Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

Ghostly apparitions, eerie humming and swirling waters in this night video of a TP52 blasting downwind off Denmark........

Wolfpack sailing from nils melsom kristensen on Vimeo.

Kibitzing; Jamie Brickell and Mothboats

I haven't been doing much sailing this fall but I have been kibitzing. Sometimes, you never know when you'll walk smack dab into sailing history. In talking with SSA Lightning sailor Jamie Brickell, he mentioned he learned to sail on a Mothboat, specifically a Skip Etchell's Connecticut design. Well, he added a comment to one of my posts which I'll drag over to this post. At the time, he didn't mention his mother was Allegra Knapp Mertz, winner, four times, of the Adams Cup.

Jamie writes;

My mother, Allegra Knapp Mertz, bought Connecticut Moth #1020 from Skip Etchells in 1947, named her Loon, and frostbited at Larchmont (NY) Yacht Club over the winter on 1947-48. Her husband, Jim Mertz, was a member of American YC in Rye NY, and Loon went there in 1948. She was placed on one of the docks. I was 7 years old at the time and found that I could push her off the dock and go sailing. The only problem was getting her back on the dock at the end of the day. I did this for about 6 weeks before I was caught. Mom came down to the club to go sailing and the sails and boat were missing. Luckily I sailed around the AYC main dock and made a perfect landing, wouldn't have broken an egg, as she said. Looking back, it was probably a bit crazy for a 7 year old to sail around Milton Harbor, and a bit beyond, unsupervised, but that was then. I loved that boat and think it is the reason I am still racing small boats, currently a Lightning, at age 70 with my wife Susie as forward crew. There is a half model of her (Loon) in the American Yacht Club.
Jamie (age 4) also faintly remembers his Mom and step-dad fishing a large log onto the Mothboat to use later as firewood.

For a tribute to Allegra Knapp Mertz, here is a link to her obituary in the New York Times.

I've talked to a fair number of my generation and many learned by sailing on their own; not so much through organized instruction; just going out and going sailing.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Header Photo; Artsy, Fartsy Classic Moth

I took a photo of current National Champion, Jeff Linton, at this years E-City Championships and tried one of the different styles you can pick in Adobe Elements.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Music Whenever: American Babies "Dance All Night"

There is music I call "Americana". For me, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Robert Earl Keene, The Band, Steve Kellogg and the Sixers fit the bill. I would expect every one has there own version of the "Americana" sound. This tune by American Babies slots into the "Americana" sound for me as well.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All Right Already; Photo of Thistles

To answer any confusion. From the Earwigoagin archives; a photo of genuine Thistles starting at SSA (As Tillerman noted, the previous post had a video of Intercollegiate FJ's racing, not Thistles). Here at Earwigoagin, we do throw the ocassional changeup to keep everyone on their toes.

Photo from John Z.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Race Committee for Thistles; October 9,10

I was Vice Chair for the Thistle Oyster Bowl at SSA on October 8,9. I was expecting to take a camera along and take a pic or two for Doryman, but we had little to no wind. We did squeeze a race off late Saturday in about 5 knots to make it a regatta, but Sunday only teased us with some light breezes in the Severn River; flat calm remained in the Bay. The regatta was called by noon.

The Thistle Class is doing as well as any dinghy class on the Eastern seaboard. Talking with class stalwart Don Moore he can list all the clubs where the class was once strong in the 1960's and 1970's and popular regattas were held, but now.... nothing. But that is how it is with all dinghy classes (with maybe the possible exception of the Lasers). It amazes me the small clubs and lakes the Thistles are still sailed. There are the Pennsylvania lake clubs outside of Philadelphia that I've never heard of. There is also a communal fleet of Thistles that are wet sailed all summer in New Castle Delaware. I have said it before; there is no better sailing dinghy to drift about a lake than a Thistle.

I was puzzling why even fiberglass Thistles have wood gunwhales and wood trim and found out it was a class rule,enforced so the class wouldn't look too plastic. Good rule! I also noted that two of the skippers had been sailing coaches in a previous life. In talking with one of the ex-coaches, I found it interesting, that after coaching kids in plastic 420's and Lasers, they were attracted to a classic dinghy like the Thistle.

I came across a YouTube of an intercollegiate regatta sailed down the road on the Potomac River on the same weekend. You get a good feeling on how the wind teased but ultimately became a no-show.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

2011 Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival

Earwigoagin reporter John Z was on location to take some photos at this years Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival hosted by Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels Maryland. Apparently reporter wages that this blog site pays are not sufficient as John was also selling a John Gardiner traditional motor skiff he built some time ago (with vintage 10 hp Johnson). John did find a buyer at the last minute.

The docks, as always, were a beehive of activity..........

Having brought a motor boat to the festival, John didn't participate in the sailing race but did take in the action from the deck of a traditional Sam Crocker 23' Stone Horse keeler.

8' Cocktail racers are the newest rage in the Mid-Atlantic. An open cockpit outboard racer (6-8 hp outboards), the design is based on a 1939 design from "The Rudder" magazine. Local plywood kit makers, Chesapeake Light Craft, have designed a stitch and glue version that should be introduced in the next couple of months.

I get bored with all-varnished stripper canoes and kayaks, but I never get bored with the beauty of an all-varnished Adirondack Guideboat......

The Delaware Tuckup during the sailing race............

I don't remember seeing a Beetle Cat attending the Festival the last couple of years. Apparently one made it this year.....

Melonseeds are still one of the more popular traditional sailing craft being home built today. One of the Melonseeds launching......

Puddle Duck racers are another class that has caught the interest of the home builder crowd. Derived from the Bolger "Brick" (apt name for this square, blunt, plywood design), Puddle Duck sail plans seem to wide open. This one sports a leeboard......

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Header Photo; Windmill Class

The Windmill class is a 15'6" (4.72 meters) two man hiking dinghy designed by Floridian Clark Mills (designer of the Optimist dinghy). Like the Optimist dinghy, the Windmill was originally designed to be home built out of plywood, featuring a shallow V chine hull. Mostly found in the U.S, the Windmill at one point had a thriving fleet in Finland. A lively sailing dinghy; I sailed and raced the Windmill as a teenager and will always have a soft spot for the class. (A previous post points out that the Windmill hull was used by the US1 singlehander class.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Music Whenever: Shakira "LOCA"

My last "Music Whenever" post reminded me that now would be a good time to transition to this Latin-pop icon. My, what she can do with her midsection! Nuff said!

Shakira Feat. Dizzee Rascal- Loca (English Version) from Manthos G. on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Feel good video on boatbuilding

I've been building a plywood paddling canoe for close to twenty years (I've lost track). Dr. John Vardiman from Texas took on a much larger project and successfully hammered it to completion in twenty five years. His down home observations are worth the price of admission.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Music Whenever: Black Eyed Peas, Sergio Mendes "Mas Que Nada" "

Mix Latin and Rap ---Why not?

The 'Pinnasse a Voile" of Arcachon Basin, France

A fascinating video of Pinnasse racing in the Arcachon basin, southern France near Bordeaux. Very canoe like, with a pointed stern, narrow beam, hard chines, and a pretty upswept bow sheer, the Pinnasse was originally a work boat used for fishing and oyster farming but, today, just like the Maryland log canoe, lives on primarily as a racing sailboat. They feature a low aspect lug rig where the tack of the sail is attached to the bow. To tack, the sail must be dropped and shoved around the mast to the new leeward side and then rehoisted. All very tricky in a tippy boat and this video is captivating as we see the coordination of the 6-7 crew as they hustle to get these craft from on tack to the other.

Also on this video are some video snippets of the always beautiful wooden International 12's racing (the not so common pink, as a hull color, is featured here..... I had a niggling feeling that I got this wrong - the International 12 identification - when I wrote this, but I thought "Romain will correct me if I'm wrong", and he did). Romain writes......

"The pink international 12' is in fact a monotype d'Arcachon.

Slightly longer (14'), wider and with more sail surface, the hull is not lapstrake and the sail type is a balanced lug instead of a standing lug.

It was designed in 1912, one year before the International 12'"
The video also features several classic beauty keelers and, what I assume is a traditional working craft, flat bottomed with open transom and rudder hung off a gantry - a very strange combination but also very forward looking if this was how it was done many years ago.

La régate des voiles traditionnelles sur le bassin d'Arcachon from televisionbassinarcachon on Vimeo.