Monday, November 12, 2012

The Gypster gets a nose job.

Hurricane Sandy has pretty much sidelined the last bit of racing for this season so we may as well get on with boat building/rebuilding  projects with an eye towards the Mid-Winter Regatta next February.  With that in mind I approached Classic Moth builder extraordinaire Joe Bousquet to see if he was interested in modifying my wooden Europe design Moth Gypsy.  A previous owner had asked Joe to modify the boat's foredeck about 10 years ago to increase the room under the boom.  The old rule for Classic Moth Boats stated that the boom could be no higher than 12 inches above deck height.  This was alright for juniors and smaller adults but problematic for larger, older sailors.  A common way to beat the rule was to increase the crown of the foredeck by an exaggerated amount and thus raise the boom.  Joe did so and the result can be seen in the third photo down in this earlier post.  While this humpy foredeck does get the boom off the skipper's back and in fact did meet the letter rather than the spirit of the rule, it is an inelegant solution to live with in terms of both storage in the boat house and while trailering or car topping the boat to regattas.  Thankfully the class voted to change the rule regulating boom height above the deck and so humpy foredecks are no longer an advantage.  Plus, opinions are divided as to the esthetics of such foredecks.  I personally don't care for them.  With the boat in my ownership, it was time for that hump to go.  Yes, I could have hacked it off myself but I'll be the first to admit that my level of craftsmanship is inferior to Joe's and Gypsy is too pretty a boat for a hack job.  I also have a bad habit of starting projects and then taking forever to finish them.  It turned out that I had a carbon fiber boom that Joe was interested in and he had a break from repairing the rowing shells for the crew team at Catholic High School where he teaches math--a deal was agreed to and so last Saturday Gypsy and I made the four hour trip from diarist HQ to Norfolk, Virginia.

Gypsy next to my stock Europe Ooh La La.  The difference in foredeck height is obvious.

Another look.  The "surgeon" is getting ready for the operation.

Scalpel, forceps, sabre saw...  The first cut is the hardest.

After that it's just "get 'r done".

The Master inspects his prior work.  The interior of the bow tank was remarkably in good condition after over ten years of hard racing.  A testament to Joe B's workmanship.
Joe switches to a circular saw to cut close to the rails.  How steady are your hands?

The foredeck is gone and the well deck and bulkhead are next.  I plan to return the boat to a free standing mast.  No more standing rigging--Woo Hoo!

I'll trim this piece of the hump down a little and hang it in the boat house.  I may change the boat's name.  Now before she was named Gypsy, this boat was called Smuggler.  A persistent rumor has it that she was smuggled into this country with a shipping container load of International 14s returning from a European regatta. The story goes that when the container, filled supposedly with only boats of American origin, landed nothing was declared, the container never opened for inspection and duty was never paid.  I don't know if all this is a tall tale or if the boat's early name holds a chestnut of truth.  Suffice to say that I don't plan on instigating any attempts to run my boat's checkered past to earth--I'll just let sleeping smugglers lie!  I will think it over during the rehab and decide whether or not a nose job justifies a name change.  Stay tuned as this project progresses.


  1. I know nothing about sailing or boats, but I do know that the hump was....less than graceful.

    1. My feelings exactly. Plus from a practical standpoint the humpy foredeck was a PITA--the boat could only be carried upside down on the top rack on my home made double deck rack system for trailering boats to regattas ( the boat wouldn't fit in the bottom position on the trailer and I couldn't take Gypsy on the roof racks I have for the station wagon because the hump touched the windshield). Also the hump took up too much room when trying to stack and store boats in the shed for the winter. The next time I have to move that boat it will be a pleasure rather than a pain. The flip side is, of course, that the boom WILL be lower when sailing but I'm used to that on my other boats.