Thursday, December 31, 2015

L'Hermione Visits Annapolis

It will be good to wrap up 2015 on Earwigoagin with a much delayed post about the French tall-ship, L'Hermione, the ship that brought Lafayette to America to fight in the American Revolution. The recently completed replica of L'Hermione visited Annapolis this past June and, as with anything nautical, vast crowds descended on City Dock to take a tour. I was one of the throng and even though I got there early enough, it took me close to an hour of snaking back and forth before I could climb the gang plank to board her.

L'Hermione was a middling warship for that era but, up close, she remains today an impressive working monument of the late 18th century. I can't help to imagine what it would have been like to row around a busy anchorage of the 1780's, surrounded by dozens and dozens of tall ships; merchantmen , privateers, warships, and coastal traders. To me, that would be just as stunning a visage as any large cathedral.

Bonnie of Frogma reported on L'Hermione's visit to New York City (unlike me, she wrote it about it when it happened). Her report can be found here.

The official website.

Some of my photos:

The line on the home-stretch, within minutes of finally going on board. There was a fellow singing sea-shanties to keep those in line entertained.

Humanity packed on deck.

Given my small boat bent, I was interested in this pair of nesting launches. The mast indicated that at least one had a sailing rig.

The figure-head.

There were plenty of Revolutionary re-enactors milling about including these three in the French army uniform.

I hadn't realized until reading the local newspaper coverage of L'Hermione's visit that Annapolis has a memorial to the French soldiers and sailors who had died fighting in the American Revolution. It was tucked in the corner of St. John's college, in a copse of pine trees overlooking College Creek, just behind the boat house. After touring the L'Hermione, I took the fifteen minute stroll in the hot June sun, up Pinkney Street, over to Prince George Street, past the Paca House and across the campus, to visit the memorial. The flowers were from a commemoration service that had taken place the previous day, but on this day, I was the only one there.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Header Photo: The Tempo Scow

The previous header photo was of the Tempo scow designed by Jack Koper of South Africa in the early 1960's. He did three home-built scow designs, all extremely popular in South Africa. The Tempo made it into the northern hemisphere, becoming popular in Germany and Holland and in a twist, the Tempo, in modern times, is now only found in these two countries and not in the home of origin, South Africa.  The Fireball was introduced around the same time as the Tempo scow and sits in the same space, a 4.88 meter, two man, single trapeze, spinnaker performance dinghy capable of being home built. The Fireball became an international class, the Tempo is bumping along close to extinction.

Amazingly, last year, I came across a forlorn, rotting Tempo sitting around the back of Bacon and Associates (the Annapolis firm that is the top broker of used sailboat sails, fittings, and other sailing paraphernalia in the U.S.); a Tempo that was home-built in Maryland in the 1970's. Unfortunately this Tempo was too far gone but if it retained a good proportion of her plywood in decent shape I would have finagled slotting this Tempo amongst my bevy of Classic Moth's. (Yes, my dear, that is one of my Classic Moth's, the length just appears as an optical illusion!)

I hope the Tempo sticks around. It is a true scow whereas the Fireball is more of an unique transom bowed, flat rocker panel, multi-chine dinghy. The Fireball, with it's high level of competition, no longer sees a home-built wooden dinghy among the top finishers in a major regatta. It would be nice to see a two man, single trapeze class where a wooden boat still has a chance. It would also be great to see the Tempo plans available as an Internet download. Earwigoagin would offer the services of this blog if someone wants to send the blogmeister a copy of the Tempo plans.

Photos of the Tempo scow that I have culled from the Internet:

A wooden home-built Tempo sitting in front of a fiberglass Tempo. The roundish gunwhale shape was carved out of a solid piece of wood.

The history of the Tempo scow.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Seen at the 2015 Annapolis Sailboat Show: the Scamp Mini-cruising Dinghy

I was frankly surprised to see this small dinghy cruiser at the Sailboat Show. This 12' (3.6 m) mini-dinghy cruiser designed by John Welsford has become the darling of home-builders looking for a small outside, but big inside, simple rig, able-sailing project. This community of boat builders, an alternative universe in the sailing world, revolve around the DIY wood designs of Phil Bolger, Jim Michalak, Ian Oughtred, John Welsford, Francois Vivier and others, And this alternative universe seldom intrudes on the plastic commercial world which predominates at the large boat shows. But, in 2015, there she was, a plastic Scamp, built by Gig Harbor Boatworks north of Seattle Washington.

There is no doubt this is a clever design. It has a transom bow that tapers rapidly toward the waterline, the actual sections at the bow waterline are V-ish. There is an offset centerboard under the starboard seat. This makes for an unobstructed floor, perfect to lay out a sleeping bag. The Scamp is high sided though the designer has given her a pleasant sheer to make this a jaunty looking dinghy. There is 70 kg of water ballast to dampen down what could be a very lively motion in wind and waves.

The summer of 2014, I was sitting on the back lawn at my friend Bill M's house, just off South River, when I spotted a small sailing dinghy making her way smartly against a building sea breeze. To settle our speculation about what kind of boat we were watching, Bill promptly went to get his binoculars. Through the binoculars I could tell it was a Scamp (a very distinctive profile with her balanced lug rig) and the skipper was doing a fine job getting her upwind. He poked his nose just into the Chesapeake Bay and then turned downwind to rock and roll back into South River. As a spectator, I was mightily impressed at the Scamp's sailing performance (initially being somewhat of a skeptic when the Scamp first came out). One quibble was the Scamp looked somewhat tender going offwind, rolling back and forth - not atypical for a cat-rigged boat, or maybe the skipper had dumped the water ballast for a quicker ride back home.

Two photos of the Gig Harbor Boatworks Scamp from the Annapolis Sailboat Show. Plenty of room in this 12-footer! If I remember correctly the rep said they were building about 30 a year. Base price is $13,000 USD.

The cabin is just a cuddy cabin, enough to shelter from the weather. Plenty of storage under the seats and up forward.

Wooden Scamps being built from CNC kits. This photo gives a good idea of how the kit pieces fit together. You can see in the lower Scamp the centerboard trunk incorporated into the starboard seat tank.

A Gig Harbor Boats promotional video.

Also, over on my blog list is this duo building a 17' Devlin designed daysailor-cruiser.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Ah! the yin and yang of this holiday season.

I guess it is to be expected when Christianity decided to shoehorn their most important celebration into the same time frame as the pagan bacchanalia of Winter Solstice. Which brings me to Krampus.

I first learned of Krampus by reading the back of a beer bottle, specifically the back of Southern Tiers Krampus brew (it is sometimes very informative to read the backs of beer bottles). Krampus was the draconian Austrian version of St. Nick's (Santa Claus's) enforcer - if you were a good girl or boy you received the beneficence of St. Nick -  however, if you were bad girl or boy you were pursued to the ends of the earth by a horrific, horned creature, Krampus. The story varied as to the punishment meted out by Krampus - the worst was capture by Krampus, collection into a hamper borne on Krampus's back, and then whisked off, never to be seen again on this mortal earth. Wow! that is one over-the-top tale to scare the bejeezus out of the young'uns.

From Wikipedia, the origin of Krampus as explained by Maurice Bruce;
"There seems to be little doubt as to his true identity for, in no other form is the full regalia of the Horned God of the Witches so well preserved."
Here is actor Christoph Waltz (never seen Christoph in a movie - I don't watch many movies but Christoph was in a Tarantino movie which makes it even less likely - Tarantino movies have too much mindless blood, guts and gore for me) explaining Krampus on the Jimmy Fallon show.

The Austrians have revived the tradition of Krampus. There is now a Krampuslauf - or Krampus Run (or in Americanese, the time when a drunk biker gang took over your town- sans bikes). In many alpine towns in Austria and Bavaria in early December men put on costumes of the various permutations of Krampus and transform into the nasty, scary Krampus persona, attacking parade spectators and giving young children nightmares weeks out.

The New York Times did this video on the Krampuslauf, as well as highlighting the passion and skill of a wood carver who makes the wooden, gargoyle-like, Krampus masks.

Wishing all of Earwigoagin's readers, happy holidays, happy Winter Solstice, or happy whatever way you celebrate the end of the year and the beginning of a new one. I just hope you've been just good enough to avoid a visit from Krampus this year.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

John Z's Mistral, Bend-em-Up, Stitch and Tape, Boat Building Instructions

With the publication in Earwigoagin of the stitch and tape, Classic Moth, Mistral design offsets;
I received an inquiry; "How do you actually assemble the hull? Again, I turned to master builder, John Z, and he supplied the following short PDF of photos and captions detailing at least the first assembly stages of a Mistral Classic Moth build project.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

I Threw My Drysuit Away!

Last summer I took a look at my very old, seldom used dry suit and decided it was time to toss it. I haven't sailed frostbite in dinghies in decades and the rather laborious task of replacing dry-rotted seals just wasn't worth it. I guess I've reached the point where I'm quite happy watching other dinghy sailors sail in freezing water, even if I have to suffer being a very cold spectator myself.

Here is a well done video of a cold, cold regatta, an intercollegiate regatta in 420's, shot in slow motion by a professional videographer, Doug Jensen. This video was shot in New England in March; a time when the air temperature may be on the way up but the water is still just a tad above freezing. Brrr!

SONY PMW-F55 Center Scan Mode Testing -- Part 2 from Doug Jensen on Vimeo.

Another 420 slow motion video in a post on Earwigoagin -plus some comments.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Old Star Photos

Most likely this is racing at Larchmont Y.C; time frame between 1914 to 1918.

Ev Emerson Photo Collection

Ev Emerson Photo Collection

The origin of the Star boat

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors

A great video of San Francisco disabled sailors and their organization, a story told through their own words.

Storytellers for Good: Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors (updated version) from josh maddox on Vimeo.

More posts about disabled sailing.

Header Photo: SS Sloop

The previous header photo was of two intent sailors on their SS Sloop, one of U.S.A's oldest dinghy classes. Designed by Benjamin Hallock of Moriches Bay, Long Island in 1908, he built 74 of them before he died in 1931. About fifty more SS Sloops were built after Hallock with at least one new build in the new millennium.

Moriches Bay, on the south side of Long Island, normally has a consistent sea breeze in the afternoon and the SS Sloop sports a low slung gaff rig designed to be easily handled in strong breezes. About thirty of the SS Sloop are still seaworthy and the centennial regatta in 2008 had a good turnout.

Hallock was known as a good builder of cat boats before he designed the SS Sloop. However, the flat sections and narrow beam of the SS Sloop show a lineage more towards the Seawanhaka racers rather than the fatter cat boats.

The SS Sloop has a small spinnaker which is set with both sheet and guy on the same side of the mast, not the usual arrangement for flying a spinnaker in modern sailboats.

The 16.5'  hull (5.03 meters) has a long enough cockpit for three. The rudder is set inboard. The gaff rig definitely has a low center of effort.

A SS Sloop out of her natural habitat. This one is moored to a dock at Cayuga Lake, one of the finger lakes of upstate New York.

Friday, December 4, 2015

OD-OY Review: The Peanut Dinghy

Update, March 12, 2020. Class reforming. From Jeff Moses:
"I was just able to obtain 2 Peanuts from The Augusta Sailing Club! I will be taking lines off these boats and restoring both of them. I will be offering plans, kits and complete boats to new members. We will be hosting a National Championship in 2021. You can reach me at the US Peanut Class Association, Jeff Moses, President, 490 N. Stewart St., North Liberty, Iowa 52317. Jmoses9967 (with our good friends over here at) and 319 530 9967."
December 2020 - Jeff is going to set up a Facebook Group. More details to come.

Ah! Memories of teenage lust ..... for a boat.

Around the age of 12, I learned to sail on an El Toro and shortly after, started to learn to race as a crew on an International 14. I became obsessed with sailing and, sometime in the 1960's, when the annual class review of the One-Design and Offshore Yachtsman came out, I spied this blurb on the Peanut class and fell in love.

Slightly longer than my El Toro and much racier, I dreamed of owning this beauty. I sent away to the class secretary and got one or two mimeographed sheets with some grainy photos in the return post. I could have bought some plans but, I was, at that time, inept with the basic hand tools and my dad wasn't much better. The money I saved from my lawn cutting jobs was to be used for other purposes.

When I was in my twenties, in a short foray in the Finn dinghy, I sailed a regatta out of Sayville, New York, just up the road from the Peanut Class home port of West Islip. My teenage obsession had long passed and I never thought of making a quick 10 mile (16km) side-trip to see if I could find a Peanut dinghy in the flesh.

In the ensuing years, despite inquiries to any Long Island sailor who has crossed my path, not one person has come forward as knowing anything of the the Peanut dinghy of West Islip, let alone have I been able to find a person who has seen one. It seems to be a class that appeared and disappeared very quickly, leaving not much trace.

But it still remains, to me, as one of those warm, fuzzy memories of early teenage years

Addendum January 2019: An ad for a fiberglass Peanut from Yacht Racing, February 1972.

Addendum January 2020: In an email, Jeff Moses adds to the history of the Peanut dinghy.
"Arnold R. JOHNSON and his wife Lydia lived in Westo (revive the t!) Islip. She was the class secretary. Plans were $8.50. Fleets raced in the Nationals at West Islip YC and Babylon YC. Arnold worked at Grumman as an engineer. We had a fleet here in Iowa. Bernie Kuse, a professor at ISU in Ames, built several. I owned two. Fleets were in Florida also. Several hundred boats were built.
Jeff is looking for plans for the Peanut. If you know of the whereabouts of such plans, leave a comment.

Jeff also sent along photos of a Peanut that was in a Long Island Museum. I didn't realize the Peanut was a double bottom dinghy. (It wasn't, at least initially... The original design was a single bottom hull.)

Addendum December 2020: Phil Johnson, son of Arnold Johnson, contacted me and supplied more history of the Peanut class, including photos and the background of his father. A fascinating man. (More of that later.) Phil's recollections of the Peanut:
"My memories of the Peanut were that it was versatile but you needed time to understand how your weight placement in the boat affected its performance. Once you became ‘one’ with the boat (and learned how to hike out properly on the rail), it wanted to go fast but you always had to be prepared for that sudden gust that would tip you over. It could beat the crap out of anything upwind and was pretty easy to get up on a plane while reaching. We raced against a lot of Sunfish/Sailfish back then and we would fall behind on downwind legs and always catch them upwind. They were a lot of fun to race as a class! As a trainer, my dad used the ‘Junior’ rig and a weighted centerboard for stability – as I said, versatile."
Here are two photos of the West Islip fleet back in the Peanut's heyday.

Update December 12, 2020: In a comment I moved over to the main post, Roger Errington adds more to the history of the Peanut Class.
"I learned to sail on [a Peanut] as a kid... My dad got the plans and built a Peanut for me. Must have been the mid 60s. I raced it out of the Otsego Sailing Club on Lake Otsego in upstate New York. Also sailed in the National Championships a couple of times in West Islip. So we knew the designer, Arnold Johnson, pretty well. The Johnsons left Long Island and moved to New Hampshire at some point. I remember some of the other sailors - Lou Jones and Axel Paulsen - believe they were TWA pilots and friends of the Johnsons. My boat has been sitting in a friend's barn in Massachusetts for years. It was a great boat to learn how to sail in. Pretty tender. You had to stay on your toes in gusty conditions or it was easily capsized. One comment about some of the photos: the boat didn't initially have a double bottom. It was a good addition given how wet the boat was and how often it went over."

Ed. Note: There is also a Norwegian Peanut sailing dink which was hot-molded and imported into the U.S during the 1960's - another instance of a class sharing a name.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Music Whenever: Dave Rawlings Machine "Going to California"

A mesmerizing acoustic cover of the Led Zeppelin classic "Going to California".

From the YouTube blurb:
"Dave Rawlings Machine performs "Going To California" (By Led Zeppelin) live at the Georgia Theatre in Athens, Ga.

"Dave Rawlings Machine is comprised of Dave Rawlings, Gillian Welch, John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Willie Watson (Old Crowe Medicine Show), and Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers).

Monday, November 30, 2015

Zen of Daysailing; Vaurien Sailing out of Tenerife

Buried deep in the bowels of this blog are several posts I did about sailing with no racing - just kicking back in a pleasant breeze - the zen of daysailing. As winter makes its approach in the Mid-Atlantic it is good for the soul to watch the zen of daysailing, basking in the tropical sun close to the equator; in this case Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands.

More Zen of Daysailing.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Two More Classic Moth Sections in DXF

Plans de dériveur classique Moth

I keep doodling around with Classic Moth designs. Below are two; a round bilged design loosely based on my Maser and another modified Cates design. These are DXF files which can be imported into various drafting or 3D programs. Hover your mouse pointer over the right corner of the drawing and click on the arrow icon (top right corner of drawing). The drawing will open in another tab on your browser and you can download from there.

Dimensions in both drawings are in meters.

The round-bilged design is a middle of the road design and would fit quite nicely in our wider, flatter, Gen 1 division. Sections are placed (starting at the bow, again all dimensions are in meters) at:

.304 .608 .912 1.216 1.520 1.824 2.128 2.432 2.736 3.040 3.353

The Cates design was the dominant U.S Moth of the 1960's. As I've been listening to the history of the class, there were many builders that added their own touches to the Cates, pushing the design in various different ways. In this vintage tradition of modifying the Cates, here is one of mine. I've added a flat rocker panel to bump up the displacement to accommodate  the increased girth of senior skippers. Also, on this version of the Cates, the original V'eed transom gives way to a shallow curve. Again, section placement is given in meters.

.030 .100 .250 .550 1.100 1.650 2.200 2.750 3.340

Classic Moth plans post.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Not Turkey Carving; but Laser Carving

We American's are just finishing up our Thanksgiving feast weekend, Roast, baked, or fried turkey is the centerpiece and carving the turkey into white or dark meat pieces is all part of the tradition (and then add the gravy, stuffing, oyster or regular, mashed sweet or white potatoes, cornbread, vegetable casseroles of all sorts ..... well, you get the idea).

Segue into a sailing theme, in this case Olympic sailors carving their Lasers downwind. (Carving, in this case, a maritime definition borrowed from the surfers and meaning the radical changes in direction to stay on a wave.)

And surprise, surprise, an American in the lead in this one!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

1948 Duster Nationals - Riverton Y.C, Delaware River

Roland Hunn shared with me the program for the 1948 Duster Nationals at Riverton Y.C. (Roland's uncle, Ted Hunn, was president of the class in 1948). In the program was this photo of the Duster fleet starting in a drifter. The Duster class was a local New Jersey singlehander.

1948 Duster Nationals Yearbook

My previous post on the Duster.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Header Photo: Australian NS 14 Down the Mine

The previous header photo was the Australian, two-man, NS 14 dinghy "going down the mine" off of Anderson's Inlet, South Gippsland Yacht Club, Inverloch, Victoria.

The NS 14 is an indigenous Australian development class; a two person hiking, no spinnaker class. It is 4.27 meters (14') long and 1.8 meters (just under 6') wide. Those who have read Frank Bethwaite's High Performance Sailing know that Frank's first forays into dinghy design experimentation were in the NS 14 class and that his successful NS 14 designs were the basis for his one-design Tasar.

The 1960's NS 14 fleet.

Six older NS 14's were imported into the San Diego area around the new millennium and when that effort of fleet building stalled, one or two were brought east, specifically to the West River Sailing Club, with transplanted Aussie, Tony Arends owning one. Sadly I was never around the club when they showed up and missed the chance to take one out for a spin. West River SC already had a fleet of Jet 14's so the NS 14 was again a non-starter in the United States. I'm not sure what happened to the boats.

Some more photos culled from the Internet:

The somewhat smallish 9.3 sq. meter sail plans features the now de rigueur square-top (or nearly a square-top) main. The fleet uses a very deep over-rotating mast for more power.

The NS 14 has the modern, double bottom, full draining interior.

To save weight the reverse sheer profile is very "humpy", aggressively turning down at the stern.

Our impressive duo from the header photo, après pitchpoling.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

End of 2015 Season: Blooper Highlight Reels

It's getting chilly in the Northern Hemisphere. Time to sit at the computer (or tablet, or smart phone for those more technically advanced than the blogmeister) and watch several videos of dinghy sailing fails from 2015.

The International 14 will humble anyone, anytime, talent or no talent.

A Dazzling Display of Talent: Pt. 1 from mothra64 on Vimeo.

Training in a singlehander when we are that one step behind all day. Glug! Glug! All good in the end.

AnotherDayAtTheOffice from #1710 on Vimeo.

I've seen lots of Opti videos but not one that shows them filling their ballast tanks (and then emptying them). Well this one does.

The baby 49'er, the 29'er, can be just as squirrely as its bigger brethren.

November Sailing from Samuel Bonin on Vimeo.

Other bloopers, fails, capsizes from Earwigoagin can be viewed here.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Music Whenever: Jeremy Buck "Turn My Ship Around"

Another song with a strong, catchy electronic beat. Nothing complicated about the lyrics but at least they have a a nautical theme.

The video also features Circusman Alexis, aka "The Wheelman." Nuff said.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Header Photo: Historical Aussie 18-footer On the Edge

The best photo there is of a sailing dinghy on the edge of control. An Historical Australian 18-footer but I don't have anything else, such as the name of the 18-footer, or the date. I assume the photo comes from the archives of the Australian National Maritime Museum which has done a superb job of releasing historical photos onto the Web.

Update: Neil Kennedy comes forward with the complete history behind the photo.
"The 18ft skiff is Crows Nest II ( ex Almae) taken in the 1952 season on Sydney Harbour. The helmsman is Cliffie Monkhouse who was one of the legends of Sydney 18ft skiff sailing. The following season 1953 he sailed the first of his skiffs named Toogara and continued with a series of skiffs of the same name until the 1965 season.

His sail insigna of a black shield with a red ball was instantly recognisable. The photo itself is one of the many fabulous pictures of 18 foot Skiffs in Robin Elliots book "Galloping Ghosts" the story of Australian 18ft skiffs 1890-1965 which was first published in 2012.

Neil Kennedy ( Nedslocker)

The frontispiece for Robin Elliott's book "Galloping Ghosts".

A few of the Robin Elliott book are available on Ebay.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Concours de Plans pour Moth Classique lancé par "Le Chasse Marée"

The Design Competition for Classic Moths sponsored by the French traditional yachting magazine, Le Chasse Marée, September, 2001

I was under the mistaken impression that there were only two singlehanded dinghy design competitions over the last fifty or so years; the three IYRU singlehanded trials in the 1960's that would select the Contender to replace the Finn (NOT!), and the more informal singlehanded trial weekend in 1970; the American TeaCup regatta sponsored by the One-Design and Offshore Yachtsman magazine in which the Laser, and the cut-down Flying Junior, renamed the Banshee were introduced.

It was up to a transplanted Frenchman on the Left Coast, Dominique Banse, to correct me. He sent along a 2001 article from the French traditional yachting magazine, Le Chasse Marée which reported on a singlehanded design competition they hosted for Classic Moths. The regatta was run by the sailing club, ASPTT Voile de Nantes, and over twenty Moths showed up; some old, some new. Eighteen different Moth designs had been submitted to the magazine but only six new Classic Moths actually showed up to test their designers thinking on the race course. Unfortunately several of the new ones were not ready when they rolled in on the Friday and it took the midnight oil to get them on the water. Not the best way to prove your racing mettle!

Two of the designs, Mariposa and Francois Vivier's Moth Grand Largue were aimed more at being a lively daysailor rather than an all-out racer.

Below are some of the photos taken by Marc Morell during this Classic Moth regatta.

The French vintage Moth Nantais is very similar to the American Dorr-Willey and Ventnor vintage Moths. The red hull Nantais has an enormous bubble-deck (which was one way to keep these small dinghies dry before the invention of bailers and double-bottoms). Mariposa, which was featured in a blog post on Earwigoagin is the blue hull on the right.

Marc Morell

The purple, transom-bowed, plywood, V-shaped Bilbon (foreground, designed by Christophe Couton) was the best of the new designs at the competition but I'm guessing it was still off the pace compared to the Olympic Europe Dinghy (leading to the left).

Marc Morell

The transom-bowed Swiss Fragniére was the most popular French Moth of the late 1950's to mid- 1960's.  Here is one with a wooden mast approaching the finish line. A 1960's video short featuring some Fragniére's can be seen here.

Marc Morell

On shore before the racing, from left to right;
  • The older, 1960's Swiss Fragniére, 
  • Julia, the yellow Moth modeled after the Laser shape, designed by Didier Laveille. 
  • The purple Bilbon from Christophe Couton. 
  • Another new design, the black hull Berga' Moth put together by Jerome Amouraben from the Nantes School of Architecture.

Marc Morell

Julia, the Moth with Laser-like hull sections.

Marc Morell

The English translation of the Chasse Marée article on their Classic Moth design competition. (Again, many thanks to Dominique Banse for working hard to get this one right!):

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Other International 12

I mentioned in my post about the American International 12 that there is also what is referred to as the European International 12, the George Cockshott lapstrake, 1912 design, lug-rigged dinghy which is particularly popular in both Italy and the Netherlands. The Italians refer to the class simply as the Dinghy 12 and they race both a fiberglass and a classic wood version. Here is another well done video on the Italian Dinghy 12.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Seen at the 2015 Annapolis Sailboat Show: The Melges 14

Melges Performance Sailboats introduced their Melges 14 singlehander at this years Annapolis Sailboat Show. The 14 is one of the new generation hiking singlehanders; a racier, speedier alternative to the Laser and, at the Annapolis show, the Melges 14 was on display only six meters apart from one of the first entrants in this market segment, the RS Aero.

Visually the Melges 14 looks bigger than the RS Aero and the tale of the tape shows that it is bigger than the RS Aero. The Melges 14 is longer at 4 meters and wider at 1.57 meters. Given the American penchant for going bigger in everything, this may not be a bad marketing move for U.S. sales. The long, flat cockpit floor looks quite spacious compared to the narrow RS Aero cockpit and the tiny cockpit of the Laser. (If, in buying a faster singlehander with carbon rig and mylar sails, one of your odd requirements is also a design where you can daysail with your kids stuffed here and there - the Melges 14 is the one for you.)

A wider beam allows more hiking power so it is not surprising that in comparing sail areas between the Melges 14 and the RS Aero, the Melges 14 again comes out bigger. The Melges 14 big rig is 9.1 meters vs the RS Aero 8.9 meters and, in the mid-range rig, the Melges 14 is 7.8 vs the RS Aero 7.4. Usually more horsepower may give better light wind performance but I haven't yet seen any side by side performance comparisons published.

The ultra-lightweight RS Aero hull comes in at whopping 25 kg less than the Melges 14 which, at 54 kg. is lighter than the Laser by about 5 kg. One of the benefits of the smaller hull of the RS Aero is less surface area which translates into a lighter hull. The Melges salesman countered as he made the pitch for the heavier Melges 14 hull. "How light can you go before sacrificing durabiltiy?"

The RS Aero came out early in this market (not quite two years ago), is being marketed agressively and the factory in England is pumping a goodly number out every month. In contrast, the Melges 14 appears a little late. I asked the Melges salesman about this and being a good salesman, he remained nonplussed. Admitting there is "quite a bit of competition" in the new singlehanders, he pointed out that Melges has already built 40 of the 14's and they expected that the existing customer base of Melges products (from the 20, 24, 32, the myriad Melges scows) would initially provide a steady stream of buyers for the 14.

There you have it. The Melges 14 is a bigger, heavier (though lighter than the Laser), more powerful (with a very roomy cockpit!) entry in the hiking singlehander marketplace. I have no idea how it compares on the water with the RS Aero or the D Zero (which has yet to put in an appearance in North America  - Correction, there are three in North America - see bottom of post.). Price for a Melges 14? It seems to be moving target but somewhere around 9K U.S.

Also check out the Tillerman blog post on the Melges 14.

The Melges 14 has a mylar sail on a carbon mast and boom. (This is different from the RS Aero which has remained with the tried and true dacron sailcloth.). The Melges 14 also is round-bilged but one thing you can't do very easily at a boat show is turn the dinghy over and inspect the hull - so I can't comment on the hull shape.

This photo taken from a more bow-on angle definitely shows the very distinctive straight gunwhale line (seen also on the RS Aero - this provides flare at the gunhwale and more hiking power) starting just forward of the daggerboard case.

The wide flat cockpit and more beam means there are two hiking straps instead of the usual center one. The Melges 14 uses the typical Laser split mainsheet rig with a transom bridle. I forgot to ask the salesman how you controlled athwartship boom placement as there doesn't seem to be any control lines for the aft bridle, just a stopper ball on each side. Boom vang control is at the mast, the other cleats are for the cunningham and outhaul.

The mainsheet turning block uses a a nifty hose to hold it upright (versus those metal springs). The Melges 14 has a small raised shelf just forward of the daggerboard trunk, ending some 100-200 mm aft of the mast - probably a tricky engineering tweak to provide structural support to both the front of the daggerboard trunk and the mast. (I can see an aftermarket storage turtle being designed to fit this shelf - perfect for water bottles, spray jackets, sandwiches.) The cockpit also has the comfy non-skid foam that the SUP crowd invented.

My other Melges 14 posts:

Over at the Sailing Anarchy thread on the Melges 14, user Woodman is of the opinion the Melges 14 is similar to the English Supernova singlehander, which is considered a big-guy singlehander.

Also on the Sailing Anarchy thread, user Jeffers corrects me when I say there are no D-Zero's in North America. There are three D-Zero's now in North America.