Sunday, April 28, 2019

Header Photo: San Diego Swallow Scow

Paul Naton

The previous header photo was of Rudder's Swallow scow being sailed on San Diego Bay. Paul Naton sent this historical photo along and I present the un-cropped version. It is of his great grandfather Fred O'Farrell, who co-owned this Swallow with Claude Woolpas. Paul details below how he received the photo and his dogged research into the time and place this photo was taken.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Music Whenever: Iron and Wine; "Call it Dreaming"

My read on this song... "Pay it forward."

say its here, where our pieces fall in place
any rain softly kisses us on the face
anyway it means we’re running
we can sleep and see them coming
where we drift and call it dreaming
we can weep and call it singing

where we break
when our hearts are strong enough
we can bow because our music's warmer than blood
where we see enough to follow
we can hear when we are hollow
where we keep the light we’re given
we can lose and call it living
where the sun isn’t only sinking fast
every night knows how long its supposed to last
where the time of our lives is all we have
and we get a chance to say

before we ease away
for all the love you’ve left behind,
you can have mine

say its here
where our pieces fall in place
we can fear
because a feelings fine to betray
where our water isn’t hidden
we can burn and be forgiven
where our hands hurt from healing
we can laugh without a reason
because the sun
isn’t only sinking fast
every moon and our bodies make shining glass
where the time of our lives is all we have
and we get a chance to say

before we ease away
for all the love you’ve left behind,
you can have mine

Iron and Wine from the Earwigoagin archives.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Header Photo: New Zealand Zephyr Class; Waterline Shot

The previous header photo is an unique waterline shot of the 11' New Zealand Zephyr singlehander. Designed by Des Townson in 1956, they had 55 boats show up for their 2018 National Championship. In poking around the latest Zephyr class newsletter, notes from the AGM shows the class is moving towards approving full fiberglass boats. (At the moment you can have fiberglass hulls with wood decks.)
"Zephyrs are getting older. Current sailors will repair and maintain boats but newer sailors are less hands-on and don’t fiddle with boats. Zephyrs are now too expensive for newer sailors. Suggestion that younger sailors would join the class, but the need to maintain the boats was a deterrent. This supports the argument for a full fiberglass boat."

For more reading: fellow sailing blogger, Kiwi Alden Smith, writes regularly and humorously about racing his Zephyr.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Group Boat Building Phenonema of the 1960's and the We-sort

Michael Storer mentioned in his history of the Oz Goose box boat that the ongoing group building effort in the Philippines became a key contributor to getting a good size fleet of Oz Goose's going in an area not known to be a yachting center. This reminded me how community group building in the 1960's (particularly in the U.S.A) played a huge role in the emerging popularity of the small sailing dinghy. All sorts of local chined plywood classes, Dusters, Rhode Bantams, El Toros ... were built over the winter, by groups of mostly Dad's, led by one or two experienced woodworkers, the rest following along. Usually ten or so dinghies with all the sailing bits and pieces were banged out, the hulls chosen by lot to be taken home to be painted and fitted out. This was before stitch and glue construction so most construction required a mold, which would be taken out of storage the next winter for a different group. Several winters of building would give a large and active fleet for summer training and racing.

Below is an article by Ed Perry from a 1964 issue of One-Design and Offshore Yachtsman about a community group build of the Blue Jay, the 13 foot Sparkman and Stephens junior trainer. Use the pop-out icon in the top-right to put the article in another tab on the browser for easier reading.

The 12' We-sort, a jaunty, flat-bottom, plywood skiff with sloop rig, was our local 1960's class. The We-sort was group built in the various communities that border the Severn River, just above Annapolis. It came out of the Indian Landing Boat Club that sat at the headwaters of the Severn River.
"Will Jacobs, caretaker of the Indian Landing Boat Club property for many years had several rowboats he rented out to locals. His boats rowed easily and were simple to build. The form had been worked up by Willie’s ancestors, Algonquin Indians, who were also responsible for the name of the area. The Indian tribe referred to themselves as We-Sorts and everyone else as They-Sorts. It seemed fitting to name the sailing/rowing skiff the We-Sort. Led by William Sands, who drew up the plans and added the sailing bits, the sailboats were built by club members in basements, garages, and in some cases living rooms. The We-Sort was a perfect fit for youngsters. It was very stable, which made the young sailors comfortable to be out on the water. By 1961, thirteen of he We-Sorts had been built."
The one-page informational blurb on the We-sort:

Tom Price, artist, learned to sail in a We-sort and drew this pencil sketch of a racing group going upwind.

Tom Price, pencil

Alan Dove has put up a couple of posts about the We-sort and I have pulled the following photos from his site.

Dennis Buckley

Dennis Buckley

From the One-Design and Offshore Yachtsman, January, 1967 class review guide:

CBMM, Chesapeake Maritime Museum over at St. Michaels, did a group build of We-sort's. They used the fleet for a summer training program for a couple of years but I think they now only have plastic boats for sail training.

Addendum: Pete Lesher, chief curator, fills us in on the history of the We-sorts at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. (Pulled from the comments.)
"Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's fleet of 6 We-Sorts was constructed in the late 1980s after We-Sort #2, Wee Lass, was donated to the museum. They were used for 15 years or so in the museum's summer sailing camp. At one point, a couple of the hulls were damaged in a fire in off-season storage, and at least two replacement hulls were built. When the We-Sorts were worn out from hard use, the museum considered a replacement fleet, but the sailing instructor at the time led the museum to instead acquire a fleet of plastic JY-15s. Some of the We-Sorts were sold, but one or two still remain, their rigs long gone, as rowing craft in the museum's summer boat livery. The youth sailing camp has been discontinued."

Wesort dinghy, WeSort skiff.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Garden Paper Canoe: The Model after some Winter Work

More on the ongoing saga of the Mystery Sailing Canoe Model acquired by sailmaker Douglas Fowler. The mystery turned out to be a Bill Garden Paper Canoe design. (See the previous posts, Part 1 and Part 2, for the complete background story.) Douglas sends some photos of his winter restoration work and the model is turning out to be a real beauty!

Looks like Photoshop still wants to convert the hull color to Herreshoff Sea Foam Green. The actual color is bluish as in the top photo.

Douglas Fowler is the consummate craftsman. His attention to detail borders on OCD, which is a very good thing when you are restoring historical artifacts. His writeup about his trials and tribulations of the winter rehab of the Garden Paper Sailing Canoe;
"Let me tell you, this sucker has been a challenge! I’m doing the rig now and was saved by a 78 yo model fitting maker in Florida. I tried to solder fix the 4 loop ring at the top of the mast and the gooseneck. Instead of 2 pieces I instantly ended up with 4 or more. Another interesting find was the color which was not really a Herreshoff Sea Foam Green at all but what you see. The hull (but not the deck) had been varnish[ed] over the paint which had yellowed. The current color was under the rail. Went to an auto paint store and had a custom mix loaded into a spray can. The hull and the deck are indeed paper which has presented special challenges. Between the plan and the bits (top of the mast was missing) I was able to figure the rig out which is almost ready for assembly. Still need to split a 1/8” dowel down the middle for the roller furler. I’m still in awe of whoever made this model!"

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Throwing the Shade: 60's Dinghies vs. the Newbies

The Olympic Training Regatta at Parma, Day 6 featured big breeze, big seas. The 49'ers and Nacra's didn't race Day 6 setting up the following quote from an Australian 470 crew (the 470's did race). Go to 1:12 in the video where the 470 crew throws considerable shade on the 49'ers and Nacra sailors.
"Today's the day for the real boats. We see all the skiffs and catamarans stuck on shore looking silly. The 470's, Finns, and Lasers, we all got out and went slowly [still] but had a good time. The waves and wind make our boat quite a bit of fun and quite close racing [still] which is really enjoyable."
The Australian Nacra crew fires back at 1:32 into the video. Just gotta love this inter-class jabbering.

Music Whenever: The Barr Brothers; "Song that I Heard"

The Barr Brothers were also featured as part of this medley back in 2015.

In the same reckless city
Where great Antonio died
On the island in the river
With a mountain at its side
I came to scatter ashes
Of the bridges I've burned
And I know the name of the song that I heard
Yeah, I know the name of the song I heard

Like a moonlight mathematician
I subtracted my concerns
And I multiplied my options and divided my returns
Sacrificed the angel who was tugging at my shirt
I was already claimed by the song that I heard
Yeah, already chained to the song that I heard

From the corner of my eye I caught the shadow of a girl
But my shoes were tied together and my face was in the dirt
Her gentle eyes said everything before she said a word
And I knew I was changed by the song that I heard
Yeah, I knew right away by the song I heard

In the cult of desperation he stayed just behind the curve
And no one here admits we're getting more than we deserve
I was born a first child, she was born a third
We were already named by the songs that we heard

Yeah, already claimed by the songs we heard
Did I make you out at Phoenix from the ashes of a bird?
Did we build our palace and watch it as it burned?
It's kind of like a lesson that had to be unlearned

Like a fool maker
Moon prayer
Sun slayer

We are already changed by the songs we heard

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The B Course

In poking around Tillerman's new blog I came across his post on the RS Aero Florida State Championship where he published the course diagram for the regatta; it is another version of the Harry Anderson course, this one having the tight reaches at the bottom of the course.

The normal Harry Anderson has the tight reaches at the top of the course. (Making it look like a backwards P, some sailors have affectionately referred to it as the Dolly Parton course.) I'm not sure what the advantages of having the tight reaches at the bottom, maybe more fleet separation? It does place the start line toward the bottom of the course for a longer first beat (I'm going to refer to this RS Aero course as the B course - for Big Booty.)

Tillerman also mentioned in a comment to this post that the RS Aero's have used a Z course.
"[The]Z course which has three reaches - first leg beat followed by a starboard reach to a gybe mark with then a port reach to a second gybe mark with another starboard reach to a leeward mark. Enables you to have somewhat tighter reaching angles than a triangle course."

The Z course definitely bumps up the reaching legs as a percentage of the total course.

Back in 1991 I was a PRO for an Olympic Training Event (Europe's, 470's) at West River SC where we ran a Harry Anderson course on the breezy day. The second reach was a beam reach and that angle did seem ideal for the Europes, not so much for the 470's who had to take down their chutes for the leg.

That version we ran in 1991 has morphed into my version of the Harry Anderson, the D or Dammit course.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Michael Storer Fills Us In on the Box Boat Racing League

The previous header photo was an Oz Goose sending it in a big breeze.

Michael Storer, designer of the Oz Goose (as well as a slew of other plywood small boats for the home builder) saw my article on the 2018 MASCF festival and sent along some more information on the history of his mucking about with these shapes and how it lead up to the formation of the Box Boat Racing League. Tip-of-the-hat to Michael for bringing us up to date on the interesting development of, what is essentially, a high-freeboard scow that Michael is positioning as a low-cost avenue to bring people into the sport. As always, use the top right [arrow in box] icon to open the PDF in another tab for printing.

And a video of the 2017 Oz Goose Philippine Nationals.