Saturday, March 20, 2010

Classic Moth plans

Plans de voiliers classiques Moth

Before diving into this very lengthy post, you might want to click here to view Classic Moth images courtesy of Google.

(Addendum September 2012 - I first wrote this post in 2010. Since then various boatbuilders have popped up, building reproductions of vintage designs. Francois Vivier has also produced a kit Moth. In the two years I have made many more posts about Classic Moths on Earwigoagin and it might be worth the reader to investigate. For more articles on the Classic Moth from this blog, use the Blogger Search Box at the top left  (next to the orange B icon). Type in "Classic Moth" to pull all the articles on the Classic Moth from this blog. Or go to the Labels on the right side of the blog and select "Classic Moth" Also the plans for the Little Mae Vintage design can also be found on this blog as well as some construction photos of the French Vintage Classic Moth, the Nantais. The Little Mae design and the Nantais are very, very similar designs. Use the following links.)
(editors note - I've dragged the Conclusion to the top of the post - August 2013) CONCLUSION - Let me be clear. The Classic Moth is a short hull and a light hull. At the Gen2 (higher performance racing) level, the Classic Moths are challenging craft to sail but very rewarding at the same time.  A Laser is like an aircraft carrier compared to the more twitchier Gen 2 designs, the MistralEnergizer, Tweezer or even the Shelly. 

But there are more stable Classic Moths that we classify as Gen 1. I've never sailed a Mint or a Proust design but I would assume that they would be very much the same stability as a Laser or Sunfish. Or, an even older design, a reproduction vintage design such as the Little Mae or Nantais Moth would be the most stable and perfect for kicking around on the lake. 

So there you have it. The Mistral, Shelly and Florida Cates have more or less complete plans. Other designs you would probably need to work off a set of lines drawings and use your builders experience. George Albaugh is our plan librarian. His email is linked from Classic Moth website.  George is also another sailing blogger. You can view his Classic Moth posts over at Mid-Atlantic Musings.

All lines drawings (except the Europe dinghy) were done using MaxSurf's NURBS software.

Quick review of some of the more popular designs and the availability of plans. (Updated September 2012)

(Note; To give a rough idea on the tippiness of a hull, Joe Bousquet developed a scissor-like device he placed over the midsection to visually show the amount of V. I've included his pictures of the various V's from the Mistral, Shelly, Europe, Energizer.)

(Another note: To scroll through hi-res pictures, just click on a picture. Once the hi-res picture comes up, click again in the picture to step through all the pictures on this post.)

MISTRAL - easiest to build. Developable plywood. Stitch and glue. Two 3mm plywood panels are bent up to shape, a centerline piece attached to hold the run flat, a spreader bar at the gunwhales is used to get the correct shape when bending up and glassing. A weekend of work will give you the rough shape. Adding two permanent bulkheads, a temp bulkhead and the transom finalizes the shape. Many people have hacked the hull shape by pushing here or pulling there so we have some semi Mistral hullls out there. Here is a link to a blog post of a local Annapolis Mothist, John Z building a Mistral. A Mistral or some variation of the Mistral has won the Nationals the last umpteen years.

However, the Mistral is a very deep V design. Very floppy and has a tendency to scare newbie Mothists who try to sail her. Many have come ashore and either; 1) rapidly put the boat up for sale or 2) put the Mistral back in the garage for a while and then discreetly sold her. Not all mind you, as we have a core group of about 6-8 who regularly sail a Mistral (or modified Mistral design, i.e. the Mousetrap or Y2K designs) and are able to race them hard in all conditions and win. It helps to have some Laser or Sunfish experience but this is not an ironclad requirement. If you pick a Mistral to build, consider yourself warned. If you decide to proceed, George has the plans (see bottom of article).

The Mistral on the Bousquet V-meter.

Top View of a Mistral Mod Design, the Mousetrap by Jeff Linton.

Not all Mistrals are built in plywood. This one was done in foam core/glass, with the hull splashed using an existing wood hull as a mold. Note the very interesting transom design.

Here are the lines to a modified Mistral, the Y2KBug built by Walt Collins. (Pretty extreme wouldn't you say!)

ENERGIZER -Just a hair more stable than the Mistral is the Energizer design. A modification of the 1970's Stockholm Sprite, it is a full chine design but still very V'd. Two have been built with some success. No plans.

Energizer on the Bousquet V-meter.

The original Energizer was the first Classic Moth I owned. Here I am sailing Energizer at Chester River in Maryland.

The Energizer hull shape from the stern.

A lines drawing of Energizer showing it belongs to the deep-V family of Classic Moths.

TWEEZER - Yep, this is my design. A Gen 2 design racing against the Mistral, Energizer designs. Stability somewhere between the Mistral and the Shelly. Flatter rocker in the Tweezer has proven to be a quick in a breeze but suffers against the Mistrals and even the Shelly in the lighter stuff (non-hiking breeze) which, on the East Coast, seems to be the majority of our conditions. I may be biased but it is a hull with little vices. Round bilged and the original was built using cedar strips.
Picture below is of me lollygagging around on Tweezer, before a start at E-City.


And the Tweezer hull lines:

SHELLEY - A wider, flatter chined design with moderate rocker from the brilliant New Zealand/English dinghy designer of the 1960's, John Shelley. Much more stable and, in the hands of Joe Bousquet, has done very well in the National championships. George has the Mk3 plans.

Shelley on the Bousquet V-meter.

A McCutcheon built Shelley in dinghy park at the Gulfport Midwinters.

The lines for the Shelley Mk III.

MINT - Qualifies for Gen 1 (our Classic Moth division for the more stable, higher wetted surface hulls that are not Vintage). A Bill Lee national championship winner, the Mint is a reasonably docile design from the 1950's. Never built one but the bow sections go very fine and look to present some challenges to the home builder. That being said, 6 hulls were built in Elizabeth City in the 1990's. George has the section lines.

A picture of the beautiful restoration of the first Mint built.....

And John Pugh sailing a Mint at the E-City Nationals.

The hull lines of the Mint showing the concave sections up forward.

FLORIDA CATES - The most successful American design of the 1960's. Florida boatbuilder, Harry Cates, evolved the shape from Warren Bailey's Mach 1. massaging the shape to make it easy to home build in plywood. Charlie Hunt drew up the plans. A Gen 1 design, the Cates is another V'd shape with a distinctive small topside panel with chine. The transom is small, reminding one of a Sunfish transom. The Cates is very beamy at the gunwhales forward. Low freeboard, a wet boat, but reasonably stable, with plans available. George A. has the plans (see contact info at top of post).

Gary Gowans has built two of them, with slight modifications. He was in the money for the Gen1 class at the 2013 Championships.

A topside shot of a Cates. Bill Boyle in 1965.

MODERN FLORIDA -There are two designs by famous Florida MORC designers; OH Rodgers designed the Florida Wedge (a low rocker design, very stable, but slow in waves and squirrely downwind in a breeze). Four hulls were built by the St. Petersburg fleet and Jeff Linton won the 2003 Nationals with one. I'm not sure if any plans exist.

A stern view of the Florida Wedge showing the flattish, low profile, transom and no stern tank:

Paul Lindenberg designed a Classic Moth which has a resemblance to the Windmill hull. Lindenberg will sell his Classic Moth plans for $400. I don't have an address.

Lindenberg's website does show some
Classic Moth building.

A transom photo of a Lindenberg Moth (from George A.'s blog). Note the anti-reflective strips on the transom for safer trailering.

SAVANNAH WEDGE - Very close to the Florida Wedge concept, two Moths were built in Savannah, Georgia. Designed by Lane Reeves, this Wedge design had a wide, flat transom and looked very much like the Zuma class that was built in fiberglass in the 90's. The Savannah Wedge is not competitive as a Classic Moth racer, too much wetted surface, but with it's double bottom this is a very capable kick-around-the-lake daysailor. No plans existing that I know of.

Briggs Monteith begs to differ with my assessment - I have dragged his comment to the main post:
"I know this is an old post but as for the Savannah wedge not being competitive, I finished third in a Savannah wedge in the '99 midwinters sailing one that I borrowed from Jerry Carter. The boat was amazingly quick I thought, It beat Mean Tangerine and Randall Swans Vanilla. extremely light air conditions. I think the boat has suffered from sailors who didn't understand the boat." -Briggs Monteith

EUROPE Dinghy- The ex-Olympic Europe is based on a 1960's Europa Classic Moth and there is an active section of Classic Mothists who have purchased plastic Europes, modified the sail to fit the Classic Moth and are sailing them mostly as stock (though we do have two modified Europes, Mark Saunders has done a Europe hull lighter with a wooden deck).

Wooden Europa dinghy on the Bousquet V-meter.

Walt Collins with his Olympic Europe.

The lines to the Olympic Europe dinghy.

PROUST DESIGN - In 2009, Jim Young built an old French design he found on the Internet. Despite the name he gave her (Tippy), this Classic Moth was anything but. A stable, buoyant design which Jim built modern, in foam/glass. Details on "Tippy" can be found over at this blog post. I've also put up offsets, both metric and English, for my version of the Proust, the Zippy.Also the Zippy sections are posted here.

Tippy at the 2008 E-City Nationals.

RESTORATION - Many of the 60 designs have reappeared as derelict hulls and have been restored rather than homebuilt from scratch. The oldest designs for Vintage (Ventnor, Connecticut, and Dorr Willey designs) must be restored to qualify to race in  the Vintage division (you can still race a reproduction Vintage in the Gen 1 division). 

Here is one of the original ads for the Ventnor Moth.

Bill Boyle has done quite a few Moth restorations and has written about them.

  1. Click here to view his restoration of a Fran Abbott Moth.
  2. Click here to view his restoration of a Fletcher/Cates Moth.
  3. And his latest restoration of a Ventnor copy.

REPRODUCTION VINTAGE - Several people have been building reproductions of the French vintage design, the Nantais Moth. Go to the top of this post for more links to the Nantais Moth. Also on this blog are the plans for the Little Mae Too.

MASER - And for those with the true hacker spirit - there is the Classic Moth that uses a sliced and diced Laser hull - deemed a Maser.

A Maser at the 2011 Midwinters. You can sort of see the Laser transom, still intact.

Other links to other Classic Moth design posts from Earwigoagin..........

My answer to my first email inquiry about Classic Moths.

Classic Moth Designs Part 1 

And also....... Why a Classic Moth is Better than a Laser.



Adam Turnbull said...

Excellent. I think I fell in love with the moths from that Youtube video of the two guys making one. Just the look of lacquered wood and .... love.

Anonymous said...

anyone have a plan for one thats not 400 dollars

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post but as for the Savannah wedge not being competitive, I finished third in a Savannah wedge in the '99 midwinters sailing one that I borrowed from Jerry Carter. The boat was amazingly quick I thought, It beat Mean Tangerine and Randall Swans Vanilla. extremely light air conditions.
I think the boat has suffered from sailors who didn't understand the boat.
-Briggs Monteith