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"

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Music Whenever; South Austin Jug Band; "Whitewater"

I had the Carolina Chocolate Drops queued into my Music Whenever, but DoryMan beat me to the punch .

I'll go with this Bela Fleck bluegrass number from the South Austin Jug Band..........

South Austin Jug Band - Whitewater (with Noah Jeffries) from Cory Wright on Vimeo.