There were only three dinghies at the National Sailing Hall of Fame's Wooden Boat Gathering. One of them was this iconic Clark Mill's design, the Windmill (and winner in the small boat division), whose skipper had driven all the way from Kansas City for the event. (For those of you reading Eawigoagin from outside the U.S., Kansas City is almost smack-dab in the middle of the U.S and a good three day drive from the coasts). His well-restored Windmill was of a batch of at least 20 that were built around Kansas City during the 1960's. I didn't catch up with this fellow but Earwigoagin gives him a big TOH for his determination to attend what turned out to be a short drift-fest around Annapolis Harbor. (Usually when someone drives this distance to Annapolis, they have another agenda; that of visiting Washington DC for the sights - although granted, Annapolis does have its charm as well.)
The sailboat race at the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival starts around 1 p.m.on Saturday and is a quick, short jaunt, usually two legs, around the Miles River with the finish off the Museum docks. This year the fleet launched in sunshine which quickly clouded over, the sun peeking through occasionally for the race and then reappearing after the boats had finished. Luckily, the wind which had been blowing hard out of the northwest in the morning had moderated. About forty of the Festival sailboats, sailed out, turning the corner just outside of St. Michaels harbor to make the start.
I was able to again wrangle a ride on the Race Committee boat, the Volunteer, a thirty foot open workboat built by Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum staff, ably handled by Asst. Curator Rick Scofield and Boat Donations Manager, Lad Mills. Although I have a reasonable knack for identifying sailing dinghies, I have difficulty in identifying the subset of designs by traditionalists such as Ian Oughtred and John Welsford. For the following photos taken before the start, readers may want to chime in with the boat types and I will add them later to this post.
Smiles! This is one thing that strikes a competitive racer, such as I, when viewing the fleet before the start. There were so many beaming smiles! This may be a Welsford Pathfinder yawl.
Smiles from a San Francisco Bay Pelican, a flat bottomed, dory sided centerboarder, known for their yacht-like stability.
A traditional gaff-rigged catboat.
A green catboat with a balanced lug and lapstrake topsides. According to the Woodenboat Forum, this is a Tom Hill Modified River Skiff.
Spirit is a design by West River, Maryland icon, Capt. Dick Hartge. Capt. Dick Hartge built Spirit in his retirement in Florida. It is a stretched Chesapeake 20, adding 2 feet to the length, finishing in a pretty canoe stern. Restored by a group in Calvert County, Spirit, under one reef, easily won the sailboat race.
It seems I've settled into a two year rotation in making it over to St. Michaels, Maryland for the Mid-Atlantic Small Boat Festival (MASCF hosted by the Chesapeake Maritime Museum, on their grounds). This year saw me once again go for a Saturday to wander around a crowd I normally don't hang out with, the ones with mostly home-built boats, kayaks, canoes, pulling boats, traditional reproductions, CLC kit boats, Bolger boxes, restored dinghies, and other oddball designs. Strange as strange as it could be, as soon as I arrived at the Festival, I ran into two ex-bosses. Walking across the parking lot to get a ticket I ran into an old engineering manager. He and I were the only two sailors at this former company, but he had a J-27 racing keelboat, so it was somewhat of a surprise to see him going into a show featuring this polyglot mix of mostly wooden boats. It turns out he was making a day-trip of it with his wife and another couple. For him, the feature event was to be later on, dining out in the delightful waterside town of St. Michaels. We caught up on some long-ago names - you know, what is so-and-so doing now? Is he retired? Where is he living? We split up after getting into the show.
I ran into an old sailmaking boss once inside the show. Again, an odd meeting since he is a racing Star and Log Canoe sailor and not known to take much interest in these small boats. And again I was updated on old co-workers.
Then it was my turn to wander the docks. I did wander into someone from the Kirby Paint Co,, New Bedford MA.. I have used their marine enamels and have found them easy to use and even I am able to get a reasonable finish with them, despite my impatience with painting boats.
Some boats at the docks, at least the ones I took photos of:
Pete Lesher, the chief curator at the Chesapeake Maritime Museum has collected the only two known C. Lowndes Johnson Eighteen-Footers, a design precursor, by ten years (1922), of his most famous dinghy, the Comet (1932). I had a very interesting conversation with Pete on where American dinghy design originated in the early years of the twentieth century.
The cat-ketch Graham Byrne's design Core Sound 17. The larger Core Sound 20 is the go-to design for those looking to do the Everglades Challenge. Two mainsails with wishbone booms make for simple day sailing on this easy-to-build shallow V-shaped hull.
This Force 5 had a purple hull and this puke-lime-yellow deck. Bravo to the old production builders from the 1980's! How I wish more fiberglass dinghies built today would add a splash of adventurous color. White on white on white gets boring, boring. (You also got to love the wood touches in this Force 5 - the centerboard cap and the front cockpit coaming. Does anyone know if this was original on the production boats?)
The always gorgeous Lavertue restored 1880's sailing canoe, a constant fixture, from year to year, at MASCF.
There is this Classic Moth, a Shelley design, that only shows up for MASCF, but has never attended any of our Classic Moth events, This Shelley sports mini-wings that are illegal under the Classic Moth rules. This could be easily fixed to comply with our rules but so far the owner has shown no inclination to race with us.
I've been reporting on local Annapolis Classic Mothist, John Z's building of his modified Mistral. Well, at the beginning of this year John Z bought back his old cruising boat and has been spending time refitting his old love. Consequently, this summer, progress on his Classic Moth build has slowed but, despite the distractions of his cruising yacht, there has been progress - he has got the foredeck ply on and added structure where he thought he would need it.
Aft stringers before the aft-tank plywood goes down.
You can tell the V-shape of the Mistral, even in the back end, from this photo. Note the 1/2 ply formers to support the side-tanks.
There is no such thing as sloppy boat-building where John is concerned.
In all the times I've been over to John Z's boat-shop/basement we have never thrown darts - a good thing as I'm sure he doesn't want all these holes in the dry wall (when I throw, at least 1 in 8 end up completely outside the dart board).
Wow! I feel good when I can use a couple of acronyms in a post title - goes to my head with visions of a job writing headlines for the Washington Post. One or two of my astute readers may have picked up that I haven't been sailing my Classic Moth this summer. A certain summertime ennui had taken over which made it difficult to find the time to finish some repairs I had started on my Maser (they are more-or-less done now... now being October). To get out on the water I had to make do with sailing OPB's (Other People's Boats), all of them (gasp!) keelboats.
In the middle of September, rather than attend the Classic Moth Nationals, I called up my good buddy Tom Price about the availability of a ride for the NSHOF (National Sailing Hall of Fame) race around Annapolis harbor that is part of the NSHOF's Classic Wooden Sailboat Rendezvous. As it turned out, Tom had been given the very pretty L. Francis Herreshoff, canoe-stern, Rozinante design, Honalee, owned by Paul Miller, for the race (Paul was the Race Officer for the race). He needed a foredeck crew, not really my bailiwick since I am somewhat keelboat challenged, but I jumped at the chance anyway.
The actual race, scheduled as three laps around the Annapolis outer harbor became a light air slog. The problem I had on the foredeck was trying to cleat everything off on the two horn cleats on the mast, especially when we had the spinnaker up. Eventually Tom pointed out there were two other cam cleats on the mast that had escaped my notice. This helped partially cleaning up the rat's nest of ropes I had created at the base of the mast; a pile of halyards, and topping lift, and downhaul . We finished third in our division, beaten by the two, very quick, wooden Stars. Mercifully the race was shortened after one lap.
Some photos - mostly mine except where noted:
An Ed Cutts design that was sailed by an all-woman crew. Another design with a pretty sheer line. Ed operated out of Oxford Maryland.
A wooden Snipe, one of three dinghies competing.
Skipper Tom surrounded by all that varnish on Honalee.
A photo of a L.Francis Herreshoff Rozinante. This one is not Honalee but one that Tom came across in Maine that has a shorter coach roof than Honalee.
Photo by Robert Müller, of two old-rule Nethercott IC's racing the previous IC World Championship in Germany. Photo was lifted from the World International Canoe website.
I had a debrief phone call from Earwigoagin's 2014 IC Worlds correspondent, Fran De Faymoreau and he offered these conclusions from the just completed World Championship at Richmond YC, San Francisco.
The Chris Maas wedge design is clearly superior in anything over very light conditions. The top two were Chris Maas designs with Mikey winning in a slightly older model with slightly fuller forward sections. The Germans have developed a Chris Maas variant in which Peter Ullman fashioned a late regatta surge into a fourth overall.
The Clark clan, father Steve, sons, Dave and Willie, were sailing plywood wedges. They were fast but prone to suffering breakages. They were also slightly heavy, around 5kg over weight.
Some of my own observations from very far away.
It looks like Colin Brown (GBR) won the over-60 award, finishing in 12th place. An absolutely amazing feat given the very tough conditions. (This is an educated guess and someone may have to correct me on this.)
Tweezerman has always liked the idea of a Persistence trophy, particularly in heavy-air regattas so Earwigoagin would like to recognize John Gilmour (USA) of Richmond Y.C who finished every race to place 20th overall. TOH to John and Tweezerman promises to supply you with a craft beer whenever we cross paths.
Tweezerman was also very surprised to see a suit of IC sails of his design and manufacture that were used in the 1993 Worlds (under the Shore Sails label) split between two Nethercotts (one had the mainsail, the other had the jib). Obviously these sails were well beyond the use-before date but still heart warming to see your own fabric creation kicking around twenty years later.
Bald but my eyebrows are growing at a prolific rate. Sailed Windmills and Y-Flyers in the 1960's. Founded Miami University (OH) sailing team. Sailed International 14's and Lasers in the 1970's. Sailed International Canoes in the 1980's to mid 1990's. Sailed Classic Moths since 2002. Enjoy boatbuilding though I'm very, very slow at it (the Internet doesn't help matters). Name in real life: Rod Mincher
After choosing this username (Tweezer is the name of my Classic Moth), further research on the Internet turned up that Tweezerman is a corporate name for a line of pedicure products. Let me emphasize that I do not work for, nor endorse these products.