Great Lakes Nautical Society

Welcome to the Boat Yard

This portion of our website will be devoted to furthering the hobby of ship model building. It will highlight the model building of our club members, as well as modeling tips that we hope will help others in building their models. Select any of the links below to go directly to that model.



Huron Spirit owned by Lakes Pilots Association, District 2, home port Port Huron, Mich.Model is about 7 inches long, scratch built, life rings and stern wheel by Bluejacket, the rest is wood, plastic, paper clips, and paint. The Huron Spirit is all aluminum, 53 ft long, 17 ft beam. has twin 600 hp diesel engines, a Raymond Hunt Assoc. modified deep-vee hull design, launched in November 2016, dedicated in Port Huron December 2016.

Model Built by Doug Abbott.



I wanted to make something different other than a boat.  I have owned an electric toy Mercury out board motor since I was thirteen years old.  I took the motor and made a pattern of all the parts doubling the size. Most of the motor is made of white pine. The rest is made of two different thicknesses (1/16 and 1/8) of plywood. First I cut all the parts out and then I started carving and shaping. After all the parts were shaped and sanded I painted them gloss black. The motor is pinned together using 1/8’ dowel so that it comes apart. For the cowling I used very thin aluminum that I scored to look like lines. The fuel tank is a block of wood shaped and painted gloss red. Both the fuel gauge holder and handle are painted gloss black. For the fuel gauge itself I used a clear bead.  For the fuel line I bought the thinnest tubing I could find at the auto parts store. The propeller body was turned on my lathe and the blades made out of aluminum. The priming bulb was also turned on my lathe and painted black. The motor swivels back and forth and also tilts up and down just like a real motor. This was a fun and challenging project to build.

Model Built by Leonard Treppa.


Novgorod (Russian: Новгород) was a monitor built for the Imperial Russian Navy in the 1870s. She was one of the most unusual warships ever constructed, and still survives in popular naval myth as one of the worst warships ever built. A more balanced assessment shows that she was relatively effective in her designed role as a coast-defense ship. The hull was circular to reduce draught while allowing the ship to carry much more armour and a heavier armament than other ships of the same size. Novgorod played a minor role in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 and was reclassified as a coast-defense ironclad in 1892. The ship was decommissioned in 1903 and used as a storeship until she was sold for scrap in 1911. This is a scratch built model (no purchased fittings). Any questions please let me know!

Model built by Leonard Treppa.


Club member Len Treppa shares his latest model MFV96. This boat was part of the UK Admiralty Fleet during the World War II. Len used bread and butter construction for the building of this model.

MFV 96
During WWII a number of various types of small seaworthy ships were called to support major war ships. Some of these were yachts, ferries, steam & motor craft along with fishing boats. Soon it was noted that the design of the fishing boat was very seaworthy and this design was used to build up the fishing fleet after WWII. 61.5ft., 45ft., 75ft., and others were built. The MFV 96 was one of these. Originally built in 1944 by Mashford Bros. of Cremyll, Cornwall.

Click here for a Vitality Magazine article of Leonard Treppa


The "FLYER" was launched in 1906 and served mainly as a cargo boat carrying lumber and metals. It belonged to the White Collar Line and operated in the northern Washington, Idaho area, including Lake Coeur d'Alene. It was powered by a single steam engine. The hull was constructed of steel and the superstructure was built of wood. The Flyer was 130' long with a beam of about 18'. In its later years it was used as a tour boat.  By 1936 it was no longer needed and too costly to maintain. It 1938 it was burned by the owners.  This static model is about 21" long with a beam of about 6".

Model built by former club member Norm Hart of Washington State.


I drew up the plans for the Monarch myself from the pictures in the magazine “MODEL BOAT” (issue Dec. 2014).  All of my models are made from scratch and are static.  The Monarch is 24 inches long, the hull is made out of white pine, bread and butter construction and cut out. The deck is planked with strips of mahogany—that I cut myself on my table saw with a jig I made. The rest of the boat is made out of 1/16 bass wood. The main saloon is framed from 1/8 sq. stock and covered with bass wood. The curtains I drew out on card stock and are glued from the inside. The hatches slide open & shut. The funnel is made out of dowel rod and is bored out. Railings are made out of brass and soldered together. I had many hours of fun building and painting this boat and I have added the Monarch to my collection of over 30 boats. I also included a photo of some of my boats that were on display at one of our local libraries. Thank you for your interest.

Click here for Magazine article photos of Leonard Treppa

Leonard Treppa


The "little" tug/towboat Sport was built by the Kirby Brothers in 1873 for Capt. Eber B. Ward at his Wyandotte, Michigan shipyard. The 45 ton vessel was 56.7 feet in length with a beam of 14.7 feet. The entire hull was made of steel and it is believed to be the first steel commercial vessel so built on the great lakes. It was used throughout the Great lakes in the lumber business moving large rafts of logs, and towing schooners into various ports.
Although it was used as a general purpose harbor tug for various towing and marine construction projects in the Port Huron area, it was notable as it was used following the Great Storm of 1913 to temporarily replace the Huron Lightship which had been blown far out of position. It was also the vessel that took photographers and a diver to obtain the identity of the mystery ship found floating overturned after the storm north of Port Huron (Charles S. Price).
On December 13, 1920 Capt. Robert R. Thompson and a crew of five left Port Huron for Harbor Beach to pick up a barge, but in a gathering storm as they neared Lexington the vessel was overcome by high wind and waves.  Capt. Thompson ordered the crew to don life vests and launch the life boat. They rowed for shore and reached the beach about one mile north of Lexington.
Attempts to find the sunken vessel were futile as the exact location wasn’t known.  Sixty seven years later, June 1987, it was accidently found by commercial divers about 2 ½ miles out from Lexington in about 50 feet of water. It is now a protected and popular dive site.

This model of the Sport is built to a scale of ¼ inch to one foot, and was completed in September, 2011 by Doug Abbott.

  • Figure 1 Figure 1 Bread and butter style build up of 3/4" pine glued together to form the hull.
  • Figure 2 Figure 2 Shaping and sanding the hull.
  • Figure 3 Figure 3 Various components shaped from wood.
  • Figure 4 Figure 4 Scored wood deck and rub rail glued to hull.
  • Figure 5 Figure 5 Gluing on of styrene bulwark and balsa gunnel strips.
  • Figure 6 Figure 6 Painting of deck, bulwarks and rails.
  • Figure 7 Figure 7 Final fit up of components and hardware.