Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Classic Moth Boatbuilding; June 2011 Update

Recent Classic Moth boat building news floating around the net.

Joe Bousquet was the chap who re-released the squirrely narrow waterline 1960's Mistral design on the reconstituted Classic Moth class some fifteen years ago. Except for one year when Jeff Linton won with a Florida Wedge design, the Mistral or one of it's variants (Mousetrap) has won the nationals ever since. After fifteen years, Joe's original Mistral "Try-Umph" needed a redeck as the 3mm (1/8") plywood can take only so much of asses and knees crashing down over time. Joe details the redeck job in this post from his blog "MadMothist". Joe lightened things up by sistering foam with his rolled tank frames. Here is a pic I stole from Joe's blog of Try-Umph's deck and frame layout (which in it's basic form has been copied by almost all of the Mistral builders).

Mike Parsons also did a redeck on his Mistal. Mike has done several deck versions; this year must be his third or fourth. His previous version had used 1.5mm (1/16") plywood on the foredeck that for weight reasons had only one coat of varnish. That one coat of varnish quickly disappeared and last year the deck took on the hue of weathered teak and became a sponge, perpetually wet when coming in from the races. Mike went back to a 3mm deck over the winter and using his carbon laminating prowess, lightened the mast step and daggerboard trunk so the actual new weight was slightly less than the old version. A pic of Mike's Mistral with the new deck taken at this years Brigantine regatta.

And finally, Patrick Burger, he of the weird but wonderfull FrankenMoth/Mothball design sprung at this years Midwinters
, decided to up the ante, and has built himself a Mistral, but not just any old Mistral. Patrick has built the first foam/glass Mistral that I'm aware of in the Classic Moth World. Shortly after the Midwinters, Patrick scarfed up a plywood Mistral hull from Rod Koch that had spent too long out in the Florida sun and was unsalvageable. Using the wood Mistral hull as a plug, Patrick taped down some contoured foam and glassed both sides to lift a new hull. The hull and deck are now complete and pictures show some radical visual differences.

Patrick has put in a V-transom with the hull continuing aft as planing strakes. The sidedecks are narrow with no decking surrounding the daggerboard trunk, hence the cockpit looks enormous compared to the tiny footwell of the Bousquet layout.

This side on shot shows the reverse sheer with the V-transom shape.

With the large cockpit of the Burger Mistral, one truly gets the feel of how narrow a hull the Mistral is (not a flat area anywhere).

Patrick is a painter by trade and used finishes not typical in the Marine Industry on his Mothball. I'm sure the color layout he chooses will be another interesting facet of this Classic Moth build.

More on the Mistral design can be found here

Music Whenever; World Order "Machine Civilization"

Earwigoagin's staff indie music expert (daughter Robyn) sends along this highly complex choreographed Eastern statement on how modern industrial society makes us automatons (I think that sort of explains it). Has some well coiffed but excitable poodles making a cameo appearance.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tragedy at SSA

This is a tough one to write. I debated whether to post this at all. Severn Sailing Association's junior sailor, Olivia Constants drowned this past Thursday when her trapeze harness snagged some rigging after her 420 turtled. I don't know the family but there is a universal sadness, disbelief, even bewilderment, among our sailing community when someone so young dies doing the sport we love.

My heart goes out to her family and friends.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Buyer Beware

An amusing video snippet, taken from an old French movie, where the con artist is both a sailmaker and a yacht broker (an odd combination today but maybe not so odd when this movie was made).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Music Whenever: Dinner Belles "Till the Dawn"

Definitely a happy-go-lucky hippie vibe as a background to this music video.

Before the music starts, you hear this comment "You've got a fair share of water damage in here". There's a tie-dyed shirt, a toddler running amok, and a huge stuffed bear.

Band is from Ontario's farming belt and this is one great tune about love gone wrong.

Dinner Belles - Til The Dawn from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Another blasting video; The Cherub class

The Cherub is a twelve foot development class, originally started by the renowned Kiwi designer, John Spencer. It's still mostly an Antipodean class with a smattering in the UK. With it's light weight and assymetric spinnaker, it has a reputation of one of the great blaster dinghies in the world, without going into the complex and expensive world of the skiffs.

I crewed a regatta on an English Cherub in the 70's, a plywood V-shaped Forman 4 design. They had enormous spinnaker poles that hung off the boom and, for the crew, it took forever to push them out (the gybes entailed taking them all the way in again and pushing them out....if I remember correctly). They flew shikes (shy kites) a flattish triangular spinnaker set up for reaching rather than running. Unfortunately, the regatta was in light air, but I was still impressed at the power and responsiveness of this 12 footer.

Forty years on the class has evolved into a very impressive speedster and because of the smaller size of the sails, the Cherub attracts lighter weight crews.

Let's go to the videotape of a very skilled coed crew having a great time.

Wowee! Lets just absorb the experience of going very fast in a small racing dinghy. Just look at the wake disappearing astern, listen the whine of the foils at speed, feel those big wallops of spray, the hull slamming as it skips from wave to wave.......and then, for some reason, it all stops!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sailing the Heritage Race on the Classic Chesapeake 20

I see that Tillerman lamented he hasn't done much sailing. Well neither have I this spring, for many of the same reasons; graduations (TOH to Chris and Sally on successfully completing their advanced degrees), family trips and just lack of motivation.

Depend on a good friend to get you out of a funk. Bob Blomquist, star of several previous posts, featuring his Bolger Light Schooner and other boat building project, called up and asked if I wanted to crew on his Chesapeake 20 for the long distance Heritage Cup out of West River SC. In the 21 years that Bob has raced the Chesapeake 20, I had never crewed for him in a race. I had almost raced with him twenty one years ago when Bob was trying out his first 20, but those races were cancelled for two much wind. We ended up bombing back and forth on a reach until we sucked the very long mainsail bag most of the way into centerboard trunk. So much of the black bag ended up trailing astern that it looked like we were being chased by the serpentine Chessie Bay Monster. It was so bad that we had to park the Chesapeake 20 on the shallows while I dove over, swam under the boat and dragged the rest of the sail bag out through the bottom of the centerboard trunk.

The Heritage Race is a grand long distance tour of West River and Rhode River. The usual course length is about 8-9 miles. All fleets out of West River SC are welcome to take part and this year saw the Nacra 20 and F16 catamarans, the Albacores, the Flying Scots and the Chesapeake 20's milling around before the mass start off the club dock. Bob pulled off the perfect dock end start at the gun and in the light northerly we beat up to Rhode River. We had pulled out to a 200 yard lead over the fleet as we started on our approach to Rhode River. As we tacked over to starboard to head into Rhode River, we gradually became becalmed and our race fell apart from that moment on.

A wind line appeared from the East as we crawled into Rhode River. We weren't sure if if this wind line was going to filter down to the fleet, but it did and the cats and some of the trailing Chesapeake 20's roared up to us. We stayed in the middle of the river but the new breeze hugged the eastern shore and those furthest tucked into that shore sailed around us. Further up the river this breeze petered out and the old breeze, now backed into a light westerly sprung up and favored those on the other shore. In the Chesapeake 20's, Clay Taylor caught a nice westerly puff at the turn to Flat Island and sailed out to a 100 yard lead that he never relinquished. Our middle of the river strategy put us even with all the rest of the Chesapeake 20's but at Flat Island, two of them were able to carry more wind around the island and we exited Rhode River in fourth. The course was shortened but we couldn't make any inroads on those ahead on the run back to the club. A very tricky light air race, especially in the Rhode River, but still the perfect antidote to being too long away from a sailboat.

The Chesapeake 20, our local Classic class, has it's origins in a development class at West River in the 1930's and 1940's. The history of the Chesapeake 20 class is best digested if you peruse the class website.

The modern Chesapeake 20 is a light air demon, perfect for summer racing on the West River. Carrying a large main on a Star mast with a short waterline hull for a 20 footer, I can think of only one other class that has evolved into a faster light air package than the Chesapeake 20, that being the Thames A-rater of England.

The modern Chesapeake 20 has one trapeze but no spinnaker and usually one or two crew.

Here is an head on archive picture of the winner of 2011 Heritage Race, Clay Taylor.

A beam on photo of the Cheaapeake 20. Unfortunately it looks like the jib tack fitting has let go.

Two Chesapeake 20's at a start. You can get a good idea of the transom shape and the bumpkin needed to support the backstay and still clear the leech of the main.

Clay Taylor has been the driving force behind restoration of some of the old Chesapeake 20's. I can't remember which 20 restoration is documented by the following pictures. You can get a good feel for the hull shape of this Hartge design.

Music Whenever: Lucky Uke "Cum On Feel The Noize"

No one would ever accuse this blog of being topical. But the recent propensity of American celebrities (Brett Favre - American football player and now Anthony Weiner - politician) to tweet their pectorals and that dangly thing between their legs, brings to mind this music video.

A ukelele band covering (and uncovering) a tune made popular by the rock band "Quiet Riot" (Umm! see the comments section for a correction, turns out Slade was the original band).

Not sure what the female stage manager has to say in French at the beginning of the video but I don't think it was very flattering.

From Ms. Francine, one of Earwigoagin's retinue of volunteer researchers, here is a rough translation of the opening comments;

".....she's basically calling the next number (next show or "spectacle") and then says something about him being petite (small) and he says "well its always worked for me" and she says "OK, whatever" then next show something something something, I can't really tell. But then she winks at the end.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Dutch Schakel dinghy really moving

I previously posted about the Dutch Schakel dinghy when West River SC sailor Rene' de la Rie reminisced about his early teen years learning to race in one .

A plywood dinghy, they look moderately V'd in shape, maybe closest in concept to our Windmill class.

I came across this very short video of a contemporary Schakel (with trapeze) absolutely screaming along on a close reach. Now this is what dinghy racing is all about!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Music Whenever: Bo Diddley with Tom Petty "Mona"

The great Bo Diddley, sharing the stage with Tom Petty, jamming one of his greatest hits "Mona" on his signature square guitar, ..............

Friday, June 3, 2011

WOOD regatta; Rock Hall YC Maryland

Two weeks ago, WoodenBoat Magazine ran a regatta for small wooden racing sailboats. Dubbed the WOOD regatta, it was held at Rock Hall YC on Maryland's Eastern shore, about an hour drive for me. My weekend was already spoken for (graduations) but I was able to make it over on Friday afternoon to catch some of the early arrivals.

From my vantage point on Friday, before the racing commenced, the regatta seemed to attract three disparate groups;

  • The Racers - those sailboat classes where wooden construction remains competitive such as the Fireball, the Classic Moths, the Wayfarers and the Windmills.
  • The Restorers of Older Woodies - those classes where wooden construction is no longer competitive (Lightning class) or those classes where the class has died out (Blue Jay) or those who have restored just for the joy of restoring and not for racing (Hampton Class)
  • The One-offs - Those who built something with a sail (not necessarily a racer) and want to try it out against other sailboats (the "Haiku" and the "Caribe").
And there were other sailboats not so easy to pigeonhole; the modified Ray Hunt 110 keelboat and Dudley Dix's Paper Jet plywood performance dinghy.

Two excellent posts about the WOOD regatta have already made it onto the bloggosphere (this is not the place to be browsing if you desire up to the minute reporting). George Albaugh sailed his Classic Moth and his report can be found here. Carl Cramer from WoodenBoat was the instigator and organizer. His report can be found here.

Some pictures and commentary;

The Fireball (along with the 110) were the most tricked out racing craft there. The Fireball sported all the go fast gear from mast ram to a Technora mylar main. The crew also sported the most sensible sun gear going; a one piece cover-it-all up. Picture from John Z.

Eli Slater and Ross Weane showed up with the venerable Ray Hunt 110 design (a slab sided, flat bottomed canoe shape - a shape originally derided in the late 1930's when it appeared as "a cigar box"). Eli and Ross had added a second trapeze and an assymetric spinnaker; neither mods are class legal. The 110 also had Kevlar fore and aft sails.

Eli wrote a very interesting boat blog called "Eli Boat", sadly, no longer around. This blog "Earwigoagin" owes much of it's style to Eli Boat. I had an interesting conversation with Eli and Ross, most of it centered around the Frosty dinghy, a class in which both are top competitors. Like the Classic Moth, the Frosty is a builders class and Eli has been one of the main driving forces in souping up this micro 6' racing dinghy.

Just had to put a photo up of my self designed Classic Moth, the TweezerD. Ed Salva borrowed her for the weekend. Bill Boyle currently boards TweezerD and has her up for sale on the Classic Moth website. Look for Cedar Strip Moth .

George Albaugh's gorgeous 1954 Classic Moth original "Mint" design. Click here to view other Classic Moth designs.

Dudley Dix showed up with his original Paper Jet plywood skiff design. Dudley is a very prolific designer as can be seen from this listing on his website . Dudley has put a massive rig atop this very low freeboard skiff hull. To my mind, it looked to be quite a handful even with a trapeze (though he admits he designed it with two agile teenagers in mind). Also intriguing is the lack of carbon anywhere; all the spars and sprit were wood. Dudley says that 53 of the plans have been sold (at the normal 10 to 1 ratio of plans sold to actual boats built, this equates to 5 hulls making it on the water). Photo from John Z.

"Caribe" was a one-off 16 footer. When eyeballing "Caribe" I saw a stretched Flying Junior, others saw a wooden Buccaneer. Cold molded in construction with a cut down 505 mast and sails, "Caribe" was a very credible sailboat, a first rate effort and worthy of others being built.

"Haiku" was a one-off from a fellow up from Florida. It started off as a picnic boat. Blow up the photo and one can see the round seats for enjoying cocktails in the aft transom corners and amidships. The design got racier in the design process and is extremely wedge shaped with a very fine bow. The aft sections are very wide, again to facilitate evening sunset socializing without upsetting the apple cart. The rig is set very far forward, so revelers don't have to worry about conversing over a boom with flaked main. Construction is double chine plywood, with the bottom panel 9mm thick and the two side panels at 6mm.

And finally a beach shot of a wooden 16 foot Wayfarer, an Ian Proctor design from the 1950's, made famous by some very long distance dinghy cruises undertaken by Frank Dye.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Elf Classic Yacht Race; Annapolis May 21 2011

For a professed sailing center, Annapolis has been behind the eight ball in running a classic yacht race (Annapolis does have the "Good Old Boat" regatta in the fall for all the classic plastic classes - but this isn't quite the same). Well, this year saw the inaugural running of the Elf Classic Yacht Race featuring the historically significant, restored 1888 topsail cutter "Elf" and the replica Sandbaggers. The race was also open to more modern "Classic Yachts" such as a 50' S&S design and Capt. Earl's smaller version of the "Bluenose" schooner. The course was the always popular Bay crossing, Annapolis to St. Michaels.

I was able to catch the start of the race on Saturday morning. It was a traditional start as was common practice in the late 1800's. At 9 am, the start gun was fired from the upper deck of the Eastport Yacht Club. Skippers hopped into their dinghies/inflatables and rowed like mad to their yachts. Only when the skippers arrived and climbed on deck, could the anchors be weighed, sails hoisted and racing commence.

A short video of "Elf" starting the Race named after her.................

For more info on Elf, refer to Thomas Armstrong's excellent posts on Elf from his blog "70.8%".

I do have a question for the bloggosphere? What in the world is the figurehead for Elf?... a sea monster? a sea pig with fangs?..... see the following pics...........

San Francisco has been running their Classic Yacht event, the Master Mariners Regatta, for years. A short video of some of the Classics spotted at this years Master Mariners regatta..........

2011 Master Mariners Regatta- the teaser from Phinneas Photoboy on Vimeo.