Monday, January 8, 2018

1858 French Sandbagger



This French engraving (I've cropped this from the whole image) is of a 1858 regatta on the Seine at Saint-Cloud. It is the oldest pictorial rendering I've come across of a full-on racing Sandbagger. This is the fleet of the larger racing sailboats (they split the fleet around a 5.66 meter length) and shows the sandbagger with a good lead.

The sandbagger was one of those successful invasive species. Recreational sailboat racing got going in France on the rivers surrounding Paris and the over-canvassed, unballasted foreign import thrived in the river conditions. The French called the type, "clipper" and eventually modified the design for even faster light air speed.

Here is a profile drawing of an 1887 clipper.



This image of the engraving was found by French historian, Louis Pillon, who published a book last year on the early history of yachting in France, La Voile dans les boucles de La Marne

(TOH to Tom Price who was the first to spot the image on the Net.)

4 comments:

my2fish said...

is Sandbagger a reference to weight added in sand bags for ballast?

Tweezerman said...

Yes, they would stack sandbags on the weather side and then have to move them during a tack. I think the sandbags were mostly deployed for the high stakes racing off New York City Harbor. I haven't seen any reference to the French using them on their river-racing Clippers. The Sandbagger hull shape was also used in some catboat classes that were raced around Long Island Sound in the last decade or so of the nineteenth century. Again I'm not sure if they used sandbags.

my2fish said...

that sounds dreadful - how'd you like to be the guy(s) that just hangs out in the bottom of the boat, moving sandbags back and forth as they tack upwind?!

Louis Pillon said...

Je ne comprends pas pourquoi vous nommez "Sandbagger" des bateaux qui ne portent aucun sac de sable ! Certainement les "Clippers" parisiens ont quelques points communs avec les sandbaggers, mais c'est justement avec la bonne dénomination que nous pouvons les différencier.

I do not understand why you name "Sandbagger" boats that carry no bag of sand! Certainly the Parisian "Clippers" have some points in common with the sandbaggers, but it is precisely with the right denomination that we can differentiate them.