Monday, March 30, 2015

Getting closer

Further progress from Martin Scott:  Paint and varnish.  I love the shape of the Mistral design from this angle.



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Boy Scout Moth: Did this 1930s design lead to the British Moth?

Recently, a home-built Moth Boat came to light when I was contacted by Paul Stroud down in Nesbit, Mississippi.  Mr. Stroud indicated that his brother's Moth, which was constructed in the 1960s and which had been hanging in the garage for the last thirty years needs a new home.  As is the case with most of the contacts I receive from locations isolated from the more typical east coast Moth hot beds, the seller had no notion of which design Moth his brother had built and so he sent me the a few photos:

Bow shot of the mystery Moth.

Bow deck, looking aft.

Looking into the cockpit.  Note both the odd strip-plank floor boards and the long centerboard trunk.  This trunk was built for a thin, pivoting blade rather than for a dagger board.

Looking into the plywood skinned hull.

The hardware for the stays suggests the 1940s.

However the "Race Lite" gooseneck and other visible hardware are clearly newer and date to the 1960s

This rudder shape is straight out of the Boy Scout Moth plans.

One can see the 1/4" thick steel plate which serves as the center board.

Oh Dear Oh Dear.  This Moth appears to be slightly over eleven feet long.  Perhaps (hopefully) the tape measure is distorted by the crown of the deck.

The beam on deck is right at 4 feet, excluding the rub tail.

The mast is close to the 16 1/2 feet to which deck stepped masts were originally limited under the old Moth Class rules.


Here, in an undated photo, a group of Boy Scouts launch a "Monadnock" Moth into Lake Wampanoag at Camp Collier, located in Gardner, Massachusetts.  Note how the bow shape of the other Moths on the storage racks in the background mirror the shape of the bow of the boat in the first photo.  The Boy Scout Moth design dates to the 1930s and is attributed to John N. Cook, a "sailing master" for the St. Louis, Missouri scout council.  Interestingly,  The British Moth Class dates their design to 1932.
Finally here, for comparison purposes, is a photo of a current British Moth which I found on the internet.  Note the strong similarities between the bow shape and curve of the side board of this boat and that of our mystery Moth in the first photo of this post. These characteristics are also reflected by the boats in the Camp Collier photo.  A coincidence?  I think not.

If anyone is interested in the Moth hanging in Mr. Stroud's garage, leave your email address in the comment box and I'll forward that to him.  Paul indicated that he travels to Jacksonville, Florida several times a year which may facilitate delivery.

Update 17th March 2015:  Paul has recently sent my photos of the sail hoisted.

You'd really stand out on the race course with this baby!  Your position would be instantly apparent to the spectators--hopefully at the front of the fleet!

There appears to be plenty of room under the boom.  This is in contrast with the booms of most vintage Moths which tend to be real deck sweepers.

The sail was made by "Nor'wester Sails".  I have no information on whether or not this loft is still in business or where they are or were located.

You can just make out the word "Moth" and the date "7/15/68".  I assume that this was when the sail was made.  The date is also mostly likely near the time when Paul's brother finished construction of the boat itself.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Remember these?

Back in the 1960s you couldn't go to Wally-World and buy a  cheap Timex "Iron-Man" wrist watch with a programmable count down timer.  Not only that but in those days the start sequence wasn't the simple 3 minute whistle start or even the current five minute sequence.  Instead clubs used a sequence fifteen minutes long and broken into three 5-minute segments based on white, blue and red signal flags as indicated by the small hand of the face of watch in the  photograph above.  These watches were NOT waterproof even though they were clearly designed to be used while racing boats!  I had one and bought a rubber cover which permitted one to attach a lanyard and wear the watch around one's neck.  While this probably protected the watch from spray and was no doubt sufficient on a keel boat which had a designated time keeper, it was not optimum on a small single handed dinghy.  It wasn't long before I flipped (yes, yes, salt water--need you ask?) while attempting to consult the watch.  Of course the timer immediately ceased to function so I had no notion of the start times during the following races.  After the day's racing ended I took the watch to a local outboard motor repair shop.  The mechanic pried open the case and sprayed the works liberally with penetrating oil but to no avail.  The timer was DOA.  No doubt surviving timers fetch a goodly price in antique shops!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

How to sail a foiler Moth in 5 easy steps

Right.  After viewing Nate's videos I've drawn a couple conclusions.  First, rigging a foiler makes rigging my Europe dinghy (with all those pesky through-the-mast-bearing-ring internal control lines) seem like a walk in the park.  Second, even with stop action photography, getting going and then remaining foil-borne looks like the equivalent to mastering how to  ride a "penny-farthing" bicycle.  I suppose the crashes into (hopefully) warm water are, assuming you miss all the potentially hurtful goobers on the boat, more forgiving than crashing onto granite cobblestones while attempting to descend a steep hill on a high wheeler.  But don't take my word for it.  Judge for yourself.  I think I'll stick with something safe like mastering an Axel jump on figure skates.









Wednesday, December 10, 2014

More Deckage.

No sooner had I updated John Z's progress than I received some new photos from Martin Scott over in Cornwall.  I may need to start a pool to see which of these two Mistrals will be launched first...

Fore deck temporarily held in place during initial fitting with duct tape.


Looks good!  Note the neatness of both the boat and the work area.  Martin is building his boat in the utility room of his house, while John Z. builds in his downstairs rec room!  I don't know how they do it!

Martin's boat will have a center main traveler.  John is planning to stick with an aft bridle.

Martin is also designing his own sail.  He indicates that although he'll be measured under the IMCA's current rules, he will build a slightly less powerful sail than is permitted in the interests of controlling the boat in his local conditions.

Friday, December 5, 2014

John Z. Mistral update: The decks are on.

John's Mistral now has her decks.  All of the key seams have been glass taped (I learned that vacuum bagging flattens the selvaged edges of glass tape, so there are no little annoying ridges to sand down).

The decks have two coats of epoxy but have not yet been varnished.The diagonal lip at the aft edge of the side decks demarcates the seating areas where John used thicker plywood.

At this stage the hull weighs 57 pounds.  John has plenty of leeway for rub rails, hardware, hiking straps, varnish, etc. in order to get the boat up to the class minimum weight of 75 pounds.  He intends to make several test coupons to predict weight gain with different weights and types of glass cloth to help decide whether or not to sheath the exterior of the hull.

A look at the neatly done fore deck joint around the mast tube.  A nice dark mahogany streamlined boss surrounding the mast tube might look nice.

Plenty of access ports in the well deck and main bulkhead.  The cockpit sole has a 3mm ply doubler in the "stomping area".  John may add a layer of fiberglass to provide a non-skid texture to the sole.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chestertown Walkabout.

It's been a couple weeks since the Sultana down rigging weekend.  I finally got a chance to edit the pix I promised from our walk around Chestertown itself.  Here's part of what we saw that day.


After parking the wagon we stopped here for coffee and scones.  Quite tasty.  Note the details in the fascia to the right of the sign.  Fishhooks or anchors?  You decide.
An autumn themed window display at Evergrain's

Probably not for the gluten intolerant.  I, on the other hand, have never met a warm crusty loaf I didn't like.
Chestertown is a pleasant small town which, as its name implies, rests along the north bank of the Chester River, on Maryland's "eastern shore".  You can read about the town's history here and here.

Although there were a few boats on the hard, there were still lots of boats in the water as of Halloween.

Now this is my idea of a "townhouse".

The old Customs House dates to pre-revolutionary times.  The building is now part of Washington College.

Wall art in the commercial district of town.

I liked this long brick pavement, mirrored by the long brick garden walk.
The houses abound with many interesting details.

Not much breeze was stirring on this sunny late October day.  The Washington College flag in the foreground with the Maryland state flag in the background.  Maryland's flag is based on the Calvert and Crossland family's coats of arms.  Calvert was the family name for the Lords Baltimore who founded the colony of Maryland.  Crossland was the family name of the mother of George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore. The Calvert's colors were black and yellow, the Crossland's were red and white.

An attractively detailed front porch.
I'm attracted to weather vanes.  I can't say why.  Probably for the same reasons I'm attracted to lighthouses.  I just like them.


Zooming in on the rooster.  This could almost be France.
A walkway along the river brings one to the Lelia Hynson Pavilion.

This structure overlooks the river and Washington College's small boat facility.  The College has fleets of 420s and rowing shells.

Autumn leaves.

A view over the roof tops.

A nice Indian corn door wreath.

A narrow little house.  What goes on behind the black door?


Another stately townhouse.

Note the Flemish bond brickwork in the wall of this old Tavern.

I don't know what plant this is.  Can anyone enlighten me?

There are many entertaining shop windows to look at.

Here's one.  Yes, well, it is Halloween.

In the late afternoon some clouds rolled in as the harbinger of the next day's predicted cold blowy rain.  But for the remains of this day, the clouds just made the fall colors of the trees stand out a bit better.

I've tried to sprout magnolia seeds several times but so far without success.

The town fountain decked out for the evening's  festivities.

Late day sun on a church bell tower.
Another interesting shop window; this one with a nautical theme.
Zooming in on the fids, awls, mallets, tarred twine and other paraphernalia of marlinspike seamanship.

 Ditty bag, Noun.  1. A sailor's small bag to hold thread, needles, tape, etc. sometimes called a "housewife".  2. A little case or bag for materials used in sewing, and for other articles of female work; also called a "hussy".


The day grew late.  We started seeing bands of children in costumes making the rounds for trick or treat candy.  That was our sign to head back to the western shore before the hobglobins came out.  Chestertown is but one of many interesting small towns on Maryland's eastern shore.  Visit if you get a chance.