Victoria Model Shipbuilding Society > Tips, Tutorials & Howto's > Building a Victoria Class RC Sailboat


Building a Thunder Tiger Victoria

These little sailboats are popular for a good reason. They are compact and the box contains everything you need to complete the model except a radio. Basically, it's a bargain. It requires a 2 channel radio, but a winch for the sails is not necessary. The downside is that the model was designed without much input from modellers.

Be careful with the solvent - I don't know what it is, but is very powerful.

Julie got a Victoria for Christmas. We enjoy sailing and she was delighted, but didn't have time to assemble it. She asked me to put it together, so thanks Santa! There were a couple of things I wanted to change - the appearance, the rigging which seemed to be unnecessarily complex and inefficient and the watertight integrity.

I started out by researching on the Internet. It is a recognized AMYA class (the rules are quite liberal) and I found pages of modifications people around the world made to the boat.

These modifications incorporate some of the changes made by some real serious Victoria sailors in California, Texas and New Zealand. I decided what to modify based on my experience with EC 12s and the Soling One Metre.

Before I started, I painted the name on the side of the hull. This will make it easier to figure out which boat is Julie's in the pack.

I also assembled, stained and varnished the kit stand just to make it different than the rest. I did not assemble the radio box as something else is required and the plywood would be useful for modifications.

Hull Modifications

The keel and rudder mounting tubes were installed per the instructions. I roughed up the brass tubes and the hull so the epoxy has something to stick to. The plastic pieces had to be filed a bit and the corners broken so they would fit properly. The steering wheels and 'winches' were discarded as were the plastic eyelets. They were replaced by hardware store 9/16" nickel plated screw eyes. They were turned into the holes to thread the plastic, backed out and reinstalled after some CA was transferred into the hole using a toothpick. These went into the bow and stern holes, and the centre side stay attachments.

I didn't do this, but I recommend that you reinforce the deck under the mast step with some light plywood as the deck flexes a lot when the boat is rigged.

The hole for the eye for the jib adjustment was drilled out to 3/16" and a modified Dubro #214 waterproof pushrod fitting was installed to act as a fairlead for the jib control line. I used these on my EC12 with success. Another one was installed on the deck (not in the cockpit) on the boats centreline right behind the hatch opening. (These are10 ½" and 20 3/4" from the bow). At this time the rudder control hole at the front of the cockpit was relieved to 7/16" and a Dubro #3108 Push Rod seal base was cemented in.

Deck cleats and the main mast step were installed per the instructions. The transom cover scuppers were also opened at an angle. The scuppers as provided go straight through the transom, but it is installed at a steep angle, and the angle effectively closes the holes. I also decided to work with the hatch cover as provided just to save some work. A tapered opening is better because the hatch doesn't have to slid as far to get out, but that is a major modification on the Victoria.

Control Modifications

This brings me to the main modification - the sail control system. The small servo controlling the sails is okay, but very marginal on power. It does not work well if nicads (1.2v vs. 1.6 for alkaline's) are used, or if there is a lot of friction in the system. It can be simplified and performance improved by adding some adjustments. The sail control arm in the kit was discarded and a new double sided arm made from leftover kit plywood and small eyebolts .(This will be replaced with Aluminums now that we have some experience). The stbd side controls the jib (so the rudder servo doesn't foul it) and port side the main sheet. A new servo tray was made from ply to hold the servos, receiver and switch. The tray is screwed in (so it can be removed for maintenance) to athwart ship beams which are epoxied to the hull. The batteries were moved aft of the tray as this is said to balance the boat better. The end of each sail control line is attached in the hull (the jib to the rudder post, main through the existing exit hole to the cockpit) and are threaded through the eyebolt on the arm and out through the fairleads on the deck to the booms. A great deal of care was taken to reduce friction in this system.

Mast and Rigging

The Jennie Strut wasCA'd33 ½ inches above the deck and rigged per the plans except stainless fishing leader was used. Only one spreader was used (the big one) and it was CA'd 17" above the deck. Side stays were also stainless fishing leader terminating in Dubro rigging couplers and clevis.
A longer crane (3") was fabricated from aluminium sheet, the maximum allowed by the rules. A 1 1/4" long dowel was epoxied in the top of the mast and the mast slit with a saw to accept the crane, which was epoxied in. The backstay is a 30" piece of stainless leader with some braided nylon line attached at the hull end. It runs through a bowsie for backstay adjustment. I also added a forestay by taping a piece of stainless leader to the front of the jib. It is attached to on eyebolt which is screwed into the front of the jib boom and to braided nylon line running through a bowsie for adjustment at the top.

Booms

The kit boom rings were used and split rings were threaded through the small holes. The mainsheet attachment ring was CA'd 7 3/8" after the pivot point so it is directly over the outhaul fairlead on deck.

A new vang was fabricated. A control rod ball joint was attached to the bottom mast ring so it can move freely from side to side. The other end of the rod is a clevis which connects to the boom ring. Adjustment is through the clevis.

An eyebolt was screwed in the aft end of the boom for an adjustment to the sail 'bag'.

The jib boom has an eyebolt at each end, the front one for the forestay and the aft one for a sail adjustment and lifting strut attachment. The pivot point is per the plan, and the sheet attachment is 7 ½" aft of that.. The boom pivot is just a second split ring attached to the one on the boom ring and to the eyebolt on the deck which has been opened at the front so the mast/booms/sails can be easily removed for transport.

Sails

Kit sails have received mixed reviews, and there are some who say a Victoria performs best with flat sails. So I decided to start with them.

I discarded the metal clips for the mainsail. There is a seam down the front of the sail, so I used a soldering pencil to open small holes at the locations specified. I ran a piece of the stainless fishing leader in the seam and tied the sail to the mast using braided fishing line. The line forms a loop around the mast and the stainless leader so the leader takes the strain and keeps the front of the sail straight. The loop has to be loose enough to allow the sail to move around the mast but tight enough to prevent a gap. Ray Carr's suggestion is to install eyebolts on the mast and thread the stainless leader through them, and I am sure that would be best for a seriously competitive boat.

The front of the jib is attached to the forestay. The back of both sails are attached to the boom by a loop of braided line which allows the sail to move.

Each sail has two basic adjustments. The sheet outhauls go through the split ring on the aft boom ring, then through the front boom ring, then through a bowsie to be attached at the aft ring. This permits adjusting the angle of the sails. The second adjustment is a line attached to the back of the sail, through the eyebolt at the back of the boom and then the same as the outhauls. This permits adjustment of the chord, or 'bag' in the sail.
Proof

The proof is how she sails. She is a delight in light air. She is fast, highly manoeuvrable and forgiving. There is enoughmassto carry her through the twilight zones at Harrison Pond, but light enough to accelerate like a rabbit. Given a fresher breeze, she is gone!

I've had my fun building it. Julie enjoys sailing it. I even get to use it when she is busy.

This little boat is a lot of fun!