Saturday, March 29, 2014

John Z: Classic Moth Construction Progress, a Modified Mistral Emerges

Just up the road from me, Classic Mothist John Z is steadily making progress on on his modified Mistral Classic Moth. This Mistral is a bend-em-up tortured plywood construction using 3 mm. ply throughout. I decided to pop over to take some photos as John is about ready to slap some decks on this Moth. I wanted some pictures that highlighted the internal structure of a racing Classic Moth.

A racing Moth makes do with three bulkheads, one about 610mm (two feet) from the transom, another at the aft end of the daggerboard trunk (about 1520-1650 mm or 60-65" from the transom) and the final one at the forward end of the daggerboard trunk (this one is angled as called out for in the Mistral plans). You can see the inboard construction of the seat tanks - John likes building his out of flat plywood sections.

Two bow-on shots that show the mast structure. John is putting in a freestanding mast and has built a carbon mast tube that extends to the keelson. There is not much structure up forward in these boats.

Proud builder. John also builds the ultalight F1 rubber-band powered free-flight model airplanes, stored in the special box that hangs on the back wall in this photo (you may have spotted some other model plane parts scattered around his work room).

Lest you think these Classic Moths are so light to be throwaways after a couple of years - not so. Johns' current Mistral is fourteen years old, Joe Bousquet's National Champion is even older. You do seem to have to replace a deck or two every so often but the structure is adequate for continual racing abuse.

Fellow blogger George A. has been reporting on John's Mistral build with some regularity over the last year and it would be worth jumping over to George's blog and reading several posts.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Olympic 49'er: Continuing the Krashboombang

The 49'er, the two-man Olympic skiff, is not an easy dinghy to master; which is as it should be for an Olympic class. Hence, great 49'er "crash and burn" videos keep surfacing periodically, enough to keep the blogmeister thoroughly entertained. (I sailed on a 49'er once, light air, and I was limited to crew. It was a short sail and I remember how skinny the spin halyard was and my only recollection was how painful it was to pull the asymmetric in and out of the launcher.)

In the following video, I hate it when the forward hand just can't stay glued to the boat. It makes everything else that much more difficult.

Justus Schmidt - Max Boehme Flying 49er from Valencia Sailing on Vimeo.

One of the problems....the 49'er just lulls you in, blasting along, Joe Cool, "Hey we got this thing under control!" and Whap! Splat!

Pitchpole - Palma Style from Ferguson Sailing on Vimeo.

And who can forget the mother of all 49'er "Down the mine" videos", I reintroduce the antics from the Medal Race of the Qingdao 2008 Olympics. Color commentary is in, I think, Danish.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mario Scuderi: Wooden boat restoration in New Zealand

I have referred to myself as a wood butcher in my boatbuilding endeavors; with some truth. My work is never pretty and it is good that it is on such a small scale. Some might say it is quick and dirty, but then again, my boatbuilding is never quick. Let's reframe my boatbuilding process as slow and, when complete, functional.

I do, however, enjoy watching videos of true craftsman restoring or building wooden boats. This one is particularly fascinating to watch. Mario Scuderi is a transplanted Italian in New Zealand, restoring the old New Zealand yachts, particularly the ones by the Logan's and Bailey's. Enjoy his quiet and understated explanation of what he does and why he does it in our mass-produced world.

About Passion from Johannes Stra├čner on Vimeo.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Shout out for the U.S. Classic Moth Scene

Brit sailing writer and marine historian, David Henshall, has written an article for Yachts and Yachting online about the state of classic dinghy racing in the U.K. About 2/3's the way into the article, David gives a nod to our Classic Moth scene in the U.S. (as well as the International 14 and 505).

Click here to read David's interesting article.

A Earwigoagin TOH goes out to Mr. Henshall.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Transoms of Gulfport, 2014

From the 2014 Classic Moth Midwinters in Gulfport FL., held the end of February, John Z. sent over this picture of two Classic Moths before being unloaded. On the left we have the very ample "tush" of the Savannah Wedge compared to, on the right, the petite "derriere" of the Mistral design. To each their own.

I must admit, throwing the 11' Classic Moth in the back bed of a pick-up truck is very "Amurican", but when you have the truck. and you have the Moth, who cares about roof racks or trailers.

I love the name of the Savannah Wedge, Binday Dundat. For a blog with a name that is a phonic play on a phrase, this is a cosmic connection. Tip of the hat to John Siegling, owner of Binday Dundat. John raced Moths as a teenager, was one of the original founders of the University of Charleston Sailing Team in the 1960's, got out of dinghies and sailing after college, and now, 50 years on, has returned to the class of his youth.

More Classic Moth transoms can be found here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Video from Gippsland Y.C Wooden Dinghy Regatta Available

This probably relates to those Australian readers of Earwigoagin but for those who got a quick sneak preview of the video of the Australian Wooden Dinghy Regatta, we could tell it was entertaining, informative, and very professionally done. Well worth the money if you have an interest in classic sailing dinghies.The video is now available as a DVD or download over here, courtesy of Drift Media.

My post on the regatta can be read here.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Header Photo: Interclub Dinghies off the Naval Academy Seawall

Interclub Dinghies coming up the last windward leg during their mid-winters - a true mid-winter regatta - held off Annapolis the end of January. A frigid frostbite regatta that proved to me that the Interclub is probably one of the best dinghies when you would want to sail in sub-freezing temperatures.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Quadcopter View of a Keeler Regatta: 2014 Heineken Regatta

Bear with me dear reader. I have yet to get my fill of quadcopter sailing videos. At some point they will get boring, but not yet. Even this keelboat regatta viewed from above is fascinating.

From Pigeon Vision.

2014 Heineken Regatta filmed by a Drone from Pigeon Vision on Vimeo.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Classic Moth drifting around Rhode River.

I've had some video clips hanging around my computer for at least two years. I've just got round to collating some of the clips into a video short of the blogmeister going on a very light air drift in his Classic Moth around Rhode River (one of the rivers just south of Annapolis). Nothing exciting at all about this day-sail but since all kinds of dreck gets posted on YouTube, I'll occasionally keep adding mine.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Why the RS300 is Better than the Laser - Let's Stir the Pot!

(For this  post I borrow the title and concept from Tillerman's popular series "Why XYZ class is better than the Laser" to make a point using sideways logic.)

If you sift through comments in various dinghy forums about the introduction of the two new entrants in the Laser-sized hiking singlehanded market (the singlehander sans the assymetric chute), the RS Aero and the Devotti D-Zero, there seems to be a vocal majority that want to see the Laser displaced because;

  1. After forty years we need to incorporate newer technology (i.e. epoxy construction, carbon spars, laminate sails), a modern hull-shape and a double-bottom, flow-thru deck layout etc.
  2. After forty years, we should be able to get a faster hiking singlehander than the Laser.

Surprise! surprise! RS has had this hiking singlehander in their U.K. product line for fifteen years. It is the RS300 and it fulfills both of these requirements.

  1. The RS300 has carbon spars, laminate sails, and a double bottom layout, sexy flares - nothing Laser-like about this design..
  2. The RS300 is fast; faster than the Laser, faster than the Olympic Finn, and probably, when the smoke clears, faster than both the brand new RS Aero and the Devotti D-Zero.

The RS300 sold like hotcakes,  Right? Wrong. Although it has achieved a solid base of committed sailors (Steve Cockerill, the man behind Rooster Sailing was a particular fan and won several national championships), the RS300 never achieved runaway popularity. Why? It was much too tippy for the average sailor. Designed by Clive Everest, who made a name for himself in the very narrow International Moth class before it foiled, the RS300 doesn't have a flat section anywhere. In degree of difficulty, the RS300 rates behind the International Moth but probably close to the International Canoe - not a formula for mass-market success. In this case, the race for market success doesn't always go to the swiftest or sexiest.

I have come across two entertaining YouTubes of sailors trying to master the RS300.

A caveat. This blogger has never seen a RS300, let alone sailed one. Also this blogger doesn't live in the U.K so much of this info is from what I can glean from the InterWebs.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Quadcopter Sailing Videos Keep Coming: Foiler Moths

From the same English quadcopter video wizards, LPB Aerial Imagery, who did the winter dinghy start video I featured a couple of weeks ago; an over the top view of foiler International Moths.

Way cool. Stunning shot of flying boats speeding into the wintry sun.

Moths foiling sbsc rough clips from LPB Aerial Imagery on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

AH-WOOGA! AH-WOOGA! Laser Market Sector under attack!

Given the current uncertainty in who has the right to produce the Laser, combined with the feeling that it's time to modernize the mass-market hiking singlehander, two manufacturers unveiled hiking singlehanders (RS Aero and the Devotti D-Zero) smack-dab in the Laser size range during the U.K dinghy show this past weekend. Both are considerably lighter than the Laser with a more "modern" hull shape. I have my opinions about whether one of these two will eventually achieve the Laser mantle in the future - I'll save that for a future post. First, as a background, let me direct you to Tillerman's more detailed post on the RS Aero. For the rest of the post I'll let the readers of Earwigoagin absorb the design concepts as explained by the designers/builders behind these two new dinghies, as voiced in YouTube interviews during the dinghy show.

First the RS Aero design team:

Hmmm! Well, that video disappeared from public consumption after one day. Oops! No it hasn't, it's back again. TOH to the chaps at Yachts and Yachting.

And Dan Holman, designer of the Devotti D-Zero, courtesy of the RYA roving reporter:

Another recent singlehander around the same size of the Laser, though not designed with the upper end performance criteria of the RS Aero or Devotti D-Zero, here is my post on the Australian GO 4.8 singlehander.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Life During the Polar Vortex: The Interclub Dinghy Midwinters

I got an email from Alex Stout of SSA in early January stating that he was short one RC member for the Interclub Dinghy Midwinters slated to take place the end of January in Annapolis. After taking inventory of my shopworn and dated thermal outerwear (my drysuit from the 1990's is long gone - even the replacement seals have again rotted away), and expecting the normal daytime highs for January to remain around 40 F. ( 5 degree C.). - I agreed to fill out the team.

However in the week preceding the Midwinters, the Mid-Atlantic experienced some of the coldest winter temperatures in years with night-time temperatures plunging near 0 degree F. (-17 C.) and daytime temperatures hanging around 20 F. (-7 C.). The regatta weekend didn't look much better; temperatures on Saturday were to briefly get above freezing around 3 in the afternoon, not so on Sunday. Saturday's breeze looked to be very strong from the South. Needless to say I was having second thoughts about hanging out on the race committee boat in such conditions.

I drove down Saturday morning, hoping that Spa Creek in front of the club had iced over. That wasn't the case. (Turned out that there was a boat fire at a marina that week on the next creek over, Back Creek, and the Annapolis fireboats, in responding, had chopped up the skim ice that had been forming in front of the club.) I then was hoping that the breeze was too strong for the conditions -  which was exactly the case when I showed up. There was a delay - more-so to locate a pump - for, the Interclub is not self rescuing and requires a pump boat to remove the water in the event of a capsize. I was then hoping that the local rent-it places were out of pumps since there had been a spate of broken water pipes in this week of unrelenting cold. After two hours the search team located a pump and returned and by that time the breeze had moderated. Against all my hopes, the decision was made to send the sailors out.

The Interclub Midwinters are run like a college regatta, with results scored as a team comprised of an A division skipper/crew and B division skipper and crew. This is very sensible for the sailors for, at most, no team is out on the water longer than about an hour to an hour and a half. However, as I was to find out, this did not excuse the race committee from being on-station for the duration of the day. I made it through, for the most part, warm enough but by the end my feet were complaining despite several layers of socks.

Despite the cold, we were able to get off two solid days of short-course racing. There were a couple of capsizes early on but the breeze on Saturday came down to a manageable 10-15 and on Sunday we had a sunny 8-10. The Interclub with its high freeboard makes racing in such cold temperatures do-able (a Laser deck would have quickly become a sheet of ice) though, as an outside observer, one must question the lack of self-rescuing capabilities in this dinghy. (Pumping out an Interclub takes a while and ties up a rescue craft - luckily we never had more than one Interclub over at any time.). I was wondering when watching the racing why the roll tacks looked very lackadaisical. The Interclub, being a round bottom dink, is known to be easily flopped around with a snappy roll tack. I then realized the bottom of the cockpit on these Interclubs must have been an ice-rink and skipper and crew, mindful of this, were tiptoeing across on the tacks.

Results are posted over here.

Some pictures;

Here are my compatriots on the main race committee boat, PRO Alex Stout, Marty Fletch, and Bob Tan.

Interclubs coming up to the finish.

Coming downwind next to the RC boat.

A daughter/mother team. Word on the street was the mom had never sailed dinghies before. What an introduction! (If you click on the picture you can see the icicles on the gunwhales.)