Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Skol! (Rondar Skol, that is...)

No, not Skol, as in the traditional Swedish toast, or Skol like in snus (snuff to English speakers) as in "just a pinch between the cheek and gum".  No, this Skol is the name given to a Moth Boat designed in Britain and built by Rondar Boat Works when they did business in New Milton, Hants.  To make a long story short, last Saturday was fall work day at the Brigantine Yacht Club and after  floating docks were broken down and hoisted out of the water, hoses drained, race committee boats tidied up for winter shrink wrapping, etc. your diarist had a bit of time on his hands and so I met up with a friend who knew of a Moth that wanted liberating from her long period of slumber.

This was my first view of Moth Nr 4065.  She was leaning against the side of a garage building and appeared, from the layer of grunge, to have been undisturbed for many winters.

Here she is flopped down on her keel.  Love the pine needles trapped under the 'whales.

Her owner (from new) told me that the boat had been picked up by a wind storm and dropped onto dock pilings.  I can believe it.  This photo, while representative, doesn't begin to show all the damage to the decks and bulkheads.

Here's a view from the stern.  This boat is clearly crying out for some TLC.

The builder's tag is missing part of the Boat Work's name.  She was built by Rondar Boats Ltd. doing business in those days on Stem Lane in the town of New Milton in Hampshire.  Rondar is still in business but at a different location.  I ought to write them to see if they can supply an intact builder's tag with the old address.
Well, what can I say?  I'm a sucker for a Moth Boat what's down on her luck.  I made the owner an offer and he took it.  The hull was promptly loaded on my trusty Volvo's roof racks and off we went to Maryland.  On the way back to Maryland every time I touched the brakes, brown murky rain water gushed from the holes in the deck onto my windscreen!  After arriving home she was a good deal lighter than went we hoisted her up to the roof racks!  A few days later I decided to wash as much of the filth as possible off the hull to see what I'd purchased.

After a vigorous bath she looks great from 10 feet away! She doesn't look like the same boat does she? I love the Swedish flag blue.

The Mk I Skol has a very fine entry and less rocker than either a Duflos or a Mistral.  Also, towards the transom she's as round as an apple and thus trickier to sail than the Mistral design which flattens out towards the transom.  The difference is that when these two designs heel, the Mistral gives her pilot a few vital seconds to mend his evil ways before going for a swim.  The Skol on the other hand is much less forgiving: once she starts to roll she keeps right on going!  And that ultra fine entry is also a mixed blessing.  Yes it knifes through the chop with the greatest of ease but it lacks the buoyancy of a fuller bow shape and thus is some what prone to "submarining" down wind when a big gust hits the rig.
Washing a boat gives one the opportunity to really see what's what.  Here we find a puncture in the bottom near the transom that wants mending.  Also visible in this photo is evidence (extreme lip of the hull) that the boat was dragged along the beach during launchings.

Here is a repair of an ancient war wound--evidence of a port/starboard encounter at some long  forgotten regatta.

Yes, the gel coat is rougher than what the photos suggest.  Indeed there are lots of gouges and deep scratches, lumps and bumps but there are no soft spots in the laminate so this hull is worth the effort to breathe back into life.  The next step will be to flip her over and remove the deck hardware in preparation for new decks a la Joe Bousquet's famous roll tank deck system:  Stay tuned.


  1. How the hell do you get away with this shit? Are you married to a saint, or is it costing you a double fortune in old dishes or books?(my bed-mates predilections) My wife is still carping and making snide comments about the last vintage bicycle I bought, a once in a lifetime Galmozzi - not some old factory Colnago or Masi, but a true to the heart handmade GALMOZZI! I'm not certain how all this relates to moth boats, but I suspect it does.

  2. Gunnar! Short answer: the Goodly Elisabeth IS a Saint! She knew I had a serious Moth Boat addiction before we were married, and as a friend once told me--your hobby could always be other women...

    Of course there may come the day when my bride might tell me that she'd wish my hobby actually was other women, because in the long run it would be cheaper and wouldn't clutter the yard and garage so much!

    As for the Skol she needed salvation. The boat cried out in pain. Sooner or later I'll move her on to another sailor--she a good boat but not high on my "keeper" list. Diaristwoman knows that. There might be times when I buy boats and don't tell her, but not often.