Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A "Scrappy" tale of a Moth Boat from the past.

Earlier this week I received an email from a former Brigantine resident named Bill Gale.  Back in the late 1940s Bill sailed Snipes and Moths, at first out of the old Evening Star Yacht Club over in the Bungalow Park area of Atlantic City and later out of my club, the Brigantine Yacht Club.  Since Bill is about10 years older than me we never raced against each other back when we both lived on the island, but I do recall hearing his family's name mentioned by club members as being among the founding families of BYC.

Brigantine Yacht Club got its start in 1945 when a group of families banded together and purchased an old gas station building and had it moved from the south end of the island to a lot at 10th Street South and Bayshore Avenue.

The original BYC club house prior to the "new" addition of 1960.  Photo credit: Kenn Claus.
Bill learned to sail on an old Snipe but soon graduated to the Moth class when his father purchased SCRAPPY, Moth Nr 804, from her builder Dorr Willey of Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

Bill Gale and the Snipe.  Photo credit:  Bill Gale

Bill sailing SCRAPPY in the bay near the BYC club house.  Photo credit:  Bill Gale.

Bill and SCRAPPY.  Bill is holding on to the mast.  In the background are Anna Lea Ernest and George Christine.  The exact location of this photo is not clearly recalled but thought to be fairly close to the Gale family home which in those days was on 30th St. South. All three of these photos date to the late 1940s.  Photo credit:  Bill Gale.

Bill was very much a beginning racer when he first had SCRAPPY and he credits Merv Wescoat (who at age 84 still races Moth Boats) with mentoring him.  Bill additionally recalls that John Walton, one of the early BYC members provided him with much guidance for both sailing and boat building.  Bill now lives in Florida, not far from Gulfport and would have come over to watch us race back in February had he known about our regatta.  I've put Bill in touch with Merv.  Hopefully we'll get to meet Bill at next year's event.

It's interesting to me to learn about SCRAPPY since she's only three hull numbers older than my Dorr Willey-built Moth BLONDIE, Nr 807.  There are obvious differences between these boats.  SCRAPPY has a three stay rig (main stays only).  BLONDIE, on the other hand, has the usual compliment of six stays for her standing rigging (three main stays and three baby stays).  Additionally, SCRAPPY appears to lack the rub rails seen on BLONDIE and other Dorr Willey-built Moths.  I know, I know, minutiae but for the devotee very interesting.

Me sailing BLONDIE in 2006 during the CMBA National Championship Regatta held at Elizabeth City, NC .  Photo Credit: Elisabeth Albaugh
Bill and his brother got into motorboats in later years and so their father sold SCRAPPY on to an unknown new owner.  If anyone out in the blogosphere can comment on the fate of SCRAPPY I'm sure Bill would love to learn about it and I can pass the info on to him.

1 comment:

  1. Great story about The Gale family and early history of BYC. Great pictures! I never saw a picture of the original BYC!