Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Suicide Class

Steve Clark asked me to go through some of my archival material on the Suicide Class. The Suicide Class is one of two development dinghy classes to originate in the U.S (the other is the Moth class). The Suicide was a sail area class; limit of 125 sq. ft. The Suicide originated in New England with some big names (Herreshoff) designing to the rule but the hotbed transferred to Florida after WWII. It is not surprising that Moth sailors and Suicide sailors overlapped. Harry Cates, noted builder of Moths was also a Suicide builder. Both the Moth and the Suicide classes died out in the U.S. in the 1960's. The Suicide tried a comeback in the 1980's but it was just old timer nostalgia. The Moth class has resurrected itself in the U.S in two versions; the International foiler and the more sedate hiking Classic Moth.

The last rules of the Suicide class had the LOA between 18.5 and 22.5 feet, hull weight around 200 lbs., beam was 5 feet. The fleet sported wishbone booms. The crew was on a trapeze.

I find this class very interesting. Unfortunately Anne Henry was writing a class history in the 80's but I never heard any more about it.

Here is a picture from one of the Suicide promotional brochures; Somewhere in Florida. Looks to have the high sheer chines of a Florida Moth. I wonder if this is one of Harry Cates Suicide's?

Double click on the image to get a larger version.


Steve said...

I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. As a teenager in the early 1960's I raced a Rhodes Bantam, which is a 14' hard chine dinghy with 125 sq. feet of sail. That class is also defunct. Frequently there were also Suicides racing at out club and others. It was very fast and could plane upwind. Some of the boats were strip built with rounded topsides. All had the wishbone boom. In the late 60's my older brother bought one and I had the privilege to sail it with my wife. Steve Mason, Chipley, FL,

Steve said...

P.S. I have some 8 mm home movies which may have pictures of the suicides.

Steve said...

Here are two short videos of Suicides sailing on the St Johns River in Jacksonville in the early 60s. Go into YouTube and type in the title as shown in Search.
Suicide 1.mpg
Suicide 2.mpg