Thursday, February 12, 2015

Gouget Aluminum Moth Classique

About two years ago, I spotted an aluminum sailing dinghy being refurbished over at Bobby Muller's yard in Eastport. Though I vowed to return with a camera to take a photo, I never did. Sailing dinghies built out of aluminum are rare animals. There are plenty of aluminum Grumman canoes, aluminum small fishing outboard skiffs, and most of the motorized pontoon boats on American lakes have aluminum hulls, but very few small sailboats were ever built with aluminum hulls. This aluminum sailboat at Muller's boatyard remains a mystery - one of these days I'll return to make inquiries at the yard office.

An aluminum sailing dinghy I did unearth on the InterWebs was the French Gouget Moth design from the 1960's. Designed as a recreational dinghy and not a racer, the Gouget was competing against the newly introduced fiberglass dinghies - a battle for market share it obviously did not win.

Side view of the Gouget aluminum Moth. We can see it sports not a plumb bow, nor a scow bow, but a pretty raked one. Also we see an enormous bow cleat with chock. The sections seem to be a simple V.

It appears the wood decks were applied over an aluminum deck, but only in the bow and around the cockpit. Sitting on the aft deck in the summer sun must have been sizzly hot. Given the general nature purpose of this Moth, the aft tank sported an extremely large storage hatch.

This Moth also sported hinged plywood flaps on both sides of the cockpit. These appear to be flopped open to provide more hiking power and seated surface when sailing. When the Gouget was stored ashore, these flaps were flipped back to the center, as is seen here.

Ad for the Gouget aluminum Moth.

Click here to read George A.'s post on the even more bizarre French camp/cruising Moth.


George A said...

Del Jordan down in St. Pete supposedly built a Moth out of the skins of 5 gallon oil cans at some point in the late 1940s or early 50s. Legend has it that you could hear him coming as the boat "oil canned" over every swell. I've heard this story a couple of times but have no proof that Del built such a boat. I need to ask an old timer down in St. Pete and run this story to ground.

Tom said...

Grumman built a quite nice aluminum dinghy back in the 60s. I remember seeing it at the Baltimore Boat Show. Called a Grumman Flyer (doubt it), it was 16' long and weighed 320#.

Tweezerman said...

George, interesting Moth history. Would be neat to see some photos. It seems that the International 14 also had one or two hulls that were built in aluminum.

Tom, a quick Google search did turn up the Grumman Flyer, a 15' dinghy that was introduced in 1970. Wonder how many were built?

Jim C said...

Don't know if you're aware , but the little flip out seats are quite common on various european canoe racing classes that are less extreme than our IC. No doubt thats where the idea came from.

Tweezerman said...


Good point. These hiking seats were more popular on the Scandinavian sailing canoes. In fact I had an old post where the video does show hiking seats on the Swedish B kanot.

Dieharddinghysailor said...

Interesting.......I owned a 12ft aluminium sailing dinghy in the late 60's. I was working at de Havilland Marine - a subs. of Hawker de Havilland Aust. We made a variety of alum. runabouts, Patrol boats etc, and they produced a 12ft prototype that had hung around the factory for a few years, being used mostly by the CEO, and I acquired it for peanuts. had a lot of fun. Later they went on to produce a range of fibreglass sailing dinghies designed by Alan payne - the 16ft Corsair, 12ft vagabond and 10ft Gipsy, and I worked for a while at Miller & Whitworth selling these boats.