Tuesday, June 12, 2018


This past weekend I sold one of my Moths that needed a full rehab and I hadn't gotten around to doing that.  The buyer had owned a boat just like the one I had so I sold him back his childhood.  He left a happy man.  While I was waiting for him to arrive I took one last detailed look at the old dear and rediscovered a small decal just forward of the cockpit:

"WATERPROOF WELDWOOD".  Weldwood was an early trade name of the United States Plywood Corporation for it's marine grade plywood.  How that decal has survived almost 70 years of sanding, re-varnishing and benign neglect is mind boggling.  But never the less, there it is.  A tiny bit of the forgotten history of waterproof plywood.  This boat was proudly built from a quality material and its manufacturer clearly wanted people to know. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Another New Mistral hits the water

Back in March of 2014 UK sailor Dominic Bowns contacted me about Mistral plans.  Earlier this week he sent me photos of the completed boat.  Dominic's rate of progress makes John Z. seem speedy.  The first two photos are courtesy of Dominic.  The last three are ones I found on the International Moth FB page.  Looks like she was worth the wait.  Dominic indicates that now his business partner wants one...

Monday, April 16, 2018

Moth Sailboat Fleet, Stone Harbor (1952)

Here is a facsimile  of an old post card which I bid on but failed to win from a well known on-line auction site.  This photograph, showing the up-wind leg of a race at the Stone Harbor YC, reinforces my assertion that most so-called development classes boil down to a series of very similar boats for a given era and venue.  In this picture 100% of the boats close enough to be clearly identified are those built by the old Ventnor Boat Works from roughly 1940 up to about when this exposure was made.   The only differences seen among these Moths are those of the two slightly different Ventnor designs-- early Ventnor Moths, produced prior to (and a very few during) WW II, had transom bows while post war Ventnors featured a redesigned "bull nose" bow.  A very few pre-war boats also sported canvas fore decks in an attempt to reduce weight.

If I were to substitute this picture taken in 1952 with one from 1962, most of the boats would be of the Cates Florida design. In 1972 the majority of the boats would be narrow water line designs such as the Duflos and the Mistral.  The top dogs of the fleet tend buy the latest equipment and the rest follow along in a herd mentality sort of way.   For the most part, "development" staggers along at a generational pace with occasional "break through" designs and occasional flops.  This is a good thing--no one wants their new boat to be totally obsolete within a few months.

 Checking the surviving Moth Class records from this era I found it interesting that none of the boats with sail numbers close enough to the camera to be read are from Stone Harbor YC!

Nr 742 Black Beury, sailed by Harry Beury, Margate City YC
Nr 659 Name unknown sailed by A. McGee, Margate City YC
Nr 686 Champ sailed by Bob McGurk, Margate City YC
Nr 752 Nutshell sailed by Bill Maguire Ocean City YC
Nr 642 Circe sailed by John Elfman Margate City YC
Nr 640 Black Cloud sailed by Henry Hood Ocean City YC

Perhaps the boats in the lead are Stone Harbor boats, making full use of local knowledge!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Sail Ho!

Last month's result at the Mid-Winter regatta lead me to the notion that it's probably time for a new sail.  Erik did OK with the fresher of our two old Dan Winters sails but with a new rag he might have been more competitive against boats which were sporting new sails from the St. Pete North loft.  Sadly, we couldn't order new sails from Dan as he and his son Brett had decided to close shop.  After learning that, I emailed the North Loft in question but after an initial reply with prices the guy at that sail loft lapsed into radio silence when I asked  him about the various options (loose foot vs bolt rope foot; full length battens vs the more normally seen short battens, cloth selection, panel layout etc.).  After not hearing back from the guy I decided if he couldn't or didn't want to invest the time educating and talking me through the various choices, then I'd better find a sail maker who could and would. The price of two new sails might be chump change to some folks but it's significant dollars to me and my son.

So, I talked to another sailing friend who used to sail Moths with us and he recommended Kevin Farrar who has a loft up in New London, Connecticut.  Kevin quickly replied to my questions and said he'd be willing to build a pair of sails for us.  I send him the deposit and made an appointment for a mast deflection session up at his loft.  I brought three masts with the idea that we'd build sails with luff rounds suited to the two stiffest sticks.  One of the bonuses of working with Kevin is that he is a past U. S. Europe Class measurer and so he's very familiar with the boats and their sails.

Nr 6 Union Street

How Farr Under?  I'm gonna find out.

That ain't mashed potatoes on the pavement.  Yep, they still had a bit of snow here and there last weekend.  I'm sure that they're getting more today since we, six hours south in Maryland, are getting a big "Spring" dump this morning.

I left the house at 5 am and arrived in New London at 11:30.  We quickly got the mast bend data, picked two masts, and then Kevin showed me around the loft.  The first floor area where we set up the masts for bend curve data was the area which Kevin used to build his GP-26--a four year project.  Sail building occurs on the second floor of the "Monte Cristo" Building.  There is a Monte Cristo cottage in New London which was the boyhood summer home of the playwright Eugene O'Neill.  I wonder if Eugene needed a garage building as well?

The arched second story windows of the Monte Cristo building mark the sail loft of Farrar Sails

Hopefully we'll have two new competitive sails in time for our next regatta in June.  Will a new sail help me claw my way back up on the podium?  Can't say, but it can't hurt.

Friday, March 9, 2018

2018 Gulfport Mid-Winter Regatta Photos

2018 marked the twentieth time Classic Moth Boats have raced in (mostly) sunny Florida at some point during the winter months.  We first started in 1998 with the "Meet in St. Pete".  These early regattas were conducted out of the St. Pete Yacht Club's small boat sailing center near the Whitted Airport.  After a few years the event moved to the Davis Island YC and then after a couple years to Gulfport.  The Gulfport YC has been our host ever since and the club has proven to be a good and enduring fit for Classic Moths.  What follows is a collection of photos, mostly taken by either Lennie Parker or Amy Linton of this year's action.

First off we now, thanks to Walt Collins, have a perpetual trophy to help us remember who actually won this event.  Fellow CMBA member John Pugh remounted Walt's donated trophy onto the backboard seen here.  The trophy now hangs in the GYC clubhouse.

This poor old SAAB model 96 has been bleaching her bones above the junkyard of the Guide Metal Recycling, Inc. property, outside of the town of Starke, FL for at least the 20 years I've been coming down route 301on my way to St. Pete. Too bad she's a later V/4 model.  If she'd have been the earlier 3 cylinder two-stroke version I would have no doubt stopped and tried to buy her freedom.  Still she serves as a landmark that tells us were getting close to the end of our long slog down from Maryland.

This year we had fourteen boats turn up for the regatta.  Four in Gen II and the rest in Gen I.  All of the Gen I boats were either converted Europe dinghies or scratch built boats using the Europe lines as a starting point.  Similarly, all of the Gen II boats were either Mistrals or based on the Mistral design.

Our cast of characters:  Gen II skippers
Jeff Linton.  Dig the groovy turquoise club house in the background.
John Zseleczky
Mike Parsons
Mark Saunders
Our on the water support team:

Mark boat man of the year and photographer Lennie Parker.
Amy Smith Linton--Mark boat skipper extraordinaire.
GYC Commodore and our PRO Mike Kasper (blue shirt).  Mike is my representative for all of the other hard working members of the RC of whom I don't have pix.  Well done as always!  I hope he shares the rum Amy gives him every year!

Gen I skippers; The Charleston gang:

Tom Kapp
Woody Kapp
Frickie Martschink
Lewis Hay
Rutledge Young

The lone representative from North Carolina

Greg Duncan
From Jacksonville, FL:

Gary Van Tassel--Gary is sailing Anna Tunnicliffe's former Europe.  He introduced this sexy laminate sail to the mix.
Rounding out the Gen I fleet were the Maryland guys:
Bill Boyle from Kent Island.  Bill has built two cedar strip Moths based on the Europe design.  This was his first trip to Gulfport.  We're hoping that he returns next year with his son Shane and the second boat.
Erik Albaugh--my sonny boy.  He sailed my glass Winner Europe while I sailed a woodie Euro that is still a work in progress.
Finally, the old diarist himself mugs for the camera.
John Z in his beautiful Mistral.
Erik holding his own (at least up wind).  During one of the last races on Sunday there was enough wind that Gary and Erik beat all the Gen II boats to the weather mark--I think this has only happened one other time.
Lewis Hay killed us this year with massive boat speed.
A bit of Gen II drama at the mark.
Frickie was also able to push his Euro up among the faster Gen II division.
Mark Saunders in Spyder.
Jeff shows off the bottom of Mousetrap.
Obligatory father-son photo.  If I could just steal a bit more of his air...
Bill Boyle
Mike Parsons
Jeff v Mike during an upwind leg.
Erik and Frickie going hammer and tongs.
Milling around prior to a start
Gen II boats off wind.
Erik rounds ahead of the mob.
The mob.
I like the "see-thru" aspect of Gary's sail.  I wonder how responsive it is to sail shape control tweaks?
At least the boat's pretty.

Rutledge likes to face aft when tacking--very trad!
Jeff going to weather.
In between races Mr. Linton came over to the mark boat for some "electrolites". 
Well, one does need to stay hydrated.
A comparison between my cold molded Galetti and
Bill's cedar stripper
One of the starts.  Looks like I had a clean air lane at least for the moment.
A few seconds later and I was swallowed up.
Another look at Gary's sail.
Erik on my rear bumper just after a mark rounding.
Winds were out of the SE to SW at 10 to 12 with gusts in mid-teens.  Perfect breeze for these boats.  There was a fair  bit of chop however as demonstrated here.  Bill initially had good boat speed but dropped back as the day wore on.  When we got back to the beach we discovered he had a bow full of water!  He'll need to do a soap bubble test after returning home to figure out where the leak is.

Greg is the only one to retain full length battens.  John Z. tried them but didn't like having to crack the whip on light air days and so he removed them from his sail and installed regular length batten pockets.

Woody rounds the mark.  I think I owned this boat at one point. 

At the end of the regatta, Jeff Linton was the overall top dog and thus will be the first name on the new trophy.  Lewis Hay dominated the Gen I fleet.  Do to pressing business back home he and Frickie didn't sail the last two races and they still came in first and second.  Erik had a good regatta and rounded off the podium.  I finished down the list but that's show business.