Monday, April 16, 2018

Moth Sailboat Fleet, Stone Harbor (1952)

Here is a facsimile  of an old post card which I bid on but failed to win from a well known on-line auction site.  This photograph, showing the up-wind leg of a race at the Stone Harbor YC, reinforces my assertion that most so-called development classes boil down to a series of very similar boats for a given era and venue.  In this picture 100% of the boats close enough to be clearly identified are those built by the old Ventnor Boat Works from roughly 1940 up to about when this exposure was made.   The only differences seen among these Moths are those of the two slightly different Ventnor designs-- early Ventnor Moths, produced prior to (and a very few during) WW II, had transom bows while post war Ventnors featured a redesigned "bull nose" bow.  A very few pre-war boats also sported canvas fore decks in an attempt to reduce weight.

If I were to substitute this picture taken in 1952 with one from 1962, most of the boats would be of the Cates Florida design. In 1972 the majority of the boats would be narrow water line designs such as the Duflos and the Mistral.  The top dogs of the fleet tend buy the latest equipment and the rest follow along in a herd mentality sort of way.   For the most part, "development" staggers along at a generational pace with occasional "break through" designs and occasional flops.  This is a good thing--no one wants their new boat to be totally obsolete within a few months.

 Checking the surviving Moth Class records from this era I found it interesting that none of the boats with sail numbers close enough to the camera to be read are from Stone Harbor YC!

Nr 742 Black Beury, sailed by Harry Beury, Margate City YC
Nr 659 Name unknown sailed by A. McGee, Margate City YC
Nr 686 Champ sailed by Bob McGurk, Margate City YC
Nr 752 Nutshell sailed by Bill Maguire Ocean City YC
Nr 642 Circe sailed by John Elfman Margate City YC
Nr 640 Black Cloud sailed by Henry Hood Ocean City YC

Perhaps the boats in the lead are Stone Harbor boats, making full use of local knowledge!


  1. Pity you weren't able to purchase the card, I can understand the attraction. Moth 659 looks like a bit of a sneek box.

  2. Oh, one of those cards will probably come up again and even if not, I still can look at this download. My wife tells me that I have way too much junque as it is...

    And yes, I'm sure that Russ Post, the designer who worked briefly for VBW, was influenced by the various sneakbox designs which in south Jersey were (and still are) fairly common. But, not long after this photo was taken, the winds of change started blowing and by the end of the decade the Moths in this picture were very much "back of the fleet" boats, used by kids of my generation as their introduction to racing.