Sunday, October 27, 2019

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Header Photo: 2019 Classic Moth Nationals

Ingrid Albaugh

The previous header photo was taken as the fleet crawled upwind in the light air of the 2019 Classic Moth Nationals. Twenty three Classic Moths registered for the Nationals, a definite bump-up in numbers compared with the last couple of years. This can be traced to the large number of juniors racing; the fruits of the push by E-city Mothists and Joe Bousquet to get more juniors in these great little boats. The other notable was the success overall of the Vintage class, bolstered by two experienced Mothists, Gary Gowan (Gen I winner in previous years), and John Zseleczky (top competitor in the Gen II class with a 2nd place in the Nationals) sailing Vintage this year. Walt Collins, another wily veteran, won the Gen I class, sailing his design which borrows heavily from the vintage class. The header photo shows some of the top finishers; Walt Collins, foreground, (winner Gen I), John Zseleczky, on the left, (second in Vintage), and Mike Parsons, background, (winner overall and Gen II).

I had also thrown up a header photo of John Zseleczky sailing Tweety, his yellow-decked, vintage Ventnor.

Ingrid Albaugh

The fleet off and running after one of the starts.

Ingrid Albaugh

George A. has the comprehensive report on the Nationals on his blog.

Overall results. Mike Parsons in his Mistral took home the overall trophy.

Worth re-posting one of my favorite videos from the E-City Nationals, this one from 2010.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

James Island Boy Scout Moth

I've written before about the group small boat building craze in the 1960's. That post featured an article from a 1964 issue of the American magazine, One-Design and Offshore Yachting (OD-OY). I recently came across a similar article in the February 1970 issue of OD-OY, this time featuring a group build of Mothboats. The group was from James Island, just outside of Charleston South Carolina, and the Mothboats became James Island One-Designs.

George A, over at Mid-Atlantic Musings blog, has done a more extensive post on the Boy Scout Moth. It is ironic that two American Mothboat designs, the Skimmer Moth and the Monadnock Moth (or Boy Scout Moth), are probably responsible for more home builds than any other Moth design, even though they never featured in the racing circuit.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Music Whenever: Brunettes Shoot Blondes, "Houston"

A super-modded out musical instrument housed in a grand piano. Plus, great lyrics about a break-up.

Houston we have a problem
That's it I'm going under
Time's up for our love song
We were, just a one hit wonder
Sorry I had to text it
I'm done this is my Brexit
Tried to press rewind
I swear all of my attempts were desperate
Oh, this is so crazy
Go try to amaze me
You fire back
Start yelling in caps
Perhaps you, you'll know better someday
After the party's over
I hate it when we're sober
Play the music louder
Houston, we have a problem

Gotta gotta go down
Falling into bits
Is it time to say
It's all over now
Gotta gotta go down
If the pieces fit
Is it time we could
Start all over now

I gotta gotta go down
Gotta gotta go down
I gotta gotta go down
Gotta gotta go down

Houston, we have a problem
Come get me out from under
I've been playing my part so hard
Are you still there, I wonder
Sorry, but I'm in the taxi
Shit-talking from the backseat
I've been running away
On my way down
To this dead end street
Oh so we're just crazy
Go keep on erasing all my tracks
Say I was a mess, I guess
You, you know better someday
After the party's over
Call back when it gets colder
Play my music louder
Houston, we have a problem

Gotta gotta go down
Falling into bits
Is it time to say
It's all over now
Gotta gotta go down
If the pieces fit
Is it time we could
Start over now

I gotta gotta go down
Gotta gotta go down
I gotta gotta go down
Gotta gotta go down

I gotta gotta go down
Gotta gotta go down
I gotta gotta go down

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Jester Dinghy: The Known and the Unknown

Of late, I've been inexorably sucked into a tale of the two Jester Dinghies, one known, one unknown.

The known Jester:

When doing a Google search, the Jester Dinghy that pops up is a 8' dink designed by Santa Cruz ULDB designer George Olson, and built by Ron Moore in the 1970's. The Jesters raced out of the Santa Cruz, harbor; a cramped short harbor, the shoreline packed full of boats and docks, the north harbor and south harbor split by a bridge. The Jester has the reputation as one of the scariest boats to sail in a breeze, probably because the short hull features the fine ends of a rowing dink combined with a large, high aspect ratio rig, stepped right at the bow. This must amp up the bow-down power downwind to uncontrollable levels. Reference this quote from Latitude 38 magazine, July 2018, page 86:
"Skip [Allan] says the only way to jibe [a Jester] when it's windy is, "You run it into the beach, turn it around, and hop back in."
Although I've passed through Santa Cruz a couple of times in my travels, I have never seen this Jester in the flesh.

The previous header photo, plucked from the Internet, shows Jesters racing in an expansive body of water; which is obviously not the Santa Cruz harbor. You can make out the very fine, wineglass transom which suggests the Jester was more designed for rowing than sailing.

Racing in the Santa Cruz Harbor. If the sail numbers are correct, it looks like the class made it to 200 boats.

I do like the stylized logo of this Jester.

Famed naval architect, Paul Bieker, (International 14 boffin with success in that class rivaling fellow North American Bruce Kirby) put together a modified Jester for his son. (It appears the molds for the Jester have ended up in Northwest Washington State.) He has designed a gaff rig for his Jester, similar to the one he introduced on his high performance PT Dinghy, a Tasar-killer 14 foot design.

Paul had a sail made out of Tyvek which lasted a good five years.

The Santa Cruz Jester based on a generic East Coast Dinghy?

The unknown Jester:

The last two years, on my walkabouts around my hometown of Annapolis, I had noticed a mystery dinghy tied up to the floating dock of St. John's College. It obviously was a main and jib dinghy, the length was shorter than 14 feet (4.26 meters), the design had high freeboard and she was very simply rigged. Despite staring at it for a while, I could not ID this class. I shrugged. One of those unknowns.

But it was not to be left at that. Over the summer, my good friend Mike Waters, became the latest St. John's sailing coach/boatshop manager. I gave him a hand at an Intro to Sailing event he ran at the beginning of the school year. I was taking groups out in this very same dinghy I had been pondering over. It was slow but commodious for it's size with some nice bench seats. It was then I learned that this dinghy that had been donated to the St. John's program was a different Jester class dinghy; American built, but otherwise origins unknown.

Since then Mike has hauled the Jester out to have the bottom scraped of a healthy growth of barnacles and to get some paint on her. With the hull flipped over, the hull design is very interesting; a flat bottom forward with a circular transom. This is definitely not a rerun design of Uffa Fox's formulaic deep forefoot with straight flat aft sections.

Mike with the sanded Jester on the trailer.

Flat U-sections forward. Max rocker amidships. The little data we were to glean from the Internet has the Jester at 12 foot (3.6 meters) length and 5 foot (1.5 meters) beam. Both Mike and I feel the Jester has potential in a college program like St. John's (where racing isn't the priority and the waters on College Creek are very cramped.). We are just wondering who designed her and who built her. (Again, the Internet seems to point to Ohio, but who knows.)

The Jester logo on the sail.

The rudder has the more modern rectangular shape. We are guessing a 1970's build time frame for the St. John's Jester. Anyone that has come across this Jester class in their sailing lifetime, please leave a comment.

Mike Waters in front of the St. John's boat house doors. The college has a sizeable fleet of crew shells as well as sailboats.

Bingo, We now have the designer of the St. John's Jester Dinghy. From a comment:
The Jester was designed and built by Cleveland, OH Sailboat dealer Jack Butte. Jack sold primarily one design daysailers, and saw an opportunity to use the influence of the Thistle, Flying Scot, and Rhodes Bantam to design a 12’ dinghy... My parents sailed with Jack Butte at Edgewater Yacht Club, and I sailed with his daughter as part of the junior sailing program

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Header Photo: Fireball World Championships in Montreal

Urs Hardi

Until it crossed my FB feed, I didn't realize that the International Fireball class had held their World Championships in North America this past August; hosted by Pointe-Claire Yacht Club in Montreal, Canada. Winds really picked up for the last day of the championship when this photo was taken. Brits, Ian Dobson and Richard Wagstaff won with Australia, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic and France representing a good mix of countries rounding out the top ten; .

I came into contact with the Fireball as a teenager in the late 1960's when my Dad moved the family to Youngstown, Ohio, a steel town in Northeast Ohio. In this most unlikely of sailing cities, there was an active Fireball fleet sailing on Pymatuning Lake, north of town. It was a fleet nourished by an even more unlikely sailor, Ken Turney. Ken loved the Fireball. He had his own boat shop in Youngtown's southern suburb, Boardman where he imported glass Fireball's built in Calgary. Ken was blue collar through and through. He had been a machinist at one of the steel plants and his standard outfit was a one-piece coverall, grungy, longitudinally striped in grey/black, with the neckline unbuttoned to reveal a grand tuft of silver chest hair topped with a broad Slavic face. Ken even raced Fireballs wearing this coverall. (One of my friends, in a not so charitable teenage side comment, remarked that it appeared Ken had a pet squirrel permanently tucked into the V-line of his coverall.) Ken would hold court at his cinder block boat shop, talking about Fireballs to one and all, building a small hot bed of performance dinghy sailing in this inland steel city; in a country not known for performance dinghies.

I actually didn't race the Fireball that much. I crewed several times on the Lake in very light winds. Unfortunately, I've never been on a Fireball in trapeze weather. Fifty years on, Ken Turney's legacy ticks along. A small group of Fireballs are still sailing out of the Pymatuning Sailing Club.

Other Earwigoagin Fireball Posts