Sunday, June 30, 2013

Header Photo: Idem Class, St. Regis Lake

The Idem class dates back to 1899 - 1900 and is one of two surviving North American classes we can trace back to the Seawanhaka rating rule, (a waterline rule) that was popular before 1900. The Idem was designed by Clinton Crane as a one-design racer for the moneyed New York set that summered in the Adirondack Lakes, particularly St. Regis Lake. It is unique that the original fleet of twelve remains intact and racing (with the exception of the one that has been given to the Adirondack Museum, but the rest are serviceable). The class is to remain a "period" class (unlike the English Thames A-Raters of the same time frame) including a requirement that only cotton sails can be used. The fellow on the back deck is the mainsheet trimmer and from the photo's it doesn't look like he has a lot of mechanical advantage (i.e. multiple blocks) to ease his job with that huge mainsail. A true piece of Americana yachting history.

I have done another, November, 2014 post on the Idem.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Music for Fridays: Roots, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jimmy Fallon, "Call Me Maybe"

I used to have a regular music video post, every week or so called "Music for Fridays", now long discontinued as I found most of my blog readers couldn't care less about my musical tastes. Well, time to resurrect it, at least for this Friday.

A goofball jam session, using a bunch of kindergarten musical instruments featuring Jimmy Fallon and the Roots, who have done more to showcase what's out there in contemporary music than anyone else in the last ten years. Oh yeah, Carly Rae Jepsen is featured with her mega-pop song "Call Me Maybe". I can see myself in the background just humming as loud as I can on a kazoo! (I'm doing it now in my head.) Smiles all around, including mine whenever I watch this video.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

OD-OY Review - The Blue Jay

Back in the 1960's, a period I consider the apex of dinghy sailing in the U.S. (some might say this is old guy nostalgia but, in the 1960's, there were more people sailing and racing dinghies, more dinghy classes, and more home built dinghy fleets than at any time since), the magazine One Design and Offshore Yachtsman (OD-OY for short, the precursor to today's Sailing World) published a very well done dinghy class directory in it's January issue. As a teenager, besotted with sailing, I used to pore over this issue very closely as each class review included (and there were a lot of classes featured) dimensions, a photo, and a short blurb.

I have scanned some of these individual class reviews thanks to Elliott Oldak, long time Star class racer, who still had some old issues of OD-OY in his library. All of the classes I've picked out can be built out of plywood. The first one is of the Sparkman and Stephen's 13' Blue Jay daysailor which was the junior trainer on Long Island Sound for many years but today, as a racing class, has been supplanted by the modern nexus of the Opti and Club 420.

From OD-OY:

There are a couple of Blue Jays that show up for the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival; one young family in particular that seems to be always out sailing around the St. Michael's harbor. If you are shopping around for a stable daysailor that you could singlehand, or sail with an adult, or sail with your kids in a nice deep cockpit, and of small enough size so it is easy to manhandle on shore, you can't do much better than a Blue Jay.

I did help build a Blue Jay as an older teenager. After moving to Youngstown, Ohio we joined Berlin YC, but I also joined a nominal Sea Scout troop led by top notch Pymatuning Lightning sailor, Dr. Chuck Maltbie (I say nominal Sea Scout troop because we had no uniforms, no scheduled meetings, no formal command structure). Chuck decided a good project for this Sea Scout troop would be to build a Blue Jay (probably thought that we would all end up as Lighting sailors down the road). I don't remember much about the build other than the Blue Jay took a lot of wood screws, which had to be filled before painting (a nice canary yellow, same as Doc Maltbie's Lightning). The Blue Jay was finished (I think Doc worked on the boat 10 hours to every Sea Scout's 1 hour - the only way it was going to get on the water in any reasonable amount of time), a nice sailing dinghy, but my young head at that time was into faster racing dinghies such as the Fireball.

A photo of one of the Blue Jays at the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival.

Update on June 29, 2013: Looks like the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has one for sale out of it's donation pile; 1853 BLUE JAY SAILBOAT-wood-13’6”-5.17” beam- $550

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tempo Scow whooping it up!

I have posted about the three South African Jack Koper designed scows and below is a video of two German gents having a grand old time reaching along in the Jack Koper Tempo scow. The first thirty seconds of the video is relaxed and then a grand breeze filters down the lake, sending them into giddy hyperspace. As I have said before, I am monolingual and don't have a clue what they're saying as they bomb along. It would be fun to sail on a Tempo.

I'll have more to say about Jack Koper's smallest scow, the Dabchick in a later post.

A more recent post on the Tempo scow.

Romain Berard; On his own

Romain Berard, Earwigoagin's erstwhile European correspondent, has started up his own blog, Dinghy 12 Pieds International (now also featured on my blogroll). This is a good thing. While I've tried to balance small boat coverage on my blog, there is no doubt I retain an Anglo slant. Romain will do a much better job in covering French traditional classes and French sailing history and he is writing posts in both French and English (so you don't have to cut and paste in Google Translate). Highly recommended you check his blog out on a weekly basis.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The sailing canoes were there first! Lansing Quick on "Uno"

I admit I'm a history geek so the history of small boat sailing fascinates me. There is very interesting thread on the history of planing boats over on the Woodenboat forum. Highly recommended reading if you would like to delve into the evolution of small boat sailing. A Mr. John Watkins, who seems to have a veritable treasure-trove of digitized historical material on his computer, provides most of the posts.

Older historical interpretations have Uffa Fox inventing the planing dinghy (International 14, Avenger, 1928) and this grew into the myth that Uffa invented the planing sailboat - all thoroughly debunked now. As you can see on the Woodenboat thread, candidates for first planing sailboats range from sharpies, to scows, to various rater classes of England, U.S., New Zealand and Canada. There are many different opinions championing several different design types. I've maintained that the first planing sailboats were the sailing canoes. They were light enough, the development of them as racing sail craft in the 1880's and 1890's was furious, and the sailors drove them very hard in the races.

Exhibit A - A photo from Outing Magazine, March 1891 (so this picture was taken in 1890). Lansing Quick getting the bow of his sailing canoe "Uno" up and going very fast offwind.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Another Micro Dinghy - This time a 7 1/2 foot skiff bult by some teenagers

I'm a sucker for micro dinghies. This one was built by some young'uns to fit around a Laser 2 rig. I'm mostly laid back about the state of yachting today but if I was going to get on my soap box it would to bewail the homogenization of the Oppie/420 circuit and the complete lack of any original, creative thought from youngsters. I would enjoy seeing more kids going to town on some plywood, making piles of sawdust to produce something, anything to get on the water. Thankfully these two have restored at least a little bit of my faith in the younger generation. (Prediction, at least one of these builders will be a sailboat designer of renown from the 2020's onward.)

How many races can you get in a day?

I finally got on the water the weekend of June 8,9, not sailing mind you, but as Vice Chair of Severn Sailing Association's Spring Series for Lasers and a Vanguard 15 invitational. Winds were light, very shifty on Saturday (up to 40 degrees which makes it tough for the RC folks, as soon as we shifted the weather mark the wind was somewhere else). Sunday was a light breeze, steady this time out of the North with lots of motorboat chop.

The racing format was intercollegiate short course with races timed around 20 minutes in length and starts ran with the 3 minute sound system. Most of the race committee felt pretty chuffed that we had succeeded in getting 18 races off for the three fleets in about 2 and 1/2 hours. I, who have volunteered over at the Naval Academy dinghy regattas, chimed in to say that getting 60 races a day was no big deal for the collegiate crowd. We had Ramsay Key on board the Sunday, an intercollegiate All-American in 1998, sailing for Tufts University. He mentioned that when he had raced in the Wilson Team Race event at West Kirby SC, over in Merrie Old England they would routinely get 300+ races off in three days. He went on to say that the intercollegiate clubs on the Charles River, Boston (MIT, Harvard, Boston University) decided to do West Kirby SC one better and ran a team race event with 400+ starts in a three day period using 44 collegiate dinghies and lots and lots of eager college volunteers.

Mindswimmingly large numbers!

We did have a professional photographer jump in one of our crash boats for Sunday's racing. Tara Roberts has kindly consented to send me a couple to post on Earwigoagin. More photos can be viewed over at Tara's website.

A Vanguard 15 start:

Two Lasers finishing with the Maryland State House peeking out over the treeline.

A typical packed Laser start. We did have the current helping us keep this unruly fleet below the line. No general recalls for the entire weekend!

And finally a photo of the "Favored End", SSA's main committee boat. Your blogmeister is standing on the cabin top (in a lime shirt) intently monitoring the fickle wind, unhindered by trying to figure out more swirls and vagaries if I had remained with the crowd down on the aft deck.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Bruce Kirby Speaks at the Webb Institute

If you have a spare hour to listen to a lecture by Bruce Kirby on yacht design (and the Laser and the Torch), the Classic International 14 blog has the video.

Header Photo: Linton Leading Classic Moths on a Reach

I haven't seen the inside of a Classic Moth for a while. This is one of my stylized photos of Jeff Linton leading the fleet down the reach at the 2013 Gulfport Midwinters. I've forgotton now but this might be a Lenny Parker photo. Linton is driving his modified Mistral.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hawaiian Sailing Canoes, Always On Big Water

I've posted before on the Hawaiian outrigger canoes. Here is a video of the traditional Hawaiian sailing canoes, focusing on one in the catamaran configuration. It gets interesting at the back end of the video as the wind and wave conditions approach nuclear in the channel; two helmsman fight to maintain control on the long steering oar aided by another auxiliary helmsman in the leeward hull with a big ass paddle adding some oomph when needed. Got to keep those bows heading straight while surfing down big waves. Spray everywhere. Fascinating!

Ka Ohana Holokai Pailolo Crossing from Scott Wong on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

I'm back!...........Well sort of

Some may have noticed my absence from these pages. Some may have guessed that I was once again helping coach womens spring lacrosse at Wheaton HS. We finished with 3 wins and 8 losses this spring; the wins were by bigger margins over the same teams we beat last year, the losses were by about the same as last year.... there was progress but with injuries not as much as I had hoped. There was some frustration on my part but hey, I'm a volunteer coach and there are bigger things in the scheme of high school life than wins and losses.

I must admit I didn't spend much time on the Internet the last couple of months. I didn't monitor my blog and (sorry) I didn't read other blogs on my blog roll. I did read books and that was a very good thing and (tip of the hat to Tillerman) I did have the first grandbaby to occasionally cart around to look at the leaves and flowers and breezes of spring.

So Earwigoagin is back but not as the consistent blogger of yore. I still have a pile of books to read.