For the header photos, I've been running a set of old, 1960's, English Moth photos from a Chris Eyre collection posted on the Lowrider Moth Facebook page. These feature conventional Moth hulls and low aspect rigs such as we have in the Classic Moth class here in the U.S..
Chris and a girl (friend?, sister?, bystander?) launching or retrieving his deep-V 2nd Nervous Breakdown design.
Chris Eyre racing the 2nd Nervous Breakdown at the Europeans in, what was then, Czechoslovakia. Anderson Aerosails, popular among the English Mothists, was one of the first dinghy sails built to a radial design. An unstayed wooden mast, a screw-type vang with a large wheel and plywood wings are three of the notable parts to Chris's Moth.
A 1960's Shelley Moth design. Lots of boom bend, a boom slotted into the mast like the old Finn masts and a wood mast with stays jump out as period pieces.
A Duflos planing towards the camera. There is an Aussie scow tucked behind the mainsail. The Duflos is using a storm sail as you can see by the amount of unused boom overhanging.
Plenty of English Moth stuff from the 1960's have popped up on the Internet (designs, number of hulls built of each hull, design analysis). I've collected it and put it in the following PDF. As usual, use the pop-out icon in the top-right corner to put the PDF in another tab on your browser. From there you can print the PDF is you so choose.
The previous header photo was taken before one of the start at this years 2017 Classic Moth Nationals. As you can see the event was competed in light air, though there was enough oomph in the breeze for Race Officer Greg Duncan to get 11 short races off. Mike Parsons won the Gen II division and the overall title, Walt Collins won the Gen I division and Don Janeway won the Vintage division. Fifteen Classics entered though there wasn't fifteen on the line at any one time as some had other stuff to do on Saturday and some had other stuff to do on Sunday.
The Pugh's lawn at E-City with the fleet ready to float around in the whisps and wafts of that weekend's zephyrs.
Mike Parsons, the Cooper River ace and 2017 National Champion rigging his Mistral. Behind him is a Vintage Connecticut.
New Englander Yarrow Thorne has refurbished his Crosby Skimmer Moth and also picked up an Etchell's Connecticut Moth that was languishing up in the Northeast. Both were entered in the Archipelago Rally pursuit race in Rhode Island at the end of October. Unfortunately the Connecticut swamped and couldn't be self rescued, a bad habit of the vintage Moths since many had no built-in flotation. (Why would you worry about getting the Moth up quickly since the sailing season back then was Memorial Day to Labor Day and the water was warm.)
Yarrow racing his Skimmer Moth in the Archipelago Rally.
Photo by Rufus Van Gruisen
The Skimmer on the dock at the Rally.
Photo by Rufus Van Gruisen
The advantage of vintage Classic Moths is they float upright when moored out. Yarrow's fleet; the Connecticut is in the backgroud.
Ian Marshall has had a successful run in the English CVRDA (Classic/Vintage Racing Dinghy Association) events, sailing a Classic Moth Shelley Mk I with a tall rig.
The Classic Moth class has a good number of one-off designs. It was a easy class (inexpensive, un-complicated, with the freedom to build in wood) to show that you had invented a better mouse-trap. English helms-woman Vanessa Weedon Jones owns this interesting double chine plywood Moth, Yellow Peril, that was professionally built in Derby. I like the free-standing wood mast.
The Chesapeake Bay Classic Moth Fleet...
The Chesapeake Bay wrapped up the season at Chestertown with the Patterson Regatta in mid-October where we had 11 Classic Moths. Even the blogmeister was finally able to get his Maser together for that regatta. (The last two years, this is the only Classic Moth regatta I've been able to make.) Mike Parsons, this year's National Champ, continued his run at the top of the podium with a clear win in the Patterson.
An indistinct I-Phone photo of the fleet on Chester River in gentle breezes for the 2017 Patterson Cup.
Here is a photo from Earwigoagin's archives of the blogmeister with two of his Classic Moth's, a modified Stockholm Sprite and the Tweezer at the 2009 Chestertown/Patterson Regatta. (Both no longer in my fleet.) Joe Bousquet is adding some welcome informed advice. I always liked the yellow painted spar of Energizer (the Stockholm Sprite on the left, the spar was a cut down Finn spar.)
In poking around my hard drive I came across this video I made in 2009. On a summer Sunday morning eight years ago I had my small boat fleet gathered in the front yard so I got out the digital camera and proceeded to document all of them.
Back in the Classic Moth heyday in the U.S., back in the 1960's when it wasn't the Classic Moth, just the Moth class and the U.S. was just another country sailing this 11' singlehander, the New Jersey fleet was primarily a junior class. Large fleets abounded around Philadelphia and on the Jersey shore. The Cates design reigned supreme and, though twitchy, was a hull design a junior could master. In the 1960's the Cates was readily available, parents could build a Cates or buy one from Blair Fletcher Marine. When the Moth class kept developing, as a restricted class is wont to do, when the narrow waterline Duflos showed up and wings were allowed, when the Laser showed up, all in the late 1960's, the bottom dropped out of the Moth as a junior class and the larger class collapsed. In the modern era, the International Moth class revived in the U.S. when the hydrofoils showed up (though, some might argue, at a semi-pro/pro level).
The Classic Moth class, which is the revival of the Moth singlehander of the 1960's, has had a good run of twenty eight years but the class is tending geriatric at this point and may disappear again in ten years unless there is some injection of younger blood. Joe Bousquet and Greg Duncan have made a continuing effort over the years to introduce young sailors but Joe Bousquet has redoubled his efforts this year. Joe is the coach of both the rowing team and sailing team of a small private high school and with the generous help of George Albaugh, is in the process of rehabbing three Classic Moths this winter with the intent to feed them to his young sailors for the 2018 season.
The landscape in modern junior sailing is much different from the 1960's. For established junior programs at established yacht clubs it is a set progression through the Opti, Laser Radial and then the 420. There are three strikes against the Classic Moth as a junior boat in the modern era. The Classic Moth is out of the mainstream, isn't a one-design, and doesn't have a builder. This is why the Classic Moth will never be considered by junior sailors from these high power programs.
Promoting the Classic Moth class as a parent/kid project either in building or refurbishing may be one avenue to attract more young participation. Zach Balluzo is a just graduated junior who has been sailing the Classic Moth Nationals the past couple of years in his own Moth. It appears his Dad has as much fun working on Zach's Classic Moth as Zach has fun racing them.
It will be interesting whether we find something that works in appealing to the youngsters. We shall see if something comes out of this renewed focus by the oldsters Classic Moth sailors on promoting the boat to juniors. A big Tip-of-the-Hat to Joe for giving us a kick in the butt to at least try.
Joe helping one of his junior sailors, Maggie McDonald, rig a Shelley at the 2017 Nationals. The is an ex George Albaugh's Shelley.
I just recently learned the history of this glass Shelley from George. It came over for the World Championship in the U.S (1968?). as a protective fiberglass exoskeleton for a exquisitely built British wood Shelley. At some point Joe decked this Shelley shell with the modern tub cockpit layout. I understand that after the regatta, Maggie actually bought "Say When."
A video of the quintessential small American catboat, the Beetle Catboat, a 3.73 meter by 1.82 meter sailing dinghy based on the big Cape Cod working catboats. You can find Beetle Cats here and there up and down the East Coast, though most of the racing is found along the Massachusetts shore line. I very much like the different colored sails. Very classy!
The previous header photo was lifted from a 1904 issue of Rudder magazine. Location is unknown but we could speculate from the catboat type that it was one of the New Jersey shore locations. Oh, the things we found interesting to watch before modern accouterments showed up.
My catboat posts elicited more email and comment than usual. Two of my readers pointed out their favorite catboats (which happen to be from English designers).
Max from the Bursledon Blog owns a Cornish Cormorant, a smallish non-traditional catboat from the designer Roger Dongrey. The Cornish Cormorant is one of his favorites and he has written a loving post about the Cormorant over here. The high freeboard and a smallish rig of the Cormorant seems to be just the ticket to handle lots of wind and waves in a 3.73 meter length dinghy.
Kiwi Neil Kennedy likes this traditional catboat from English designer, Andrew Wolstenholme. I'm not sure what the design name is for this catboat (that is, if you were searching within Andrew's design portfolio for plans), but this design just oozes classic beauty. Below is an example on display at the London Beale Park Wooden Boat Festival.
Describing a sailboat as a catboat can cover a huge spectrum of design shapes and rig choices and evokes a passionate attachment to this type, or to that type. It is a catboat, where many of us focus so keenly in putting our study and experience and joy with the beauty of sailboats and in how a boat moves us when we are on the water.
Famous classic boat designer, Ian Oughtred, got his start in the sporty Australian Gwen 12, a single trapeze, DIY plywood, double hander. He was class champion sometime in the 1960's. Andrew Chapman has been feeding me some Gwen 12 material including this article by Ian Oughtred on building the Gwen 12. This looks to be from Seacraft issue of boat plans.
The Gwen 12 was designed by Australian Charlie Cunningham in 1948 as one of the first stressed ply dinghies. Like most Australian designed plywood dinghies, the Gwen 12 was extremely popular in the 1950's, 60's, and 70's but died out in the 1980's. Below is the cover of the May 1958 Seacraft issue with what almost looks like a colored post card of the Gwen 12.
Here is the article by Ian in PDF format. There was a newer double-bottom version of the Gwen 12. I'll post those plans later.
From the very large (Silent Maid) to the micro; a 7' by 4'6" (2.13 meters by 1.37 meters) catboat. In the early 1990's, Brooklyn NYC artist Don Betts designed a very small catboat; the PeaCat. Despite the tiny size of PeaCat, I always thought Don did a good job at replicating a catboat design. I never saw a PeaCat in person but, from the following photos, at least two were built. It is unclear if anymore were built. The hulls were built using stressed plywood.
The boating magazine "messing about in BOATS" had two articles on the PeaCat. Several of these photos were scanned from an article in the February 15, 1992 issue of "messing about in BOATS."
messing about in BOATS
Carrying capacity; one adult or four small kids.
messing about in BOATS
Don Betts didn't skimp on the rig for PeaCat.
messing about in BOATS
messing about in BOATS
Don took one of the unfinished hulls and treated it as a hanging sculpture for a photo shoot. You can see the bend-em-up shape in this photo.
messing about in BOATS
Nice high, catboat coamings provides some measure of dryness for this tiny sailboat. I'm not sure how the tiller arrangement worked.
Peter Kellog, owner of the sandbaggers Bull and Bear, brought his reproduction of the 1924 Sweisguth catboat, Silent Maid, to Annapolis to compete in the 2017 National Sailing Hall of Fame Classic Wooden Sailboat Rendezvous. Unless you see this catboat in person, it is really hard to fathom how big, how massive, the mainsail Silent Maid sets. I took several photos of Silent Maid before and just after the start of this pursuit race. Silent Maid went on to win the race.
Before WWII, Silent Maid was the biggest of the cruising catboats competing in New Jersey waters.
The previous two header photos celebrated the Australian Historical 18-Footers. The first photo shows the rigging lawn of Sydney Flying Squadron, Australia, and the second photo shows the three visiting Historical 18-Footers rigging on Bembe Beach in Annapolis, Maryland.
I have written about the Cricket dinghy, one of North America's first dinghy classes. I had despaired of ever seeing one in the flesh but, in wandering the docks this weekend at the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival, my mouth dropped open; there she was, floating peacefully tied up to the dock, an old timey Cricket! Turns out that Richard Scofield, assistant curator at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, had found one "upriver" as he said (I assume he meant the Miles River). It had been in one family for years and was outfitted with an outboard motor with which they puttered about the river. The bow had been bashed in. Richard purchased her because he found her a pretty dinghy and being, at one time, head of the boat shop, did a top-notch restoration. He also did some research which will allow me to update what is known about the Cricket.
The Cricket tied up at the dock. Not much is known about her origin. The name on the transom is Jiminy Cricket.
This Cricket is planked which does indicate a pre WWII build time.
Underway. A sprit rig with a club at the clew. A large, low aspect ratio cat-rig with no battens. This one looks to have a lower freeboard than some of the later Miami Yacht Club Crickets.
A very sharp bow. I can see how the Cricket could have influenced the Classic Moth Cates design which also has a very sharp bow.
The Cricket led the Saturday sailboat race at MASCF for a long time, finally finishing third to a C. Lowndes Johnson 18 footer and a Thistle.
I've had this file photo from the Baltimore Sun sitting on my computer for a while now, classified "mysterious dinghy." After looking at Scofield's Cricket at MASCF I can now positively identify the photo as another Cricket. Most likely the photo was taken in the 1950's.
These couple of photos should wrap up my posts on the Australian Historical 18-footer visit to Annapolis.
The 1932 reproduction Aberdare rolled on her side. You can make out the moderate V section shape which is not too dissimilar to the section shape of the 1870 Sandbaggers (though every thing else on the hull shape is completely different).
Australia IV before the mast went up. The reproduction 18-footers are cold molded in plywood with an outer layer of cedar. The originals were built single planked, bent nailed into interior seam stringers (batten seam construction). The reproduction hulls weigh around 270 kg (600 lbs.), which seems to be about 100 kg less than the original hulls.
The daggerboards are simple metal plates.
The two architects of the Australian Historical 18-footer visit; Lee Tawney of the National Sailing Hall of Fame and Ian Smith of the Historical 18-footer organization. Ian Smith has written a book on the old Australian 18-footers; half the book is a history, the other half a construction primer on how they were built. The blogmeister bought the book and can vouch that "The Open Boat" is well worth adding to your yachting book collection.
Masts are raised on a tabernacle which makes it a simple task. The reproduction 18-footers have aluminum spars. The amount of old and new that is allowed on the reproduction 18-footers is arrived at by consensus among the fleet. One thing is clear, these vintage reproductions are not babied, either on the beach or on the water.
Bald but my eyebrows are growing at a prolific rate. Sailed Windmills and Y-Flyers in the 1960's. Founded Miami University (OH) sailing team. Sailed International 14's and Lasers in the 1970's. Sailed International Canoes in the 1980's to mid 1990's. Sailed Classic Moths since 2002. Enjoy boatbuilding though I'm very, very slow at it (the Internet doesn't help matters). Name in real life: Rod Mincher
After choosing this username (Tweezer is the name of my Classic Moth), further research on the Internet turned up that Tweezerman is a corporate name for a line of pedicure products. Let me emphasize that I do not work for, nor endorse these products.