Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Wood Boat Regatta

Classic Moths were the largest fleet at the Wooden Boat Magazine's "Wood Regatta" hosted by the Rock Hall YC this past weekend. Seven Moth Boats, all different designs competed. Erik sailed GYPSY while I sailed MINT (see my earlier post about MINT). There were a number of very pretty and interesting boats that came from far and wide.  We raced a total of 10 races over the two days. Yes, I could feel it in my legs the following Monday morning!

Saturday's wind was from the NW and, as expected, was light and variable. We had a nice 5 or so knots for the first race and I got a good start in MINT and led that race almost from start to finish. John Zseleczky, sailing his Mistral design Moth, Y2K BUG, was able to reel me in half way down the final beat to the finish and won comfortably by several boat lengths. It was fun seeing the bow of Y2K BUG for a change even if I couldn't quite close the deal!  And, although a bit out classed by newer, faster designs, MINT still showed that she has the legs of a Champion. After the first race the wind went soft and we thought that the rest of the day would be a float fest but after a slow second race, where Moths overhauled the "Corinthian" Class (big heavier boats) and got stuck in their huge sail shadows, the wind clicked on enough for the remaining 3 races to be fair contests before dying just in time to make sailing back to the beach (~2 miles or so) a slow process. Moths could routinely reel in most if not all of the bigger boats that started in front of us, a situation that repeated itself the following day when we had more breeze. At the end of Saturday's racing John Z. had 5 firsts, Erik led Victor Stango by 2 points and I trailed Victor by 3.

Sunday's wind clocked around to the E and was blowing around 10 to 12 with gusts a tad higher. Rock Hall YC sails in a cove off of the Chester River called Langford Bay which, while protected from the river's current, is fairly shallow. As a result, East winds tend to kick up a short, nasty chop. The combo of a good breeze and stiff chop made for some challenging sailing. At the start of the first heat both Erik and Victor Stango (sailing his Lindenberg design) were over the line early. Erik tacked back to restart but Victor had an unexpected swim when he hit the front side of a wave and the head stay fitting pulled out of the stem. The rig went to leeward and Victor was tossed out of the boat to windward. As I sailed past he said he was OK. The dismasting was a shame because Victor and Erik were locked in a tight battle for second and the breeze seemed to favor the Lindenberg over the Europe. As a result Erik cruised to an easy 2nd overall, behind John (who had perfect bullets) and I managed to round out the podium. As a final note, I decided to not race the last race of the day because I had noticed that MINT's wooden mast was bending in an alarming fashion if a gust of wind hit the rig at the same time the boat was knifing through the chop. I hated to leave the festivities with such a nice breeze but I didn't want to burden the RC with a second dismasted MOTH. As I sailed back to the beach on an absolutely wonderful screaming reach I noticed that the tiller felt odd. Looking back I realized that the nuts for the machine screws that hold the tiller to the top of the rudder had slackened off, so I was doubly glad I'd decided to skip the last race even though it cost me maximum points!

At the awards presentation, Carl Carmer, the organizer from Wooden Boat Magazine Praised the Moths as "inspirational". I'm not quite sure what that means but it sounds good! Trophies were not handed out at the club. Carl indicated winners would get engraved trophies by mail.

So, bottom line on ex-world Champion MINT:  she's off the pace of the newer designs but I expected that. Twenty extra years of development does not defy one's expectations, the newer designs are faster.  However, she did exhibit moments of great boat speed.  Like any boat which hasn't been raced for an extended period of time she has plenty of areas that need refinement.  However 3rd place overall and almost winning the first heat count for something, plus I now have a good idea of what changes to make prior to the next time I race her.  For now I leave you with some images of  a few of the other wood boats which were part of the regatta.  More photos can be seen here:…oat%20Regatta/
and here: 
Comments from the organizer can be read here:
This custom design came up from Florida
Another view of HAIKU.
Several Windmill class dinghies competed.   The Windmill was designed by Clark Mills in 1953 as a follow up to his more famous Optimist dinghy.
The Windmill is quite narrow for its length.
A nice detail carving inside the transom.
A study in Moth Boat designs.  From closest to the camera to furthest away:  Shelley, Cates, Tweezer, Lindenberg
Dudley Dix came up from Norfolk, VA with PAPER JET.  This complex boat is sailed by one person!  PAPER JET was the subject of an article in Wooden Boat Magazine a few years ago.  Fifty or so of this design have been built to date.
PAPER JET, stern view.  Lots of strings to pull and keep track of...
Victor Stango's Paul Lindenberg-designed Moth Boat.  Sadly this boat was dismasted early during the Sunday racing.
Jim Cobb's Wayfarer dinghy (white hull) beached next to Ed Sadler's Hampton One-Design.  Jim usually sails a Moth but deserted us this weekend for his Wayfarer.  Click on the photo for a better look at the beautiful Chris-Craft mahogany runabout in the background.  The Chris-Craft was the mark boat and crash boat for our race course.  Also note the radio controlled scale model Lasers that had their own racing fan base.
Another look at this pair of boats with a better view of the Hampton OD.  A lovely boat but I'll bet that cockpit combing is a leg biter...
Tom  Lippincott borrowed a family member's Duster for the weekend.  Dusters were a popular dinghy in southern New Jersey when I was just starting to race back in the late 1950s and many were built by the Lippincotts.  Like the Moth, the Duster died off.  Unlike the Moth the Duster hasn't yet mounted a successful rebirth.  Duster racing is currently confined to a single lake in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  I hadn't seen one in over 40 years.  Dusters carry a fair bit of sail for their size and thus are a brutal boat in stiff wind but quite fast in the right hands.  Tom came in second in the "Corinthian" Class.
The winning Moth Boat, Y2K BUG, is a Mistral design Moth.  This photo reveals the large amount of rocker in this design's keel line.  This greatly reduces the wetted surface when the boat is sailed in displacement mode.  Note the almost semi-circular transom shape.  Mistrals are quite challenging to sail, especially downwind in a big breeze.
A final look at the Rock Hall YC's mooring field complete with radio controlled mini-racers.


  1. Back at ya. I'm almost always smiling when I'm racing Moth Boats!

  2. Hi George. Where can lines and any additional construction details be obtained for Mint? Ricardo