Sunday, August 30, 2020

Craftsman Wanted: 14' Aykoryd Needing Restoration

Pre WWII, the L.S.S.A. 14 footer was Canada's premier dinghy racing class. A cat-rigged, lapstrake, design, George Aykroyd of Toronto was one of the top designers of the L.S.S.A. 14 footers. He did a "lake cottage" version, a stable, more sedate version, of which he built several thousand. Aykroyd restorations are ungoing; International Canoe and C-cat guru, Steve Clark, has one in his shop as we speak, undergoing a rehab. Silas Bialeki emailed me with another one he is offering up for restoration, located in Michigan.
"...about an Aykroyd 14' catboat that my family owns. It has not seen use for some 20 years now and has been stored inside here in SE Michigan. It came from Canada and was trailered down to await some needed work to make it sailable. We have come to the reality that we are not the people to take this boat on. I was wondering if you would have some leads as to who would be interested in taking on a mid sized restoration project of this beautiful little boat?...My main goal is to get the boat to a good home that will have her sailing again one day. My uncle bought the boat in 93 or 94 from a man in Desbarat, Ontario. It lived a season or two on Big Basswood Lake near Desbarat and then weathered a storm overnight while moored off. One of the stays broke and the wrenching of the mast opened enough of the hull to put her on the lake bed. She was raised and brought down to SE Michigan with the hopes of firming her up and going sailing again. 20+ years later and it still sits under cover, he is ready to pass it on...I suspect that there is a little of everything to be done. A few planks, ribs, and bits of hardware to be replaced. The canvas deck replaced, though plywood structure seems to be in relatively good condition. Naturally a new paint job would be in order. There are a few amateur repairs to the boat that mostly take the form of incorrect or non matching fasteners."


Photos of Steve Clark's decks-off Aykroyd restoration:

Monday, August 24, 2020

Header Photo: Compilation: Junior Sailors, 1960's to the Present

Every once in a while, I'll string a couple of header photos into a themed post. Over the last two weeks, I've taken featured three photos of juniors sailing U.S.A. Mothboats from the 1950's and 1960's. The 1960's had all sort of hiking styles, particularly for the flyweight juniors who found the Mothboat overpowering at times. I've contrasted this with a recent photo of a New Zealand junior sailing their indigenous P-class junior singlehander. This NZ junior is fully coached up on the modern, "correct" way to hike. (Two of the photos I lifted from George Albaugh's blog. The P-class photo was kicking around on the InterWeb.)

I started off with a 1960's Sports Illustrated photo of a 13 year old junior doing the extreme back-bend hike. This may be a show-off hike to impress the camera man.. Hull looks to be a Connecticut.

Next up, another 1960's photo. We have a small junior, fighting it, but right on the edge, one foot in the strap, the other flailing around. Hull looks to be a Challenger.

The third 1960's photo has the aft foot in the hiking strap and the forward foot hooked around the sidestay. Hull is a Cates

And finally we have the modern day "flat leg" hike, with the modern day attire, and the modern day sunglasses (and, thankfully, a life-jacket, something which is lacking in the previous photos).

The contrast of 60 years or so, does show how advanced the modern juniors are in the sport of sailboat racing. I do wonder if this advanced skill-set at a young age has to do with some of these top-notch juniors choosing another sport to pursue in their 20's, something they have to learn anew, something fresher.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

My Short History with Windsurfing

With the previous post on the D2 Windsurfer, I had a chance to reflect on my short history with Windsurfing. All of my casual involvement with Windsurfing occurred when I was a young dude. I wrote about my first encounter with the very early Windsurfing community and my breakfast conversation with one of Windsurfer's emergent rock stars over at this post. It was also at Association Island in 1974 that I first stepped on a borrowed original Windsurfer. I took it out close to dusk in very little wind. I got upwind OK without major mishaps and about 200 meters from shore turned around to go downwind and back to the beach when I started falling off the board. I was wondering if I was going to have to arm paddle home when my brain finally re-calibrated my balance and I was able to drift back, standing up, without embarrassment. Back in Annapolis I learned the basics on another borrowed Windsurfer. I still remember how impressed I was with the Windsurfer's easy acceleration with just barely wafting gusts. With the original Windsurfer I was competent up to a mid-range breeze and didn't get comfortable with stronger breezes until I had some time on a F3 board, a design which was already moving toward less length, rig back further, full battened sail. Although I had several sailing friends that got out of dinghies and continued hard-core at Windsurfing (some became pros), I never never went down the rabbit hole of short boards, water starts, wave jumping, camber-induced sails in various sizes, summer trips to the Gorge or Hatteras. I stuck with racing dinghies. With the light air of the Chesapeake, it seemed to be the more comfortable choice.

Grainy photos of the blogmeister from back in the 1970's

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

A Piece of Furniture: A Division 2 Windsurfer Raceboard

Occasionally I've come across photos of exquisitely built and varnished small sailboats that I have been featured on Earwigoagin under the moniker Piece of Furniture. Such was the case recently when some photos of a beautifully wood molded Division 2 Windsurfer was posted in Facebook.

The stern has very similar conic sections to the Mistral design Classic Moth.

The Division 2 Windsurfer was the odd duck of the Windsurfing fraternity; a long skinny displacement board that was actually designed to go upwind, not so much blast downwind. It was the Olympic Windsurfing class in 1988 for the Seoul South Korea Olympics.

Update: 8/20. Gui, one of my International Canoe buddies from back in the day, now fully immersed in all things Windsurfing and foiling, begs to differ on my classification of the D2 as a displacement craft:
"The D2 is clearly not a displacement board!...The D2's work OK in light air, but like most other sailing craft, they are much nicer to sail in 10+kts. They are as much displacement boards as the other long raceboards when the wind is down. They plane upwind at ~8-11kts and I got mine to ~20kts downwind, pretty sure a more committed D2 sailor with a modern design would be in the mid-20's."

Internet research on this woodie picked up a post from Hit the Wave blog, that pointed to this beauty as possibly having a 1984 Brazilian origin from a Greek boatbuilder, cold molded in Cedar; a Greco.

Aussie Chris Thompson seconded Greco as the builder with this comment that I'm dragging over to the main post:
"It looks like a Greco from my memories; I was offered one of the top ones at the '85 worlds for a criminally low price, but had no way to get it from the UK to Australia. There's been a little revival in D2s lately, which is nice to see."

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Worthington Whittredge: Three Boats

In the history of recreational small boats the written record before 1870 is almost nonexistent. Before the U.S. Civil War (1860-1865), one is forced to look at art to get a feeling what was going on with recreational boating. The above sketch was done by Worthington Whittredge. Worthington Whittredge was a painter famous for his beach scenes around the Rhode Island coast. This pencil and watercolor sketch was done in 1856 and shows recreational small boats, presumably parked on a beach. The center boat shows a flat-bottom, pram bow boat with three rowing stations. The right boat, drawn with bow only, seems to be the same type as the middle one. I'm not sure this boat type has been documented, at least there is no match when I thumb through my copy of the Mystic Seaport small boat collection. It seems a combination flat-iron skiff with punt/scow bow features and flared topsides of the dory thrown in as well.

The left boat is definitely home-built. I'm guessing the design brief called for getting one person out in what was rough water (hence the high freeboard) to go fishing . The boat had to fit the lumber available which meant it had to be short (maybe 8 feet max?). It comes equipped with a paddle but I imagine the high freeboard and flat bottom did not help it track straight at all!

It occurred to me after I posted this that these row boats of 1856 shared some of the design lineage with my Kid Simple idea, which took the hull shape from the St. Michael's scow.

Update 8/17. John Watkins commented, "Looks a little bit like the chalk barge in Architectura Navalis Mercatoria, a book which has been reprinted about once a generation since the 1760s." With that hint, off I went to the Internet and found this image: 

There are some similarities though the sheer line on the American model has a higher stern and lower bow. As I was thinking about it, even though the American rowboat has three rowing stations, this craft most likely had only two rowers, the forward rower had a choice of station depending on sea-state.

The image was culled from this Finnish website where the designer, Pieni Ekstack, has made a nifty 2.3 meter plywood rowboat, a shorter dink, very roughly based on this 1760's design.

John Watkins writes to tell me I didn't find the correct image for the Chalk Barge online. Here is the correct image he sent me. Much heavier displacement which makes sense if it was designed to carry cargo. If I'm reading the hull lines correctly it seems to have an enormous skeg. And the leeboard doesn't extend far enough below the hull. Very odd.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Getting Re-acquainted with an Old Friend

Subtitle: It takes a Village or how some old I-14 buddies got me sewing again.

I've spent six years out of my various careers working professionally as a sailmaker; several more years making dinghy sails part-time under my own label. I have owned an industrial sewing machine for many years, currently it is a Consew (having started with a Singer 107) which resides in the basement. About six years ago the original electric motor for the Consew stopped working and Paul Weiss, an old I-14 buddy sourced a replacement from E-bay and helped me install it. Unfortunately the original V-drive belt was now too large and the sewing machine sat gathering dust and aggravating my wife for several more years until Bob Ames, another I-14 buddy, decided to help me size the correct belt. So a week and half ago, with new electric motor and new V-drive belt, after an absence of many years, I sat down and got re-acquainted with an old friend . Compared to some of the incredible seamstresses I have worked with, I consider my sewing skills somewhat mediocre but passable. Bob Ames had an ulterior motive in finding the right belt; he had a cover that needed restitching... and that is what I did.

The blogmeister, his sewing machine, and Bob's cover.

Sitting behind the Consew got me thinking about all the sailmaking concerns that have gone out business since the 1970's and 1980's and wondering if there is anyone out there collecting sail logos of all the companies now gone. Picking through the cobwebs of my memory of just the Annapolis sailmakers no longer around would include, Hurricane Sails, Horizon Sails, Haarstick Sails, Sobstad Sails, Shore Sails, Scott Allan Sails... and I'm sure I'm forgetting several more.

My part-time sailmaking concern was named Severn Sails and I mostly made International Canoe sails, having some success with them in the early 1980's. I'm sure all of those sails are long gone but I still own some sails that sport this very rare logo.

The Severn Sails logo featured a stylized Route 50 bridge as it crosses the Severn River, framing a main/jib. The exit to Annapolis is just on the south end of the Route 50 bridge.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Australian Sailfish: Building Photo Documentation

Greg Barwick of the Australian Sailfish Association emailed me to point out they have now added a marvelous photo essay on building the Australian Sailfish to their website. (Look in the top Menu for "Building - a Visual Guide".) A must see for anyone interested in building plywood dinghies. Even experienced boatbuilders can pick up an idea or two in going through the photos. To make it easier I've listed the various chapters of "Building - A Visual Guide" with their links below.

To order plans for the Australian Sailfish.

Brian Carrol's photos of his build of an Australian Sailfish

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Header Photo: The Start of the Everglades Challenge

The previous photo was of the start of the Everglades Challenge, the early spring jaunt for small craft (human or sail powered) down the West Coast of Florida, a distance of 300 miles. The start is at dawn, just above Tampa Bay, and this photo, lifted from the InterWebs, shows some of the more sensible small boat cruisers launching. The winners of the race are usually hi-powered catamarans or hi-powered big dinghies (such as Jeff Linton's Spawn of FrankenScot).

From YouTube, here is the start of the 2018 Everglades Challenge:

And from the Earwigoagin archives; all posts that have Everglades Challenge mentioned, at least once.