Saturday, October 24, 2015

Wing Flapping on a Magnum Narrow Skiff Moth

I have owned several Classic Moths, a scow Moth, and yes, even a narrow skiff Moth. The narrow skiff Moth was a Magnum 2 built by John Claridge and originally sailed at the 1976 Moth Worlds by the builder. The Worlds were held at Ware River, Virginia and John sold the Magnum to one of the local Moth sailors after the regatta. I rescued the Magnum from the Old Dominion University boat house in Norfolk sometime in the mid 80's and getting it back on the water became a joint project with Bill Beaver. By the time we finally got sailing, it became obvious the very lightweight hull of  the Magnum 2 was creaky and leaky. I never did fully trust hiking off the wings. I think we eventually gave the Moth away. Bill Beaver went on to build two more narrow beam Moths to his own design and then did his own foiler project. I, on the other hand, migrated to the more sedate side of  Mothing with a scow and then eventually the Classic versions.

The original wooden Claridge Magnum II on top of Bill Beaver's Volvo 122 at West River S.C. As always, Tweezerman (back when he still had some hair) in his natty sailing gear.


Launching at West River with a offshore breeze. I'm desperately attempting to get the rudder in while the Moth is sailing; a dumb idea and usually worth a capsize or two. (We never did get a lifting rudder fitted.)



The original Claridge ad featuring the builder sailing his Magnum 2 that ended up in our hands.

Image from Madmothist blog

I wrote this short piece, about my first sailing experience in the Magnum 2, for an Australian Moth newsletter. It still cracks me up whenever I read it.


November 1987 - SSA Closing Day

Last fall (November 1987) I threw my Magnum 2 together for the first time in order to make the end-of-year handicap race at Severn Sailing Association. I was tying the last pieces on at the last minute (those who know me can picture the rigging job!) and I just barely made it to the start but to no avail. There was no wind and, at the end of the day, I felt like I had tried riding an unicycle.
After starting with the Snipes, Daysailors and Lasers, I moved forward in the Moth to reduce wetted surface and this set up a chain reaction not unlike the swinging pendulum of a clock, though with a much faster period of movement. First the leeward wing dipped into the water as a small ripple of a wave sent the Moth lurching. To counteract, I moved my torso slowly to weather, cognizant that this was a tender craft - little did I know how tender! Immediately the Moth lurched the other way , dipping the weather wing in the water. I reacted by adjusting my weight with even more care but the Moth seemed to consider that, even this deliberate movement, was much-too-much and flopped back, dipping the leeward wing in the water. This was repeated several times and, with all this awkward flapping of wings, my amused fellow competitors thought that this aquatic Moth was attempting to take flight. In desperation I moved to the stern where there was more boat and things settled out.
Phew! Now I had time to look around and it wasn't pretty. Ultralight dinghies possess no momentum and, in a glassy calm and, with every passing motor boat wake, the Moth would slowly be pushed backward. What looked to be my competitors amazing speed away from me was, instead, my amazing speed backwards.
To compound this comedy my cockpit had filled with water (remember this is a twelve-year old Magnum 2 and at the time it did not have a full double bottom - it does now!) The episode of wing flapping had alternatively scooped water on the wing covers that then ran down to the deck of the Moth and filled the center cockpit well.
I hadn't realized that there were two small drain holes from the center well to the forward double bottom; hence there were no plugs in them and I was SINKING! Not to worry. I had made, at the most, 100 yards from the clubhouse docks, of which 50 had been lost in a magnificent display of wing -flapping and reverse sailing. The remaining 50 yards to safety was made by sculling and hand paddling.


1 comment:

Dieharddinghysailor said...

Cracks me up too.........!