|Carl Patterson (right), with his older brother Harold building a Skip Etchells "Connecticut" design Moth circa mid-1950s. The boy with the lively expression is Harold's son Craig. Family photo courtesy of Nancy Patterson Tidy.|
Carl Patterson was instrumental in establishing the Moth Class at his home club, the Yacht Club of Sea Isle City, New Jersey during the the 1950s and '60s. Carl built boats not only for his children/relatives but also for other club members as well. Carl passed away in 1968 but his memory is celebrated each October when Classic Moth Boats come to Chestertown, MD to race at a regatta organized by his son Bob at the Chester River Yacht and Country Club.
|Bill and Shane Boyle rig up prior to the Skipper's Meeting.|
|This photo gives a good comparison between the slightly larger Europe Class sail (Nr 110) and the CMBA-legal sail carried on the following boat (Nr 64). Click to enlarge the photo.|
During the time of the break away, the Europe Class introduced a number of improvements to the boat, including an update of the sail shape. Europe sails still fit Classic Moth spars but the Europe sail has a much more efficient shape, particularly at the head of the sail compared with the ancient "pin-head" shape retained by the Classic Moth Class. This can be seen in the photo above. At present, the Europe Dinghy sails as a Classic Moth in our Generation I division, providing the boat remains at the stock weight of 99 lb and carries a CMBA-legal sail. Compared to the fastest designs in the CMBA's Generation II division, the Europe suffers by being heavier (99 lb vs 75 lb) and by having more wetted surface than designs such as the Mistral, Duflos, and Skol. John Pugh and I wanted to know if the more efficient Europe sail would off-set the weight and wetted surface penalties with which the better behaved Europe design suffers. We reasoned that the combination of a better sail and a good skipper might allow the Europe to punch above her weight.
An additional twist in this year's Carl Patterson Regatta was that 6 former Moth skippers, none of whom had set foot in a tippy Moth Boat in about 50 years, were planning to come spectate. Instead, Bob, operating under the conviction that it's better to race than merely watch, got several of us to bring extra boats to loan out to the "geezer" fleet. We had three loaner boats for six skippers so a "round robin" series was cooked up with the six skippers rotating through the three loaner boats. That all looked good on paper but the wind had its own ideas, which I explain directly.
|John Pugh gingerly tests the conditions during the early going, no doubt wondering if my notion of using bigger sails for this event was one of my better ideas--or just another fine mess that I'd talked him into!|
|Swamped Shelley during race 2.|
|Mud on the head of the sail after this boat turtled during a capsize. Moth masts are about 16 or so feet above deck. We now know the depth of the Chester River in the racing area off the Club's dock!|
At the end of the day Mike Parsons was first and Bob Patterson was second in Generation II, while Victor Stango was first and Bill Boyle was second in the Generation I division.
And what of our "Geezers", none of whom had stepped into a Moth Boat in almost 50 years only to be thrown into unfamiliar boats on a VERY windy day? They were impressive! Although the swamped boats and retirements due to gear failure don't permit a full and fair analysis, from what I was able to observe, Frank Adshead, John Hilferty, John Leonard Harvey Ludlam and brothers Brian and Kevin McAnaney still have fire in their bellies. Harvey took the Geezer prize--don't ask me about Bob's convoluted calculus for making that determination--but I can say that during the last race in which I finished 2nd to Mike Parsons, Harvey was sailing my wooden Europe Gypsy (so he and I were in equivalent hulls) but he didn't have my advantage of a fat head Europe sail. Even so, he camped out on my transom the whole race and if I'd have made one mistake he'd have rolled me! So hat's off to the geezer fleet. I hope we'll see some of them get Moth Boats over the winter and come back next season.