto and model courtesy of A. Skerlj.
In the model building the selection timber is dictated by different criteria. Small pieces of teak and sitka spruce will not give the desired look. One must search for other types of timber so that grain and color in the small size replica will have the right look. Courtesy A. Skerlj

For the future model owner: the rewarding feeling to the eyes and soul of owning something very beautiful and unique, to be admired again and again. Satisfying emotions similar to that of boat owners, enjoying the view of a freshly launched yacht, being this a new construction, a restoration or simply the seasonal launch after winter maintenance. Winches that spark and topcoats and brightworks that shine immaculate. A yacht model in our living room will allow us to relive those moments in a different way, also for the unfortunate of us living far away from sea for long periods of the year.

View from side. Shiny topsides and brightwork, clean bottom, forever ready to be launched. Foto and model by A. Skerlj
Dorade, S&S design #7. Foto and model by A. Skerlj

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