Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Vintage Moth Boat racing in south Florida

Louis Pillon is heavily involved with Classic Moth sailing in France and the other day he emailed me a copy of an old photograph he bought from an American vendor on "flea-bay".  A close examination reveals a number of interesting points.

Although text on the back of this photo mentions Tampa Bay and the Moth Boat Nationals I doubt if this scene is from that regatta.  For one thing, although the Nationals were hosted by the Miami Yacht Club in 1949, this particular regatta was never held on Tampa Bay in the 1940s. Also, the Nationals were never part of a multi-class regatta as seen in this photo.  Finally, the National Regatta attracted a much, much larger fleet of Moths than the five boats seen here. Having said all that, this photograph, probably taken on the east coast of Florida, offers an interesting tableau. The two closest Moths are WAHOO, Nr 215 and Nr 414.  These Moths are typical examples of pre-war scow designs. Sadly, I can find nothing in the old Moth Class records about Nr 215.  However Nr 414  appears in the records registered as BO BO in 1949 to Chuck Hasker who sailed out of the Coconut Grove Sail Club.  Besides the five Moths one can see a Snipe class dinghy (sail Nr 1508) and a couple of Cricket class dinghies (the boat with the wishbone boom, sail Nr 121, is a Cricket; BO BO is obscuring a second Cricket but one can just make out the forward end of the wishbone and also the sharp stem of the hull).   The Cricket class was a popular dinghy class on both coasts of south Florida prior to the second world war but by the time of this photo that class was dying out as  sailors abandoned it for newer designs.  The Snipe was one of those designs that thrived at the Cricket's expense.  The Snipe class continues to be actively raced to this day.

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