Welcome to the Monterey Clipper-pedia

The Monterey Clipper fishing boats have long had a cult following among boat modelers on the West coast. My hope for this site is to introduce the boats to a wider audience, and to help modelers find the details which are so important in constructing their creations.

The boats make appealing subjects, especially for the R/C modeler. As with tugboats, one can make a large model of a small boat, allowing for all sorts of character and charm. The Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hicks Engine Model: Progress Report


Port side view of 1:8 scale Hicks engine, showing Manzel oiler and magneto in place.

I’ve reached an important milestone in building the model Hicks engine: This is the first time I’ve had the valve gear, including the crossed-helical gear drive off the main shaft, all assembled and operating. It’s a wonderful Rube Goldbergy contraption, and it’s a relief to see it all functioning smoothly.


Starboard view, with camshaft and valve gear visible.


Close-up of the camshaft and followers.

Follow the build in detail at RC Groups.

Here’s a short video of the valve gear being exercised by hand:

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Fisherman’s Wharf, Lagoon & Ramp, ca. 1936


Fisherman’s Wharf, ca. 1936. Clicking on image will open a 13 MB, 8134 pixel-wide image with super detail.

Ernie W. just shared this fantastic image, scanned from a recently acquired negative. The negative came from Moulin Studios of San Francisco. Ernie had it scanned at high resolution, and the detail is wondrous.

Ernie thought the image might be from 1938… but looking closely at upper portion, one can just make out the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, and a cable– but no bridge deck. This means the image is likely to be from early to mid 1936.

Click on the image to open it full size– 13MB, 8134 pixels wide.

Thanks, Ernie!


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Scampo’s Hicks Goes on the Block


Scampo, a 1915 Monterey boat

The Benicia Historical Museum, which owns Scampo, a 1915 Monterey that worked the Delta, is making a decision as soon as tomorrow night (Weds 1/25/17) on accepting one of several bids on Scampo’s Hicks engine.

I don’t have the details, but I expect the winner will need to pull the engine with his own resources. This may require cutting up the boat, which the museum wants gone anyway. The boat is beyond repair, and has become a nuisance.

This is a marvelous and very complete engine and driveline, an early Hicks built at the original San Francisco factory (not a later Yuba Mfg version). I hope it all goes to a deserving soul!

See more pictures of Scampo here in the Real Boats Gallery: https://montereyclippers.wordpress.com/monterey-data/gallery-real-boats/scampo-benicia-ca/



Left high and dry, the boat has dried out and come apart. Other areas look even worse.


The very original and complete Hicks.


The nameplate (and other details) reveal this to be an early SF-built engine– not a Yuba.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Double-ender at Noyo


Double-ender crossing the bar at Noyo. c. 1940’s?

Here’s a shot of another wall photo at Union Lumber in Fort Bragg, also via Mark M. The double-ender is an evolutionary step beyond the original Monterey Clipper form, but I’m sure a 1930’s Italian fisherman would be right at home aboard her.

Note the registration number, which makes the shot pre-60’s… and Mark notes a lack of aerials, so it’s likely pre-50’s. So we’ll say 1940’s.

Also note the small poles on the outriggers, which serve the same function as the more usual coil springs on the taglines: They cushion a hard hit, and act as visible tell-tales.

Thanks again, Mark!


Detail- What a ride!


Detail, poles.


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Noyo Mural


Mosaic made from Mark M’s video (below).

Mark M. forwarded the video pan (below) of a wall photo-mural found in Fort Bragg, at the Union Lumber Company store. A number of Monterey boats can be seen in the scene. Thanks Mark, and Happy New Year!



The Union Lumber Company store, Fort Bragg

The Union Lumber Company store, Fort Bragg


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Feluccas at Meiggs Pier (later, Fisherman’s Wharf), c.1901. Detroit Publishing Co., via Library of Congress.

Lateen rigged feluccas formed the Italian-American fishing fleet on San Francisco Bay from the late 1800’s through to the first decade of the 1900’s. At this time, they started to be replaced by larger powered boats using newly available gasoline engines. Those boats, of course, became known as the “Monterey Clippers”.

I haven’t read much about the builders of the feluccas, other than that they were building the traditional form they knew from Italy. But it must have been these boatwrights who built the first “Monterey” boats, somewhat enlarged from the felucca to carry the heavy engine, and with the flared “clipper bow” to deflect spray on choppy Bay waters.

The photo above was found at the Library of Congress, and is easily the clearest photo of a felucca I’ve found online. Many more felucca photos are reproduced in Allessandro Baccari’s book, “San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf“; I’m sure that the originals of those would provide even more details.

Other felucca information:

  • A West Coast felucca was documented in the HAMMS survey in the 1930’s; includes lines, inboard profile, and sail plan. See my samples at  https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?1769895-Felucca-HAMMS-Plans

    HAMMS felucca sail plan

    HAMMS felucca sail plan

  • A hull lines drawing was generated from a decrepit hull at San Francisco in 1998 as a HAER project, and is available through the Library of Congress.


    SF felucca documented in HAER.

  • Bob Herrera built a very nice felucca model; see it here in the Herrera Model Gallery.

    Herrera felucca model

    Herrera felucca model

  • Tom Fordham built a very nice half hull presentation of a felucca. Sadly, we have only one photo, and don’t know where the model is now.

Do you have more felucca info? Let us know!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

December 8, 1941

Boats on Dec. 8, 1941. Fisherman's Union logo on boat in foreground. Look closely in this picture to find a beer truck!

Boats on Dec. 8, 1941. Fisherman’s Union logo on boat in foreground. This boat also has a raised foredeck, no bowsprit, and the hinged mast is stowed forward. Also note the fenders made from segments of skinny auto tires, and the removable section of the raised bulwark to allow the crab pots to be worked. Several other boats have various arrangements for working an anchor line over the bow. Look closely in this high-resolution picture to find a beer truck!


Two shots from a series taken around the wharf the day after Pearl Harbor. The Matsonia is described as an Army Transport. Library of Congress photos by John Collier.

The clearer photo (above, click to zoom in) shows another boat bearing the logo of the United Fishermen’s Union of the Pacific, which makes me think that this wasn’t just a film crew stunt seen in the 1938 “Fisherman’s Wharf” movie, discussed below.

A slightly different view of the same scene, lower resolution image.

A slightly different view of the same scene, lower resolution image. Ship’s wheels can be seen mounted on the masts, two boats in the foreground.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment