Monday, November 28, 2016

My Early Moths in Tandem; Photos taken around 2005

These photos are of two of my early Moths, taken about twelve years ago, doubled up on my trailer for a trip to the Brigantine Regatta. On top is my Classic Moth, the yellow Energizer, a modified Stockholm Sprite and on the bottom was my winged scow Moth, Flatoo-a-T. Back then, the Brigantine Regatta had a "Modern Moth" division for winged Moths and I gamely raced my scow in that division, with little success. If I remember correctly, my friend Bill Beaver, raced my Classic in a couple of races.

For some reason I made a set of custom fiberglass mudguards for this trailer (hence the blue color). Both of the Moths, the trailer, and the Ford Aerostar van are no longer in my possession (the van and trailer junked, the Moths sold off into oblivion).

The dent in the aluminum wing tube, visible in the photo, is where a fellow Classic Mothie rammed me head on (he was on port prompting an exchange of pleasantries).

The blogmeister in the yellow Energizer.

Click here for my original post in Earwigoagin about my scow Moth.

My story on my winged International scow Moth has disappeared from an International Moth website. I reprint it here.

Friday, November 25, 2016

OD-OY Review: The Elvstrom Junior Dinghy

Paul Elvstrom, who, for my generation, is the greatest racing sailor of all time, introduced this dinghy in the 1960's. About the same size and weight as the Philip Rhode's cat-rigged dinghy, the Penguin , it obviously had nowhere near the popularity of the Penguin - in fact I have never, in all my travels, come across this dinghy. It remains a ghost, an entry, 50-odd years ago, in the One Design and Offshore Yachtsman's magazine annual review of dinghies, nothing more. It would be very interesting if a reader could direct me to an extant example of an Elvstrom Junior.

[Update: 05/06/17] After this post had been up for six months, Mike Scott came across an ad for the Elvstrom Jr. that was posted on Facebook. I've chunked the ad into four pieces.

This photo of the Jr. car-topped on a Beetle shows clearly the outside buoyancy tanks.

Similar in size and weight to the Elvstrom Junior, the American Philip Rhodes Penguin (from this post).

And some geezer bloggers admiring a Penquin dinghy.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Seen at the 2016 Sailboat Show: The X-Cat "Multi-Sport"

Another engineering design marvel at the show was the X-cat.

The X-Cat is an Austrian import; a rowing, sailing catamaran that is designed to be easily broken down for transport or storage. Marketed as a "multi-sport" catamaran, one can buy four models: the base model which is just the catamaran (presumably with this model you would desire to add some low horse-power motor to get around with), a sailing model, a sliding seat rowing model with a conventional rear-facing seat and oar set-up, and a front-facing rowing model. The X-cat at the show was out-fitted with both the sailing rig and the front-facing rowing kit.

The X-cat website. (Note that the header photo on the website is actually a very slickly produced movie utilizing drone footage for all of the scenes. Click on the arrow.)

One of the X-cat hulls. Interesting to note was this riveted center seam which indicates the hulls are molded in 2 pieces and then assembled together. This makes sense as the brochure touts the hulls being entirely foam-filled (it doesn't appear to be the blown in type but rather custom molded foam pieces to match the hull shape). Also, according to the brochure, none of the base hull pieces weigh more than 17.5 kg, so the X-cat can be easily loaded onto roof-racks when broken down.

The front-facing bent oar system. The X-cat goes together with lots of custom push button fittings (no tools required). Obviously I couldn't witness an assembly of the hull - the brochure touts a time of 2 minutes, which seems a bit ambitious.

The X-cat is approaching the market that has been carved out by the brilliant Hobie kayak/trimarans, but from a fitness machine, higher performance angle than the Hobies which have found a large market in the fishing, kick-back, day-sailing crowd. From my quick look over of the X-cat at the Annapolis Sailboat Show, the X-cat is indeed a very high-quality product. The brochure mentions there will be some new E-power options in 2017.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Music Whenever: Jones "Melt"

Nothing complicated. Love song. Basic Lyrics. Good voice. Boppy beat. Smooth listening.

Jones - 'Melt' from Bullion on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Header Photo: Gary Gowan's Cate's Classic Moth

The previous header photo is of Gary Gowan's home-built, modified, Cates-design Moth. If memory serves, I think he has won two Gen I National titles with this Moth (note the wooden mast as well!). The Cates design was the most popular of the Classic American Moths of the 1960's, and examples keep popping up to this day, all over the U.S.. I've learned from conversations with old-timers that raced them as juniors that this design was much modifed; some having fuller bows, different chine configurations and so on. Gary's Cates has a wider transom.

For some reason, when I do a Google Search on Earwigoagin Header Photo, I get a good compilation of images from this blog.

Plans de dériveur classique Moth, Plans de voiliers classiques Moth

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Header Photo: Classic Moth E-City Nationals 2016

Darin McCauley

The previous header photo was taken by professional photographer, Darin McCauley, at this year's Classic Moth Nationals at Elizabeth City. If you look closely, you can see this photo was captured just a millisecond after the point of no return, witnessed by the still present trail of water coming off the tip of the daggerboard. (Also many thanks to Jay Yerkes for performing this difficult athletic maneuver so elegantly.)

I didn't make this year's Nationals because, for most of the summer, my head wasn't into racing. Turnout was off this year for the Nationals but the local fleets in Maryland and South Carolina are gaining strength with local regattas featuring 11 Classic Moths - so a bit of a trade-off.

I feature several other of Darin's excellent photos below. Just a quick plug for Darin, he writes;
"If you know of anyone who could use photographic coverage of any sailing event please let them know I'm available!"
To reach Darin McCauley -

Bill Boyle debuted his brand new woodie - a cedar-strip Europe Dinghy, one of two home-built Moths seeing their first Nationals. Bill is slated to build a second one over this winter. Click here for Bill's website on the Europe build.

Darin McCauley

John Zseleczky (on the right) debuted the second home-built woodie, his Y2K-mod Mistral, and finished 2nd overall. His build was documented here.

Darin McCauley

Blogger George Albaugh finished 3rd in the Gen 1 class with his Olympic Europe Dinghy. George's more complete report on the 2016 Classic Moth Nationals can  be found here.

Darin McCauley

Gary Gowan won the Gen I division in his home-built, woodie, modified Cates (he actually finished third overall which I think is a first for a Gen I since we started slotting the slower designs into their own division).

Darin McCauley

Finally, not a Darin McCauley photo, but one by John Z, of his new Moth with the race area on the Pasquotank River in the background.

John Zseleczky

Results of the 2016 Classic Moth Nationals. Congrats to Mike Parsons, the 2016 champion.

Skipper Races Hull Design
Mike Parsons 1,1,1,1,2,2,3,[3],2 Mistral
John Zseleczky 2,2,2,2,1,3,2,2,[3] (New) Mistral -Y2Kmod
Gary Gowans 5,4,4,5,3,4,7,6,[7] Cates - mod (Gen I)
Bob Patterson 6,5,5,3,4,8,8,[8],4 Patterson Shelley (Gen I)
Walt Collins 4,3,3,6,13,5,6,4,[13] Feather - mod Ventnor (Gen I)
George Albaugh 7,6,6,[7],5,6,4,5,5 Olympic Europe (Gen 1)
John Pugh 3,[13],7,4,6,9,9,9,6 Olympic Europe (Gen 1)
Joe Bousquet 13,13,13,13,13],1,1,1,1 Mistral
Zach Balluzo 9,8,9,8,7,7,5,7,[9] Mistral
Bill Boyle 8,7,8,9,8,10,10,[10],8 (New) Woodie Europe (Gen I)
Don Hewitt 10,12,13,13,12,12,[13],11,10 Olympic Europe (Gen I)
Jay Yerkes 13,13,12,10,9,11,DSQ,12,13 Mistral

For the first time in a while, there were no vintage Classic Moths racing in 2016. It is also interesting that 9 out of the 12 competing were wooden dinghies.

Monday, November 7, 2016

MASCF 2016 - A Franken International Canoe

I was set to drive over to St. Michaels for the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival, that first Saturday in October, to view the hodge-podge of small craft, most home-built, but it was a weekend of torrential downpours. Just before I was to get into my car for the one-hour trek to the Eastern Shore, I checked the weather radar and there was a blob of precipitation camped over St. Michaels. (The precipitation was caused by an offshore low which also has a tendency to flood the Festival site - boots required.) I cancelled my plans and stayed around the house, puttering on various projects.

In checking through the photos of the event it looks like:
  1. The rain was not as bad as it looked on the radar. It actually appears to have stopped for the sailing race.
  2. There was a very interesting Frankenboat - a modified Nethercott International Canoe hull.

This Nethercott looks suspiciously like one that was put together by my friend George Saunders - at least the color on the hull matches. In viewing the two photos I could find online, the new owner has converted this tricky, all-out racing, sliding seat singlehander to a multi-use recreational craft. The modifications I could spot were:
  1. The sliding seat has gone away, replaced by amas for stabiltiy.
  2. He has set up this craft for rowing. To do this he had to get rid of the daggerboard trunk and set it up with a leeboard.
  3. The jib on the IC has gone away. The rig is an unstayed, carbon, cat-rig with the option for an assymetric (note the fixed sprit).
  4. To fit the unstayed rig he needed to extensively modify the bow so we see a new cedar-strip foredeck with a large storage hatch. 

Unfortunately there are no photos I could find of this Franken-Nether-IC sailing which may indicate an engineering failure in one of the systems (for one, the beam with the amas and the height of the amas looks to be inadequate for a powerful sailing rig). An interesting concept though and hopefully I'll bump into this craft in the future.

"My love of Frankenboats can never be requited" - RLM

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Small Boat Sailing: Whither the Millennials?

As I mentioned in the previous post, the Millennials (ages 19 - 35 in 2016) are slowly turning the U.S. on their head. Specifically, they don't seem to be into owning big stuff. In the previous post I mentioned the Millennials are more apt to be in an apartment than a single family house with yard. They are not into cars like the previous generations. (WaPo had an interesting article about the hot-rod hobby turning definitely greybeard.) They are more urban than suburban and seem to embrace living small. Many reasons have been offered up for this cultural shift: the crushing burden of student debt in the U.S. has left the Millennial generation cash poor, and/or the Millennial generation is much more conscious of their environmental impact...

This past summer I had an interesting conversation with Mike O'Connor of the Larchmont YC V-15 fleet where he indicated that sailing dinghy ownership by Millennials was also down, particularly in the racing dinghies. He attributed this to several factors.

Burnout. Modern junior racing and college racing programs are high intensity sports. When a young sailor is subjected to eight to ten years of year round training, they are ready, upon graduation, to do something else for fun. If they do want to race, they want to show up on the dock with a life-jacket and race a boat they don't own.

Local focus. There is not the desire to travel long distances, boat in tow or car-topped, to support a class regatta. Travelling with your own sailboat to race against like sailboats is seen as more hassle than fun. (There is sometimes a fair amount of large stuff you need to own to travel, a large car, a trailer and you do burn a fair amount of greenhouse gasses for your weekend enjoyment.)

What would this trend mean in the future? An increase in community sailing programs with community owned boats? Yacht clubs forced to finance their own club-owned sailing fleet? A focus on local fleets and not so much on a national class? I'm not sure but I think the current popularity of the super-portable, easy to store, easy to rent, stand-up-paddleboards (SUP's) may be a harbinger of a future shift on how we approach dinghy sailing and racing.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Seen at the 2016 Sailboat Show: the Tiwal - an Engineering Marvel

The Tiwal is the French inflatable sailing dinghy. Tiwal has been shown at the Annapolis Show for the last couple of years, but I've quickly walked past the booth, dismissing it (from my hard hull, traditional dinghy perspective) as most likely a very slow-performing, oddity. Thus, the Tiwal never made it into an Earwigoagin post. Why post about the Tiwal this year? During the show, Tiwal had one of their dinghies out bombing around on Annapolis Harbor and, I must admit, the Tiwal sailed well, tacking easily and showing a good turn of speed. It's time to confront my prejudices and admit that there may be something to this blow-up sailing dinghy.

The Tiwal is a 3.2 meter (10 1/2 foot) scow, or in modern parlance, a fat stand-up paddleboard. (To my eye, the Tiwal looks like a small, modern version of the 1900 French scow, the Monotype de Chatou; though I doubt the designers actually referenced this vintage design.) An exoskeleton of interconnecting tubes and wings, support all the sailing bits; mast, daggerboard, rudder, skipper - one reason I find the Tiwal an engineering marvel. I was pressed for time so I didn't spend any time talking to the salesman at the booth; I just had time for a quick photo.

The trend in the United States is for the young to prefer to live in apartments or townhouses (something the Europeans have always done). Without a large yard to store large objects, the easy-to-store Tiwal may gain some inroads among millennials, who are trying to figure out how to go boating without worrying about where to stash a boat on a trailer.

The Tiwal official website

The following video is this years Tiwal Cup, which looks to be a fun-based regatta held in France.

2016 TIWAL's CUP from TIWAL on Vimeo.

George A. has a better camera and took a better shot of the Tiwal sailing in Annapolis Harbor, so I lifted the photo from his post on the 2016 Sailboat Show.

George Albaugh