Friday, July 13, 2018

What I did on my summer vaca: Part One

The last two weeks of June were busy-busy for your old diarist.  First a Classic Moth regatta to prepare for (both as a competitor and as an organizer).  After that there were new sails to pick up in New London, Connecticut, plus a Moth to pick up.  These two errands coincided with the annual wooden boat show at the Mystic Seaport Museum.  I'll being with the 27th annual Brigantine YC Moth Boat Regatta.

Photos are in short supply for this event as one of my usual photographers was busy studying for a test and her mother was busy preparing lunch for Moth Regatta competitors.  But you've seen most of the boats already.

Ten boats showed up to race.  Three in the Gen II division and seven in Gen I.  No vintage Moths raced this time.

We planned for the first signal to sound at 10:30am. But the bay still looked v. glassy at that point.

So we postponed for a half hour's time and mostly sat around on the porch.

Limp sails

More of the same.

Finally, around 11am, the sea breeze started rustling.

And that's about it for photo documentation of this event.  After the first race in light conditions, the sea breeze did fill in as promised, and with enough strength to cause one rig collapse and one goose neck failure.  So, all in all, a good regatta.
Well, I do have this shot of the Gen II winner, Joe Bousquet, holding the perpetual trophy.  Note to self: next year avoid having the windows of the new clubhouse behind the peeps in the pix.
My son Erik won the Gen I award.  I tied for 2nd but lost on the tie breaker.  That's show business. 
After the regatta diaristfamily relaxed for a few days, then diaristson and daughter returned to work and school.  Diaristwoman and I prepared for the next event in our vacation: driving up to Connecticut to (a). pick up an old Harry Cates-built Moth which had been offered to me, (b). go to Mystic Seaport and take in the exhibit of rare Viking era artifacts which were on loan from Uppsala, (c). go to the wooden boat show, also at Mystic, the next day and finally, (d). pick up our new sails from Kevin Farrar in New London.  Lots of moving parts.

We'll start off with that Cates-built, Cates-designed Moth Boat.

 A period photo of Sandy Renna sailing Renegade, Nr 1999 at his home waters, Spray BeachYC.
Sandy and his younger sister at the yacht club docks.  Renegade is a word play based on his surname.   These two photos date to the late 1950s or early 1960s
 Sandy received the boat as a Christmas gift from his parents in 1958.  They purchased the boat directly from Harry Cates.  Sandy sailed the boat for the next several years with both local club and major regatta success.  He graduated high school in 1962 and due to working that summer didn't get back into the boat until late in the racing season.  Never the less he was able to win the Junior division of the North America Championship, held that year at Ocean City YC.  When Sandy went off to college, his parents decided to sell the beach house in Spray Beach.  The sale included the furniture and contents of the garage--including Renegade.  Sandy didn't like it but that was his parent's decision.

Scroll forward a few years.  Sandy, now finished with his education decided to go back to Spray Beach and take a look at the old family stomping grounds.  As he drove by his former summer home he saw his old boat in the driveway!  After stopping and talking with the current owner he discovered two things: (1). the boat was still more or less intact, missing only the standing rigging which the current owner pirated off the mast to fix a broken garage door lifting wire, and (2). the current owner was getting ready to donate the boat to a local open air museum.  Sandy and the owner quickly came to terms and the boat returned to her first owner.  Sandy moved the boat to his home in Massachusetts and contacted me asking questions about various repair issues.  This was perhaps 20 years ago.  Since then I had often wondered if Sandy had gotten the boat sailing again but hadn't heard from him until this spring when he told me he wanted to move his old friend on to someone who would actually fix the boat and get her sailing again.  I agreed to take the project on.  Since I was coming up to pick up sails and also attend the Wooden Boat show at the Mystic Seaport Museum we agreed to meet at one of the Museum's big parking lots.

The boat had been stripped of her varnish and since the weather forecast seemed iffy, Sandy decided to wrap the boat in plastic sheeting.
After a bit of back and forth cell phone calling we found one another.  We moved the hull from Sandy's Honda to my Volvo without incident.

The boat came with her original spars, blades and sails.

Along with the major parts of the boat, Sandy gave me a small zip lock bag containing many of the hand made, boat specific hardware items such as chain plates, splash board brackets, and so on that hark back to a time when "off the shelf" items for small racing dinghies were not readily available.  In the late 1950s companies such as Race-Lite and Rolledge were just in their infancy and companies such as Harken and Rodstan didn't exist.  A wonderful find in the bottom of the bag was Harry Cates' little black builder's tag.  With the boat transfer complete we went into the Museum to check out the Viking artifact exhibition.  I'll talk about that in the next post.


  1. Looks like Moth Heaven just keeps on giving!

  2. Indeed it does--I'm fast running out of room--and that's after passing several Moths on to a junior sailing program!