Friday, May 27, 2011

"Camping" aboard Fend la bise

Louis Pillon, the mainstay of the French Association des Moth Classiques :  has sent me some very interesting photos of a “camping” Moth Boat which he has recently acquired.  Those of us who were racing here in the states back in the 1960s had heard rumors of the French Camping Moth but had never seen one.  In those times the French Mothists were quite innovative and many designs like the Duflos are still boats to beat in current Classic Moth racing.  It turns out that a very few, probably no more than ten, of the Camping Moths were made and, of that number, the one which Louis owns is perhaps the only survivor.  Designed and built by Parra, the Camping Moth weighs in at a hefty 120kg (~264 lb in old money)—which for a Moth Boat is substantial!   By comparison, the minimum hull weight for a CMBA approved racer is 75 lb.  Ah, but the Camping Moth more than makes up in civility what it lacks in speed.  No doubt in the “grand salon” there’s room for a bar and perhaps a small piano for aperitifs and après race relaxation.  No one beats the French in terms of refinement!

Louis:  Merci for sharing!  Photo credits: Pascale Guittonneau; the small advertisement is from the January 1961 issue of the French boating magazine” Bateaux”. 

The original ad for Moth Bearnais De Camping. This is from the culture which gave us fine wine, Brigitte Bardot and pain au chocolat.  Ad source:  Bateaux, Janvier 1961.
Fend la bise can be translated to "cleave the wind". In France, la bise is a strong wind from the north.
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and Fend la bise! Look at that bow wave!
I love the wooden spars but wonder why, given the French love of free standing masts, that this boat sports a stayed rig?  Perhaps Louis will explain it to me some day.  Louis promises to send some photos of the interior so we can view the accommodations.  Sleeping on either side of the centerboard trunk in this Camping Moth no doubt assumes very trim and sleek crew members!


  1. Almost a nautical version of backpacking.

  2. Or cyclo-touring, perhaps. Nothing monotonous about a development class--there's literally a design for every taste.

  3. I agree Len! She's very cool. I have an old Titan hull that I'm tempted to build a cabin style deck for now that I've seen Fend la bise. However I'd never do this to a Mistral, Duflos or Europe. It would be like grafting a pick-up truck camper cap onto a Ferrari and then telling yourself that you have a live-aboard sports car...

  4. George
    I sent you an answer, but it was rejected by Comcast as spam. Here it is below :
    Bravo ! A small error in your text : this boat is one of five moth that I own. The number of "Béarnais" built is unknown (from 1 to 10 maximum).
    You ask the question of why this boat has no freestanding rig. The first reason is that this is not a sport boat, but a pleasure boat (bateau de plaisance). The second reason lay in the role afforded in the cabin by placing the mast on deck. Imagine the bottom of the mast between the piano and the bar !
    I promised you pictures of the inside, but I have to solve the equation depth of field and wide angle ... Perhaps a mobile phone ?

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Bon jour Louis: Ah a bateau de plaisance--that explains it! Along with the deck stepped mast, if Parra had given the boat lee boards instead of a centerboard there would be even more room, but of course lee boards are forbidden by the Moth rules. I'm glad your wife was able to figure out how to post a comment. I look forward to the photographs of Fend la bise's grand salon.


  8. OK, somehow I managed to click the "allow comments" the wrong way when correcting Louis' comment on the number of boats built by Parra. Thanks to Gunnar Berg I've figured out the problem! Comment at will, me hearties!