Monday, October 30, 2017

Catboats from Readers

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.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Music Whenever: The Log Drivers Waltz

No sailing here. Just work, watersport and romance. That just about sums up life.

Did I ever mention I lived in Canada from age 3 to 11.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Ian Oughtred on Building a Gwen 12

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. Click here for 1971 plans for a double-bottom version of the Gwen 12.

Two restored Gwen 12's showed up at the South Gippsland Y.C. Australian Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta in 2017.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Catboats at the 2017 MASCF

In keeping this catboat thread going just a post or two more, here are two photos from the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival.

A catboat out romping on Saturday afternoon.

Two catboats amongst the scrum before the start of Saturday's race.

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

Designer Don Betts sent along this email, March 2018, filling in the details of the Pea Cat.
"I built the two of these little boats. I wanted little sailboats to keep on the beach. After building long thin boats that seemed to take a lot of walking up and back thought it would be fun to build something that could be built standing in place and spinning the boat around. The first boat has a centerboard, the second an off centerboard through the rail outside the coaming. The hulls are 1/8 plywood 4 ounce glass inside and out and both serviceable after more than 25 years of abuse and neglect. Fitted with oarlocks they have made ok dinghies, easy to carry up the stony beaches. The rigs haven’t aged as well. The drawings from Glen L Designs inspired the curve of the bow blending into a hard chines, The first boat has the chine up to the bow, but I realized each side could be cut from a single sheet of plywood. So redrew the pattern to form the shape from cutting the wedge shape to form the chine. There are patterns that I’ve sent to a few people that asked. The boats were a lot of fun but had some quirks that made me reluctant to share the design.
  1. With the sail up they were unstable in the water until the crew was aboard
  2. there seemed to be a speed limitation to a seven foot boat of that shape, going downwind against the tide the boats would sail themselves deep but not easily buck a current.
"The sailing pictures don’t tell the whole story, the boats were used mostly with two adults and a child, With two adults and both children the Pea Cats did not sail so well. Some of the memorable sails were out on the Hudson up near the Tappan Zee, and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay to watch the sailboat races. We knew the skippers of a few of the Herreshoff S boats and would sail out and along their courses close enough to wave. And they made good boats to sail the couple of miles around to the anchorage to see what boats were there for the evening. A more recent project has been a Providence River Boat, about the size and rig of Newport photographer Edwards Smith’s Kingfisher with the retractable bowsprit like his and the Button Swan in Chapelles American Small Sailing Craft.

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.