A while ago, Roland Hunn sent me the photo below of his parents, Ethel (Toby) Hunn and Knute Hunn standing next to Toby's Moth, Miss Fortune, Nr 500. The venue is the Riverton Yacht Club which is located on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River, across from Philadelphia. The date is some time in the immediate post WW II era. Although the specific design and builder of the Moth are unknown, the sail number suggests that Miss Fortune was most likely built in 1938 or 1939. Mrs. Hunn enthusiastically raced the boat with perhaps her best result being the third place she achieved in the women's division at the 1946 Nationals down at Elizabeth City, NC behind Peggy Kammerman (Evening Star YC) and Ruth Nickerson (Pasquotank River YC).
|Knute Hunn reminds us that most Moth Boating problems can be resolved with the aid of a willing assistant, a couple bottles of beer, a good selection of hand saws and a big hammer.|
Riverton is interesting in as much as it was a hot bed of dinghy racing activity, spurred by the presence of the Lippincott Boat Works. During the forty years spanning 1946 to 1986, Robert and Howard Lippincott built a number of class boats including Lightnings, Comets, Stars, and Dusters. Howard's obituary, which briefly details the family business and involvement in one-design racing can be read here.
I attended just one regatta for Moths and Comets in the early 1960s at RYC and in the end didn't race. Here's why: My father and I arrived early on the Saturday morning, for Riverton YC's annual two day invitational regatta, in order to register and put my boat together. As it turned out registration had not yet opened so I wandered down to the docks in order to scope out the intended race area. When I got to the pier I noticed that the water was fouled with heavy "Bunker C" fuel oil from one side of the river to the other. I asked an elderly man what was up with that and he said "Boy, look across the river. Do you see the shipyard over on the Philly side?" I nodded that I did. He continued, "They salvage old Liberty ships for scrap over there and yesterday they cut one below the waterline." I looked again at the river and said "I'm not going to put my boat into that mess." A man using the chain hoist to launch his brand new fiberglass Comet overheard me and said "I need a crew. Since you're not racing your Moth how about crewing for me?" He then launched the Comet, and since it was light air, pushed off for a solo sail. When he was several hundred feet away from the pier I heard him exclaim "I think my boat is dissolving!" I looked at my Dad and said "Let's get out of here." In all my years of racing small boats I've never been back to Riverton.
Now this was years before environmental concerns where large in the public's mind and I'm sure the river is much cleaner now than then, but thinking back to that day I now appreciate why my father was fond of declaring that politicians should be tied up in bunches of three and thrown into the Delaware!