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Model sail boats range from simple to complex. They are sometimes built only for display but may also be fully operational. Sometimes, an engine is attached to an operational boat to allow for the use of remote control maneuvering. Building, displaying and sailing the operational ones are all popular hobbies.
The term sailboat refers to a variety of different vessels that are larger than sailboards but smaller than sailing ships. Sloops are among the simplest designs. They may have Bermuda or Marconi style rigging. Typically, there is a mainsail and a headsail attached to a single mast.
Several different kinds of headsails are used on models including the Genoa, the spinnaker and the jib. The Genoa is named after the Italian city of Genoa where it was invented and first used. It is also called a genny and was originally known as an overlapping jib, because it is larger than a standard jib and overlaps the mainsail.
Spinnakers allow for increased speed when sailing with the wind and also create lift. The sails are similar to parachutes both in construction and appearance.
They are usually brightly colored and made of nylon. Racing sailboats in regattas typically use spinnakers.They may be twice the size of the mainsail and must be lowered when sailing with the wind is undesirable. Some model sail boats have working spinnakers that can be lowered or removed. A few even have the bag (called a turtle) that spinnakers are stored in when they are not in use.
A jib is the basic triangular headsail used on modern sailboats. A headsail may also be called a staysail. On a type of sailboat called a cutter, there are two staysails and one mast. In this arrangement, the outer or foremost sail is called the jib. Models of cutters are a little more complex than sloops because of the three sails.
Some model sail boats are replicas of the catboat. This is a relatively simple design because there is only one mast and one sail, the mainsail. Instead of being centrally located, the single mast is forward, closer to the bow of the boat. The beam is usually wide, about half the length of the boat. There are several different types of catboats and some collectors choose to display models of each type. Other sail boats are replicas of ketches, schooners, yawls or dhows.
Dinghies are the smallest sailboats, although the term is also used when referring to small racing yachts or open sailing boats. They have three sails, but are shorter, usually no more than 16 feet, in overall length.
Dinghy models are less popular than the other types, but sometimes you’ll see them. In addition to the number of sails, the number of masts and the design type, the complexity of the models can be related to the hull.
There is usually only a single hull, although models of catamarans with two hulls can sometimes be found. It is the decorations, coloring and details of the hull that can make model sail boats more difficult to build. In general, the more difficult models are more highly prized by collectors.
The largest models are replicas of schooners with three masts. A 3-masted schooner can seem almost as large as a sailing ship, especially to someone who is unfamiliar with the many different types of vessels. In fact, the Regina Maris is often referred to as a sailing ship, rather than a boat, even though it is a 3-masted topsail schooner.
There is some overlap when it comes to categorizing different vessels and different boats. All that really matters is that you choose one you like, regardless of what it is called.
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