Friday, October 22, 2010

Historic Nantais Moth Under Build, British Columbia, Canada

 Construction de Moth Classique

Plans de Moth Classique

Dave from British Columbia sent me some pictures of a Nantais Moth he has under construction.

The Nantais Moth Classique is a French Vintage design from the 1940's and the story behind this design is both historic as well as somewhat mysterious.

If you read any history of yacht racing; the sport basically shut down during WWII......except in occupied France where the Nazi's decided (correctly as it turns out) that letting the French build 11' Mothboat sailboats was not, in any way, shape or form, going to come back them as a military weapon. And the French built them in numbers. I'm not sure how many were built during WWII but 1000 of the Nantais design were eventually built.

I'm sure there are plenty of sea stories out there from French Mothboaters, now in their 80's, of how they built and raced Mothboats during a World War where everything was severely rationed. Where did they find the wood? What did they make the sails out of? Unfortunately I'll never get to hear these stories from this side of the Atlantic.

Dave of Vancouver builds his boats outside. After planking the Nantais hull in plywood, Dave has ceased operations as the fall temps in Canada have reached too low for epoxy to kick off in any reasonable time.

The Nantais skeleton before plywood.

Plywood sheathing on.

Photo from inside the hull showing frames and stringers.

I'll be waiting for the spring for new photos from Dave on this project. And if any Frenchmen read this blog, shoot me some more history on the Nantais Moth Classique. It would be much appreciated.

Also, Vintage Moths are a good way to go for those who would like to build an excellent sailing dinghy but are a little leery about their ability to handle a tippy hull. I have some plans for a Vintage in my hands that I'll see if I can post as a DXF in some later post.

Click here for more posts that reference the Nanatais Moth.


Romain said...

In fact, if you read French and you're interested in this Moth and the period, you should buy this book: "construis toi-même ton dériveur ou ton quillard classique" by Georges P. THIERRY. This is a reprint of a serie of do-it-yourself books published during WW2 detailing plans and methods to build:

-9m2 and 11m2 sharpie
-Dinghy Herbulot

You can order the book here:

to answer your questions, the text refers to shortages of material, bombings in Nantes and the sail material is cotton.

Romain said...

I thought I posted a comment already, but it did not work...

If you are interested in this specific moth and if you can read French, I advise that you buy the book "construis toi même ton dériveur ou ton quillard classique" by Georges P. THIERRY.

you can order it here:

Chasse Marée Editions has done this reprint of a serie of do-it-yourself books about boat construction written during WW2. The author explains how to build a Nantais Moth but also other dinghies and a keel boat (l'Aile).

To answer your questions, the sails are made of cotton (9m2 needed for the Moth) and the book mentions shortage of materials and a bombing in Nantes.