Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Header Photo: Sea Island One-Design Scow

Photo taken from an online article on the Rockville Regatta from The Post and Courier.


The previous header photo is of the Sea Island One-Design, a local class of large scows centered around the lowcountry South Carolina, specifically Bohicket Creek, Rockville. The 1948 design is attributed to New England naval architect, Henry Scheel but the lineage goes much farther back.

A sailing competition had started with two boats in 1890 and by the turn of the century the Rockville Regatta had quickly became a sailing contest between the towns that dotted these winding estuary fingers south of Charleston. (The Rockville Regatta also became the summer social event of the year with dances, parties, and romancing; a tradition which continues to this day, though considerably in excess - think the infield of the Kentucky Derby.) The scow shape came to the fore in the competition and Walter Eugene Townshend with his nephew, Oliver Seabrook,  managed to walk off with many of the Rockville Regatta trophies sailing their series of scows named Undine.

From the book Rockville by Alicia Anderson Thompson:
"In 1947, Ollie Seabrook took the best features of three of the fastest and  best sailing scows and gave them to Henry A. Scheel in Mystic, Connecticut, for him to create a set of plans that each island club could use to build a uniform sailboat. This three man scow was named Sea Island One Design, and it united the area yacht clubs, allowing for equal competition among the members to this day"


A scan from a sidebar article in Sailing World. The fleet has grown to nine with the addition of a new build in 2011.


There is a strong similarity of some of these pre-WWII South Carolina scows to the 1899 Charles D. Mower's Swallow scow, which was the second scow featured in The Rudder's How-To-Build series. There was at least a borrowing of the general shape. Here are the sideviews of the two starting with the Swallow.


The 1931 Rockville Undine IV.


The 1947 Sea Island One-Design is a different design, though the parentage of the Swallow is very evident. The SIOD is shorter, the transom is wider and the topside panel straighter than that of the Swallow.

For more on the Mower Swallow scow, click here.



Monday, December 29, 2014

Archipelago Rally 2014

Earwigoagin has been reporting on the exploits of the Tuthill sisters racing their boat-speed challenged Snark in this one-race, come one, come all, Portsmouth handicap event hosted, every November, in a different nook and cranny of Rhode Island coastline.
This year (gasp!) the Tuthill sisters jettisoned their Snark for the race, thinking they had upped their game with a lateen-rigged dink and. as it is frequently fore-ordained when you change a good thing, they unfortunately dropped the rig during the race (looks like the jury-rigged thwart lashing to hold up the mast failed). The younger sister, usually a bored, disinterested observer, was now called to the thankless and ultimately futile duty of becoming a human sidestay. These two documented the race and the disaster in a very amusing video.




Originator Chris Museler was undoubtedly pleased to have +40 boats attend this year (including the hastily splashed Crosby Skimmer Moth). I have lifted some photos from Rufus Van Gruissen's album.

The Tuthill sisters with Maharaja in "reef" mode.




My favorite "micro" dinghy, the Cape Cod Frosty.


A catboat and Penquin at the take-out ramp.


This fellow in the Zuma dinghy has a passing facial resemblance to the blogmeister (at least the mustache).



Click here for more photos from the Archipelago Rally Facebook page.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Seen at the 2014 Sailboat Show - Part 3; the Zim 15

One of the hidden casualties in the ongoing clash between Laser Performance Europe's business strategy and the rest of the small boat sailing world has been the virtual stoppage of production of the Vanguard 15, a two-hander racing and recreational dinghy that, since the late 1990's, has sold well in the United States and still has a national presence. As with any vacuum in the market someone will step in and in this case Steve Clark, one of the original team that developed the Vanguard 15, has linked up with Zim boatbuilders to produce his higher-end version of a hiking doublehander, the Zim 15.

Zim Sailing freely admits they are targeting the post-collegiate market with the Zim 15 and it comes with a bunch of modern performance features, albeit at a higher selling price compared to the Vanguard 15. What modern features do you get?
  • A hull designed for higher speeds.
  • Carbon spars.
  • High aspect ratio blades.
  • Roachy Mylar sails.
  • Gnav vang to clear up the forward end of the cockpit.
  • A multi-purchase rig-tensioning system run through the forestay.
  • A bow stem made of high-impact plastic.
  • A dangly whisker pole.
  • A flow-through double bottom cockpit with open transom.
  • Enough cleats in the right positions to make adjustments easier.
Some photos.

Here is the bow bumper which is cleverly molded in during construction so as to be an integral part of the hull.


The Zim 15 has a centerboard for easier launching but the centerboard trunk has grooves in each side so the board can be pulled up and "reefed" in a breeze, just as you would with a daggerboard.


The dangly whisker pole is not seen in the U.S much but is very popular in the U.K. non-spinnaker classes. It resides on the front of the mast when going upwind. To deploy, pull the dangly pole down with it's control line. To retract. uncleat the control line and a shock cord returns it to the front of the mast. There is also the multi-purchase forestay tensioner sitting on the foredeck in front of the mast.


The flow-thru double-bottom cockpit with the nifty tilt-up rudder. The hull sports soft-chines as it was also designed for team racing.


The business end of the cockpit. We can see the Gnav vang on top of the boom, the dangly pole, recessed cleats in the wide thwart and plenty of adjustments at the base of the mast.



A computer-rendered sideview of the Zim 15 (lifted from Zim Sailing's website).



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Music Whenever; Bob Dylan's cover of "It must be Santa"

I first heard this song the past week playing on our local radio station, WRNR. I'm surprised I've never before come across Dylan's take on the raucous pagan festival side of the holiday. Any song that leads off with an accordion is alright with me and Dylan fits in his customary wordplay among the lyrics by interspersing the name of recent U.S. presidents with the names of Santa's reindeer.

Wishing Earwigoagin readers; Happy Holidays or, Happy Turn of the Year. (Whatever floats your boat.)


And for Jim Carrey's beautiful rendition of "White Christmas", click here.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Fleet Building: Mutineer Fleet in Grapevine, Texas

It's no secret that the most sure-fire way to build a sailboat fleet is to have that one spark-plug; an enthusiastic go-getter who passionately believes this sailboat he/she sails is the best sailboat ever to grace the bounding main.

Here is a video of one such spark-plug, Greg Reed of Grapevine, Texas. His love and passion for the 15' Mutineer sailboat, a sailboat abandoned when Chrysler divested their marine business's in 1980, is building an orphan fleet in Grapevine Texas. Of note in the video is how the fleet is attuned to bringing up the new racer.
(Anonymous, in the comment section, says both the Mutineer and the larger Buccaneer are still in production. "The Nickels Boat Company in Mich. is still building both boats and the Buc still has a fairly active class. In fact a Club in Alaska recently adopted the Buc as it's Club fleet.")

As a follow-on to Greg's pitch in the video for Grapevine, Texas running the 2014 Nationals...there were 19 Mutineers racing in the 2014 Nationals: Gib Charles, 1st; Ty McAden, 2nd; Uwe Hale, 3rd; and Mr. Mutineer, Greg Reed, 4th.


Grapevine Sailing Club - Mutineer Fleet 2 from russ ansley on Vimeo.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Header Photo: "Balmain Bug" Aussie Historical 6-Foot Skiff

Australian Historical Skiff




The previous header photo was of the "Balmain Bug" a 1994 reproduction of the Aussie 6-Footer Historical Skiff Class. Aussie Ian Smith built her and she is shown on the dock sporting her light-air rig with a boom at least over 2 times the length of the boat and a bowsprit approximately 10 feet long (3.19 meter). Talk about being over-canvassed. The 6-footer class takes the cake for being the craziest of the crazies!

Quoting from the seminal book on the history of the Aussie skiffs, Bluewater Bushman by Bruce Stannard [1981];
"It is believed they were first built at Balmain in the 1890's and although they were first conceived as children's boats, there is no doubt that they demanded the strength of three men who were courageous, good swimmers and had the strength and agility of circus acrobats...They carried a staggering 1000 square feet of sail including a main, jib, topsail, spinnaker, ringtail, and even a watersail. [Mike Scott, over in comments, defines watersail as..."hung below the main boom to catch that extra drop of wind.....almost drooping in the water....hence the name....!] With so much sail up and so little to support it, it is hardly surprising that the 6-footers spent a lot of time "in the gutter"....
The class peaked during the early 1900's, attracting numbers because it was the cheapest way to go racing. Here are some photos of the early 6-footers sailing around 100 years ago. [Found on the Net]


The original crews sailed the 6-footers upwind with the bowsprit plowing a furrow in the water; probably the only way they could balance the whole package upwind.


Now for photos of the modern 1994 Smith reproduction 6-footer. A picture of the "Bug" off-the-wind in a fresh breeze, shortly after being launched. Looks like the crew is trying to get to the back of the bus when reaching but, alas, there is no back of the bus.


After ten years out of the water, the "Bug" was relaunched in October for this year's Balmain Regatta.

A quote from crew Campbell Reid:
"Even though she is based on a design close to a century old you can see how for their time these boats were pretty high tech...She will bury her bow in the blink of an eye but we were impressed at how seaworthy she was and were really happy that we could get upwind pretty well. In the six foot division of the historic skiff fleet at the regatta we think we are a serious threat.

 The precarious crew position Campbell Reid finds himself on the foredeck/bow may be the most comfortable one in drifting conditions. [The next two photos pulled from the Balmain Sailing Club website.]


Stick two grown men into a 6-footer and the scale becomes obvious. A 6-footer becomes a true "micro" dinghy.


The obligatory GoPro video shoot from this years relaunch. The bowsprit is so long it gives a perspective of a much larger dinghy. The 6-footers, like her bigger historical cousins, sported canvas lee cloths in a vain attempt to keep the water on the outside




A more recent 2015 video of the Bug including flying a good size spinnaker without driving her under. (Came pretty darn close though!)





Monday, December 1, 2014

Part 2 of the Travelogue of the French Canals in a Mirror Dinghy

Some of you, after viewing Part 1 of the Mirror Cruise on the French Canals, may have already jumped over to view Part 2. But to dot the i's and cross the t's, (and to get an easy second post out of this subject) here is another beautifully done video on the second month of the Cruise.

Again, from the video description by our intrepid adventurer, Digby Ayton.
"This month was filled with sunny days, wonderful people and beautiful scenery. I travelled through the Canal du Nivernais and the Canal du Lateral du Loire where I had to finished my journey and sold my boat at the beginning of the Canal du Centre, which was closed due to water problems. I finished my adventure having rowed 700km and passed 240 locks and had an absolutely amazing time.


A Dinghy On The French Canals. Part 2 from D.A on Vimeo.