Saturday, December 31, 2016

Header Photo: Albacore Fleet on the Potomac River

The previous header photo was of the Albacore fleet from Potomac River Sailing Association racing in big breeze on the Potomac River. What is interesting about this photo is the long, low, hulking building in the background. That is the Pentagon - the center of America's military - as seen from the water. I have one other photo in my collection of sailing dinghies that features dinghies in front of a famous building - this photo of three Fireflies in front of the Houses of Parliament, which was given to me by an English team, racing in team races on Baltimore harbor.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Love, Sex and the Development of the Small, Recreational Boat

My good friend, Tom Price, sent along this 1904 cover illustration from Puck magazine (don't comment about the steering - realism is not the point of this painting). This cheesecake magazine cover is a good segue into a blog topic I've kept on the back-burner for a while; how romance and sex in late 19th century and early 20th century, that ever-present animal sex drive that spans all human history, pushed forward the design of recreational small boats.

The late 19th century was marked by increased urbanization, this combined with chaste Victorian mores on dating, left city couples with a suffocating romantic environment.  Enter the small craft, first the canoe, then the rowboat (and in Europe, the punt). Entrepreneurs set up boat rentals in city parks, along languid rivers, in protected bays. Boat-builders were re-designing the more utilitarian working hull shapes to accommodate neophyte boaters (but ardent couples). Canoes became wider, rowboats became shorter and more intimate. In this era, long before mass boat ownership, the boat rental business was hammering out the sizes that work for recreational small boats.

Article on canoes and love by Hunter Oatman-Stanford.

Marine historian John Summer organized a show at the Canadian Canoe Museum on love and canoes, featuring postcards he had collected over the years.

From a French postcard, a longer, rather skinny sharpie rowboat set up for two couples.

"Madame" a French rowboat from the 1880's (not sure if this is a reproduction or restoration) shows how the size had shrunk in this "courting" rowboat to somewhere around 4 meters, ideal for an intimate outing for one couple.

A risque postcard (for that time) of "Canoedling". With the lean of this canoe, the illustrator has subtly shown how tricky romance in a canoe could be.

From a postcard, a fleet of identical rowboats; Rod and Gun Club, Omaha, Nebraska. In what seems to be subliminal advertising, all the comely young women are manning the oars in this photo.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Music Whenever: Little Tybee "Quiet as a Sail"

A multi-layered, complex sound from an Atlanta band, "Little Tybee" creates this beautiful tune. The classy video is a world-wide travelogue featuring a compilation of on-location shoots featuring vintage GE portable radios. (A total of ten were sent out across the world to be filmed by volunteer videographers.)

I wonder why you were late
Why are we acting this way?
I remember you
Quiet as a sail as you followed me home
You walked over, shivering
We were covered in the snow
You dusted off my brim and I opened our door
Our white dove is overdue

I need some light in my veins
The color is starting to fade

Do you remember me?
guided by your song billowing through the trees
I walked over, whistling
but I could not compete
I rested in your notes and the color they threw
Our white dove is overdue
This can't be the end

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Seen at the 2016 Sailboat Show: Wrap-up

(Ed. Note: I repeat, this blog is not about timeliness.) (Way past) time to take the rest of my photos of the Annapolis 2016 Sailboat Show and package them into a wrap-up post on the 2016 event.

The Chris White designed Discovery 21 day-sailing trimaran (builders - Aquidneck Custom Boat Builders/Performance Multihulls). This is a 35 year old design being re-introduced in hi-tech (carbon fiber/honeycomb hulls). Hull weight was quoted at a stunning 340 kg. (750 lbs). If you want to put a lot of miles in for your afternoon sail, this tri should do it. (The Discovery 21 is the same concept as the Corsair Pulse 600 featured from the 2015 show.)

I've seen these interlocking plastic cubes  make up floating docks (Xinyi Floating Dock) but, at the show, in another demonstration of their versatility, these cubes were used to make a dry-sail dock for the J-70 keelboat.

Ronstan Shock, sheaveless blocks, was featured on the rigging photos of John Z's Classic Moth. Certainly for dinghies in lower load situations, this seems to be the lightest method of making up multi-part tackles or leading lines around.

The RS Quest family/school-training dinghy added some visual pizzazz this year with a color splash on the bench seats.

You can certainly build some swoopy deck-lines into the plastic boats. The Topper Topaz.

The webbing attachments to boom have been used by the skiffie crowd for some time and is now being seen on production boats (another photo of the Topper Topaz).

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Header Photo: International 12's Heading for the Rocks

The previous header photo is of two, 1914 design, International 12's, sailing toward shore, where the leeward 12 will, very shortly, have to call for water. I'll await for Romain Berard to fill me in on the details.

Music Whenever: Swingrowers "Via Con Me"

Electro-swing from the band Swingrowers, featuring clips from "Roman Holiday" starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. I'm sure the stunt driver(ess) enjoyed herself immensely when filming the scooter scene where Hepburn takes things into her own hands! (Enjoy that tuba bass-line!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016