Before diving into this very lengthy post, you might want to Click Here To View Classic Moth Images courtesy of Google.
You also might want to Click here for a YouTube video with commentary on some of the various Classic Moths racing at the U.S. Classic Moth Nationals in Elizabeth City.
(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" I keep adding plans and sections for various Classic Moths. Use the following links.)
- "Little Mae" PDF plans from magazine.
- "Little Mae" Metric station offsets.
- French Vintage Classic Moth "Nantais" build - classique Moth voilier.
- Francois Vivier Classic Moth kit -conception classique Moth voilier.
- Some other posts with references to Classic Moth plans.
- Offsets for the Zippy design, a modified Proust - conception classique Moth voilier.
- Zippy sections in PDF format.
- Plans for Willam Crosby's vintage Skimmer scow design in PDF format.
- Plans for Len Morris's original Aussie scow, the MK II in PDF format.
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.
Picture of the tank framing for Joe Bousquet's Mistral. Note the sistering of insulation foam with the plywood frame to provide gluing surface for the plywood decks.
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!)
- A discussion on the differences between a Mousetrap and a Mistral.
- And finally a short video of a a Mistral hull modified with a flatter Europe type transom.
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. I called this design Tweezer D as it was the fourth generation in what I drew up, but the D version was only one built. A Gen 2 design racing against the Mistral, Energizer designs. Stability somewhere between the Mistral and the Shelly (though some other sailors have told me it is close in stability to a Shelley). Flatter rocker in the Tweezer has proven to be 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 D 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.
Bill Boyle is doing a new build of a Shelley MkIII which he is documenting in a blog. Click here to check out his progress.
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 won the Gen1 class at the 2014 Championships over an Olympic Europe.
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.
The simple single-chine sections for Zippy. There is no compounding of plywood here. This design has ample flotation forward, which makes for a safer hull, particularly downwind in a blow. (For reference, buttock lines spaced at 150mm and waterlines spaced at 60mm.)
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.
- Click here to view his restoration of a Fran Abbott Moth.
- Click here to view his restoration of a Fletcher/Cates Moth.
- 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.
William Crosby's SKIMMER - A very early Moth design, published in The Rudder in 1933. According to Crosby, hundreds were built but very few have surfaced in modern times. A scow type, this would make a good off-the-beach boat but is not competitive in the Vintage Divsion when compared to the deeper V vintage designs like the Dorr-Willey or Ventnor.
Skimmer Plans can be found here.
A Skimmer found in a barn in Cape Cod. Note the lack of cockpit.
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.
MOTH CLASSIQUES - The French have a rich tradition with the Classic Moths and their designs. The French Duflos was the fastest Classic Moth before the arrival of wings. Click here to view Part 1 of Louis Pillon's fascinating history of the French Moth class. I have come across two small jpeg's of French Moth designs on the Internet.
The first is the vintage, scow bow Nantais design which has been mentioned before in this post.
The second is the Fragniere design, a unique transom bow design which was most popular in France before the appearance of the very narrow Duflos and similar designs
SCOW Moth - The scow Moth was THE Moth of Australia and New Zealand until the narrow waterline winged Moths proved faster in the mid 1980's. Len Morris was the founder of the Australian scow Moths with his Flutterby design which he built in 1928. His post World War II MK II design was very popular and is still an easy-build proposition out of plywood. Plans for the MK II can be found by clicking here.
The sections for the MK II show a simple flat-bottom scow with vertical sides.
A double bottom MKII built in the 1950's.
Where to put the mast and daggerboard in a Classic Moth?
Luckily, John Shelley's construction drawings for the Shelley Mk 1, which he used in a patent application, have now surfaced on the internet. His mast and daggerboard placement as indicated in the drawings below are good placements, though, if you went around the fleet with a measuring tape, you would find this might vary by up to 75 mm from boat to boat.
Center of mast back from stem - 695 mm.