Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Photo Wrapup; Some more of the Classic Moth's

More Classic Moths (comfort viewing during this cold spell). Photos taken at this years Nationals. Photographers were Elisabeth Albaugh and Len Parker. Your blogmeister and Joe Bousquet going upwind. George Albaugh beating in his Vintage Dorr Willey. Joe Bousquet, Rebecca Dudzinsky chasing Jeff Linton offwind. Mark Saunders crossing tacks with Jeff Linton. On shore rigging. Reach mark congestion. One of the starts. Have a happy New Year!

Warren Bailey, The Catamaran Moth

There has been some discussion over at the Classic Moth forum about the hard wings that are showing up on the International foiler Moths. This discussion segued into another discussion about some of North America's own inventive Moth developers back in the day. One in particular, Floridian Warren Bailey, was very productive in the 1950's and 1960's. He designed the Mach 1 which was then modified to become the very popular Florida/Cates Moth in the 1960's. He was one of a triumvirate that designed the Challenger Moth, a fiberglass Moth that was also produced in numbers. His son George Bailey posted this article on Warren on the Classic Moth forum;

Mach I and Cates

Warren Bailey won the Antionio trophy (called the world’s) in 1954 racing the Mach I, the hull he built that was the first of its kind, and that Harry Cates copied. Cates gave his version 3” less vee since this made it a lot easier to sail and also made it easier to build. On the original Mach I and the first two copies Cates built for people up north, the ply would not make the bow shape, so you had to build a glass bow and add it, as my father had done to the original hull when he was unhappy with how it pointed (or didn’t, as it were). With less vee the ply would bend enough to make the shape of the partly plumb bow. One of the early Cates was purchased from Charley Shelton, painted black, named the Mach II, and raced by my sister. Eventually Warren, who sold the Mach I just after wining the Antionio, bought her back – this was around 1959 or so. I raced the Mach I in late 1960 and through 1961 until I went to the UofF in Sept 1961. The Mach II was slower than the Mach I.

Warren had many requests to build Mach I copies. He did not build moths to sell. He built them to improve the design. For a living, he built 38’-45’ strip planked ocean racing centerboarders.

After the Mach I Warren built perhaps eight more attempts to build a faster hull. He then decided he could not. So he quit building and racing Moths. He insists that his only interest was in building a faster hull and racing was how he tested hulls. He said that otherwise, he was not interested in racing. If you consider how relatively crude his rig was in the days when olympic dinghys had a zillion control lines, this seems to fit. On his rig, you could not change anything once you went out other than set the vang to one or two or three knots in the vang line (something you had to do between heats). I remember the first time I saw a boat set up with lots of control lines – around 59’ or 60” in St. Pete? I was amazed at what we were not doing. But if you could hold her level the Mach I was still so fast relative to the competition in 1961 that it did not matter.

George B

I then came across this photo of Warren Bailey racing his own design rule beater catamaran Moth which was eventually outlawed. George, looks like you could provide another story behind this project.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Music Whenever; Henry Farag, Stormy Weather "Christmas Time is Coming"

From the John Waters Christmas CD (one of the most cracked Christmas CD's you'll find.... as befits John Waters) a do-wop song...............

Happy Holidays to All!

and may you all get a warm pair of socks! (excepting those in the Southern Hemisphere)!

Follow Up; Nantais Moth

Moth Classique

Plans de Moth Classique

Referring to the post of the Nantais Moth Classique under construction in British Columbia, I got a nice email from Romain Berard (who I assume is French but I forgot to ask).

"If you read French, you can buy this book:

This is a new reprint of a series of do-it-yourself books written during WW2 on how to build various small boats. Included are the plans and detailed explanations to make a Sharpie (both 9 and 11 m2 versions), a dinghy Herbulot, a Caneton, the Nantais Moth Classique, the Mousse and also the beautiful Aile keelboat."

I have the book. In it the author speaks about shortage of materials (it seems he can help the would be builder to get a voucher for some) and a note mentions an American bombing over Nantes.

In the bill of material required for the moth, 9m2 of cotton is mentionned for the sail.

Thanks Romain. Here is the link to the book (link didn't show up as clickable above).Undoubtedly an interesting book for historical yachting nuts like me, particularly if you have some French language background. Romain also sent me some photos of his current ride; one of my favorite traditional dinghies featured in several posts on this blog, the International 12. He says the wooden International 12's are very expensive. Sometimes you pay for beauty!

Follow Up; French Kit build Classic Moth

I posted about a French kit Classic Moth that seemed to be constructed out of snap together plywood pieces with no jig. And voila! Shortly after that post, up popped a YouTube video documenting the construction method with a different small sailboat, a Kitoo 12 footer. Very interesting to watch the Kitoo go together but, with all that plywood, it might be hard to adapt this to the Classic Moth and still meet the Classic Moth minimum hull weight of 75lbs.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Music Whenever; Zero 7 "Swing"

Though not a Christmas tune, this song has a catchy, festive air to it.


To newlyweds, daughter Lauren and husband Eric. Tied the knot last weekend with a great bash. I even got to do the Electric Slide!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Travelogue; Norfolk Broads Cruising

This blog vicariously visits exotic sailing locale mostly through YouTube videos. The blogmeister, not being particularly flush with cash, does most of his jaunts up and down the East Coast of the U.S.

Transplanted Englishman, Len Parker of the Mashed Minifish project, sends along a travel report of a cruise he and his mate, Ray, did on the English Norfolk Broads this fall. This past summer, I had done several posts on the traditional dinghies that race the Three Rivers Race on the Norfolk Broads, using Dylan Winter's gorgeous videos that, unfortunately, have gone away. As Len relates, cruising on the Norfok Broads is done in traditional boats with big rigs, on narrow rivers, with masts that can be lowered under bridges, and of small towns with pubs close at hand.

"In late September I flew over to England just a few days after getting back to south Florida from my adventures with the MiniFish at the Classic Moth Nationals.The plan was to land at Heathrow , rush down south to the Isle of Wight ... say a quick hello to my parents , say a quick hello to my kids , grab something warmer than shorts and flipflops , also make sure I had loads of tea bags , then a few hours later jump in Ray's van , back on the car ferry & 250 miles North up to the Norfolk Broads where we'd hire a classic sailing dinghy for three days and Ray would 'show me the ropes'.

We got to the famous Hunter's Yard in Ludham in the wee 'early hours , had a cup of tea or three and waited patiently for them to open. They hire a variety of lovely looking wooden classic sailboats and we hired "Sundew" , a 1950's Waverney One Design gunter rigged 22+n footer with 290 sq ft of main & jib. All the boats have high rigs , probably to get sail area above the high reed beds on the narrow river stretches.

We had 200 odd miles of the waterways to explore including Hickling Broad , Ranworth Broad and Barton Broad , plus the rivers Thurne and Ant. We followed some of the route of the famous 45 mile long three rivers race ( Thune , Ant , Bure). Areas of the rivers are really narrow , so no time for brewing tea , it was tack-tack-tack. Then it opens up into a Broad. Beautiful scenery and wildlife.
The original plan was to sail , camp , sail , camp , sail ... but seeing as it was late in the season , and what with my knee & jetlag as another excuse , we soon changed the plan to sail , pub , hotel , sail , pub hotel ... A much better plan ! We figured that as kids were long back at school there shouldn't be too many grockle families ( tourists ) clogging up the place in their large hire motorboats ... luckily we were right.

We had a mix of wind conditions varying from rowing in the doldrums , to gusts of over 25 knots , and after the rental lady mentioned that we ought to reef the main when the wind piped up Ray laughed , saying that only girls and poof's do that on a river.

Sundew was surprisingly nimble and easy to control but being the novice I am , I had my moments. We were hiked out as far as we could be a few times , great fun. It was brilliant to see some of the boats with their huge sails dwarfing us. The largest was named White Moth , very apt & I took a photo. It was fun to spot a sailing dinghy ahead of us , as we couldn't resist "hunting them down".

We went under the 13th century Heigham Bridge. You have to lower the pivoting mast onto a brace on the transom & row under the little 6' high brick built bridge. No tides to worry about , sounds easy ... yeah right ! .. The current was ripping through the bridge. One person steers , one person rows backwards whilst straddling the mast , boom & sails. You duck and hope for the best. Luckily we did good , but it was knackering and then you have to row another 100 yards to clear another bridge before you can restep the mast, then have a cuppa and carry on your way ... I let rip about 50 unmentionable swear words in 30 seconds , thinking we were going to smash the hull , so hats off to those crews who do this whilst racing. Of course we had to do it all again on the way back , but at least we knew what to expect.

It was great fun exploring and after running aground in the deep mud a couple of times , you soon realize that the channel markers are spot on. The Norfolk folk are a friendly lot , but they really do have a funny accent as it's really rural and proper "carrot country". It was a great trip , and I'll be back for sure."

Len sent along some pictures. (Click on picture for higher resolution.)

I think this the large Broads Cruiser "White Moth".

Another traditional Norfolk Broads cruiser.

"Sundew" chasing down a cruiser in the narrow confines of the river.

Ray with "Sundew's" mast lowered for negotiation of the Heigham bridge.

"Sundew" at the dock.

Len skippering on one of the wider expanses of water.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Junior Sailor to Intercollegiate Sailor; Where did the Nice come from?

This past October, I did another weekend stint of Race Committee for the Naval Academy's Women's Fall Regatta. Warm weather, lightish winds and skilled women dinghy sailors going at it. Watching intercollegiate regattas over the past three years, there is one conundrum that has percolated up in my brain.

How is it that junior sailors, who seem to be very rules averse, (see my post about the cheating at the Laser Radial ACC's ) become magically transformed as intercollegiate sailors. For the most part intercollegiate sailors know the rules, acknowledge infractions on the water, and do their penalties. During the Women's Fall Regatta, out of 30 or so races there were only four or five protests filed.

Two instances from the weekend stand out in my mind.

  1. I watched a St. Mary's sailor, who after finishing, was earnestly discussing an incident from the previous race with a fellow competitor. The discussion was calm and her hands were active in painting the boats positions. This rules discussion was treated as learning experience with the expectation that this wouldn't happen again.
  2. At the finish boat, in one race we had a strong flood that had closed the starboard lane into the finish down to about 4 feet; below that you had to tack onto port to cross the line. This created one of those sailing black holes you see every once in a while. Those who tacked onto port were blanketed by starboard tackers and then slowed to a standstill by the flood. More boats piled into this zone, confronted by port tackers completely stopped, and more starboard tackers ended up below the safe zone and were now tacking. It was a mess. But there was no yelling and the poor port tackers were doing their damndest to flop back onto starboard to avoid fouling right of way boats. If I had been involved in that scrum, I would have stood up in my boat and railed against the race committee, the weather gods, the flooding tide and so on. But, thankfully, these women were much more mature.
So how is a junior sailor, who is now competing with dubious morals, molded into a responsible, mature intercollegiate competitor?

Is it?

  1. Peer Pressure - There seems to be an expectation among intercollegiate competitors that if you foul, you will do your turns.
  2. Coaching - Certainly in college racing with no throw outs, the college coach wants consistent good finishes. A DSQ for a silly foul where the sailor neglected to do penalty turns is a definite no-no. It adds a ton of points to the teams overall score.
  3. Lack of parental involvement - There are parents watching the college racing but the key is - they are watching... they are not coaching, they are not haranguing the race committee, or the coaches, or their kids.
This is not to say that once intercollegiate sailors return to regular sailing they don't attempt to pull a fast one every so often on us oldsters.

A week later, the Naval Academy ran the coed Trux Umstead Regatta in lots of breeze. Here is a video of the 420's and Flying Juniors approaching and rounding the offset mark.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Neat 1963 Photo of a Dutch "Schakel" dinghy

Rene' de la Rie, a former 505 sailor out of West River Sailing Club, sent me this image of him sailing a Schakel dinghy in Holland in the 1960's. From Rene'............

"The picture is from the early 1960s, Amsterdam, The Netherlands - the boat is a 'Schakel' and was popular there at the time. I raced it for a number of years. It was a two-man boat and sort of a small version of the 'Valk'. It is a scan from an old print and it may have been its maiden voyage, which would have been 1963, out of the marina where I grew up near Amsterdam. I haven't thought about "Schakels" ("schakel" means "link") for many years. Mine was built by my father and I believe it was the second year of their existence. They were sort of a mini Lightning (the size of a 470 essentially), built from plywood, and were very popular at the time. They still exist but my brother, who lives in Holland, tells me that they are limited now mostly to the northern part of the country (Friesland). There are still a lot of wooden boats in Holland."

More information on the Schakel can be found here

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

MASCF Sailing Race; The Video

This video does a good job at conveying the relaxed vibe and diverse assemblage during the "Sailing Race" at this years Mid Atlantic Small Craft Festival on the Miles River.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Beer; Headless Horseman, Betsy Stanford and Dillon Clock Stopper

Ed Salva, one of the charter members of the Classic Moth beer tasting wing, sends this little beer tidbit along..........

"Had an interesting concoction called a Headless Horseman - half guiness / half pumpkin (I used post road). Was very tasty."

If you don't feel like mixing up a Headless Horseman there is always Fisherman's Imperial Pumpkin Stout . Also, a very tasty all in one combo where the pumpkin mellows out the stout.

From todays WaPo Metro section there is the story of 107 year old Betsy Stanford who attributes some of her longevity to this following stout concoction............

"She admits to a particular fondness for a smoothie made of Guinness stout mixed with the nutritional supplement, Ensure, a drop of vanilla flavoring and a sprinkle of nutmeg "if [the stout] is too bitter""
Wow! thats a new one!

And finally George Albaugh points out what he thinks is a very notable name for a beer, the Dillon Clock Stopper from Worth Brewing Company. I agree about the name. Looks like a very interesting lager (with corn - now that's no surprise!) from Idaho.

Correction: George correctly pointed out that in true dyslexic fashion I switched IA into ID and that Worth Brewing Co is actually located in Iowa.

Classic Moth Items on the Web

Two Classic Moth items caught my eye over the weekend.

Lewes, Delaware, Historical Society is restoring what they call a Lewes Moth. Never heard of such a design. The blog post with picture is over here . We may have to send our Delaware Mothist, Bill Boyle, over to Lewes to check this out.

Conception classique Moth voilier.

Also, Francois Vivier, a French traditional boat designer, is offering either plans or a kit for his Classic Moth design (Moth Grand Largue).

Price is 3490 Euros for the kit.

Francois offers up this picture of the kit construction, which looks to be self aligning plywood pieces with no strongback needed..........

Sunday, November 28, 2010

St Barth's CATA Cup

Tillerman's latest post asks the question; If you could escape to anywhere in the world this December, where would you go, what would you be doing?

Hmmm ......... catamaran racing in the Caribbean, St. Barth in particular, seems like a good idea.

A short video of the CATA CUP brings us some high speed, warm weather sailing. (Note the behemoth super yacht "Maltese Falcon" as a backdrop in some of the shots/)

St Barth CATA CUP 2010 - NAV from Matthieu Le Page on Vimeo.

Music Whenever; The Guggenheim Grotto "Her Beautiful Ideas"

Thanksgiving Sunday and thus ends my "Music Whenever" marathon (if four in a row is considered a marathon).

Neat stop motion video.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Music Whenever; Tommy Sparks "She's Got Me Dancing"

Black Friday in the U.S. ; therefore, a crazy music video for a crazy day.

This video starts with a bulked up Amazon shooting eye rays and degenerates from there.

Sorta "Dancing with the Weirdos".

The music is catchy though.

Feel free to impart your interpretation in the comments section.

Tommy Sparks "She's Got Me Dancing" from Eric Wareheim on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Music Whenever; UK Ukulele Orchestra; "The Good, Bad, and the Ugly"

For Turkey Day, a English ukulele group with an off kilter cover of Ennio Morricone's
"The Good, Bad, and the Ugly".

When I first started dating my wife, she told me about a previous boyfriend who took her to a Clint Eastwood marathon and how much she hated it. Then I took her to Monty Python's "Holy Grail" and she wondered if she had picked wrong again, when I spent the whole movie doubled over with laughter in the aisle. I didn't tell her until later that I was also a big fan of Clint Eastwood's spaghetti Westerns.

Turkey Weekend; Music Whenever Bonanza

In honor of Turkey Day and the attendant long holiday weekend, I've decided to subject my suffering blog followers with a "Music Whenever" post on each of the four days.

ACA Sailing Canoes at 2010 MASCF

I admit, I have a soft spot for the ACA (American Canoe Association) sailing canoes. I've sailed them a couple of times and in a breeze they really scoot along. I keep on picking up one of these sailing canoes as a project that, unfortunately, doesn't go anywhere. I owned an Ultima fiberglass sailing canoe shell that needed to be decked. I sat on the shell for several years, traded it to Bob for some cedar strips, Bob sat on it for several years and finally sold the shell to Joe Depa, who finally put a complete sailing canoe together.

There were three ACA sailing canoes at the Mid Atlantic Small Craft Festival this past Octoer (John Depa was one of them) and they acquitted themselves well in the sailing race, taking a fourth and a fifth.

The open sailing canoe administered by the American Canoe Association has two main classes; the five meter with an open rig of approx 55 sq. feet and the ACA class that uses a one-design lateen rig of about 45 sq. feet (there is a third ACA sailing class, the Cruising Canoe which I covered in this post ). All classes must use a leeboard. All of the competitors bring one canoe and switch the rigs out to race in either class. National Championships feature 5 meter racing on one day and ACA racing on the other day.

Finally a picture of one of my projects that got finished off by someone with greater focus. Here is John Depa sailing with the ACA rig...........

Here is Larry Haff and another canoeist, whose name escapes me, sailing the 5 meter rigs.............

Larry Haff............

And the other 5 meter canoe...........

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Music Whenever; Good Old War "My Own Sinking Ship"

A love song using a nautical analogy. Come to think of it, this season didn't have that many capsizes. Too many light air regattas................

P.S. Looks like I'm over 100 music posts.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Last Regatta of the Season; Cooper River Frostbite

The Classic Moths participated in the Cooper River YC November Sunday Frostbite series this past weekend. New travel partner this time. George Albaugh offered up his double deck trailer and I got to ride in luxury in his Volvo station wagon the three hours up to Cooper River. What a glorious day. Weather was more like early October with temps in the mid 60's F; warm enough so I sailed in shorts. Winds were light and typical Cooper River fluky. I think I might have leaned out on the high side twice. There were four Classic Mothists; Mike Parsons, the Wizard of Cooper River, won for the day but most of us had our moment in the sun at one point. We shared a short windward/leeward course with the five Sunfish while the 20 or so Lasers had their own course upriver from us.
Most racers launched their dinghies at Cooper River over a wooden bulkhead. On my turn, my Classic Moth went in the water smoothly. It was so calm, I decided to take about 15 seconds to park my dolly, expecting my Moth to be waiting patiently on my return....... but NOooo!, "Starkers" had floated off just barely out of reach of a Laser sailor launching next to me. I watched as "Starkers" drifted lazily downwind for a good 20 yards and made a decision to commandeer the aft deck of the Laser in an effort to chase her down. Initially 'Uva" (good natured German Laser sailor) refused me boarding rights to his Laser but I settled that by plopping back on his aft deck and pushing off. We drifted after my wayward Moth as I arranged my knees to allow him to steer. Luckily "Starkers" remained upright and the transfer was made with no issues.
On retrieval, a worn forestay rope gave way as I yanked on it to get "Starkers" on the dolly. After a few anxious moments as the mast swung to and fro, I was able to retie the forestay. I'm sure my launching and retrieval shenanigans provided a good measure of amusement to some of the spectators that day.
Pictures from Ed Salva (who had a win and several strong races that Sunday). The Moth fleet after haul out on Sunday afternoon (as always, click on the picture for higher res image).............
And to our apres-sailing beer. Mike Parsons on the left brought out a bottle of the Troegs Brothers Javah Head Stout which the blogmeister on the right is enjoying mightily......... And if you like coffee flavored dark beer, may I also highly recommend Wolavers Alta Gracia Coffee Porter .

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

All Paths Lead to Tillerman................

Today marks the second anniversary of this blog. I started Earwigoagin to deliver a response to one of Tillerman's writing assignments....... who would you invite, living or dead, to a dinner party?

I reprint my first post below. Definitely my dinner party is almost entirely populated with sailing technologists and tinkerers. After two years, I've added some more Classic Moth sailors. They're in charge of the beer.


I've created this blog mainly as a response to another writing assignment from blogger Tillerman. There may be other uses for this blog but for right now lets dig into Tillerman's assignment .... who would you invite to a very special dinner/party? For this party you can get to mix the living and the dead, the friends and the strangers.

Tillerman's a dinghy sailor, I am also a dinghy sailor. Where Tillerman immerses himself in the one-design Laser class, I am usually found in some class where people design or build their own equipment, whether it's hulls, sails, blades, etc.

So my dinner party would definitely have an abundance of what the English call "boffins", in this case those who like to experiment with sailboats, preferably small racing dinghies.

Large parties work best and hopefully all guests are voluble, completely free with their opinions and willing to listen. Wives/ girlfriends are always welcome and indeed are essential. Unfortunately, I don't know any female sailing boffins so my guest list is definitely sexist.

You must start with your COF (circle of friends) boffins which in this case would be Bill Beaver, John Z, George Saunders, Steve Clark, John Kells, Bob Ames, Bob Blomquist, Paul Miller with some left coast COF boffins such as Erich Chase, Del Olsen, Fran DeFaymoreau (4 Naval Architects in this group and everyone has built, in most cases, multiple racing dinghies). I would also add local acquaintance, Aussie Tony Arends. I'd also invite Classic Mothists, George Albaugh, Mike Parsons, Ed Salva, Greg Duncan and Bill Boyle (but he doesn't seem to do parties very well).

Now onto to the special guests;

Austin Farrar - UK deceased - Austin was the premier designer in the International 14 class in the 1950's, was the first one to put a wing mast on the C-class catamaran "Lady Helmsman" founded the sailmaking firm Seahorse sails and was involved in a myriad of experiments. To use that overused phrase; Austin was always an "out of the box" thinker.

Ben Lexcen - i.e. Bob Miller - Australia deceased - Top designer/sailor in the Australian 18 skiffs. Designed the Contender which won the IYRU singlehanded trials in the early 1960's. Designed the wing keeled Australia II that wrested the America's Cup from the Americans. From everything I read, Ben Lexcen was a larger than life character and you need some of those at a party.

Ian Howlett - UK - designed America's Cup 12 meters, IOR tonners, premier yacht designer. House designer for most of the Topper companies dinghy designs. Final kicker in my book is he races an 11' British Moth. What other big name designer gets his jollies from racing an 11' dinghy?

Bruce Kirby - CAN/US - Top designer in the International 14 in the 1960's and 70's. Designer of the Laser. Designer of the Canadian entry into the America's Cup. Designer of the successful Noank Sharpies shoal draft cruisers. I met him in the early 1980's and came away with the impression of a personable, self effacing fellow with loads of stories to tell.

Tom Shnackenberg - NZ - The boffin in charge of New Zealand's America's Cup dominance. Not sure how forthcoming he would be at a party like this but, if he opened up, the stories he could tell...

Eric Arens - US - Eric is actually in my COF but I rarely get to see him. I crewed for Eric in Int. 14's in the 1970's. Eric still sails Int 14's today as crew - age mid 60's! Eric has been commodore of both Severn Sailing Assoc and Richmond YC, is a senior US sailing judge and loves the give and take with interesting people at a party. He's retired now but was a PHD physicist at NASA Goodard Space Center.

Jeff Linton - US - Jeff is a pro, has won several World Championships, has won US Sailing's sailor of the year award, but also designed, built, and races a Classic Moth. Jeff and his wife, Amy, have a wealth of stories to tell. Jeff is very approachable which is not always a characteristic you find in professional sailors.

Chris Thompson - AUS - Chris has written an unpublished history of dinghy sailing, a superb tome of research and writing. Chris races the original Windsurfer and Lasers. I would need someone to keep Tillerman occupied!

Mystery guest - It's got to be one or two of the Frenchmen involved with the design or building of the Vendee Globe 60 footers. Not sure who? as I don't know the players. Someone with good English as this is a Anglo-centric party. Someone who can bring the wine maybe?? What glorious machines those Vendee Globe 60 footers are and the French need to be recognized for driving these designs to the pinnacle they represent in ocean racing.

Other's on the invite list are all sailing dinghy designers with pages of design accomplishments. (but I 'll spare the details);

Jo Richards - UK
Phil Morrison - UK
Paul Bieker - US
Chris Benedict - US deceased.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sabots and other 8' Sailing Dinks

I learned to sail in an 8' El Toro pram . I never raced an El Toro until I was in my 30's when I borrowed one to sail the last El Toro North American Champs held on the East Coast, sometime in the 1980's (St. Mary's Maryland). My most fondest and hair raising recollection about El Toro's was downwind in a breeze. You would camp out on the El Toro's stern, sandwiched between the tiller, desperately trying to keep the pram bow from going under.

The Australian Sabot is a close cousin to the El Toro. Unlike the El Toro which has an adult as well as a junior division, the Australian Sabot is primarily a junior boat. Here is a junior alternately planing and submarining a Sabot in very big breeze; much more breeze than I ever attempted in an El Toro.

Archipelago Rally; Fun in Small Boats

We've covered the Swedish Archipelago Raid in Multihulls . This "Archipelago Rally" is a different sort; a late fall fun day in small dinghy sailboats organized by several New England ex-collegiate sailors. I don't know much more than what I can glean from the video but definitely the emphasis is on fun and not so much on racing. It is organized as a pursuit race with the slower boats starting first and the faster ones starting at timed intervals afterwards. I assume the first boat across the finish line is the winner.

Plus, any video that features the Sea Snark gets my nod!

Video is well done by Boating Local.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

America's Cup in Multihulls

To be expected, BMW Oracle's decision to race the next America's Cup in multihulls created much gnashing of teeth among the old guard. For me, multihulls will provide the excitement that the Ole Cup needs to remain relevant as one of the premier sailing competitions. Next year, teams start tuning up with 45' wingmasted cats before graduating to the 75 footers for the Cup. To get an idea what next years Cup tuneup will be like, one only has to view the Extreme 40 cat series they run in Europe.............

TOH to YachtPals.

Natalie Gazing Trumps Navel Gazing, Naval Gazing and Natal Grazing.

For Tillerman............


Inside Joke.

Regular Programming will resume on the flip side.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Houston, We have lift off...........

What's striking about this video is the neck popping acceleration of this E scow once the chute is up and trimmed. Wowee!!!!!!!

Music Whenever; Mandolin Orange "The Train Song"

I realized that I've never featured a train song in my music selections. Oversight corrected...............

Mandolin Orange - "The Train Song" from Alex Loops on Vimeo.

Sea Snark Thread Continues

Reminder; the Sea Snark thread remains open. Any stories about Sea Snarks gladly accepted for publication on this here blog.

Recently, John Z. pulled out his well traveled Sea Snark to use as a beer cooler for an Octoberfest party he held at his "horse farm". Great centerpiece!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hello! Coast Guard, We've got a problem here...........

Update....From November's issue of Latitude 38 we get the whole story.

"French artist, Julien Berthier, .....created Love-Love - a 21 -ft abandoned boat that appears to be sinking..... Berthier cut off the bow and replaced it with a unique keel - a saildrive was also installed - that allows the boat to motor around in calm water..."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Music Whenever; The Mighty Mighty Bosstones; "Simmer Down"

With the hyper-partisan, hyper-shouting election season of robocalls and wall to wall political ads behind us; how about a Bob Marley/ Skatalites song to mellow us out? "Simmer Down" covered by the Boston ska band, "The Mighty Mighty Bosstones".

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Back when they did it right

Sailmakers today have hydraulically pressed rings, big honking Cordes sewing machines, synthetic ropes, hot knives, seamstick, mylar laminates. Let's hearken back to when everything was hand sewn.......

"Supposedly if you get any blood on the sail. You get a tot of rum (from the sailmaker)"

Oops! Death Roll captured on Video Tape

I haven't done an Oops video for some time. This poor fellow does a good job of inadvertently bearing off, almost capsizing to weather (Death Roll), a good save followed by a gybe. A little more wind and he would have been over. You can almost hear a big "Whew" as he lays sprawled across the cockpit. For the Laser racers who now sail by the lee almost all the time, this is a more common occurrence and no big deal.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sea Story; Larry Haff on how Lake Sebago got it's name

At this years MASCF, I bumped into open ACA canoe sailor Larry Haff. I haven't seen Larry for two years and he related this gem about how Lake Sebago, NY got it's name.

Lake Sebago is one of two American Canoe Camps (Sugar Island is the other one) and sits about 30 miles out from New York City. It is a great paddling lake and top notch paddlers come out to train on this lake. For sailboat racing; it's the pits, literally, as Lake Sebago sits in a bowl where the wind seemingly never shows up. Over the years, Larry has been driven bonkers by sailing too many ACA open sailing canoe events at Lake Sebago .

Upon doing some reasearch? Larry Haff told me with a straight face that "Sebago" is the Native American word for "where the wind goes to die".

Music Whenever; Cab Calloway "Minnie the Moocher"

With this song you'll catch me wailing the refrains at the top of my voice. Unfortunately my singing voice is like two cats going at it outside the window. But damn the racket! Sing along to Cab anyway. It'll do you good!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

2010 Annapolis Sailboat Show

I did my usual quick 3 hour tour around the show. Small sailing dinghies are sparse. To my surprise, for the first time this year, RS Sailing from England had a booth featuring some of their sailing dinghy line.

The much touted RS100, 14' assymetric, hiking, singlehander was front and center. I must admit that I like my singlehanders simple. If I want to sail with a spinnaker, I'd just as soon do it with a crew assigned the task of trimming the chute and I would just be steering and pulling the main in and out just like my current singlehander. Putting aside my bias for a moment, the RS100 has all the earmarks of the current high performance SMOD's (single manufacturer one designs); carbon spars, mylar sails, fine bow, chines to a straight run. The RS100 went through the rigors of a long development cycle and the finished product looks very well thought out. A light hull at about 90lbs (41 kg) means the hull skins are very thin and would have to be handled carefully on land.

About 10K to buy. A Laser killer? No way! Will the RS100 be able to make any traction in the American market after both trapeze assymetric singlehanders; the Musto Skiff and the Swift Solo only appealed to a very small niche market? We will see. Popularity aside, I would like to get a ride on a RS100 someday.

Laser Performance had their rotomolded Bug sailing dink lined up for demo rides. I sailed one last year. This is a Joe Richards design, very well executed and at a price point around high $2000. If I remember, it is a double skeg design which made it a little sluggish around the turns but it seemed to sail well in the small confines of Ego Alley. I would put the Bug up as one of the best values for a knock around sailing dinghy.

There is a trend that has me scratching my head. I call it Faux-traditional-daysailor-keelboats that feature small cockpits, narrow meter-boat beams, a nice counter stern and modern keels and rigs. The Singlehanded Scandanavian Cruiser 20 is one of the first of these types. A newer entrant in the field is the two man, 2M from France. Featuring bamboo decks and a 49K price tag....... which, I guess is a pittance compared to putting together a Dragon or 6 meter.

And finally, there was the Stuart dinghy, which was a very attractive dink. I had my aesthetic sensibilities confirmed when the salesmen admitted it was actually a Phil Rhodes design.

Monday, October 25, 2010

PDF from 2005 Classic Moth Nationals

In going through some of my files, I came across this PDF I made of mostly transom shots of various Classic Moths at the 2005 Nationals. Not much has changed as Jeff Linton won again this year with his Mousetrap design. (To print or download, click on the upward-facing arrow icon on the top-right app bar. This will open the PDF in another tab on your browser where you can print or download.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Music Whenever; Band of Horses; "The Great Salt Lake"

I'd be lying if I said I was a diehard baseball fan. But I'll probably take a look at one or two of the games in the upcoming World Series between the Texas Rangers and the SF Giants. Plus my son and one of my daughters really enjoy playing in summer softball leagues. A great music video that celebrates the great American past time as played by everyday Americans.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Historic Nantais Moth Under Build, British Columbia, Canada

 Construction de Moth Classique

Plans de Moth Classique

Dave from British Columbia sent me some pictures of a Nantais Moth he has under construction.

The Nantais Moth Classique is a French Vintage design from the 1940's and the story behind this design is both historic as well as somewhat mysterious.

If you read any history of yacht racing; the sport basically shut down during WWII......except in occupied France where the Nazi's decided (correctly as it turns out) that letting the French build 11' Mothboat sailboats was not, in any way, shape or form, going to come back them as a military weapon. And the French built them in numbers. I'm not sure how many were built during WWII but 1000 of the Nantais design were eventually built.

I'm sure there are plenty of sea stories out there from French Mothboaters, now in their 80's, of how they built and raced Mothboats during a World War where everything was severely rationed. Where did they find the wood? What did they make the sails out of? Unfortunately I'll never get to hear these stories from this side of the Atlantic.

Dave of Vancouver builds his boats outside. After planking the Nantais hull in plywood, Dave has ceased operations as the fall temps in Canada have reached too low for epoxy to kick off in any reasonable time.

The Nantais skeleton before plywood.

Plywood sheathing on.

Photo from inside the hull showing frames and stringers.

I'll be waiting for the spring for new photos from Dave on this project. And if any Frenchmen read this blog, shoot me some more history on the Nantais Moth Classique. It would be much appreciated.

Also, Vintage Moths are a good way to go for those who would like to build an excellent sailing dinghy but are a little leery about their ability to handle a tippy hull. I have some plans for a Vintage in my hands that I'll see if I can post as a DXF in some later post.

Click here for more posts that reference the Nanatais Moth.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

MASCF 2010; a Shelley Classic Moth and mods on CLC craft

Continuing the coverage of some of the sailing craft at the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival, St. Michaels MD.

(Couldn't resist this one.) Adam brought a Classic Moth to MASCF, one I hadn't seen before. It was a Shelely design that was modified back in the early 70's with vestigial wings as the rule changed over from the "Classic" to the new International rule with wider beam and taller rigs. This Shelley retained the low aspect Classic sail but also had a double bottom. (For our class historian; George the number on the sail was 3037). Adam doesn't race with the rest of us but looked very competent in the boat to finish third in the Saturday sailing race. Adam and his girlfriend/wife? had the Moth out sailing most of the afternoon and executed a nice capsize/recovery sequence off the small boat dock.

The Shelley design Classic Moth on land.................

Adam sailing out to the race with his Classic Moth.................

Two gents were out most of Saturday afternoon, having a grand old time in a CLC 15' Skerry with, of all things, a schooner rig. The gents never once deigned to move their buttocks up from sitting on the bottom to balance on the gunwhales. In Saturday's moderate breeze it all looked almost too easy, too casual. Maybe not the worlds smallest schooner but close.

Finally a lady built the CLC kayak/trimaran kit and then proceeded to hot up the rig with some modern tweaks. She built her own carbon fiber mast and added a mylar main and roller furling mylar jib. It looked a very big rig for the kayak/outrigger configuration but she can quickly get rid of the jib so getting down to main only should work when the wind comes up. The whole getup didn't figure so high in the sailing race. Upwind performance without any fins would be problematic.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

2010 Classic Moth Nationals; Beer Tasting Saturday

As promised, Saturday night beer tasting........

First beer up was another Ed pumpkin pick, Pumking Imperial Pumpkin from Southern Tier Brewing . Not as pumkinny as the Shipyard version, but more spicy and delicious in it's own way.

Mike and Barb followed with Pangea by Dogfish Head . Brewed with ingredients from all continents, the ginger definitely comes through as a aftertaste, at the back of the mouth. There's more going on that I missed at the taste test. I need to find a bottle of this to sip and contemplate.

My Saturday entry was Ommegddon by Brewery Ommegang . Ommegang is famous for their Belgian brews; I was expecting a light fruity beer but to me it had almost a barleywine taste. Again, a delightful tasting brew; worth finding another bottle.

Ed sprang another beer on us, supposedly another Belgian brew, but this one tasted like vinegar. This was one beer that just didn't work. Luckily I can't remember the name.

Sea Story; Jorg Bruder doing sail adjustment at the Sunfish Worlds

Rod K, past Sunfish NA champ, told me this one at this years Classic Moth Nationals. Brazilian Finn sailor legend, Jorg Bruder, decided to race the Sunfish World Championships sometime in the late 1960's, early 1970's. Back then the Sunfish sail was a sorry bedsheet (unlike the broad seamed racing sail they have today). Upon being issued his sail before the championship, Jorg;

  1. Chewed on the luff tape the entire length of the sail.
  2. And then Jorg stretched and tied the three corners of the sail to three palm trees and proceeded to shovel wet beach sand onto the sail. He left the sand in the sail overnight.

Thats what I call sail adjustment....................

Music Whenever; LCD Soundsystem "Home"

Hold onto your hat Doryman! My daughter, Robyn, is back as guest music picker.

What happens when a robot goes out on the town? Lots...................

lcd soundsystem- home from alex hype on Vimeo.

What happens to the robot, stays with the robot!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2010 Mid Atlantic Small Craft Festival; 16X30 Sailing Canoe

I blew off a Classic Moth Regatta the first Saturday in October to attend the MASCF at St. Michaels. My wife surprisingly wanted to come and we rendezvoused with our friends Chebacco Bob and his wife Glenda at the Festival. Back in 2008, Bob and I did the full three day MASCF event , me in my Classic Moth, Bob in his Bolger Light Schooner. We camped, like most of the participants, in the small piney wood strip bordering the entrance road to the Museum. We did the informal sailing race on Saturday. A very fun weekend! However, this year, Glenda was wheel chair bound, having broken her leg, so for Bob and I the 2010 MASCF turned into a day trip sans boats.

I generally poke around looking at the small sailing dinghies, canoes, and kayaks. Bob is more interested in larger craft; pocket cruisers, Crotch Island Pinkies and such. My wife, after the obligatory hour watching me immerse myself in boats and more boats, ended up cruising the tourist traps on Main Street.

With all this variety, I like to take the opportunity to test sail something different. This year, thanks to owner John Allen, I sailed on one of the John Summers/Gilbert 16X30 EZ-build sailng canoes . You need some street cred to be able to con a ride on one of these tippy canoes. Fortunately John Allen had heard about me from Bill Beaver and I was allowed to take out his pride and joy for a short spin, street clothes and all.

The 16X30 was America's premier racing sailing canoe from the years 1900-1933. In 1933, the International Rules were rewritten and the sloop rigged International Canoe came into being.

On the 16X30, sailing a cat/ketch rig is different, as well as getting used to the pushme/pullyou crosshead tiller (the sliding seat hiking aid would also be different for most other sailors but I've had experience with the International Canoe version).

John has rigged his reproduction 16X30 with modern blocks and lines, carbon spars if you want; a great improvement over the vintage hardware I sailed on one of the early 16X30 Tomahawk reproductions. I found in sailing this plywood 16X30 in 5 to 7 knots that their were no obvious vices. Once I determined how tippy the 34 inch wide hull was, she tacked with authority and small adjustments on the mainsheet kept her on her feet in the puffs. With two low aspect sails and short sliding seat, the Summer/Gilbert certainly was an easier proposition to step into and sail than the International Canoe. I didn't get wet, even my shoes stayed dry!

One of the special thrills in dinghy sailing is being suspended outside the hull (trapeze, wings or sliding seat) and watching the hull slice along. The Summers/Gilbert EZ-build is a probably the best option for a home builder to experience that thrill. It may take a while to master but it's not out of reach for most with reasonable agility.

Thanks again to John for the great ride.

Some pics of John Allen sailing his Summers/Gilbert EZ-build 16X30.

John Allen kibitzing with a spectator. Note how he tethers the 16X30 to the dock by standing on the sliding seat.

Some pics of the small boat dock...........

Tip of the hat to friends I ran into at this years MASCF; Bill Parks, Chuck Sutherland, Marilyn Vogel, and Larry Haff.

I'll cover some of the other sailing craft in upcoming posts.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Laser Master Worlds; Tillerman's lament

Tillerman returned from the Laser Master Worlds in a funk. With most races of the Laser Master Worlds at Hayling Island, UK held in very extreme conditions, Tillerman completed about half the races; a result that, for Type A-Tillerman, has him retreating into self recrimination and navel gazing.

Whoa... Tillerman, quit the self blame! Are we going to blame a grandfather for not handling the extreme conditions designed to test Olympic athletes (because of logistics, the Laser Master Worlds follows the Laser Open Worlds.....locations are chosen to test the Olympic guys, the grandfathers get to brutally experience the same waters a week or so later). Maybe the Grand Masters (those over 55) and the Great Grandmasters (those over 65) need to make a break from the Laser Worlds circus and schedule a Worlds event someplace warm with moderate winds (maybe Cabarete with racing in the morning). And while we're changing the location, how about scheduling just one race a day (let's aim for max 3 hours out on the race course).

Tillerman, if it is any consolation, I'm not sure that I, when I was sailing Lasers back in my 20's, would have done any better at Hayling Island.

Perhaps the Laser Grandfather Worlds should take a page from the Italian International 12 foot class "Dinghy Classico" wooden boat championship.

How to run a Grandfather championship....lets see; start with wine....lots of wine, food......lots of food, a green apertif, dancing.... oh, you want sailboat racing....... some sailboat racing in moderate winds followed by wine.... lots of wine, food....lots of food.......

Let's go to the videotape...........

Let's see, if we get a syndicate of four.... We buy one of these absurdly expensive wooden International 12's and every four years I would get to race this regatta. Wow! Who's in?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Music Whenever; Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros "Home"

My wife and I celebrated another anniversary. Before we were married, I wondered what she saw in me..... even to this day, on occasion, I still wonder? Love ya Jeanie!

A great anniversary tune that one can whistle to..................

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros "Home" from Edward Sharpe on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another Classic Moth Frankenboat; Fish and Chips

Transplanted Englishman, Len Parker, has added to the list of other sailing dinghies that can be successfully converted to a Classic Moth. This time it's the MiniFish.

Len found a cheap $150 MiniFish (Alcort's mini version of the Sunfish) which at 11'6" (actually Len found it was only 11'3" when you didn't count the deck flange) made the Classic Moth conversion a simple transomectomy (he cut the transom off and installed one at the correct 11 foot length).

Len married the converted MiniFish hull with a cheap aluminum Windsurfing mast, to which he added stays and an used Classic Moth marconi sail..........everything else remained as it was on the MiniFish.

Len brought the now named Fishboat "Fish and Chips" to the 2010 Nationals. Unfortunately he had a surgical procedure on his leg open up on the first race (with E-City having had a huge sewerage spill upriver three days before the Nationals, Len wisely opted to abandon racing). George Albaugh had his vintage Dorr Willey similarly open up (cracked plank) on the first race so the switch was made; with George driving "Fish and Chips" the rest of the regatta.

"Fish and Chips" made a very credible showing. George had some very tight racing with the Gen1 folks and it seemed to me the Classic Moth/MiniFish version was a big improvement over the original lateen sailplan.

I took a spin in "Fish and Chips" after the racing and was impressed. It is a small boat (I think it only has 3'9" beam) so if you're pushing 200 lbs, you wouldn't be Fishboat material.... I think 150 lbs (70 kg) crew weight would be ideal. The low freeboard would be very wet in any significant chop so definitely keep this Fishboat on flat water.

Tip of the hat to Len on a very workable Frankenboat......

George reaching in "Fish and Chips".

George standing in "Fish and Chips".

"Fish and Chips" fighting for inside with Ed Salva
at the leeward mark.

Len, feel free to add any other observations on the conversion and sailing of "Fish and Chips" to the comments.

Pics by Elizabeth Albaugh and Len Parker

(I'm bringing Len's comment back into the main post so he can correct some of my errors.)

"Hi Rod , This turned out to be straight forward project on what I guess is the world's simplest sailing dinghy.It kept me almost sane while I was injured earlier this year and couldn't sail ( or surf ). It actually only cost $100 and the aluminum mast came free with some broken carbon windsurf masts I picked up.I kept it as cheap as possible and some of the fittings were originally intended for another Moth project.On the ply transom I used the original Minifish/Sunfish gudgeon bracket & rudderhead.I added a travel track in front of the cockpit , mid-boom mainsheet with a ratchet block & added dual controls for the outhaul , vang & Cunningham. The only sail control the original Minifish had was the mainsheet , which could be fed under a nasty looking brass hook in the cockpit. I figured I'd lose some knee flesh on that thing , so I removed it. Turns out I didn't need a hook to lose some knee flesh ! ... I used a Sunfish daggerboard and a broken carbon windsurf mast as a boom , with plastic awning /sail track & a recut Europe sail.It hadn't rained here in 4 months until I moved the hull outside and I forgot to screw the inspection port lids in , and typically it poured it down all night and the hull foam soaked plenty of water up , adding considerable weight which still hasn't completely gone.The first time it hit the water was at the Nationals , and I didn't last very long ! George and your good self would be better judges of performance and things that need tweaking , but it was fun to convert and sail , and it lasted longer than I did ... Cheers , Len"