Sunday, March 20, 2011

A question of timing.

Yesterday, the 20th of March, was the first day of spring.  A time when Eastport dockyard workers traditionally gather together with a few 6-packs of National Bohemian ( and burn their socks to mark the end of winter.  This low key and very local blue collar custom has recently been hi-jacked by the Annapolis Maritime Museum, which although located in the old McNasby Oyster packing house in Eastport still clings (pathetically) to it's Annapolis name!  So, instead of forking over $20.00 to gain access to the sock burning fire and contribute my own stinky winter socks, oh and maybe get a sniff at a roasted oyster, I elected to stay home Saturday, drink a couple beers in honor of the change of seasons (perhaps I'm a Druid and don't know it--I was born on the winter solstice so who knows?) and avoid a lot of other people's sticky, messy little kids.  Besides the tickets were all sold out by the time the light bulb went on in my head and I rationalized that taking decent photos would be much easier the day after the crowds left.  So, here we are a day later.  Those would would like to learn more about the Annapolis Maritime Museum's (well done) program can do so here:

Those that don't care one way or the other can follow along.

McNasby's is the last standing oyster packing plant building left in Eastport.  It stands on Back Creek at the end of 2nd Street in Eastport.  There were no sticky children to distract your diarist.
Diarist-woman inspects the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Skipjack Norman Stanley.  The boat is winter berthed at one of the Museum's finger piers,  During summer months the Norman Stanley is usually tied up over at Ego Alley in downtown Annapolis.  More about the CBF can be found here:

By Maryland law, oysters must be harvested by boats under sail.  However the laws were amended in 1965 to permit motor power supplied by "push boats" two days per week during the ever-shortened oyster dredging season.  Silk is Stanley Norman's push boat--mostly an engine and a prop with just enough boat to float the cast iron "breeze".

What I just said.

Some interesting info about oysters.
The Museum has several boats including the 1925 buy boat Peg Wallace which was restored as a  land based display in 2010.  This photo gives some indication of how narrow she is.
This style of work boat was endemic to the Hooper's Island region of the Chesapeake and is known as a Draketail.
The Museum's smaller skipjack, Lydia D. still sleeps under her winter quilt dreaming about rigging day.  Soon, soon my pet...

Looking out at the bay.  There was not much wind for these racers.

Several gave up and motored in.

I know, I know, I've shown them before but I just can't get enough of Annapolis's "Eye-Full" towers.  The Navy build many more of these communication towers over on Greenbury Point in 1918.  These are the only survivors.  They transmitted the news of the Armistice that ended World War I.

Unlike these anchored freighters, diarist-woman tells me that we have other fish to fry and so, gentle viewer, we shall leave you until the next installment.

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.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring forward.

Diarist-woman is currently running around the house setting the clocks ahead one hour in anticipation of tomorrow's return to summer time.  In doing so she's discarding an hour of my life into that netherworld to where such hours go, never to be seen again. She claims I'll get it back in the fall, but if this truly is some sort of a "savings" plan shouldn't there be interest and shouldn't smart savers get a bit of compounding?  By being clever (or perhaps prudent) one should be able to boot-strap one's self to that lofty position of being able to "live" off one's saving time interest without spending the principal and thereby never age.  Clearly there's a flaw somewhere in this reasoning.  It probably has something to do with the failure of large financial institutions in NYC causing a misalignment of the space-time continuum.  But enough of such philosophical drivel.  Today's post shall consider spring; the time when a woman's fancy turns to...

Gardening and yard work.
The day dawned grey and chilly.  I set a fire in the fireplace with the idea of a quiet day of reading but by lunch time the sun had come out, the clouds had gone away and things had warmed to the upper 50s.  After putzing around the house and doing various errands a decision was made to take a ride out to Homestead Gardens, an establishment which I refer to as "Gucci Gardens".  Things there are all very nicely done but of course at a price.  It's the kind of place to walk around gathering gardening ideas while keeping your wallet tightly shut. Today the nice folks at Homestead had several "events" on offer including a seminar on stink bugs but the goodly Elisabeth wanted to look at composting tumblers so I must report that my education about this important class of insect remains unimproved.

As a compensation for the missed opportunity to learn more about the life cycle of the sting bug, Gucci Gardens also had a range of phalaenopsis orchids for my consideration including one which was so blue that at first I thought it was artificial. 

My camera doesn't do it justice.  In reality the flower is an almost revolting "electric" blue.  I was all for getting one but Elisabeth allowed as how it would clash with our window treatments.

And, there were others.

There were of course lots of nicely grouped plantings.  Here's one for those of you still buried under snow.  (Double click to enlarge.)

But the best display was this rich selection of garden gnomes and bronze frogs.

Aren't they simply divine?
While I looked in vain for plastic pink flamingos, diarist-woman bought a bag of lily of the valley pips.  With our finances still largely intact we got out of this place and went off in search of refreshment in nearby Annapolis.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The long ride home.

As per usual Team Albaugh was the very last trailer load of boats to leave Gulfport YC.  These green parrots squawked and mocked us as I slowly got packed up.

We spent Sunday night at our motel and celebrated Bob Patterson's birthday a day early.  Bob got a little carried away and wound up wearing his wine, but that's another story!  The next day we got on the road at the crack of 9 and headed north.

We were curious about this tower visible from I-275 so we snapped a pix and looked it up.  It turns out that this was once the Sulphur Spriings Water Tower and is now part of a park.  You can read a potted history about it here: 

The Tampa skyline is in my opinion more attractive from the opposite direction but sadly we didn't think to snap a pix on the way to the club.
We spent Monday night with friends in the Savannah area.  Tuesday morning we got on the road at 7 and steeled ourselves for the day long slog up I-95.  It can get a trifle boring but luckily our friend "Pedro" keeps us amused (ok,ok, we're easily amused).

Very easily amused...
Anyone who's made this run has seen these signs advertising a tacky rest stop right at the North/South Carolina border called "South of the Border".  Dig out your atlas and find Dillon, SC.  Pedro is waiting for you...
Kinda reminds me of the old Barbasol signs but without the rhymes.
We forgot to look for this.
This sign was animated (haha, you can laugh now...)
If you have shekels Pedro wants 'em.
Getting closer!  This one is a personal favorite!  Another one I like says something to the effect of "Keep whining kids, they'll stop" but sadly we either missed that one or it's only a south bound sign.
Those signs are everywhere.
Finally we crest the hill and arrive at Mecca.
No doubt about it, Pedro is way over the top.  Say--that could become a sign...
Oh yes, we stopped.  Elisabeth had promised a workmate at her Episcopal day school something extra tacky from South of the Border.
Zeroing in on ground zero.
We barely scratched the surface in Pedro-land.
Hey kids--how many of those Moth Boats thingies can u find in this picture?  Money was satisfactorily spent and a tacky gift was obtained.  Well pleased with ourselves we relaunched the mighty Volvo back onto to I-95 North.  We made it home before dark.

Gulfport, Part III

Let's continue to look at some more Gen I Moths

This pretty little boat is known as a Savannah Wedge.  Jimmy Hardee and Lane Reeves built a pair of these boats about 10 years ago.  Rutledge Young from Charleston, SC is her current caretaker.
Here we see Lennie Parker an ex-pat from the Isle of Wight sailing his John Shelley designed Moth.  This boat was build on the IoW by the well known builder Wm McCutcheon.  Note the sexy Rod Mincher-built see-thru sail.
There are several other Generation I designs which regularly feature in our races such as the Cates-Florida and the Challenger.  No doubt you'll see photos of those types when I report on future races during the season.

Although GYPSY started life as a Europa Moth she acquired the humpy fore deck and deck stepped rig after her original fore deck was damaged.  The bottom of this boat, however is stock Europa. The Europa was designed in the early 1960s by Alois Roland of Belgium.  Later, when designs such as the Duflos made the Europa obsolete,  Europa owners broke away from the Moth Class and formed a strict one-design class around this particular design and called the boat the Europe Dinghy.  The Europe Dinghy in turn was selected in the late 1980s as the women's single hander for the Olympic games and participated in four Olympiads starting with the Barcelona games in 1992 and ending with the Athens games in 2004 when the IOC shifted the women from the Europe Dinghy to the less expensive Laser Radial.  So, in a backhanded way we briefly had Moth Boats in the Olympics!

As a final note on the Europe design I must contrast GYPSY with a stock boat.  This is Walt Collins' Europe.  Note that his boat has a much flatter fore deck and an unstayed mast.  Walt came in second in Gen I at this regatta.

So now we get to the awards presentation.  The overall winner and Generation II Champion was Davis Island, FL native Jeff Linton.  Jeff dominated the regatta taking 10 out of 11 first place finishes.

Jeff smiling from the cockpit of his Mousetrap.

John Zseleczky from Annapolis, MD was 2nd in Gen II sailing his Mistral Y2K BUG

Mike Parsons from Media, PA was 3rd in Gen II sailing his Mistral REVOLUTION.

Rod Mincher also from Annapolis took 1st place in Gen I sailing his trusty Maser.
Walt Collins sailing YOUR UP took 2nd in Gen I  and wait for it, drum roll please... your diarist claimed the final spot on the Gen I podium
Your diarist and diarist-woman at the awards presentation.
Trophies were customized beer bottle openers.  A much more useful trophy than another pewter cup or wall plaque don't you think?!  I can't decide on whether to mount this on the boat trailer or in the shop.

And so with the sun setting gently in the west, we bid a sad but fond adieu to beautiful Gulfport until next year.