The Chinese Junk Sandy Lee was built in 1999 by Frank Pittelli in the United States, based on a set of plans drawn in Italy and purchased from a book store in Germany via the Internet (ain't technology great?). The original ship was built in 1898 and was primarily used for cargo, although it carried 6 cannons for protection.
The model was built using the plank-on-frame technique, with frames cut from plywood and oak strips. All of the planks below the deck line were made from Cedar, while the planks above the deck line, including the stern castle were made from Red Oak. Finally, the deck planking was made from Popular. All planking was custom ripped from common stock.
After the hull was laid, the inside was treated with a layer of epoxy, with fiberglass reinforcement for strength, while the exterior was treated with a clear epoxy coating and numerous coats of polyurethane. The dragon was carved from pear wood and attached to the transom.
The masts were made from hardwood dowels, stepped through the deck to the keel with stainless steel rods. This provides excellent support for the masts and allows for a minimal number of stays, as was the case with the original ship. The stays are secured to the deck using homemade brass bights, which allows for quick rigging and de-rigging, while retaining a traditional look.
The relatively complex traditional junk running rigging has been replaced by conventional sheets that control the lower booms. All sails were scratch designed and built, complete with full battons. The sails are secured to the mast and booms using traditional lashings. Below decks, a scratch-built sail winch provides all of the power needed to draw in all three sails even in the heaviest of conditions.