Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Maser for sale

Ah, the Maser--a Moth made out of a slack Laser hull.  Boats like this which are "re-purposed" rather than taken to the dump are sometimes referred to as "Franken Moths".  Over the years we've seen different attempts to take cast-off freebie hulls from another class and use them as the basis for a Moth.  Some of the more memorable ones include the Franken Fish (cut down Sun Fish hull), a Fire Ball-based Moth and even a Moth built from the first eleven feet of a dead Flying Dutchman.  

Returning to the object of today's post, some Maser Frankies are better than others and this particular adaptation is one of those.

The first Maser was built by Mark Saunders.  Mark wanted a durable, stable boat suitable for his then young children.  He took an old Laser hull, cut the bow off at the knuckle and brought the new bow back together, à la stitch and glue, against a cedar fence picket to form a plumb bow.  He then measured back eleven feet and sawed off the excess length.  After gutting the hull and installing new plywood decks, bulkheads and a centerboard trunk he had created what he was looking for--a stable Moth Boat that was brick-solid and suitable for the abuse that early learners dish out.  Joe Bousquet looked at Mark's efforts and created a second Maser, much like Mark's but with a free standing rig.  Both of these boats served their purpose of introducing new sailors to Moth Boats.  The Bousquet boat survives to this day.

Another quick and dirty Maser, much like the first pair was constructed by Norfolk area sailors, Al Whitener and Randy Stark.  After sailing their boat this pair decided that the initial concept was OK but merely measuring back eleven feet from the newly created plumb bow and hacking off the excess footage produced a hull with a lot of wetted surface.  Clearly more could be done with the lines offered by the original Laser hull.  After a bit of thought Al and Randy resorted to a more radical approach.  In addition to gutting the hull, i. e., cutting out the decks, CBT, and bulkheads and then performing a "nose job" creating the plumb bow, why not do a "C-section" as well to retain the best parts of the Laser--the bow and transom sections?  So instead of hacking off the boat at its widest point (creating a big, draggy transom) the pair took a jig saw and made careful Vee cuts just ahead and just behind the original CBT.  That center part of the Laser, which includes the original, heavy CBT, was discarded and the remaining bow and stern sections were reunited using unidirectional glass tape.  With a bit of experimentation they came up with a Vee cut procedure which allowed the bow and stern sections to dovetail back together with a minimum of fairing and futzing.  This approach produced a fairly stable, round bilge hull which could then be tanked and decked to produce a Moth which came in at the CMBA's minimum hull weight of 75 lbs.  Al and Randy build two of these boats and they have proven quite competitive within the ranks of the intended Generation I fleet.  The late Bill Schill built several more and Merv Wescoat built one as well.

The Maser currently for sale is the first of the pair which Al and Randy built and is the one which Al raced.  She currently has her side tank decks removed and is offered for sale as a project by her current owner Joe Courter of Absecon, New Jersey:

MAZER - $500 or best offer.  Needs new cockpit decks.

1)  Custom pivoting deck mounted fiberglass mast
2)  Aluminum boom
3)  Kick up rudder
4)  Sunfish dagger board
5)  Sail
6)  All stays and fittings

Contact:  Joe Courter   home:  609 484-1724  office:  609 296-1005


  1. I have never been a fan of the Laser, they always seemed to me (compared to my OK dinghy) to be lacking in freeboard - so I find this Moth conversion very interesting. The height of the foredeck gives the boat more of a look of substance. I think she would be improved in looks further if there was more camber in the aft deck as well. Rolled decks fitted would make hiking out easy on the legs - nice boat.

  2. One International Canoe sailor I know commented that when we build a Maser we're keeping the least desirable part of the laser--the hull! This boat indeed did have rolled side tanks but they suffered some damage and needed to be renewed. Joe was about to do that when he had the opportunity to buy a Europe. Hence the sale of the Maser with the old side tanks removed but not replaced. The wife wants her side of the garage back!