Introduction: Model Yacht Building

Model yacht building is a wonderful hobby for boaters who like
the many different designs available for full scale yachts that can be made by several techniques. I started carving models of my ideas of boats at the tender age of 9 or 10. With a drawn knife, auger and bits, hammer and chisel, I made beautiful hull shapes emerge out of blocks of soft white pine. It was great fun.

At age 11, I was given a Craftsman vibrating jig saw with 5" blades cut plywood frames and then planked them with strips of white pine. One of my first big models was of a Southbay Shore Bird. Its plans were found in "Sailing Craft" by Andrew Schoettle which has many other boat plans that I built from including the Larchmont "O" Boats.

Uffa Fox published at leasst 4 large volumes of classic yacht plans with excellent descriptions of their characteristics which was wonderful reading to give me the feel of how things were done in those times.

See my website at and follow some of the links to learn more about what fun I have had over the years building models of boats I have owned or wished I had

I receive e-mails about once per month from those wanting the
plans or frames I cut on my Ryobi 9" bandsaw with a 1/8" blade.

My favorite yacht modle is the International One-Design 48" model of the full scale 33' 5" yacht class of that name started by the late Cornelius Shields of Larchmont Y.C., Larchmont, NY. I owned his famous "Aileen", IOD 25 which was his first boat of the class in 1935. I restored her in my backyard in Rye, NY and raced her in the Long Island Sound Fleet from 1972 to 1976.

Upon retiring to Sarasota, FL in 1994, I started the IOD 48" Class of Vintage Model Yachts. Over 35 fiberglass hulls were made from my mold. I finished 6 models for others and have two on hand for match races in my backyard pond when visitors are interested. The keels had to be 3" deeper than to scale to achieve the stability for a model. They handle just like are real IOD.

I started seriously building scale models while at Penn State in 1948 from "Your New Boat" a book by Yachting Editors that had many plans of popular boats of the times. One of my first models was a 36" model of the IOD. I hope whomever owns that model now will offer it back to me for sale. I still have a number of my first models of the Comet, Star, Snipe, Hampton, Blue Jay and Atlantic.

I have built full scale Star and Jet 14 Class boats. Now, I
have restired a 1970's Irwin 23 #24 to almost new condition. I extended the mast to carry a Star Class mainsail in light airs. The Irwin 23 is like a smaller version of the Pearson Ariel 25' 6" Class that I owned for 10 years. I founded the Ariel-Commander YRA which still flourishes in the San Francisco Bay Area. See my web site at for photos of the Irwin 23 and links to other boats I have owned.

Go to for photos and slideshows of my boats by
searching for "Thrasher's Boats". Click on some of the images
to go to the slideshows.

Join the AMYA at and follow the links to
Vintage Model Yachts. There is a large group involved in
building large model yachts like my 73" Vanja that had plans published by Popular Mechanics in 1936. I offer copies of Vanja and IOD 48" plans on my websites. I have fiberglass molds for the Vanja 73" and IOD 48". I have made 4 Vanja hulls and will make more for those who are interested in fiberglass copies. Many have ordered the Vanja plans to build from scratch. I have not yet seen finished scratch built Vanaja results from those for whom I made sets of frames.

Some IOD 48" model builders have provided excellent photos of their boats which I plan to show on these pages. Stay tuned as I develop Model Yacht Building Instructables as the spirit moves.


Milton Thrasher
941 966-9172 or 941 966-9179 for answering machine
4258 Hearthstone Drive
Sarasota, FL 34238

Step 1: Laser Cut Frames and Decks for Model Boats

Irwin Schuster, Secretary of the Tampa Bay Ship Model Society,
( has laid out the IOD frames and decking for laser cutting. I offer them in various sizes on
my web site at

The smaller sizes (13, 18 and 24) are true to scale.
The larger sizes (33.4, 36 and 48) have deeper keels by 3" than
the original plans so that they can be sailed by radio control.

Step 2: Solid Models

The best way to make solid models is by the bread and butter method. That is to make layers of wood that conform to the water line levels that as shown on the plans of the boats. They are
glued together and then carved to shape.

That saves a lot of effort compared to working with a solid block
of wood.

I offer templates for the layers which are called "lifts" that
can be made any size on a copier.

Small half models are very easy to make by use of templates.
I cut a plexiglass profile and deck of the model on a band saw.
I attach these to the lifts for the half model to prevent cutting
too deeply when shaping the hull. This allows me to use a sanding
machine with very rough grit without fear of cutting below the