Sunday, October 22, 2017

Don Betts: A Micro Catboat Design: The "PeaCat"

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.

messing about in BOATS


messing about in BOATS


Click here for a writeup on another micro catboat, the Bolger Queen Mab.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Catboat "Silent Maid" at NSHOF Wooden Sailboat Rendezvous

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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Header Photos: Australian Historical 18-Footers Rigging

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.





Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Cricket Dinghy Uncovered!

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.



Saturday, October 7, 2017

More Photos of the Australian Historical 18-Footers

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.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Transom Shapes on the Australian Historical 18's

The three reproduction Australian 18-footers that made the trip to Annapolis represent the design evolution of the 18-footers from pre-war WWII to post-war WWII. Following are photos of the transom shapes of Aberdare (1932),  Alruth (1943), and Australia IV (1946).

Aberdare was one of the early ones to straighten out the hollow garboards of the wineglass transoms typical of the 18-footers at the beginning of the 20th century. She still sports a very fine transom compared to the fat, flat ones of the modern skiffs.


Alruth started flattening the transom shape (though still very Vee'd). Note the raised lee-cloth which are raised most anytime the historical 18's are afloat to keep the briny sea from swamping these beasts.


Australia IV has a transom shape similar to a typical pre-war Uffa Fox International 14 though the shapes were developed independently.


In what seems a reversal of modern sailing design theory, the very fine-transomed Abedare is currently the fastest of the historical 18's, though many knowledgeable observers credit this to a very accomplished crew of Abedare, led by John "Woodie" Winning.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Historical 18-footers on American shores - Photos by Bob Ames

As mentioned in a previous post, three Australian Historical 18-footers were in Annapolis this past week to race against each other as well as the National Sailing Hall of Fame's two sandbaggers.

The 18-footers launched off of Bembe Beach, hosted through the courtesy of the Annapolis Sailing School.

Bob Ames got to be one of the guest crew for one of the race days and sends along these photos he took of the three 18-footers rigging and launching from Bembe Beach.

Bob Ames


Bob Ames


Bob Ames


Bob Ames


Bob Ames


Bob Ames


Monday, September 18, 2017

Header Photo: 49'er Skying



The previous header photo was of the Australian 49'er I plucked from the Internet, hence the location is unknown, but, if I had to guess, I would say this is a screen shot from the famous/infamous medal race at the 2008 Quingdao Olympics.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Australian 12-Foot Cadet Junior Trainer

Nope, I'm not posting about the Jack Holt designed, 3.2 meter, 10.5 foot junior dinghy, popular internationally. This is the Australian 12-foot Cadet, a lapstrake open dinghy, designed in the 1920's and still used as a junior trainer by the Royal Brighton Yacht Club in Melbourne, Australia. The 12-foot Cadet, definitely an anachronism in this modern age, is still used by the RBYC and seems very much at home in the big wind and big water of Port Phillip Bay.

A vintage restored Cadet Dinghy. Sporting a skeg and gently swooping sheer, you couldn't get any more classic lines for an old traditional dinghy, .


Big winds, big waves, spinnaker pulling. The juniors sail them three up and the modern ones are fiberglass with aluminum masts. These dinghies do sport big rigs and a jib that hangs off a bowsprit, both are hallmarks of vintage Australian dinghies.



Saturday, September 2, 2017

Clark's UFO; "Peoples" Foiler

Speaking of Steve Clark; he and his son David have been developing an easy-to-use foiler, the UFO, which is now in production from David's shop, Fulcrum Speedworks.

I was able to sneak into the Annapolis Spring Boat Show before it opened back in April and took some quick photos of the UFO. Unfortunately David wasn't around so I didn't have a conversation with him.

The UFO is a short catamaran configuration. One of the main components of a foiler's performance is the ability to keep everything light; cutting down on the surface area of the platform is one way to cut out weight. One must remember that the platform has no contribution to speed and exists to keep all the foiling bits, skipper, and rig tied together (and float everything when not foiling).

I gather the UFO has a low ride height setting for beginners (so that if you lose it the hulls won't come crashing down from up high) and a higher ride for the experts who want to go faster. Photos from the Internet show a weight tolerant package with several skippers over 90 kg (200 lbs) getting the UFO up and going.

I am no foiling expert so it would be best, if you are interested, to scan the Internet for further information.

A link to the UFO class website.


The main foil retracts between the two hulls so the UFO can be rigged upright, launched upright, and beached upright. The foils were designed by a French guru attached to Franck Cammas' foiling group.


There must be quite a bit of fancy composite engineering going on as both the high load main foil and high load mast step are situated back-to-back just at the front end of the forward beam.


Just enough clearance for the main foil to retract between the two hulls. The lime green non-skid gives some contrast to what is basically a white/black package (like most production small boats today).


The rudder and rudder foil sit off a short gantry, again another piece that needs to be engineered for cantilevered loading.


With this photo through the chain link fence, one can see the flat box hulls in the shape of the stern. The box shape of the hulls allow for the most displacement to be packed into a short length.



Monday, August 28, 2017

Geezer International Canoe Design Redux - IC Fatso

If you dig far enough back in Earwigoagin, you'll suss out the blogmeister's history as an International Canoe sailor. (Though, truth be told, I had more-or-less completely stepped out of the class a long time ago, seventeen years ago, way back in 2000, long before this blog.) The International Canoe's are really great performance single-handed dinghies, and they are proving to be a good fit for top-notch (and I mean top-notch) oldster dinghy-ites who have kept up their fitness and boat building skills (ref. Chris Maas, Robin Wood, Steve Clark, Alistair Warren, Colin Brown and others (many of these skippers I competed against in the 1980's) - though you do need a bit of extra dosh to play at the top level; carbon this, carbon that, jibing daggerboard, T-foil rudder, mylar this, super control that... it all adds up).

What prompted this post was this recent comment by Steve Clark (ruminating after the recent International Canoe Worlds in Pwhelli Wales, UK) over at the Sailing Anarchy forums.:
"The elders are thinking nice thoughts about a little more stability. Remember that the old development rule allowed boats as skinny as the new rules (750mm) and the boat that emerged as "best compromise" was 1014 mm wide. So I had been meditating about what I can do in a beamier hull form. It will probably give something away upwind and in a short chop, but there isn't much slower than a capsized IC. I have an idea, based on Lou Whitman's Phoenix that was probably faster than the Nethercot in 1970, but never got much of a chance after the ICF made the Nethercot the only approved shape."
Being humble as I am (Oh, what the heck, push your brilliance out there) -- I was echoing Steve's most recent thoughts for a oldster International Canoe over ten years ago!

When Steve Clark proposed his new rule back in 2005, which favored very narrow IC's, I, being the maverick, thought - why not have an IC that was 18.5 feet long and beamy -- should end up about the same speed and easier to sail. So I drew this one up based largely on the Whitman Phoenix design. Predictably, there was not a lot of support from the class to add 1.5 feet (457 mm) in length to the IC rule and this design became an interesting but ultimately a dead-end footnote in International Canoe history. (Note this design was done in 2005 - 12 years ago.) (ed. note: The Phoenix International Canoe, drawn up in the 1960's, was a very fine-lined, shallow-V, beamy International Canoe design by American International Canoe designer wunderkind of post-WWII - Lou Whitman.)



Two years later, 2007, I pulled in my elongated, mod-Phoenix design IC into the normal International Canoe length - 17' (5.182 meters) and did a new design, the IC-Fatso.

The sections (I kept a tall bow to hopefully keep green water from sluicing over the foredeck.):



The topview of IC-Fatso:



Maybe if you wait long enough, you find yourself sitting on the right part of the circle as it comes around again ... and then maybe not. Dinghy designs are always food for thought and more often than not, there is nothing new under the sun.

The IC-Fatso remains a design exercise. I've never checked to see if the IC-Fatso would fit the current IC rule (it would be an OK design to the older one). The IC-Fatso would, under most conditions, be slower than the current narrow IC's and the IC-Fatso wouldn't qualify as a Classic (the Nethercott, Slurp are the two designs in that fleet). It would be a safe design that would get you around mid-fleet with less trauma than the current designs and possibly faster than the Classics but it seems to fit in a tweener world - which makes it a difficult proposition to build for the class.


The blogmeister sailing his Nethercott "No Eyes" at the International Canoe Nationals at Lewes, Delaware in the early 1980's. We made it a family vacation that year and, in 2017, some 30 odd years later, returned a second time for a family beach week (no sailing).



Sunday, August 27, 2017

Bertrand Warion Watercolors

Bertrand Warion, French boat builder of classic dinghies such as Moth's, 9m2 Sharpie, and the Dinghy Herbulot, is also an accomplished marine watercolorist.

Bertrand's watercolors are now offered up for sale on the Internet. Well worth a look if there is a area on your wall just begging for some boat art.

Update 09/02: This link allows you to preview 63 of Bertrand's watercolors.

While we are dwelling on art, it's worth checking out Trevor over at the blog eh...whatever (over on the right on my blog list). He has a fair number of posts featuring his watercolors. (Though hailing from somewhere in the middle of America, Trevor's art doesn't feature many boats... still very high quality art nonetheless and always interesting to peruse.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Australian Sailfish - New Build Completed

Brian Carroll, son of Jack Carroll, designer of the Australian Sailfish, has finished up building an Australian Sailfish over the Australian winter. Greg Barwick sends along this photographic documentation of the Brian's boat build. Greg reckons this is the first new build in thirty years. There seems to be a great uptick in interest as the class website has recorded forty downloads of the Sailfish plans over the last nine months.

To put the document into another tab (for viewing or printing), click the pop-out icon in the top right hand corner.



More Australian Sailfish posts from the Earwigoagin archive - including some of the American Sailfish as well.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Michael Scott's Mod Hadron is now a Sloop

Mike Scott scrapped his techie Hoot cat-rig on his Hadron and has now installed a square topped 420 sloop rig (in Dacron). He intends to test this new rig on the mod-Hadron against a down-rigged (also 420 sail plan) International 14 which he also owns. He promises an update when he gets the two dinghies out together.

The new rig for his modified Hadron:





Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sandbagger and Historical Aussie 18 Annapolis Week - Tentative Schedule



I just got off the phone with my friend Tom Price, who is one of the organizers of the Sandbagger and Historical Aussie 18 Annapolis Week sponsored by the National Sailing Hall of Fame. He gave me a tentative schedule which I will update when I get more information.

Sept 11 - unpacking of Aussie 18's
Sept 12 - rigging of Aussie 18's, Annapolis City Dock
Sept 13 - Race 1 Sandbaggers/Aussie 18's, 1 pm.
Sept 14 - Race 2 Sandbaggers/Aussie 18's, 1 pm
Sept 15 - Race 3 Sandbaggers/Aussie 18's, 1 pm
Sept 16 - Layday - Registration for the Classic Wooden Boat Regatta
Sept 17 - Classic Wooden Boat Regatta Race

Type and format of the racing is up in the air, but given the size of the boats the course will be of some length. Ian Smith, historian of the Historical Aussie 18's, is scheduled to give a talk at some point.

The focal point will be Annapolis City Dock and the NSHOF cottage.

Aussie Historical 18 foot videos here, here, here,
and here.


Historical sketch of a Sandbagger.



Post about the Sandbaggers.

Header Photo: The Pink Streaker Dinghy



The previous header photo was of "Sally Streaker", a pink Streaker dinghy at speed. I've never been a fan of the masses of all white fiberglass dinghies being churned out - I appreciate color, any color.

I could see myself in a Streaker dinghy if I lived in the UK. At 3.88 meters and 48 kg, the Streaker singlehander seems to have the right size, power and performance for an older codger like me.

Class website here.

Here's a photo of one of their starts during the Nationals.