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.
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.