Friday, December 30, 2011

End of the year post for 2011

It's been exactly one year since I started this blog.  Last year on the 30th of December I was digging out our beach house after a strong nor'easter dumped several feet of snow on coastal New Jersey.  This year it's 62 degrees F. as I type this and today I drove my bugeye sprite to the liquor store with the hood down.

First things first.  Xenopus required a quick bath before going to town.  Nigel the Mini Cooper looks on with interest.  It was in the low 40s when I got under way so I decided to put the side screens on.

Our first destination was Bay Ridge Wine & spirits.  We needed to pick up several bottles of Champagne for tomorrow night.  This is a good bottle shop with a wide selection and the fact that it's also cheek by jowl with a West Marine store doesn't hurt in my book.

With the Champers procured I headed down to the city dock area to see what if anything was going on this last Friday of the year.  A crew was busy erecting large tents for tomorrow's "First Night" in Annapolis celebration.  We attended this a few years ago with relatives up from Georgia and froze our butts off.  This year should be pleasant but we have other fish to fry.
Looking out across the barren mooring field towards SSA there wasn't a boat to be seen--not even the usual Laser frost bite guys.

The same empty scene greeted the eye on the Naval Academy side of the harbor.
Tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer than today but I won't have time to drive Xenopus so I wrestled with the cloth hood which I rarely use and cleaned the oil off the garage floor.  This may be Xenopus's last ride until April since I don't take him out once the highway dept. starts salting the roads.
Xenopus will end his 52nd year with a palindrome on the "clock".  Maybe I ought to play that number on the Pick-5 lottery!

Old Town Alexandria walkabout; Part I: The Torpedo Factory

Diaristfamily has the days between Christmas and New Year's Day off from work.  Your diarist has been using the mornings to go ice skating thereby allowing diaristwoman the luxury of sleeping late into the morning.  After returning from yesterday's session at the rink (I won't bore you with a lot of moaning about falls or post any pix on my spectacular bruises--just use your imagination) we decided we needed a day trip.  We hadn't been to Alexandria, Virginia in a while so that's where we went.  As usual, your diarist took way too many photos of our wanderings through out the old part of the town so I'll break them up over the next couple of days.
After parking the car we walked downhill on King Street towards the Potomac River.  Alexandria is just over the river from Maryland and is an easy 45 minute drive from out house.  Here we see the exterior of the former U.S. Naval Torpedo factory which is right on the river front.
As the name suggests, this building was a site of torpedo construction during the second world war.  This display of a Mk XIV submarine torpedo and period artifacts briefly describes those times.  This particular torpedo had a range of 4500 yards and a top speed of 46 knots.  It retains the bright green color used during test runs for easy sighting and recovery. 
That was then; now this huge, airy three story building has been converted into a center for local artists and the town's archaeology finds.

This Dromedary was one of several Christmas animals which the artists had built for the holiday season.
Other animals included this elephant

A zebra

A hippo

This giraffe

and even a human animal.
The old factory building has been broken into a collection of artist's lofts.  The artistic talents on offer run through various disciplines including ceramics, weaving, graphic art, painting, sculpting, and jewelry making.  Opportunities to speak with the various artists abound as do opportunities to purchase their work.
Some of the lofts are quite small while others are expansive as is the case of this painter's studio.

She has a wonderful view over the Potomac looking back at the Maryland shore.
Around the next corner I encountered more animals, this time "Christmas" fish.
Even the duct work had fish!
Evert Hill's loft had a number of eye catching geometric paintings on display.
The Alexandria Archaeology Center had a number of interesting displays including this one which encouraged hands-on interaction.
Of course, this being America, there were T-shirts, etc. on offer to satisfy shopping urges at all price points.  Your diarist was sorely tempted by the soft toy version of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" seen on the display below the T-shirts.  However just as I was reaching for my wallet, the mobile phone rang: diaristwoman, who had already moved on to a clothing shop up the street from the torpedo factory, was on the other end and was wondering what was taking so long and what on earth was I looking at (this time)?!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

God Jul och God Booz!

It's the evening before Christmas Day, or Jul Afton as the Swedes would say.  I'm a reluctant Episcopalian and reluctant Pagan.  By upbringing I observe Christian holidays but by nature I tend to follow the more ancient rhythms of the earth: the changing of the tides, the rising and setting of the sun and moon, the turn of the seasons, the migration of birds and animals, the shortening of day light, evergreens, the winter solstice (my birthday) and so on.  Luckily for me both traditions embrace a common element: booze.  I've been to Swedish Church earlier today and after a bit of quiet introspection and drinking I'll soon be off to an Episcopal evening service.  Two doses of Jesus in two different languages in the same day.  What does all this mean?  I have no idea and am still trying to work out all the strange juxtapositions of good and evil, hate and love, joy and suffering, life and death, but in the meantime you can take a look at some of the earlier elements of my day.

This is our Julbord before the meal.  Diaristwoman works very hard to present a festive table.
Your sinful old Diarist also works hard.  This photo is for Gunnar.  The Rimmersholms Svenska Nubbar collection ("little Swedish tacks") is a nice introduction into the realm of snaps and can be had at almost any Systemet the next time you're in the old country:  Both the Herrgårds aquavit and Hallands Fläder are fine accompaniments to the Julbord.  I find the Jägermeister to be useful at the end of the meal if one goes once too often to the Julbord...
Beyond snaps there's wine, beer and rum to be considered.  We didn't have a chance to sample beers or ales tonight (but the Jul season is just beginning).  However we did sample two wines: Cycles Gladiator Merlot and a nice South American Malbec by Jean Bousquet.  Both were met with great enthusiasm.  Afterwards we rounded off the evening with rum while opening presents.
Good old Grogham
To sweethearts and wives--may they never meet...
We didn't sample this jug tonight.  I enjoyed it's contents years ago.  I don't normally save each dead soldier I manage to empty but I do save the more interesting ones.  Henry McKenna was a lovely sour mash Bourbon made by a very small distillery in Kentucky . I used to loyally drink their product back in the '70s and '80s but sadly there was a fire and the distillery was a total loss.  This jug now holds only air and pleasant memories.  What does it have to do with Christmas?  It is a totem for shared pleasures.  Simple as that.  I'd hang it on my Christmas tree except it would break the branches.
This last "Spirit of Christmas Past" is a little green bottle in which Pennsylvania "Old Cabin" Whiskey once resided. 
The maker was Edmund Booz, a man who's surname has been incorporated into the English language.  This particular bottle is not that old, dating to the end of production in the 1950s--but like the very much more collectible bottles of 100 years earlier, this one was made by a small glass works in the sandy pine barrens of southern New Jersey for the same distiller.  Like Henry McKenna, Edmund Booz is now just a pleasant memory.  And so with these and other pleasant thoughts dancing in your heads, I bid you a good night, a very Merry Christmas and En Riktig God Jul!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Shreveport Moths

Back in the early days of Moth Boating in the US, there were fleets of Moths scattered quite a distance from the east coast hot beds of racing.  Examples were the fleets at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Topeaka, Kansas, New Orleans, Louisiana and Shreveport, Louisiana.  Occasionally a boat or two featuring that club's best sailors would make the long trip to the site of the Nationals or the World Championship.  The boats featured in today's post were from the Shreveport Moth Club.  I've puzzled over these images for several years and have attempted to communicate with that yacht club but have received no reply.  Perhaps someone will recognize the boats and sailors in the following photographs and provide a bit of information to help preserve their history.

Here we see Peggy Conrad in her Moth WAHOO, Nr 1037.  This boat should not be confused with the boat in the previous post (Nr 215) with the same name.  Note the incredibly flat "shovel" nosed bow of this design.  WAHOO was probably fast as long as the water also stayed flat.  I'd hate to think about sailing this design in any kind of chop.

Viewed from the stern, WAHOO appears to be fairly conventional for the late 1940 design period,

This photo shows fellow Shreveport Moth sailor Ricky DeLee sailing REBEL.  This exposure gives us a better look at that unusual bow shape.  Can anyone tell me more about these Moths (who designed and built them) or about the two sailors or the Shreveport Moth Club?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Vintage Moth Boat racing in south Florida

Louis Pillon is heavily involved with Classic Moth sailing in France and the other day he emailed me a copy of an old photograph he bought from an American vendor on "flea-bay".  A close examination reveals a number of interesting points.

Although text on the back of this photo mentions Tampa Bay and the Moth Boat Nationals I doubt if this scene is from that regatta.  For one thing, although the Nationals were hosted by the Miami Yacht Club in 1949, this particular regatta was never held on Tampa Bay in the 1940s. Also, the Nationals were never part of a multi-class regatta as seen in this photo.  Finally, the National Regatta attracted a much, much larger fleet of Moths than the five boats seen here. Having said all that, this photograph, probably taken on the east coast of Florida, offers an interesting tableau. The two closest Moths are WAHOO, Nr 215 and Nr 414.  These Moths are typical examples of pre-war scow designs. Sadly, I can find nothing in the old Moth Class records about Nr 215.  However Nr 414  appears in the records registered as BO BO in 1949 to Chuck Hasker who sailed out of the Coconut Grove Sail Club.  Besides the five Moths one can see a Snipe class dinghy (sail Nr 1508) and a couple of Cricket class dinghies (the boat with the wishbone boom, sail Nr 121, is a Cricket; BO BO is obscuring a second Cricket but one can just make out the forward end of the wishbone and also the sharp stem of the hull).   The Cricket class was a popular dinghy class on both coasts of south Florida prior to the second world war but by the time of this photo that class was dying out as  sailors abandoned it for newer designs.  The Snipe was one of those designs that thrived at the Cricket's expense.  The Snipe class continues to be actively raced to this day.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Another cruising Moth

Earlier I posted a few photos of Louis Pillon's "Camping Moth" Fend la Bise.  Another example of a camping Moth is Warren Bailey's "cruising Moth".  George Bailey recently sent me a few period photos of his father's boat.  Warren, who designed and built his own boats was the 1954 Moth Class World Champion in his break away design MACH 1.  George offered the following comments:  

"In Sept/Oct 1964 Jerry Keuhner, also a MYC sailor, who was just out of the Navy and I were (back) in Miami.  I was on my way to an new duty station (USMC).  We sailed the cruising moth out Government Cut with the fleet starting a big boat race to Nassau (I think it was the Miami-Nassau race). The officers on the Coast Guard cutter following the fleet kept suggesting we turn back but we did not and they gave up as we were not violating any rules.  On a broad reach the fleet was making around 6+ knots and under main and jib we were making around 4.  Finally, when land was out of sight to the west and the last big boat out of sight to the east, we returned to Miami.  Compass?  What compass?  You could not miss where Miami was to the west even though you could not see it sitting low on the water as we were."

"In this same time period (before I left for Scotland) Jerry and I sailed down to one of the Keys just north of Key Largo, catching fish going down and fighting sand fleas while sleeping on the beach at night.  What was interesting about this trip was (1) leaving at 9:00 AM from the Coconut Grove Yacht Club we were in a rare dense fog until around noon.  Not having a compass we sailed by "feel", orienting to the bright spot in the fog where the sun was and just guessing when we should turn south.  We did fine.  (2) The wind came up and we blew out our old jib 2/3rds of the way down.  This was interesting as it was flapping apart and did not want to fall down but neither of us could go forward to reach up the headstay and pull it down, given the design of the boat and the strong wind."

This photo, taken in the summer of 1962 shows George Bailey standing next to his father Warren's cruising Moth on her road trailer.  George is looking east, towards Miami Yacht Club. The tow vehicle is a Studebaker Lark convertible.  I like the neat canvas cuddy on the boat.

Here's a photograph of the boat with the sail up.  Sail Nr 1470 was from one of Warren's racing Moths called MACH 2.  I'll post some photo of MACH 1 & 2 if/when George B. finds them.

In this final exposure we see the boat at anchor somewhere in south Florida.  George's sister Katheryn demonstrates the comfort of the cockpit.  The Baileys had added a bowsprit and a fore mentioned jib by the time of this photo.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

MAYBE II, Moth Nr 853

Note:  this is a very early post that was displaced to the top of the heap while I was attempting to add labels to all the accumulated posts to make them easier to find.  Since I've forgotten the exact date I published it I'm going to leave it here--so you can all read it again!  Many thanks to Tweezerman for his tuition on labeling--your hmble & obt diarist.

When I posted the photo of the Browns Mills YC trophy presentation I mentioned that I knew two of the individuals. One was Bea Kratz the other is Bob Kalmbach.  The posting of that photo caused William Duffield to send me some photo's of the boat Bob built after Bea and Marion got their Dorr Willey-built Moths.  Bob named his boat MAYBE II.  Bob sent us his recollections of the early days of sailing on Mirror Lake, site of the Browns Mills YC.  Among other things, this letter reveals a connection between Browns Mills and Greenwich (where William lives) as well as one with Brigantine (where I grew up):

Mirror Lake in Browns Mills, NJ, is about two miles long with a cove off to the North side. There is about a mile of good sailing water. The width varies, but is usually about 100 yds. With the prevailing wind blowing the length, a race was usually a windward beat and a downwind run. It was about a mile between marks. We sailed one or two laps depending on the wind. There are some stumps in the shallows that can bring an unsuspecting skipper to a screeching halt. This was one of the reasons for the popularity of pivoted centerboards that will pop up when an obstruction was encountered. Centerboards are also more prone to shed weeds that also could be found in the lake. At times, there were nasty little gusts coming off the trees that would frequently flip some of the light skippers. The four light Ventnors on the lake were particularly vulnerable.

George Sloan of the Greenwich-Cohansey River Sloans was the mover and shaker of our club. He arranged for the acquisition of three Moths from the Cohansey fleet around 1940. There were also several non Moths on the lake at that time. George had built what I was told was a scaled down Snipe, and John Dotter had built a monstrous flat scow with more than enough sail to cause frequent capsizes and swampings. It seemed that he often had a covey of sweet young things on board when it turned over. In retrospect, one could wonder if John's frequent abandon ship drills were the forerunner of the wet tee shirt bit. But, be that as it may, during that period there was no club and no formal races. Then came WWII and things went on hold. The war ended in mid August of 1945, and by Labor Day about eight miscellaneous sailboats had come out of Moth balls (pun intended). George organized a race with prizes donated by the Improvement Association, and away we sailed. It became obvious that because of the size of the lake, the Moth was the perfect boat. The following season we organized the club, joined IMCA, and started Sunday point races.

Our first opportunity for outside competition came the year Lloyd Morrey won the Antonio at Brigantine. Norm Parker, our first place sailor, took his very heavy "Stinker” one of the original Cohansey Moths, to the regatta resting on a mattress on top of the family Dodge. It became obvious that our old Moths were no match for the new generation of boats since Norm finished near the back of the fleet.

The following year I took four of our boats, two trips each way, stacked two high, on a borrowed pick up truck, to the first Governors Cup Regatta at Riverton, NJ. Once again, a rude awakening, TIDE!! I well remember being passed by about ten boats as if I were standing still, the only difference was they were standing still and I was going backwards fast! The tide at Riverton runs at about 3 or 4 MPH. One of our members had to be towed back from a point about half way down to the Ben Franklin Bridge. The next day you can bet we all found anchors so we could keep up with the rest of the fleet when the wind dropped.

Each year a few more Moths would be built or bought to add to our fleet that had grown to about sixteen active members at the starting line. At one time or another I counted almost three dozen Moths on the lake.

Then in 1949 it happened. As you know, while at the Evening Star Y.C. regatta in Brigantine, our Dr. Bea Kratz happened to be by Dorr Willey when he came in from a race in a well steamed mood because of a collision on the course that broke his traveler. In a fit of pique he asked if anybody wanted to buy “Termite” #807 (NB:  #807 is my boat, currently named BLONDIE). Bea jumped at the chance to get the Cadillac of Moth Boats. Being in charge of transportation, it became my job to bring this prize back to Browns Mills. As mentioned in our phone conversation, I had taken four boats down in a borrowed 12' stake truck, two on the bottom and two on top of the stakes. The only way I could bring five Moths back was to place three on top of the stakes 11' across the road. The 60 mile trip back to Browns Mills with an 11' wide load was some fun, but we got “Termite” back to her new home without incident. Then that October while at the Nationals in Elizabeth City, we found that Charley Higgins wanted to sell “Punkie” #948. Knowing that the Glovers wanted a Dorr Willey for daughter Marion who was away at college, we arranged for the sale and brought “Punkie” back to Browns Mills.

Now with two Willeys on the lake the handwriting was on the wall and it was obvious that many of our old Moths including mine, would be left in the wake of the Cadillacs of Moth Boats. What else to do but to go back to the drawing board and build a better Moth. In the dark of night that Fall (actually on a Saturday afternoon), I took the measurements of both “Termite” and “Punkie” and developed a table of offsets for each. Since “Termite” had a 48" beam and “Punkey” was 2" wider, I decided to build a clone of Termite that was to be known as “Maybe II” #853. “Maybe II” was launched in time for the 1950 season. The main difference was that she was planked with 1/4" Spanish cedar (at the time, I couldn't find any white cedar), and the front of the dagger board trunk was sloped for two reasons. It allowed the center of lateral planes to be slightly adjusted aft, and it permitted the dagger board to give if an obstruction was encountered. Also, unable to get a solid block of mahogany for the nose block, I made it from 2 or 3 pieces of 6/4 stock. To this day, I don't know how Dorr did it and kept the nose block from checking.

Greetings from Uncle Sam washed out my sailing in 1951, but I was able to sail in 1952 since I was fortunate to miss that slow boat to Korea and got stationed at Fort Hancock at Sandy Hook, NJ. I guess ‘52 was my best year and unfortunately the last year for our favorite regatta when the old Evening Star bagged it's sails for the last time. That year “Maybe II” won the Atlantic City Tuna Club Challenge Race and was part of the winning four boat team. I think John Clark in “Touché” our third Dorr Willey, was on our team. During that period, Marion Glover in “Punkie” was going head to head with Jane Bateman of Margate and Peggy Kammerman for the ladies honors.

In 1954 the wedding bells and employment transfers started taking a toll on the old regulars of the club. We ran free sailing classes that had some success, but it was obvious that we were getting burned out. In October of 1958, following the conclusion of our Central Jersey Championship, Dick Dell and I pulled the marks for the last time and we sailed off into the sunset.

From 1958 until 1971, “Maybe II” rested in her old winter home under the family summer cottage in Browns Mills, and then I moved her to our corn crib in Morrestown when the cottage was sold. In 2000 we moved to Tabernacle where we had a nice heated three car garage. Being a sentimental old fool, the old cracked up girl came along and sat outside under cover for the first winter. In the spring, from the conversations I had with Nancy and you, I learned that there was still interest in Moths so I decided to restore her. Her bottom and deck were badly cracked up, and the boom had rotted away, but the basic structure looked OK. Through the Tuckerton Seaport Boat Shop, I located a source for Jersey white cedar, and the restoration was under way. First a new bottom and then a new deck of 5/16" white cedar fastened with new stainless steel screws and the greatest glue called "Gorilla Glue”, a new boom, new rudder pin (the old one was worn about half way through) and finally the multi coats of marine spar varnish and new lettering and “Maybe II” looks better than new. Wrapping the mast with fiberglass cloth is all that remains. It will need a warm day above 60 degrees since the process produces odors that do not belong in the house. I plan to take her for a sail for old time’s sake and then sell her to somebody that can enjoy her as much as I did. Unfortunately, I don't think my aging body is up to the rigors of Mothing anymore, and Tabernacle is a long way from sailing water. I really enjoyed the rebuilding project for it brought back many pleasant memories of my youth, and the aromatic smell of white cedar drifting through the house was most delightful.

Bob wrote this letter in 2002 when he was in his seventies.  Maybe II currently is on display at a museum in Pemberton, Pennsylvania.  As the photos which follow reveal, Bob did a splendid job of restoring his old racer.

Bob Kalmbach takes the newly restored MAYBE II for a sail.
The bow of MAYBE II.  Note the symmetrical pattern of the plank fasteners and the mahogany bow block.
A close up of MAYBE II's bow block (the small piece of wood with the eye bolt was for supporting the boat while being car-top carried).  Dorr Willey carved his bow blocks from solid wood.  Bob couldn't figure out how he did this but didn't have problems with the wood cracking and checking.  William Duffield told me that the secret resides in the choice of material; Dorr's bow blocks where made from the notch of a tree limb.  By selecting a notch Dorr was using a piece of wood which had grain running in different directions within the same chunk of wood, hence check-resistant.  Bob made his bow block by laminating many small blocks of mahogany together and then shaping the block to fit the bow of the boat.  Both approaches are VERY labor intensive!
The lettering on the bow of the boat. Many Moth Boats of this era carried their name and hull number on the bow.   John Clark, another Browns Mills Moth Boat sailor, reveals the following:  "On Bob's original MAYBE, he asked me to do the boat name lettering.  I was just a young teenager and thought I could do as well as the sign painter who did Dorr's boats...not even close!.  The lettering that I have seen on Maybe II looks identical to that which I did on the original...  Well John, it looks good to your diarist!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chesapeake Light Craft's Open House--A good day out.

Yesterday was Chesapeake Light Craft's annual Open House.  CLC manufactures well designed kits for plywood canoes and kayaks and more recently cedar stripe small craft as well.  Along with showcasing their various kits with holiday price reductions, CLC also hosts a number of useful demonstration seminars on various aspects of boat building during the open house and, although most of what's presented is elementary, there's always a trick or two to be learned plus the opportunity to ask questions and closely examine boats in different stages of completion makes spending the day worthwhile.

CLC is located in Annapolis, Maryland about 20 minutes  from my house.

Here are just a few examples of the many different kayaks which CLC offers in kit form.
Seen in the staff break room...
"Cocktails, anyone?"  A new addition to the CLC line up is the "Cocktail" class racing hydroplane.  This little boat is based on a design from the 1930s and has become something of a local obsession on the East coast.  The rules are fixed around this hull shape and allow an 8 hp engine for skippers weighing more than 180 lb or a 6 hp engine for skippers weighing 180 or less.  The boats have a top end speed of about 20 mph and one of the guys who works at CLC said that these boats are "stupid fun".  One of my Moth Boat buddies is lusting to built one.  Although CLC's kit version is still a work in progress, enough prototype boats have been built to hold a few races this past summer.  I believe that plans are available separately.
The engine on this one is an Evinrude.
Here's a Cocktail under construction. 
This is a strip-built "Nymph" design canoe.  Although difficult to seen in this photo, this canoe has a significant amount of tumblehome in the shearline.  In the background one can see a building jig and set of station molds for a kayak.  Just to the right of the bow of the canoe are a stack of novel, at least to me, spacer blocks for locking the molds in place along the jig's strongback.  I'll come back to this point later in the post.
One of the co-founders of MAS epoxy was on hand demonstrating basic glass sheathing techniques while extolling the virtues of his line of products opposed to those of his competitors.  MAS claims that their epoxy wets out glass cloth better due to lower viscosity than other brands and also does not produce a waxy amine blush during the curing process.  It did seem to saturate the cloth with less trouble than I've had with other brands.  I may have to try it the next time I run out of goop.
A new to me tip is to use a small piece of peel ply on the stem to get the wetted out cloth to behave and not wrinkle and pucker as it sometimes does.  The slippery peel ply cloth is easily removed from the fiberglass surface once the resin has kicked off.
Meanwhile back at the kayak building jig, Joey, one of the CLC staff, demonstrated a novel way to lock station molds in place without needing screws or other fasteners.  The U-shaped wooden spacers are built to the exact lengths required to position the various molds at the correct distances along the strongback with the last spacer being locked in tight with wedges.  The main advantage of this system over cleats and screws is that it's easier to get the finished hull off the jig by knocking out the wedges and thus freeing all the molds instead of struggling to remove screws which may be hidden by the built up boat.
Positioning the molds
Adding the wedges to lock the spacers and all the molds in place.  He demonstrated the tightness of this system by picking the stongback up off the jig and turning it upside down.  Nothing moved. 
There was a lunch break before the next demo and I went outside to walk around.  A well known specialty bicycle shop is located just a few doors down, in the same block of warehouses as CLC but sadly they were not open.  Interestingly, the original owner of CLC sold that business to it's current owner and then went into the custom bicycle business.  I've done business with Chris Kulczycki in both ventures.
After the lunch break there was a quick and dirty demonstration of the hollow grind sharpening technique for plane irons and chisels.  After this we were treated to a tour of the wood working shop.
This machine takes flat boards and mills them into 1/4" strips complete with bead and cove edges in one pass!  Those who have done the labor involved with making "canoe strips" would be suitably impressed.
David feeds a 3 1/2" cedar board into the machine on this end...
and ready to use bead and cove edged strips emerge from this end--amazing!  Note that there is no odd piece of wasted wood as there probably would be if doing this by hand with a table saw and router.  Also, the edges were all perfect.
Next up in the tour was the CNC (computer numerical controlled) cutter with a vacuum table which can accommodate multiple sheets of plywood at a time.  This machine allows CLC to produce their high quality kits at reasonable prices.  The kits for the Nutshell pram and the Shellback dinghy which Wooden Boat Magazine sells are produced for them by CLC.
David took a junk sheet of plywood and quickly set up the machine to cut out the shape of a monkey.

Voila!  In addition to cutting out components for their own kits, CLC will do custom cut work provided that the design is formatted so that their computer can read the file.  The designer of one of the hydrofoiling Moths here in the local area has taken advantage of this resource for the pieces that made up the vacuum bag molds for his boat--it ain't cheap however...
The final session of the day was a demonstration of varnishing over cured epoxy surfaces.  I picked up a couple of useful tricks but, operating under the "if you've seen one you've seen 'em all" principle, I didn't bother to take any photos of varnish drying.  At the end of the day I found some useful cut-off pieces of marine grade ply in the bargain bin and also bought a scrap piece of an adhesive-backed, foam non-skid material called "sea dek" which CLC uses in some of their kits to try out.  So, the day ended with your diarist in possession of useful information and bargain priced stuff--what's not to like?!