Sunday, August 24, 2014

Topper Worlds 2014

A TV news report on the Topper Worlds that took place mid August in Pwhelli Wales. Whereas the Laser Radial is the interim junior class for the Optimist graduates in North America, the Topper holds this distinction in the U.K., with massive turnouts. This doesn't mean adults can't enjoy Toppers as I have posted before in this post and also this post.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Plans for the Classic Lark Scow

I've chunked together, into a PDF file, the plans for the Lark scow as published in Rudder magazine in the 1940's. It calls for a traditional build of the Lark but that doesn't mean you couldn't utilize modern technology and build it another way. Again, to open the PDF plans in another window (for printing or saving as a file) click on the boxed arrow icon on the top right of the embedded PDF file. Note that page 12 of the PDF file is blank.

Click here for the background post on the Lark scow.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Header Photo: Captain Scrambling on Skinny Moth

I took this from an old International Moth newsletter. It shows a Japanese fellow riding his skinny skiff Moth wrong way up (before foils). Sometimes there is nothing dignified about dinghy sailing.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dinghy Photo: A Great One of a 12 sq. meter Sharpie

Velajando na Lagoa dos Patos

In my travels around the Net I've grabbed photos that interest me here and there. Every once in a while I'll repost. This black and white photo of the Classic 12 sq. meter Sharpie, the Olympic double-hander of 1956, is one of my favorites. I got it from a Brazilian blogger that was on the blog list of Doryman, but doesn't seem to be on his blog list now. I assume the photo is from the late 1950's - early 1960's, especially given the split tiller in use which was also popular on Classic Moth's from that time fame. The 12 sq. m. Sharpie is sailing on a large freshwater lagoon behind an ocean barrier island, Lagoa dos Patos - Duck Lagoon, in Southern Brazil. The two names I have attached to the photo are Gabriel Gonzales and Nelson Piccolo, who I assume are the sailors. If I had a larger resolution image this one would definitely be framed and sitting on a wall in my house.

I would be interested in further attribution of the photographer because it is a great sailing photo.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Choreographed Pitchpole

This blog has certainly featured plenty of capsizes and other mayhem (note header photo) but I have never seen a dual choreographed pitchpole as is shown in this video of Nacra 17 catamarans racing at Palma this spring. (main event starts at 28 seconds into the video but there is plenty of carnage before hand),

Brutal day in Palma - Thomas Zajac & Tanja Frank - Nacra 17 Sailingteam - 3 Apr 2014 from Valencia Sailing on Vimeo.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Lark Scow; the Laser of the early 1900's

In the winter of 1897 - 1898, C.G. Davis designed and built a 16-foot chined scow for his own use. It was a simple build for that time, the hull featuring a shallow arc bottom like the Clapham designed Bouncer (a designer Davis highly respected). Davis claims he designed the Lark scow as a general daysailor but, in 1898, he raced his newly built scow in the fifteen-foot class in several Long Island regattas and won. Sensing a great deal of interest in his little scow, Davis, at the time the design editor of Rudder, printed the plans over three issues in the fall of 1898. The response was enormous and readership in Rudder exploded. When you tap into a successful market, you keep going and Rudder started a How-To series of cloth bound boat plans offering several different boats with the Lark advertised as "How to Build the Racer".

In the early 1900's the Lark scow was built everywhere, worldwide. Fifteen Larks were built at the Yokohama Y.C. Builders built to plans and those who couldn't help themselves built smaller Larks, bigger Larks, Larks with counter sterns. By the 1920's Lark fleets in the U.S. seemed to be concentrated around the Great Lakes. By the 1930's the Lark was disappearing as Crosby, a later editor at Rudder, in 1928 introduced his own design, the home-build V-shaped centerboarder, the 15- foot Snipe. Rudder republished the plans for Lark in 1940 but by then, on the eve of World War II, the Snipe was one of several chined centerboarders available in the United States; the Comet, Moth, and Lightning classes also establishing themselves as popular small sailboat classes.

As far as I can determine, there is one Lark fleet remaining in the world (there are two Lark variants still going - I'll cover those further down this post). Rondeau Bay in Ontario, Canada (just across Lake Erie from Toledo, Ohio), specifically Erieau Y.C., has a fleet of about a dozen. The Lark fleet on Rondeau Bay got going in the 1930's and bucked the trend by achieving its greatest popularity after World War II. In 1972 between 30-50 Larks were racing on Rondeau Bay. In 1963 Bill Kerr produced plans to build the Lark in plywood and the current fleet in Erieau Y.C has a combination of some new builds as well as restorations. They still retain the traditional wooden spars and have made the rig a gunter rig compared to the original gaff rig.

Lark variants still going strong are the LarkenKlasse of Germany and Holland and the Monotype de Chatou of France. The LarkenKlasse is a smaller Lark, a 13-footer singlehander with keel, a design that came out in the 1920's. The LarkenKlasse is the most popular of any Lark type today, the class experiencing a resurgence with upwards of 30 attending regattas. The LarkenKlasse sports the full battened, gunter rig that Manfred Curry popularized in the 1920's and 1930's.

The Monotype de Chatou was a French variant that combined the Lark with a Linton Hope design and was built at the beginning of the early 1900's. It is hard to see a direct connection to the Lark when looking at photos of the Monotype de Chatou as it appears to be round-bilged and not chined. Those still sailing, as far as I can determine, are restorations.

This ad comes from a 1901 issue of Rudder. The plans for the Lark were so successful that Rudder began a very popular How-To series at the turn of the century. They would also add another scow, the Mower designed 24 foot Swallow scow, the plans first published in the magazine and then a cloth bound How-To book.

A Erieau Y.C Lark. Nice varnish job on the deck! The fleet retains the wood spars.

The Erieau Lark sports a gunter rig (the original plans called for a gaff). It still has a big mainsail for a 16 footer.

One can get an inkling on the shape of the arc-bottom design from the shape of the transom.

Compared to the original plans the Erieau Larks have elongated the cockpit (made the back deck shorter) and have changed the rudder design to improve handling.

A photo of a the shorter German LarkenKlasse stuffing her bow into a wave.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Dutch Skûtsje

Skûtsje are a version of the traditional Dutch working scows that are now raced for fun (though I think a large portion of the video below is discussing what happens to the fun part of a traditional class when the racing becomes very competitive - note the PT training in the video). These are big boats, upwards of 20 meters, but narrow to fit the canals. They are unballasted, with two leeboards, and they do capsize, with some regularity, when pushed too hard.

Click here for the Wikipedia entry on the Skûtsje.

Warning: The following video is for sailing geeks like me, who would watch an excellent 1/2 hour documentary in another language, just to marvel at the shots of these work boats racing under sail. I wonder if we will ever see a version with English sub-titles?

I've dragged over some comments from Rik who sheds some more light on the following video:
"Even if you knew Dutch you would still miss more than half of the video. They speak Fries which is spoken in Friesland. My Grandmom came from there...The story is about the sometimes opposing issues related to traditional skutse sailing versus bringing the boats and crew to a much higher competitive plane.