Saturday, December 31, 2011

US Olympic Team Announced

I see the American Olympic Sailing Team for the Weymouth Olympic Games this summer has been announced after the results of the Perth ISAF regatta. (Correction from Tillerman; the US Women's Match Racing team is still to be selected...) All this is somewhat confusing to a old cuss like me who remembers the winner-take-all Olympic Trials being held in the U.S over a one or two week period, but professional sailing moves forward increasingly into their own universe. Anyway, congrats to the winners who will represent the red, white, and blue this summer.

To commemorate our Olympians, I have a medley of videos featuring three Olympic dinghy classes; the 49er, the 470 and the Finn.

First video features the crashes and spills that is the hallmark of sailing a 49er. I also like the Ompah music.......



The second video features the suitably blond, congenial Swedish women's 470 skipper giving a video tour of the 470 dinghy.


Perth 2011 World Championships Live VT from Alex Palmer on Vimeo.

And for our Finn video we feature the air rowing introduced to Finn racing over the last couple of years, as explained by the newly crowned John McEnroe of sailing (English Olympic champion Ben Ainslie who had a dust-up with a photographer at the Perth regatta). I agree with Ben on this one, freeing up the pumping rules for the Finn certainly does make a physical dinghy even more physical - which fits the Olympic ideal.



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The models of Bob

I mentioned somewhere back in Earwigoagin that my temporary job as a sailmaker for the Naval Academy went away in July. In the midst of being a somewhat older gent looking for a job in a down economy, my friend Bob Blomquist mentioned he needed someone to drive his extra vehicle down to Sarasota Florida, as he had taken the plunge and retired full time to Florida. Bob is the boatbuilder, Chesapeake 20 sailor, and the sailor I camped out with at the Mid Atlantic Small Craft Festival.

The car delivery was, more or less, a hammer down dash to Florida (with a break at Charlestown SC with Mothist Mark Saunders) and a quick turnaround flight back, but I did get to stay overnight at Bob's new digs. Being a Florida dwelling, Bob's new home is more airy and light filled than his previous house in Baltimore and I got an opportunity to take some pics of the large sailing models Bob has scattered about his living room.

First is the modified Bolger Chebacco daysailor/cruiser that Bob intends to build. (I'm not sure when, as Bob has immediately become a partner in an E-scow and has joined the local Sarasota fleet of hand me down E-scows that race every Wednesday during the Florida winter season.)


Bob's previous racing class was the traditional Chesapeake 20 class out of West River Sailing Club, situated about 18 miles south of Annapolis MD. Bob built his own Chesapeake 20 but, before commencing construction, he did a study model to work out the decking details. The undecked Chesapeake 20 model is shown below. Above the model is a photo of a Whitehall skiff that Bob and Mark Hasslinger built in the early to mid 1980's.


And finally the most mesmerizing one of the lot; a Crotch Island Pinky. Bob didn't build this one. His Chesapeake 20 crew, Jim Reuter found this model in the attic of a house he had just purchased. It was stored next to Howard Chapelle's book "American Small Sailing Craft". The scribbles and calculations of this unknown model maker filled the page where Chapelle documented the Crotch Island Pinky hull shape. Bob added the mast, sails and stand to the still roughly finished hull.

What an absolutely stunning, curvaceous hull this Crotch Island Pinky has. I love all manners and shapes of sailboats but this model arrests my attention anytime I'm in the same room.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Navigating this blog

I've been meaning to write about how to navigate through this blog for a while but a comment from one of my good friends, Bill Parkes (I'm just tweaking on Bill, he really is a good friend) spurred me to finally write this post. Bill commented on my post: "Another Big Guy Singlehander: The Finn Dinghy"

"Rod, You have ignored the Finn.........."
Well, not really. Lets see how to determine how many Finn posts I have done, and other ways to find what you're looking for;

  1. Search Box: With some typing you will find that I have 9 posts referencing the Finn, with 5 of them directly featuring the Finn. How did I do that? Well, Google Blogger utilizes the same Google search engine. "Where is it?", you say. The search box for this blog is on the left of the top menu pane, right above the Title photo.  Type in the word "Finn" in the box, hit enter and wala!, Blogger returns all posts that have the word Finn in them.
  2. Blog Archive: A vast majority of readers visit this blog irregularly. To get an idea of what has been posted since you've been gone, just redirect your gaze over to the right menu pane and "Blog Archive" where Blogger will show you an index of all the posts I've done in the current month. If you want to see an index of the previous months posts, click on the right arrow next to that month to open up that index.
  3.  Labels: Finally, I've tagged all posts into general categories which you'll find under "Labels", lower down on the right hand menu. You will see, surprise! surprise! that I have 39 posts on the "Laser", click on the Laser Label to see all 39 posts. I've tried to keep the Label list from becoming too unwieldy, which is a struggle.
Hmm! Lets play stump Earwigoagin;
  • Search word "Flying Dutchman", aha! no posts found.
  • Search word "Lightning", bunch of posts with maybe three or four related to the American "Lightning" dinghy and several others to the lightning as in "thunder and.....".


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Best Wishes 2011 with the Parade of Lights

End of the year. However you celebrate; Christmas, Hannakahh, Festivus, Kwanzaa, Wiccan, party, party, party, or just a quiet reflection over your favorite beverage; May the joy of the season be with you. To mark this season, here are some pics I took of this years Parade of Lights festival, where owners rig intricate light displays on their craft and then circle around the Annapolis Harbor.





Friday, December 23, 2011

Music Whenever; "White Christmas" Jim Carrey

I like to flex my diaphragm and croon 'White Christmas" around the house (and occasionally around friends I know really well). It's a tune you can really belt out with no shame. I gotta give Jim Carrey credit, his version really resonates with me.......




In a sing-off with Jim Carrey for the worst "White Christmas", I'd win (not only am I terribly off-key, but my voice cracks at the higher ranges). And the following video is a nice movie mashup of "White Christmas"


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ian Proctor's Osprey Dinghy

While we are talking about the great English dinghy designer, Ian Proctor, I came across a glorious picture of one of his famous designs, an Osprey dinghy disappearing in waves off Mounts Bay England. The picture was lifted from the Osprey class website. It's so spectacular I had to include it in a post.


The Osprey is a 17 foot two man spinnaker, trapeze dinghy, designed in the 1950's. Definintely a Classic. The history of the class can be found over here.

Len Parker, Earwigoagin's English correspondent based out of Florida, sends the following description of the island and building featured in the background of this photo....

"The island in Mount's Bay near Marazion, west of Penzance..... is thought to have been the site of the ancient island of 'Ictis'. This being the major tin exporting port of the 'Cassiterides' - the tin islands trading with the Phoenicians or Greeks of the eastern Mediterranean from about the 4th Century BC. Dedicated to the Archangel St. Michael, the Mount is approximately 400 metres offshore, and can be reached at low tide by a stone causeway. [See the writings of Diodorus - the Sicilian Greek historian of the 1st Century AD]. Local legend has a more colourful explanation: the Mount was built by, and home to, the giant 'Comoran'. He would come ashore and steal sheep and cows from the mainland and return to the Mount to eat his meal. He was supposedly killed by a local boy, later called Jack - the Giant Killer.


The building on the Mount is actually is a Benedictine Priory built by Bernard of Le Bec, Abbot of Mont St. Michel (Normandy), in 1135. The Priory marks the southernmost part of the St. Michael's Way in Cornwall - A route for pilgrims from Ireland to St. Ives on through St. Uny Lelant to the Mount and thence on to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. It stands 230 feet above sea level and dominates the whole area."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Minisail Scow Revival; Part 2

All of us sailors have sea stories, told and retold like bards of old. Rupert tells his tale of the Minisail scow;
"I bought my first Minisail (actually a Minisprint, with the self draining cockpit and built in sliding seat support) back in the late 1980’s, and sailed her for a while off the coast of Wales in the Irish sea. The waves there come straight in from the Atlantic, and can make for a wild ride. Being washed off the seat, and, if lucky, keeping hold of tiller extension and seat webbing, and clawing oneself back on board again, is an experience I’ll never forget, but the boat needed space and steady winds to be such fun, when I moved away from the coast, she had to go. It was about 10 years later that I bought my next Minisail, this time a yellow decked GRP Monaco design with a wooden bolt-on seat. By now I was sailing at Whitefriars SC, a small lake situated on the Cotswold Water Park, north of Swindon, and I have to admit, I found the boat nice to sail without the seat getting in the way. I was also sailing with the recently formed Classic and Vintage Racing Dinghy Association (CVRDA), who luckily have a very relaxed attitude to GRP boats. Normally I sailed my Firefly, but I took the Minisail to a few meetings. The one that stands out in my memory was a fantastically windy CVRDA National Rally at Roadford Lake in Devon. Upwind, the silly bendy rig, stretchy sail and narrow hull (really should have put the seat on for this event!) made for very hard work, but bear off onto the reach and it all became worth it – spray everywhere, passing much bigger boats as though they were standing still – boating heaven! Shortly after this, I found that I had too many boats, and (in retrospect, foolishly) decided to sell the Minisail. And so another decade passed… Thoughts during the period of non-Minisail ownership often drifted back to the delights of the scow, but I was happy sailing Fireflies, British Moths, Lightning 368’s, Tonics and various other craft. However, browsing through an Internet boat mart in the Autumn of 2010, I spotted a wooden Minisail for sale, for a crazy low price. Well, I had to go and see it, didn’t I? I got there expecting a bit of a wreck, really, and came away with an immaculate Sprite design Minisail. The boat, No. 3446, dates from the early 1970’s. She had been used for a few years, then put in a garage in the early 80’s, and not used since. Apart from a small patch of lifted varnish, the hull was perfect. The sail, however, was a mess. Just a huge stretched Nylon bag. going upwind was impossible, with the sail so stretched. It was too long to even fit on the boom properly! A new, stiffer boom, made from a section of old mast, solved that problem, and an order went in with a local sailmaker, RandJ sails, for a new main. Fittings were replaced by ones which actually worked, but were kept simple, in the style of the original. In the spring of 2011 the new sail arrived, a beautiful red and white striped creation. Suddenly, the boat felt as nice to sail upwind as down. After a few races at Whitefriars, it was time to take her on the road. Llyn Clywedog, in West Wales, is a glorious expanse of water created in 1969 as a reservoir. It is surround by mountains, making the strong winds swirl in interesting ways! The Minisail, with her stable, flat bottomed early planning hull form, turned out to be the ideal boat for the water. As I’d found all those years before, the pain of upwind was worth it for the rush down the reaches, and the adrenaline filled gybes. Compared to strong winds, light wind Minisail sailing is frustrating. The hull has a fair amount of wetted surface, and upwind and on a reach you’ll need to keep the hull heeled to leeward. On the run, Laser style heeling to windward with the boom out beyond 90 degrees seems to be quickest, and is also the most fun. All in all, for a 50 year old design, the Minisail still has a lot to offer. Cheap, fun, fast on a reach and full of novelty value. What more could you want from a boat?"
Rupert tells me to give a tip of the hat to David Argles, who was the true believer and kept the Minisail light going until others discovered the boat.

Two other Minisail pics.........


Minisail Scow Revival; Part 1

It's always heartwarming to see a dinghy class experiencing a modern day revival, particularly when that class is a scow, a type that is one of my favorites. Rupert Whelan is the kingpin in resurrecting the Minisail scow in England and he has sent me some photos and a report. (Boy, do I love it when someone sends post ready material to Earwigoagin!)

The Minisail was Ian Proctor's first scow design, the forerunner to what would be the worlds most popular scow design, his rotomolded Topper scow with over 50,000 built so far. The idea for the Minisail was germinated when Ian observed the Yanks and their first beach boats (probably the lateen rigged Alcort Sailfish) on a trip to the U.S as a reporter for the 1958 America's Cup. (There is a certain symmetry here. The Sailfish would eventually be developed into the more popular Sunfish with over 250,000 boats built. The Minisail would be eventually developed into the more popular Topper with over 50,000 boats).

Here are the Minisail specs from the advertising brochure of Richmond Marine.




Unlike the Americans who love to keep things the same, Ian Proctor and his builders were always tinkering with the Minisail and there were several variations produced. Rupert outlines the history.......

"The Minisail was designed by Ian Proctor in 1959 after a visit to the USA, where he saw the early Alcort beachboats and decided to design one for British waters. The first design was flush decked, round bowed with a slight V bottom. This became the Monaco MkI. These were mainly built in GRP. In order to make home building in wood easier, he designed a flat bottomed version, called a Sprite. This has a square bow with a carry handle built in, so they are easily distinguishable. For more comfortable sailing on flat water, Ian Proctor designed a cockpit version of each design; these became the Monaco and Sprite MkIIs. All this development took place over a short period in the early 1960’s. Whether the boat had a sliding seat, or even wings, was a personal choice, with most of the boats which raced having some sort of sitting out aid. In the early 1970’s an experiment was made with a Monaco hull, making it self draining, and the Minisprint was born. The Minisprint MkII was soon created, which was GRP, self draining, with built in seat support, a pivoting centreboard and a larger section boom with tracked foot, rather than the loose footed sail other Minisails had, in order to control sail shape better. Just before the Minisail faded away, a composite version of the Minisprint was designed, called the Meson but very few were built."
 More information can be found over at the Minisail website.

 And some pictures (click in the picture to start a slideshow, photos courtesy of Karen Collyer)..............

Fleet of four Minisails, all different versions, at the Classic, Vintage Racing Dinghy Nationals. Leftmost is Tom Moore in a home built Minisprint,  Rupert is front and center with his wooden Sprite, blue and white sail is Peter Matthews in a Monaco Mk1 and David Argles in a GRP Minisprint MKII.


Peter Matthews in a flush decked Monaco MKI.......


 Tom Moore in a home finished Minisprint with a sliding seat.......



Part 2 of this post on the Minisail can be found over here .

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ambassadors for Sailing

I've mentioned before that I've been sailing most of my life but, unfortunately, I've never been the best salesman for sailing. Contrast that with the love and passion for sailing that just leaps out in the videos below.

First, Sue Lane, an English Flying Fifteen sailor from Dovestone......



And a wonderfully crazy coot who thought it was a good idea to teach sailing on a farm pond in the mountains of West Virgina.......

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Weird European Regatta Party Traditions

The Europeans seem to have, let me say, somewhat different apres-sailboat racing traditions.

Here we have the Dutch jump up and down, wave around their hands, in a marginally choreographed dance, done to a trumpet piece. Video taken sometime during the Dutch weeklong "Sneekweek", which is a drinking festival with brief intervals of sailboat racing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Header Photo; 1948 Classic Moth Start



The caption to this old timey photo reads as follows;

"Portsmouth Boat Club Annual Regatta, June 12 & 13 1948

"Blondie", left with skipper Dorr Willey, gets off to the lead which brought the first place, W. H. Weatherly III sailing "Lacerta" #567, right is the winner of second place in the Moth Class. Photo by Gene James."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Music Whenever; The Youngers "Heartbreaker"

I like the sound of this mournful country group. They're from somewhere midstate Pennsylvania though I've never come across them further south.

Zen of Daysailing; Canoe Sailing in Hawaii

Another one in a series for those who just like to kick around in sailboats.......


Nalo Sail from dave gagnon on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Banque Populaire hammering at the Jules Verne Trophy

The 130 foot maxi trimaran, Banque Populaire, skippered by Loick Peyron, is, at this moment, somewhere in the Southern Ocean near Australia, chasing the Round the World record.

I've featured videos of these amazing craft before. It's always hard to get a gauge on the speed of these monsters but at 45 seconds into the following video, Banque Populaire happens upon a cruising catamaran (probably doing 4 or 5 knots under jib only).

Earwigoagin's European correspondent, Romain, was kind enough to translate the French for us provincial Americans;
"The guy in the French Original Version says that they are doing 33 knots and that the leisure catamaran they overtake does maybe 6"

Whoosh...............


Banque Populaire V a fondo por los alisios from Viento a Favor on Vimeo.

Header Photos from previous posts

Some blog housekeeping for myself. I wanted to document the header photos I've used in previous posts, before I started labeling them as header photos. For a slideshow, click on the first photo.

A Sandbagger off Annapolis Harbor...........


International Canoes on floating docks, New York Bay, Sugar Island...........


Classic Moth start, Midwinters, Boca Ciega Bay, Gulfport Florida......


Classic Moths on the downwind leg, Boca Ciega Bay, Gulfport Florida.....



Australian Historical 10 foot skiffs rigging on shore.........

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Solo Dinghy vs "The Kirby Sailboat Formerly Known as the Laser"

At least in the United Kingdom there seems to be one other hiking singlehander matching the "Kirby Sailboat Formerly Known as the Laser" step for step. Looking at the Yachts and Yachting Web Site where they have tabulated the numbers attending the UK National Championships averaged over ten years, as well of the individual year by year totals, we see the Solo Dinghy hanging right with the Laser (well, the full rigged Laser version).

10 Year Avg Turnout for UK National Championship; Laser 81, Solo 77
2011 National Championship; Solo 95, Laser 81

And before Tillerman puts up his hand and says yes, but..... yes, I know there are no Solo dinghies in North America, or Denmark, or South Africa, or the Phillipines or......

But, in dinghy mad UK, these are certainly intriguing numbers. Any UK readers of Earwigoagin that want to shed light on how the Solo class, designed by Jack Holt in 1956, is hanging with the Laser? I would be very interested in hearing what the Solo Dinghy is doing right.

I've posted about the Solo Dinghy before; a vintage video here , and an amazing heavy air photo here .

Meanwhile here is a very well done promo video for the Solo dinghy




Rupert Whelan added a comment which directly addressed some of my questions...........

"The Solo (also known as the SoSlow or Slowlo) isn't fast, but gives fantastic close racing. I owned one a few years ago, but it was old and bendy, and I decided I could get a better boat for the money (a Lightning 368, another UK only boat) but the modern version is very stiff, is bomb proof thanks to the highish minimum weight, has a powerful fully batten 8 sqm sail and is raced by many of the top sailors in the country. In light winds it will leave a Laser behind, but once hull length comes into play, the Laser will sail away, especially in waves. As for Lasers and speed, there are plenty of faster singlehanders over here, but none have caught on in the same way as the Laser or Solo, so speed obviously isn't all - we set ourselves boundaries in order to get fair, close racing at a cost we can afford, otherwise we would be over in Namibia with Paul Larsen and his Vestas Sailrocket trying to hit 60 knots..."

Kids and Parents in a Mirror Dinghy

Following along on my "Kids and Parents" series is a family sail in a 10'10" (3.3 meter) Mirror Dinghy. Video is kind of short but the kids seem to enjoy being captain of this vessel. (I like the Muppet sound track, I've got the latest Muppet movie on my movie list but not sure I can convince my wife to go see it.)



Summer Mirror Dinghy Sailing 2011 from P Collins on Vimeo.

Boat Blunderer, Boat Blunderer

Boat Blunderer, Boat Blunderer, what an amazing alliterative epithet. I wish I had thought of this tongue rolling, word combination to apply to my sailboat racing, but noooo!, a sailor of "The Kirby Sailboat formerly known as the Laser" just posted a video with that title. On one end of the spectrum are all those Type A personalities who read and practice Dennis Connor's dictum "No Excuse to Lose" and on the other end of the spectrum you have the Boat Blunderers, the corner where I now proudly plunk my oldster battle flag.

  1. Get out to the race late? Check.
  2. Rigged the boat wrong? Check.
  3. Manage to capsize at the wrong time? Check.

Watch the video. It'll make you chuckle.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

1981 International 14 Team Races and World Championships

Almost three months ago, I wrote about the three major championships I sailed thirty years ago in August/September 1981. I wrote three posts about the 1981 International Canoe Championships that took place in August of that year but, again, in a bout of procrastination, I have yet to mention the other two championships.

In mid September, 1981, on consecutive weeks, I raced in both, the International 14 Team Races and, the International 14 Worlds out of Annapolis. I teamed with Bill Moss on his Kirby IV.

For many years leading up to 1981, the International 14 class had considered the Team Racing Championship as the defacto World Championship (oddly enough there was no perpetual trophy) but, by 1981, changes were afoot. The class had held it's first World Championship in Alamitos Bay, California in 1979. The 1981 Worlds was to be the second World Championship for the class and there was a strong movement to move the class towards amalgamating the rule with the Australian 14 class.

However, in 1981, the International Team Racing Championship was still THE prestigious event in the class, even though it was basically a three country, English speaking affair (the U.S having a West Coast and East Coast team to make it a four team round robin with England and Canada). The East Coast had never won the International Team Racing Championship but in 1981, with the event in home town Annapolis and having the reigning 1979 World Champion, John Gallagher, the East Coast team looked poised to compete for the top spot.

And we did eventually win the Team Racing Championship, but it was a difficult road as every one of us on the East Coast Team had a race where we totally screwed the pooch; for me it was one of the races against the West Coast where I tried to sneak inside at a mark without an overlap and got shut out by Baird Bardason. Extremely mad at my stupidity, I withdrew and crossed my fingers that we could pull this race out with only three boats....and we did. It seemed race after race, one of us would step up to save the team's bacon. It was an extremely hard fought series against the Canadians, there were a couple of protests that went our way but, in the end, we prevailed. The first and only East Coast team to win the International Team Race series.

Mug shot of the 1981 East Coast International 14 Team after one of the races......

From Left to Right; Chris Price, Eric Arens, Bill Moss, Tom Price, Paul Weiss, John Gallagher, David Gallagher, Rod Mincher

The World Championship the next week started with three days of a hard 20-25 mph Northwester blow. It wasn't if you were going to capsize, it was when you were going to capsize. I remember a hard reach right on the edge of control when the rudder stalled out and stayed stalled. The rudder was turned, there was a nice rooster tail but no control. "Hang on!", I yelled at Bill, "No rudder!" right before the 14 headed up and rolled over. The breeze moderated toward the end of the week.... Bill and I had a couple of good races to finish mid teens which wasn't too different from where I ended up at the International Canoe Worlds a month earlier.

Below is a photo from Annapolis rag, "The Evening Capitol". Crew were on the English team; Alan Fitzgerald and Nick Burgin.


From an email from English team member, Andy Fitzgerald.....
"Yes it's me and my crew Nick Burgin (who went on to sail a FD successfully with Roger Yeoman before pulling out before the Seoul Olympics, to be replaced by another 14 sailor Neil Mcdonald of round the world fame)........It was still in my mind the windiest race ever - we all hid in the lee of the supertanker and the race really started there. My introduction to the cut and thrust of team racing, not to mention the Canadians who were getting on top of their game."

John Evans, member of the English team, added this comment which I've dragged over to the main post.
"Yes, indeed , it was a memorable event in 1981 - as we not only had 25+knots wind for one days racing in the Worlds, but also an Annapolis "Buster" with hail, rain and thunder one evening - it stopped the Naval Academy Band from practising, which was a relief! I won the windy day race, and did quite well overall.....Bob and Peggy Reeves hosted us. Andy Fitzgerald raced with a guy called Nick Burgin...my crew was called Pete Barr, who knew all Baird Bardason daughters really well!"

Alan Laflin emailed his recollections;

"Eric A and I have owned 2 14s together since the 97 Worlds and raced it in the Totally Dinghy regatta in September. We're both 72 (me next week) and we won the Century Cup in England in 2008. First non Brits and the oldest combined age ever. The 1981 picture in front of the Naval Academy was just after we won the first race of the Worlds and went downhill after that. I think we were 2nd in the US Nationals part of the Regatta."

Eric Arens emailed this clarification about the photo below;

"The picture is left to right reversed as you can see in the Naval Academy. I forget the photographer's name, but he lived in Annapolis; and he reversed the picture so that it would fit on the fold-out cover of Sailing World's predecessor magazine.

Your note on the team races is very good in stating that each of us really messed up at some time or other. I got disqualified before the start of one race when I was on port tack. I still do not know how little room a boat tacking to port has to give a starboard tacker so that the starboard tacker cannot change course and bear down on the port tacker."

And Mark Adams added a comment which I've dragged over to the main post;

"I think the b/w picture is indeed of Andy Fitzgerald from the UK. I used to run into him in England on business and we would always talk about the windy day of the Worlds. We managed to make it 3 miles or so downwind in 30, then hung out in the lee of an anchored tanker while the RC set the course. We both agreed that it was the windiest day of racing we'd ever had in a dinghy. And I'm from San Francisco and he's from windy ole England. Oh and the photographer's name who took that pic of me and Chris, Alan and Jim was Bob Dollard if I recall correctly."

On the picture below, West Coasties, Alan Laflin and crew Jim Anderson (foreground) with Mark Adams and Chris Benedict (3rd in the Worlds) to weather, beating back to SSA after the days races. Photo from Sailing World.


And this article from "The Evening Capitol" fills out who made it to podium finishes.......



The following email is about some of the shenanigans that took place at the informal Team Race party. I missed the good bits because of a very pregnant wife. (I've tried to keep the players somewhat anonymous.)

"The relay race on the big lawn at Tom Price's house that resulted in Ed.... from Canada and me having to run against each other because the Canadians kept the $1 entry fee from each country and wouldn't pay up to the East Coast when we (East Coast) had won. Since the course included chugging a beer and stripping down to nothing at the far end of the lawn before returning, the opportunity was realized and taken to remove my clothes. Anyway, in the confusion we did not get the money. But justice was served, although years later. About the year 2000 I was at an airport in British Columbia getting ready to get onto a helicopter to go to a lodge in the mountains to back county ski for a week when I heard a call "Eric......" I looked over and saw Ed.... and immediately said "You owe me $10." He bought a round of drinks at the lodge, but the rest of the East Coast never did get rewarded for winning."


Music Whenever: Quelqu'un and Lorenzo "Lay Lady Lay"

I like this cover of the Bob Dylan tune. Never heard of the duo though.

And I like the weirdness; the trailer park, the bikes and the band jam emerging from the coverlet.

(The NSFW cover photo has nothing to do with the video, just a simple hook to let our animal desires move that finger over the mouse to click the play button.)

LayLadyLay from Patrice De Bruyne on Vimeo.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Laser Heavy Air Slalom

I tweak on the "The Kirby Sailboat formerly known as The Laser" class every so often, but you can't knock the world class quality of these dinghy sailors. The Laser Slalom was a big deal in the 70's but stopped as a competition after about five years. I remember 30 years ago, they set a Laser Slalom up in Annapolis.... there was some breeze and my attempts to master the close set marks, particularly gybing, was very ragged to say the least.

Thankfully someone resurrected the Laser Heavy Air Slalom this year in San Francisco and this great video captures some of the highlights and lowlights (like the almost total submarining about 39 seconds into the video).


Laser Heavy Air Slalom from Tj Stacy on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Header Photo: 2010 Cooper River Fall



Classic Moths on the hard with "The Kirby Sailboat formerly known as the Laser" fleet racing in the background.

Racing on the Gorge

A neat compendium of video shorts of dinghy and foiler racing on the Columbia Gorge. (There's even an old fart handling the Laser downwind with aplomb.)


Sail the Gorge! from Bill Symes on Vimeo.


And going back in the Earwigoagin archives are two videos of the insane Laser Long Distance Race in the Gorge. Click over here and over here .

Skate Sail in Saskatchewan

Holy Moly Batman, someone already has ice in North America.! But not much wind!

Slow-time Skate Sail from Village Rainbows on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why a Classic Moth is Better than a Laser

Upon writing a post about Cooper River 2011, I was reminded that I had yet to write a post that I had intended for last year. The post was supposed to be in response to an incident at Cooper River 2010 (as I have mentioned before, this blog is all about timeliness!).

Last year at Cooper River, just before launching my Classic Moth for the day, I was rounding the corner of the clubhouse when I overheard a conversation between two Laser sailors. Both of them were looking over at our congregation of Classic Moths when one of them said;

"I understand why someone would sail a foiler Moth, but I can't understand why someone would sail one of these", as he nodded his head toward our fleet.

I didn't respond, just smiled to myself and kept going. It wasn't the time or place, I had to get ready for the day on the water. But the gauntlet had been thrown down. It just takes me a while to pick it up.

Tillerman has merrily gone down this path before with several posts on "Reasons why such-and-such class is better", the Sunfish/Laser being a target in his post Ten Reasons Why Sunfish are better than Lasers , and then with the Force Five/Laser with Seven Reasons Why Force Fives are Better than Lasers . (Tillerman even had a tongue-in-cheek, self flagellation post, Seven Reasons to Hate Laser Sailors, but that isn't germane to this post.)

I can come up with five strong reasons why I persist in sailing the Classic Moth and not return to the Laser Borg (though you will find me every once in a while racing a Laser.)

  1. Classic Moths are so much Lighter

  2. Every time I sail a Laser I dread carrying an enormously heavy Board Bag to the boat, wrestling an enormously heavy mast with sail attached into the mast tube, heaving a heavy Laser hull onto a dolly, and staggering backwards up the inclined float with the Laser on dolly. Admittedly this may be my age talking but, in reality, I have the Classic Moth to compare it too. The Classic Moth minimum hull weight is 75 lbs (34 kg), though most of my Classic Moths have weighed closer to 90 lbs (41 kg). This is still 40 lbs (18 kg) lighter than a Laser! My heavier Classic Moth aluminum mast weighs 10 lbs - 4.5kg ( (carbon masts are even less). I think a Laser mast is 18 lbs (8kg). My blades, which are wood, nothing special, feel to be 1/2 the weight of a Lasers. All this lightness of a Classic Moth makes the off the water chores of rigging and moving and loading boats that much more enjoyable than a Laser. And on the water, that lightness of the Classic Moth plays into reason #3 below.

  3. My Classic Moth fits Me

  4. The Laser has a flat deck, great for production but very uncomfortable for hiking. The Laser has a very raked rudder which develops a lot of helm fast with any bit of heel. The Laser now has "improved sail controls" but the cleats are still forward of the daggerboard, which is a long way to reach. The Laser has a marginal bailer which, upwind, still leaves the cockpit full of water in a breeze. With the Classic Moth, I can change all this.... or not. If I don't like a flat deck, I can build a different one, or if I like a flat deck, I can build a flat deck. And so on down the line. For the most part, in a Classic Moth, if I don't like it, I can change it. And fitting the boat to me makes it more enjoyable to sail.

  5. The Classic Moth is more fun to sail

  6. Anytime I get into a Laser, it feels like an aircraft carrier compared to a Classic Moth. The Classic Moth, with it's shorter length and lighter weight is just more lively on the water. I have a rudder which is tuned to be very balanced so it has a great feel upwind. Offwind, with it's lighter weight, the Classic Moth lights up in a breeze. There is no doubt that the Laser is considerably faster than the Classic Moth (except maybe in drifting conditions) but I just enjoy sailing the Classic Moth more. A friend of mine said there were two types of sailboat racers; those that were more interested in hard core racing, the intensity and the competition,and those that were more interested in racing boats that have certain appealing characteristics. Throughout my sailing career, I've straddled those two groups but, as I have aged, my interests have slid over from the hard-core racing into "I race in this class because I appreciate how it sails".

  7. Classic Moths are Cheaper

  8. My Maser I picked up for $500 (no rig) and I have another hull in my collection I picked up for $350. Complete Classic Moths with National Championship speed have been had for under $1000. Used Classic Moths going for more than $3000 are unheard of (but if you want to build your own, you'll probably spend around $3000 when all is said and done). Granted we have no professional builder, so it's a little harder to take your check book out and purchase one, but a little leg work will usually find some Classic Moth that will fit your bill.

  9. The Classic Moth People

  10. You stay with a class because you fit in with the people. The Classic Moth is diverse, the people are diverse. And laid back. Because I did the Laser thing in my twenties and I don't need that kind of intensity year round in my sailboat racing. I get tired of talking about that left shift I missed at the weather mark to drop me behind 25 Lasers. I've been missing those shifts for many years and I just as soon talk about that Vintage 1940's Moth you've restored or that Savannah Wedge design you pulled out of retirement, or your trip to Sweden, or tell me about the latest A-cat developments.

Here's John Z's [Gen II Mistral Mothman] reasons why a Classic Moth is better than a Laser:
"I sail both a Laser and a Mistral Classic Moth and racing the Classic Moth is definitely more fun, mainly because Moths are much lighter so they accelerate more. When you're sailing you feel acceleration more than you feel velocity (F=ma). Classic Moths leap frog down the reach legs so we sail triangles a lot.

"Moths also have more controllable rigs. In 20+ knots I can flatten out the Moth sail, put the traveler down and keep blasting along. In a Laser, Radial included, I'm struggling - at 140 lbs.

"I still enjoy the Laser because we sail all summer at my club on Tuesday nights with 15+ boats on the line every week. We only race Moths five or six times a year and it takes some driving (NJ, NC, FL, MD).

"If you like to putter on boats and don't mind driving you should definitely consider the "more fun" boat ...


Click here to have a look at the various designs of Classic Moth - including some you can build!


Photos of some of my Classic Moths:

My Gen II Energizer (mod Stockholm Sprite -plywood) showing some blue masking tape remaining post-painting.



My Gen II Tweezer (strip planked - own design).



My Gen I Maser (Laser cut-down to fit Classic Moth rule).



Why is a Laser faster than a Classic Moth?


Friday, November 18, 2011

Music Whenever: John Mellencamp "Pink Houses"

Another great tune I file under the genre "Americana" rock.



There's a black man with a black cat
Livin' in a black neighborhood
He's got an interstate runnin' through his front yard
You know he thinks that he's got it so good

And there's a woman in the kitchen
Cleanin' up the evenin' slop
And he looks at her and says
"Hey darlin', I can remember when you could stop a clock"

Oh, but ain't that America for you and me
Ain't that America somethin' to see baby
Ain't that America home of the free
Little pink houses for you and me

There's a young man in a t-shirt
Listenin' to a rockin' rollin' station
He's got greasy hair, greasy smile
He says, "Lord this must be my destination"

'Cause they told me when I was younger
"Boy you're gonna be President"
But just like everything else those old crazy dreams
Just kinda came and went

Oh, but ain't that America for you and me
Ain't that America somethin' to see baby
Ain't that America home of the free
Little pink houses for you and me

Well there's people and more people
What do they know know know
Go to work in some high rise
And vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico, ooh yeah

And there's winners and there's losers
But they ain't no big deal
'Cause the simple man baby pays for the thrills, the bills
The pills that kill

Oh, but ain't that America for you and me
Ain't that America somethin' to see baby
Ain't that America home of the free
Little pink houses for you and me

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cooper River Fall 2011

The more astute among those of you who still read my drivel after all these years; you may have noticed that I haven't been sailing my Classic Moth that much...... and you're right! I last raced my Maser in June and neither my Maser or any of my project Classic Moths have been dipped in water since.... that is until last weekend. My job as a sailmaker for the US Naval Academy went away in July, it was a temporary assignment after all, and I, in trying to navigate what is indeed a difficult job market, I haven't been able to wrap my head around racing my Classic Moths. There have been other distractions as well; a wedding and other temporary work.

Well, last weekend I bundled my trusty Maser onto the trailer and made the trip up to Philadelphia with my Mothboater travel mate, John Z. The river provided a nice 5-7 knot, typically fluky breeze, the temps were close to 60 F, the sun was out, not a cloud in the sky, a gorgeous afternoon. We raced 6 short races, I finished 3rd out of 5 and had a blast.

After the racing, as is the custom, the Mid-Atlantic Mothboaters spent time sampling weird and wonderful beers, orchestrated by Mike and Barbara Parsons.

We had the Dogfish Pangea, a spicy beer with a strong orange taste, Fegleys Imperial Pumpkin, my review of which has been relegated to my Pumpkin Beer post , Samuel Smith Winter Ale with a typical English maltiness and my cheaper but still tasty, Farmhouse Ale Stout.

A picture from left to right; George, who is the author of the blog Mid-Atlantic Musings, Mike, a friend of Mike's who only likes watered down lite beer but we still let him join the party, Barbara, who brought out the Imperial Pumpkin Ale, and the blogmeister, still sporting his zinc oxide sun screen. (John Z is behind the camera.)



One of the neat things about Cooper River is that it has the feeling of being in a quiet suburban setting but you can see the skyline of Philadelphia poking out above the treeline. Here is the skyline behind the massive rowing center building on Cooper River.



In my dotage, I pick my fall days I want to go sailing and you couldn't pick one better than this.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Music Whenever: Tribute "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"

From Wikipedia :

In 2004, George Harrison was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" was played in tribute by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood, Steve Ferrone, Marc Mann, and Dhani Harrison, along with fellow inductee Prince.

Actually this serves two purposes; it allows me to cleverly connect this following music video into the current mess in the Laser class.

In the mid 90's, Prince decided to change his name into a symbol that couldn't be printed. Everyone had to refer to him awkwardly as "the artist formerly known as Prince".

As Tillerman notes, in 2011, Bruce Kirby decided to rename his Laser design to "The Kirby Sailboat". Now everyone should refer to Tillerman's favorite sailboat (again awkwardly) as "the Kirby Sailboat formerly known as the Laser".

Anyway, great music video, particularly when "the artist formerly known as Prince" does his solo at the end.

>

Update: Baydog has kindly posted another version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (as well as some Bob Dylan) over here . Also, in the comments, Tillerman suggests going to YouTube and watching a live version with George and Eric Clapton done during a 1992 Japanese concert.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Kids and Parents and Sailing

A few years ago, Nick Hayes published a book "Saving Sailing; full of suggestions to grow the sport. Tillerman wrote a post about his thoughts on the book over here . One of the suggestions Nick made was that parents should actually go sailing with their kids rather than dropping them off at the club to be herded around the water by some college aged instructors. I think there is some merit in Nick's suggestion, though I am not one that can be held up as an example; I was much more into my singlehanded sailing as my kids were growing up and not so much into taking them out. Understandably my kids went off and found other activities they enjoyed more.

Here are three very different videos with parents/adults sailing with their kid(s).

The first one has a young tyke, somewhat overwhelmed, bombing along close to the water with his parents in a Hobe Tri-Foiler.

Salim goes sailing August 2011 from AaronDavis on Vimeo.


The second video has mom crewing for her two kids, one steering and one tending the jib on an older wooden catamaran (by the look of the crossbeams it may very well be an old Prout Shearwater, but I'm guessing this is Australia so it may be some home grown design). The video ends with what looks like Dad and maybe an older son, double trapezing on a modern skiff type vessel.


Sailing at the richmond river sailing club and rowing sunday 6/11/2011. from Callum on Vimeo.


And for Baydog, who has written about his family sailing on an E-scow , here is a kid steering an E-scow. By his grin from ear to ear, an experience he'll remember the rest of his life. (And plenty of grins and laughter from the old farts too!)





I've got to add this one from a fellow blogger. My2Fish, blogger about Sunfish sailing, music, and Michigan State football , points to his video of sunset sailing on his Sunfish with his oldest son. Beautiful colors in this video.

sunfish sailing with my son from my2fish on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Music Whenever: Bon Iver "Holocene"

Another recommendation from Robyn.

Supposedly Bon Iver fell in love with the beauty of Iceland and I have never seen a better music video in capturing stunning natural wonders. Combine this with Bon Iver's haunting acoustic sound to create something special.


BON IVER "Holocene" from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Header Photo; 1888 Topsail Cutter "Elf"



I wrote a post in June about the Elf Classic Yacht Race, a cross-the-Chesapeake Bay Classic Yacht Race. This is the restored 'Elf', off Annapolis Harbor, waiting for her skipper to row out so she can get underway in the race.

Volvo Ocean Race: 2011 Edition

The around the world Volvo Ocean Race starts tomorrow. I think those Volvo guys are absolutely nuts, right up there with those crazies that jump off mountains in those flying squirrel suits and then zoom feet from the rock face. I would be hard pressed to name another endurance event that is as long and draining as the Volvo Ocean Race. American Kenny Read hits the nail on the head with this interview.............

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

Ghostly apparitions, eerie humming and swirling waters in this night video of a TP52 blasting downwind off Denmark........

Wolfpack sailing from nils melsom kristensen on Vimeo.

Kibitzing; Jamie Brickell and Mothboats

I haven't been doing much sailing this fall but I have been kibitzing. Sometimes, you never know when you'll walk smack dab into sailing history. In talking with SSA Lightning sailor Jamie Brickell, he mentioned he learned to sail on a Mothboat, specifically a Skip Etchell's Connecticut design. Well, he added a comment to one of my posts which I'll drag over to this post. At the time, he didn't mention his mother was Allegra Knapp Mertz, winner, four times, of the Adams Cup.

Jamie writes;

My mother, Allegra Knapp Mertz, bought Connecticut Moth #1020 from Skip Etchells in 1947, named her Loon, and frostbited at Larchmont (NY) Yacht Club over the winter on 1947-48. Her husband, Jim Mertz, was a member of American YC in Rye NY, and Loon went there in 1948. She was placed on one of the docks. I was 7 years old at the time and found that I could push her off the dock and go sailing. The only problem was getting her back on the dock at the end of the day. I did this for about 6 weeks before I was caught. Mom came down to the club to go sailing and the sails and boat were missing. Luckily I sailed around the AYC main dock and made a perfect landing, wouldn't have broken an egg, as she said. Looking back, it was probably a bit crazy for a 7 year old to sail around Milton Harbor, and a bit beyond, unsupervised, but that was then. I loved that boat and think it is the reason I am still racing small boats, currently a Lightning, at age 70 with my wife Susie as forward crew. There is a half model of her (Loon) in the American Yacht Club.
Jamie (age 4) also faintly remembers his Mom and step-dad fishing a large log onto the Mothboat to use later as firewood.

For a tribute to Allegra Knapp Mertz, here is a link to her obituary in the New York Times.

I've talked to a fair number of my generation and many learned by sailing on their own; not so much through organized instruction; just going out and going sailing.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Header Photo; Artsy, Fartsy Classic Moth



I took a photo of current National Champion, Jeff Linton, at this years E-City Championships and tried one of the different styles you can pick in Adobe Elements.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Music Whenever: American Babies "Dance All Night"

There is music I call "Americana". For me, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Robert Earl Keene, The Band, Steve Kellogg and the Sixers fit the bill. I would expect every one has there own version of the "Americana" sound. This tune by American Babies slots into the "Americana" sound for me as well.



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All Right Already; Photo of Thistles

To answer any confusion. From the Earwigoagin archives; a photo of genuine Thistles starting at SSA (As Tillerman noted, the previous post had a video of Intercollegiate FJ's racing, not Thistles). Here at Earwigoagin, we do throw the ocassional changeup to keep everyone on their toes.



Photo from John Z.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Race Committee for Thistles; October 9,10

I was Vice Chair for the Thistle Oyster Bowl at SSA on October 8,9. I was expecting to take a camera along and take a pic or two for Doryman, but we had little to no wind. We did squeeze a race off late Saturday in about 5 knots to make it a regatta, but Sunday only teased us with some light breezes in the Severn River; flat calm remained in the Bay. The regatta was called by noon.

The Thistle Class is doing as well as any dinghy class on the Eastern seaboard. Talking with class stalwart Don Moore he can list all the clubs where the class was once strong in the 1960's and 1970's and popular regattas were held, but now.... nothing. But that is how it is with all dinghy classes (with maybe the possible exception of the Lasers). It amazes me the small clubs and lakes the Thistles are still sailed. There are the Pennsylvania lake clubs outside of Philadelphia that I've never heard of. There is also a communal fleet of Thistles that are wet sailed all summer in New Castle Delaware. I have said it before; there is no better sailing dinghy to drift about a lake than a Thistle.

I was puzzling why even fiberglass Thistles have wood gunwhales and wood trim and found out it was a class rule,enforced so the class wouldn't look too plastic. Good rule! I also noted that two of the skippers had been sailing coaches in a previous life. In talking with one of the ex-coaches, I found it interesting, that after coaching kids in plastic 420's and Lasers, they were attracted to a classic dinghy like the Thistle.

I came across a YouTube of an intercollegiate regatta sailed down the road on the Potomac River on the same weekend. You get a good feeling on how the wind teased but ultimately became a no-show.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

2011 Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival

Earwigoagin reporter John Z was on location to take some photos at this years Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival hosted by Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels Maryland. Apparently reporter wages that this blog site pays are not sufficient as John was also selling a John Gardiner traditional motor skiff he built some time ago (with vintage 10 hp Johnson). John did find a buyer at the last minute.



The docks, as always, were a beehive of activity..........



Having brought a motor boat to the festival, John didn't participate in the sailing race but did take in the action from the deck of a traditional Sam Crocker 23' Stone Horse keeler.



8' Cocktail racers are the newest rage in the Mid-Atlantic. An open cockpit outboard racer (6-8 hp outboards), the design is based on a 1939 design from "The Rudder" magazine. Local plywood kit makers, Chesapeake Light Craft, have designed a stitch and glue version that should be introduced in the next couple of months.



I get bored with all-varnished stripper canoes and kayaks, but I never get bored with the beauty of an all-varnished Adirondack Guideboat......



The Delaware Tuckup during the sailing race............



I don't remember seeing a Beetle Cat attending the Festival the last couple of years. Apparently one made it this year.....



Melonseeds are still one of the more popular traditional sailing craft being home built today. One of the Melonseeds launching......



Puddle Duck racers are another class that has caught the interest of the home builder crowd. Derived from the Bolger "Brick" (apt name for this square, blunt, plywood design), Puddle Duck sail plans seem to wide open. This one sports a leeboard......

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Header Photo; Windmill Class



The Windmill class is a 15'6" (4.72 meters) two man hiking dinghy designed by Floridian Clark Mills (designer of the Optimist dinghy). Like the Optimist dinghy, the Windmill was originally designed to be home built out of plywood, featuring a shallow V chine hull. Mostly found in the U.S, the Windmill at one point had a thriving fleet in Finland. A lively sailing dinghy; I sailed and raced the Windmill as a teenager and will always have a soft spot for the class. (A previous post points out that the Windmill hull was used by the US1 singlehander class.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Music Whenever: Shakira "LOCA"

My last "Music Whenever" post reminded me that now would be a good time to transition to this Latin-pop icon. My, what she can do with her midsection! Nuff said!

Shakira Feat. Dizzee Rascal- Loca (English Version) from Manthos G. on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Feel good video on boatbuilding

I've been building a plywood paddling canoe for close to twenty years (I've lost track). Dr. John Vardiman from Texas took on a much larger project and successfully hammered it to completion in twenty five years. His down home observations are worth the price of admission.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Music Whenever: Black Eyed Peas, Sergio Mendes "Mas Que Nada" "

Mix Latin and Rap ---Why not?




The 'Pinnasse a Voile" of Arcachon Basin, France

A fascinating video of Pinnasse racing in the Arcachon basin, southern France near Bordeaux. Very canoe like, with a pointed stern, narrow beam, hard chines, and a pretty upswept bow sheer, the Pinnasse was originally a work boat used for fishing and oyster farming but, today, just like the Maryland log canoe, lives on primarily as a racing sailboat. They feature a low aspect lug rig where the tack of the sail is attached to the bow. To tack, the sail must be dropped and shoved around the mast to the new leeward side and then rehoisted. All very tricky in a tippy boat and this video is captivating as we see the coordination of the 6-7 crew as they hustle to get these craft from on tack to the other.

Also on this video are some video snippets of the always beautiful wooden International 12's racing (the not so common pink, as a hull color, is featured here..... I had a niggling feeling that I got this wrong - the International 12 identification - when I wrote this, but I thought "Romain will correct me if I'm wrong", and he did). Romain writes......

"The pink international 12' is in fact a monotype d'Arcachon.

Slightly longer (14'), wider and with more sail surface, the hull is not lapstrake and the sail type is a balanced lug instead of a standing lug.


It was designed in 1912, one year before the International 12'"
The video also features several classic beauty keelers and, what I assume is a traditional working craft, flat bottomed with open transom and rudder hung off a gantry - a very strange combination but also very forward looking if this was how it was done many years ago.


La régate des voiles traditionnelles sur le bassin d'Arcachon from televisionbassinarcachon on Vimeo.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Australian Classic 10 Foot Skiffs; What about the other view?

Pete from the New South Wales 10 footer fleet emailed to say that he noticed that I only posted photos of the 10 footers going upwind. To rectify my omission, he supplied some photos of the 10 footers running offwind with their (ahem!) normal day-to-day spinnakers.

















(Click here to view more posts on Australian Historical Skiffs.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tis the season for Pumpkin Beer

My posts on beer now go back into the Internet dark ages (at least 6 months ago). What drags me back to posting about beer? Tis the season, the season of the true, blue American pumpkin beer. (I can almost hear my international readers say "Ewww!"). I've made it my mission this year to taste as many pumpkin beer varieties as possible, mainly so that Ed and Mike and John and I can pontificate about beer tasting when we have no clue about what a true beer connoisseur should say (Mike brought a beer to the Classic Moth midwinters that he said tasted like PEZ (a hard candy with tart bite that most often is dispensed in an odd container; have to say I agreed with him).

So far my Pumpkin beer tastings this year;


Heavy Seas Great Pumpkin Ale - Clipper City

Good tasting ale. Just the right amount of pumpkin flavor. Slight hop finish. Golden color, good head

Southern Tier Pumpking

Vanilla notes overpower the pumpkin

Smuttynose Pumkin Ale

Too hoppy. Again overpowers the pumpkin.

Dogfish Punkin Ale

Darker Malt base with pumpkin and spices coming through nicely

Saranac Pumpkin Ale

Golden color. Almost perfect blend of pumpkin and spice flavors.

Shocktop Pumkin Wheat

As you would expect from the wheat base, a lighter beer with a fizzy head but the pumpkin taste doesn't take second fiddle. Very tasty.

Blue Point Pumpkin Ale
I can taste the pumpkin, I can taste the beer; however I can't taste the connection between the two. The bottle mentions spices, maybe.... but not enough for my palette to pick them up. Update: Had this in combo with some spicy food and it complimented it nicely.

Starr Hill Boxcar Pumpkin Porter
This porter pours fizzy and the carbonation remains strong in the first taste, obscuring any flavor.

Cape Ann Brewing Company Imperial Pumpkin Stout
The stout overpowers the pumpkin here, so much so that I can't really identify the pumpkin.

Flying Dog Ales Imperial Pumpkin Ale "The Fear"
Can taste the pumpkin in this one but, for my taste buds, this ale just didn't stand out.

Fegleys Devious Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Barbara Parsons from up Philly way had me sample this. The initial carbonation was a problem but if you let the beer air out for a while it changes everything. Pumpkin taste definitely there with spices, I detected a strong vanilla tone. Top notch especially if you let the beer sit for a while after opening.

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale
This beer has a strong reputation among pumpkin aficionados. I had one that was just transported down from Maine. Very tasty but I can't remember anything else about it.

Tastes vary widely on music and beer. So, swill down a pumpkin beer and post a comment. I'm waiting for Ed to weigh in with his choices and I'm hoping to cajole some tastings from Mike as well.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Classic Moth Nationals 2011

This year has been a bust for my Classic Moth racing. I've raced two regattas this year but a wedding and then subsequent entertaining of out-of-town relatives meant I missed this years Classic Moth National Championships in mid-September. Luckily 'Earwigoagin' correspondent Len Parker was on hand to file the following report and photos.

Nationals 2011 as seen through my novice eyes ... Weather forecasts for the weekend were 20-30mph winds with on & off rain. Not knowing the Elizabeth City topography very well , I guess those forecasts were for further east as it was 10-15 on Saturday with some heavy showers , and slightly less wind on Sunday with some gusts keeping everyone busy and putting several down. The wind did pipe up even more both days after the racing had ended.

13 signed up to race.

Gen 1 ... George Albaugh , Walt Collins , Greg Duncan , Lewis Hay , Bill Schill , John Pugh , Joe Courtier.
Gen 2 ... Jeff Linton , John Z , Mike Parsons , Mark Saunders , Randall Swan , Patrick Burger.

5 races Saturday... Jeff won all 5. In the first or second race Bill Schill lost his mast and we had to tow him in. As we were sorting it out Patrick also lost his mast , so we had to tow both in together. Greg came in a race or so later & Patrick used Greg's extended-mast Europe for the rest of the day. Mark then snapped a shroud and lost his mast in race 5.

Sarah & John Pugh's hospitality was superb as usual , with food , drink , and a roaring fire going to get people dry and warm before the caterers arrived.

The annual meeting was also held Saturday and the sail proposals were passed ... and all the officers remain in their respective posts.

4 races on Sunday... Jeff won 2 races , as did Mike. Lewis ... Randall & Greg didn't race. Patrick back in his new boat retired in race 1 after shipping too much water. He plans to widen those side tanks. Mark came in early after being over the start line early a couple of times.

Results Gen 2 ...
1. Jeff Linton
2. Mike Parsons
3. John Z

Results Gen 1 ...
1. Walt Collins
2. George Albaugh
3. John Pugh

Turtle Trophy ... Bill Schill

Lewis Hay bought Randall Swan's Skol. John Pugh bought Lewis Hay's Europe. It was a fun weekend , the racing weather was good , the spectating weather was awful on Saturday and I was wearing every item of clothing I'd bought with me and it was all soaked but it was still fun. Everyone got away at a decent time after the prize giving due to the meeting being held the day before.

Roll on to the next one ...

Cheers ,
Len

Len also sent along some photos.
































Photo Captions:
  1. Walt Collins and John Z. dueling upwind
  2. John Z upwind.
  3. Walt Collins leads Jeff Linton around the leeward mark.
  4. Start on Saturday.
  5. Mark Saunders, Mike Parsons, John Z aiming for the leeward mark.
  6. Mike Parsons, John Z on the second reach into the leeward mark.
  7. Mike Parsons upwind.
  8. Jeff Linton rounding the leeward mark.
  9. Joe Courter in his Maser.
  10. George Albaugh upwind.


George Albaugh, the same George from the photos above, has two posts on the 2011 Classic Moth Nationals; one on the racing with pictures and the other on the people around the Pugh's backyard.


Meanwhile, Joe Bousquet, who also missed the Nationals for a family reunion, posted this GoPro video up on YouTube of him sailing his Mistral Classic Moth at Silver Beach on the Delmarva Peninsula. (Was he allowed to take his Classic Moth to the family reunion? Lucky dog!). The new deck Joe installed on his Mistral looks very curvaceous and varnish-pretty in this wide angle view. You may also hear how these plywood Moths have a very different "Boing" sound when going through waves (compared to those unnamed plastic classes).