Wednesday, September 21, 2016

27th Annual Classic Moth Boat National Regatta

2016 has been a tough year for Classic Moths in terms of boat turn-out at some of our long standing regattas:  twelve boats at the Mid-Winters, eight at Brigantine, and now barely twelve again for the Nationals.  Actually make that eleven and a half at the Nats since one boat didn't race at all during the first day.  On the plus side, there has been encouraging fleet growth within the Charleston, South Carolina group and also within the small fleet at Chestertown, Maryland.  Somehow we have to get more guys willing to travel out of their own zip codes.  For the hard core group that does travel the racing tends to be close and devoid of any easy wins or "give-me's".  I rediscovered that fact the hard way, particularly during the first day of racing when I made a number of mistakes, usually at the worse possible times.  Like blowing a tack during the final beat to the finish line and allowing boats under cover to scoot away with not enough real estate and boat speed to reel them back.  But that's racing.  On Sunday I managed to do better, making only one major mistake--during the final race of the day I momentarily lost track of the location of the weather mark and over stood it by enough to lose a boat.  That in turn cost me a place on the podium by one point.  I tied with Walt on points but he beat me on the tie breaker.  The boat that got away from me that final race beat us both by a single point for second.  Sigh....

But, the weather and wind were perfect!  I had a great time both on and off the water.  Good close racing, and good to be with friends whom I see only too infrequently.  Even the road trip down and back was without the usual strum und drang. But enough carping.  Let's get to the photos, which are mostly my wife's doing, and for which you should be grateful.   Most are from Saturday's action.  She slept in on Sunday.

First, let us catch up with John Z.  John actually finished his Mistral (long time readers may recall that this particular yacht has been under construction for a "long time").  The sail number seen above is temporary.  John's first boat, named Y2K- BUG by her builder, Walt Collins, was granted Nr 2000.  John has named the new boat Y2K2 and has asked me for Nr 2002.  Since I'm Class Secretary it is within my purview to grant such requests.  It's good to be the power behind the throne.
John Z. adds the finishing touches to Y2K2.

Double ended controls used these mini-dead eyes rather than more expensive turning blocks.

Note the cassette style rudder.

Bill Boyle studies the wind patterns on the river.  The boat designs from left to right are Mistral (blue hull), Bill's home built cedar strip Moth based on the Europe design, and Gary Gowans' modified Cates-Florida Moth.

Early in the day, John led the eventual overall winner, Mike Parsons.  Then minor teething problems popped up.  The new boat showed promise and will no doubt be even faster next time out.  John Z. finished 2nd in the Gen II division.
Walt Collins dusted off his old boat Feather for this regatta.  With Walt in the cockpit Feather, a Generation I design was able to annoy the faster Gen II designs.  Wind speeds on Saturday were in the 10 to 15 knot range out of the NE.  On Sunday the winds started off about 5 kts out of the NE but clocked to the SE and built to ~ 10 kts before the end of the regatta.

Bob Patterson (Shelley) leads Gary Gowans (Gowans-Cates).  Bob's Shelley took a hit from a downed tree during a storm we had a couple weeks earlier.  Bob worked hard to get the boat back into race worthy condition.  He finished 2nd to Gary in Gen I.

Bill Boyle relaxes in his cedar Euro in between heats.

Three Mistral amigos: Mike Parsons (Nr 79),  new member Jay Yerkes (Nr 2776) and John Z. (Nr 111).

Walt and Gary (Gen I designs) right on Mike Parsons' bumper (Gen II Mistral).

Walt and Mike.  Hammer and Tongs.

Another look at Bill's new ride.
Your old diarist hard at work in the office.

Jay Yerkes takes a refreshing dip in the Pasquotank River.

Will she come back up or has she augured into the bottom muck???

Is he on coffee break?

These photos provide evidence for why Jay's name was added to the infamous "Turtle Trophy".

In fairness I must provide a photo of Jay during a happier moment during the regatta.

Zooming in on Gary's modified Cates.  Plum bow, more hollow forward sections and wider transom than the stock boat.

Greg Duncan injured his back while moving house a few weeks before the regatta and so loaned his Europe to new-comer Donald Hewitt.

John Pugh, our host, sailing out to the starting area in his Europe.

Joe Bousquet coaches his high school's sailing team.  They had a regatta of their own on Saturday and so Joe was able to sail only on Sunday.  Even though he missed an entire day of racing, accumulating maximum points, he dominated the fleet with four first places on Sunday to claim third on the Gen II podium.  Damn fine sailing!  Who says having a throw out is a bad thing?

After the end of the regatta the competitors gathered around Bill "Beans" Weatherly.  Beans (seated, white shirt/blue cap) is 87 this year and grew up racing Moths in the 1940s and '50s.  Beans raced with us until about five years ago.  Beans' memories of the early days of Moth Boat racing go all the way back to Capt Joel Van Sant and the other founding sailors in the class.

This is the souvenir "keeper" from this year's National Regatta.

An "interesting" design, what with the square corners.  I'll have to be careful how I sip, lest I dribble hot scalding coffee down the front of my shirt.


  1. George thanks for all your hard work. Now that we are in our new house I can pay more attention to business. Good to see the fleet again.

  2. Ditto your hard work! Always enjoy coming down to Elizabeth City, Greg. Hope to see you at the Mid-Winters if not sooner.

  3. Hi George, I just popped in to your 'other' blog to say hi. I'm glad you are out there enjoying the sea and the sun in your cool sailboat, hope you will also be able to skate if you like!

  4. Hi Mary! Wow, I'd better post something on the skating blog if other skaters are getting so bored with my lack of activity that they're beginning to read my sailing posts! I have been skating (same old dances--but I am getting closer to being test ready--those judges are sooo picky) but noting particularly blog worthy. Babette from the Ice Doesn't Care blog is also checking up on me, which with my dodgy history of broken arms and cracked heads is probably justified! But--no new disasters on ice (at least not for the moment); just chipping away in the trenches with nothing juicy and delicious to post about other than take a coached lesson, practice, repeat. Thanks for checking up on me and I hope you enjoyed the sailing stuff! Ice skating posts soon come, mon, soon come.

  5. Just got to your report from ECity -- thank you! Love seeing the photos and commentary.

    We are sad to miss the event again, but look forward to seeing you-all in Gulfport this spring.

  6. Amy! We missed you and Jeff. Seeya in Gulfport!