Monday, January 30, 2012

Moth Nr 264 restoration update

Earlier I reported on the beginning stages of the restoration of an ancient Moth  Boat, Nr 264.  You can find that post here. Over the weekend Arch Farmer emailed me photos of their recent progress.

Here is a detail shot showing the new mast step and deck partner
The Farmer bothers used the old centerboard as a pattern for a new blade but recycled the 30 lb (!) chunk of lead.
The deck and hull have been varnished and painted.  The new centerboard has been installed and the original rudder (with a new tiller) has been hung on the transom using the original hand made hardware.

Another view of the juniper deck planking after fresh varnish.  Note the new splash boards.  The Farmer bothers were able to reuse the original brass chain plates which can be seen poking up along the shear of the hull on either side of the splash boards.
Arch indicated that they have obtained a used sail and are now working on the standing rigging.  They aim to race the boat at Elizabeth City in May.  I can't wait to see the finished product up close and personal!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Old Pix from Wildwood Yacht Club

I recently received these undated photographs of scenes of racing at the Greater Wildwood Yacht Club (in southern New Jersey) from Deborah Rau.  The first one shows several Comet Class sloops (one of which is sail Nr 3400) in the foreground.  More interesting to me are the several Dorr Willey-built Moths which can be seen in the background.  This photo probably dates to the mid-1950s.  The other photo shows a group of Moths perhaps waiting for the next starting sequence.  This second photo can be dated to about 1961 or '62 by the highest sail number  (2209) seen on one of the Cates design boats.

The boats in the foreground are Comet Class sloops.  However, I "super-sized" this photo to better examine the group of Dorr Willey-built Moths in the background. The number of DIPPER, the furthest Moth tied next to the pier , is Nr 806.  This can just be made out (you may need to click on the photo to enlarge the view).  This boat is one hull number older than my Dorr Willey Moth, BLONDIE, Nr 807.  I wonder if DIPPER was as lucky as BLONDIE and survives, perhaps tucked away in a barn or garage somewhere.

This photo shows several different Moth designs from the 1940s through the 1950s.  Sail numbers 656 and 666 are examples of Ventnor Boat Works-built Moths and were probably built during the war years from scraps left over from VBW's war time PT-Boat construction.  Numbers 1944, 2003 and 1666 are Etchells "Connecticut" design Moths.  Skip Etchells formalized the Connecticut design in the late 1940s but Connecticut  Moths were a popular choice for newbie racers and so this design was built into the early 1960s by various builders in addition to Etchell's "OG" (Old Greenwich) Boat Works.  Number 1564 is a Challenger design Moth and numbers 2209 and 2084 are Cates "Florida" design Moths.  The Cates Florida design was built by several builders in addition to Harry Cates of Miami.  Hopefully not all of these boats are enriching the earth.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Skol deconstruction, part III: the finale

Today we had a rare, way above average temperature for January, day in Maryland.  It's  63 degrees as I assemble this post.  The ten day forecast however looks like this anomaly will be short lived and by tomorrow we'll be back to temperatures which makes it hard to hold metal tools with bare hands.  With that in mind I decided to do the last major job of deconstruction on the Skol hull before work can go the other way; namely cutting off the winglets and bringing the hull into compliance with CMBA measurement rules.  I called Tweezerman to see if he wanted to come play but he and his wife were on their way to Bombay Hook (a bird refuge in Delaware).  Perhaps he remembered to take his camera and if so, will have some pix of odd looking, long necked birds to share on his blogspot.

Measure a bazillion times 'cause you only get one shot with the jig saw.  That curve looks fair on the port side.  Can I duplicate it on the stbd side and have a symmetrical boat when I'm done?  It's hard holding the fairing batten with one hand and a knee while drawing the curve with your free hand...
The wings came off easier than I expected.  I was able to trim off both sides with the same saw blade.  Old fiberglass can be hell on saw  blades.

Well, the pieces from both sides sorta look alike.  Close enough since I cut on the conservative side of the curves.  I figure I can make required adjustments with a power sander.

More or less symmetrical!  With the rolled lip of the deck removed (along with the wings) the hull is now quite floppy and easily damaged. Care is essential when turning the hull over.
Aft of the leading edge of the centerboard trunk slot, the hull must pass the CMBA's string test.  The test requires that if a string is placed around the hull, the maximum depth of the cord where a taunt string does not touch the hull can not exceed one inch.  This rule prevents hiking wings and extreme bottom hulls shapes   I've still got about a 1/4" to remove from each side to squeak inside the rule.

Remember that old damaged area on the starboard side?  With the lip removed I now have better access to repair it.

There are a couple more small holes like this one which I'll fill with thickened epoxy since the day is warm.  

Since I don't have room to bring this hull indoors, work on installing new bulkheads, beams, a centerboard trunk and decks will probably have to be put off until spring.  But with global warming you never know--I just might get another warm day to play!  Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Another Classic Moth Boat Blog Spot

At last year's Mid-Winter Regatta, long time Mothist, Merv Wescoat decided that he had too many boats and asked me if I wanted his old wooden Fletcher-Cates.  I thanked him for the offer but told him that I had more projects than time but that I'd cart the boat back north and see if I could find her a good home.

Merv Wescoat (on left with orange cup) engages in a bit of "bench racing" with his long time rival, Beans Weatherly.  Merv turns 85 this January and still occasionally races Moth Boats--and with great effect I might add.  When he's having a good day he's a hard man to beat.  Growing up on the Atlantic City waterfront as the son of a tug boat Captain and seventy five+ years of experience racing Moths and other small boats just might have something to do with that...

Bill Boyle put his hand up first and indicated that his son Shane would race the boat at the Wooden Boat Magazine's Wood Regatta provided they could get her repaired in time.  The 48 year ago mahogany ply was delaminating in several places on both the hull and deck but father and son epoxy filled, faired and repainted the worse places and indeed BUCKSHOT made it to the starting line back in May.

BUCKSHOT (silver hull/white deck) lined up next to several newer Moths.  This photo permits a quick study in the evolution of Classic Moth designs.

Shane was able to race the first of two days of that regatta and then the delamination problems returned. Upon returning home, Bill and Shane decided to tackle the problem head on by giving the boat a deck-off restoration.  You can follow their progress here:
Bill is a beginning blogger so the blog spot is currently a minimalist's delight but I'm sure he'll quickly catch on.  He and I live about an hour and half apart and so the next time I'm his way I'll attempt to answer some of his blogger questions.  Meanwhile, enjoy the story of this boat's return to race worthy condition.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Old Town Alexandria, Part II

Today is my last day of freedom--tomorrow it's back to the grind.  So with that in mind let's clear out some unfinished business from the old year, namely our visit to Old Town Alexandria.

King Street is basically old brick houses now turned into restaurants and boutiques.

Most shop windows were still in Christmas mode.
However this Irish specialty shop wanted to remind us that there's only 78 days left before St. Pat's Day.
This lingerie shop which opened a year or so ago was initially controversial and in some minds thought to be a bit too risque for genteel King Street but it has apparently weathered that storm and looked to be doing a roaring trade.
"Why Not" is a toy store.  Remember, back before shopping malls took over, when just about every town had a shop dedicated strictly to toys?
I was pleased to see that Babar the Elephant is still in vogue.
An apron in a fetching pirate motif, complete with a variety of kitchen tools, was on offer for the aspiring domestic Goddess on your shopping list.

Missing some animals for your Noah's Ark display?  They can be obtained here, two by two.

The next Punch and Judy show will be held at 6:30.  Bring your own pig's bladder...
After all this the diaristwomen were getting peckish.  La Madeleine is a good place to take care of that.
Can't afford to pop over to Gay Paris to see the real thing?  Not a problem mon ami, you can study this scale model of Gustave's masterpiece while waiting for your Croque Monsieur.

Absolutely NO dessert unless you finish your lunch!  Sadly we didn't have room for dessert and so headed back out on the street.
Oh dear, oh dear...  Your old diarist told diaristwoman he'd touch base with her in a half hour's time.  
Walking uphill from la Madeleine one passes Market Square with it's large fountain (drained for winter).  City Hall is the building in the background with the large flag draped over the entrance.
Adjacent to the fountain is this pleasant garden.  The sculpture is BRIO by Jimilu Mason.

Zooming in on these interesting trees just beyond BRIO.  I think they are sycamore trees but I'm not entirely certain.  Can anyone identify them?
Further along, King St. crosses Washington St.  I've always wanted to take a look at Christ Church.  Let's pop in.
Construction of Christ Church began in 1767 and was completed in 1773.  This building replaced the initial C of E chapel-of-ease which dated to 1753.   The architect of Christ Church was James Wren (not a relative of the better known Christopher Wren).
The interior of the church looking towards the altar.  Several of the box pews are associated with notable people from U. S. history.
This is Geo. Washington's pew.  I asked where in the pew did George sit?  The answer: "Wherever he wanted!"  In the early days of World War II FDR, Winston Churchill and FDR's wife Eleanor used this pew during a National Prayer for Peace.  FDR sat closest to the camera with Churchill beside him and Eleanor beside Churchill.  I briefly sat in Churchill's lap.
Another well known parishioner was Robt. E. Lee. He and his family used this pew.
The building abounds with interesting details such as this "wine glass" pulpit which was installed in the 1890s.  The two tablets which flank the pulpit, containing the Apostles' Creed, Ten Commandments and Lord's Prayer, are original to the building and were hand lettered by James Wren, the architect.
It being Christmas, there was of course, a Creche.  We see the animals, shepherds, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, but where are the wise men?
The wise men are here on this window sill just before the Creche.  They haven't "arrived" yet and so will not be moved to the nativity scene until Epiphany.
My half hour of freedom was quickly evaporating and just as I stepped out of Church my mobile rang.  Diaristwoman was shopped out and ready to head for the barn.  And so, dear reader, I wish you the best for the new year!