Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Abbott Moth design pix

Here are a couple of the promised photos of a Fran Abbott-designed Moth Boat.  The boat featured, Nr 1600, is the one Fran built for his daughter Kay.  This boat is currently owned by William Duffield.

Abbott Moth "Com-on-K" viewed from the bow with your diarist in the hot seat.  The venue was the 2008 Brigantine YC annual Moth Boat Regatta.

The same boat a few years earlier, this time with Jeff Gerber skippering.  NB: the sail was borrowed from another boat.
Just to put Bill Boyle's rather daunting project into perspective, below are some photos of his Abbott in "as found" condition. This poor boat is almost beyond salvation.  Luckily the keel and major structural elements are sound and can be reused.  This boat will look like a new penny after Bill re-skins her with new ply panels.  Some of the hand made hardware specific to the Abbott Moth such as the combination bow handle and stem fitting, the drain cock, etc. have survived.  However along with rebuilding the hull, Bill will have to make new spars and blades.

Nr 1603, port quarter.  The item seen dangling from the bottom of the transom is one of Fran Abbott's hand made drain cocks.  When this boat was build many items had to be made up by the builder. Fran taught himself the arts of bronze casting and metal fabrication in addition to woodworking.  Specialty dinghy hardware manufacturing which we now take for granted was in it's infancy when this boat was built, with a just few small pioneer companies such as Race-Lite and Rollege producing a limited range.  Harken and Ronstan were decades away into the future.  Back then, if you needed something that the local hardware store couldn't supply you made it yourself!
Nr 1603 as found, behind a Chestertown, Maryland warehouse which Bob Patterson had just rented for his business.  Perhaps someone will recognize this boat from the remnant of unusual green-blue colored paint seen on the side board towards the bow.  It would be interesting to learn how this boat came to rest here, a long way from Ocean City, New Jersey.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Yet another Moth Boat restoration web site

Bill Boyle, our fearless Fletcher-Cates rehaber, is also attempting to bring back a very neglected Abbott-design Moth that Bob Patterson found abandoned behind a warehouse in Chestertown, Maryland.  How an Abbott Moth wound up there is anyone's guess but Bob muckled onto her and in turn passed her over to Bill, figuring Bill could use a bit of wet firewood. The poor neglected Abbott has sat in Bill's shed over the last couple of years and now has finally moved to the top of the project list.  If you thought that old Moth Nr 264 looked pretty hopless at the onset, just wait until you get a load of this baby .

(cut and paste this link if the one above doesn't work: http://billsmothboatpage.blogspot.com/  )

A little history: Fran Abbott opened a small boat yard at 200 West Ave. in Ocean City, New Jersey just after returning to civilian life at the end of World War II.  I bought my first Moth boat from Fran in the summer of '59--a nail sick old Ventnor which he was selling under consignment.  I still have the bill of sale somewhere.  Anyway, along with servicing various big boats for members of the Ocean City Yacht Club and selling small boats on consignment, Fran built a couple dozen Moths of his own design.  Fran was strongly influenced by not only the Ventnor and Dorr Willey Moths which were current in those days but also he developed a rather strong opinion about the faster, lighter boats coming up from Florida!  Fran didn't like tippy, flimsy boats and so build his boats strong (read heavy) and stable.  Although he realized that the Moth was a development racing class he still pitched his boats more towards stability rather than ultimate speed.  In Moth boating, as in most things, speed comes at the expense of stability and longevity.  Fran over-built his boats to be able to take the abuse that beginner kids generally dish out.  These were the days before Sunfish or Optimist dinghies--the boats that currently make up the beginner fleets (I've seen inexperienced kids ram dock pilings at full till in a Sunfish and just bounce off with no or minimal damage--an Abbott could to a degree do that as well).  Having said all that, an Abbott Moth in the hands of a talented sailor was competitive against the best designs of those times.  Most Abbott Moths however went to rookies rather than the top sailors in the fleet and so didn't often figure in podium spots at the end of a regatta.  Be that as it may, I think a well sorted Abbott will be a VERY competitive addition to the CMBA's current Vintage division and look forward to racing against this boat when she's finished.  Sadly, Fran passed away a few years ago and so won't be able to comment on this attempt to breathe life back into one of his boats.   In the next few days I'll dig through my photo files and post a pix or two of what an Abbott Moth in race worthy condition looks like so that you'll have an idea of what Bill is shooting for.  In the meantime, settle in for the ride at the URL above.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

DC Auto Show, Part II

Picking up from my last post, Lotus displayed several of their road cars including this Elise SC.
This Lotus Exige attracted quite a bit of interest.  It took a while before I could get a good photo of it!  These cars are a far cry from the old Lotus 7 America and Super Seven that I owned way back when.
B is for Bentley.

This cabriolet would be fun as long as one didn't think too deeply when filling the fuel tank.
The "Spirit of Ecstasy" mascot from the business end of a Rolls Royce.  This reminded me, in a random way, of a line from a Hilaire Belloc poem:  "The rich arrived in pairs and also in Rolls Royces and talked of their affairs in loud and strident voices."  I think that line is from Belloc's "Cautionary Tales for Children" but am not clearly certain of that.  Perhaps someone can leave a comment and put me straight in that department; odd what triggers  the mind.
Next up was Ferrari.  This is the new all wheel drive FF.  $377K seems like an awful lot of money for a station wagon!
Here is a two seater open Ferrari painted "refrigerator white".  I didn't think such a thing was possible!  This may well be illegal in some countries--in Italy probably so.
I heard a commotion behind me and turned to see this group of elegantly  costumed Chinese reminding us that this is the year of the dragon.  Not sure what that has to do with the Auto Show, but it was colorful never the less.
Meanwhile over at the Honda stand we inspected this Indy Car.
This particular car was driven to first place finishes at Kansas City Speedway in '08 (Dan Wheldon), Toronto in '09 (Dario Franchitti) and Milwaukee in '11 (Franchitti again).
Of course Honda is hoping that all that racing activity rubs off in the showroom and boosts sales of Accords.
What's an auto show without a few concept cars?  This is the Lexus LF-LC.
Hyundai's concept car was the "Veloster".  For the life of me I see no connection between this car and a "velo" as in cycling.  Perhaps they plan to run over a few velos...
There were many other curious things to see on the lower level but with time running on we decided to head upstairs for a look at the domestic offerings.  I'll report on the cars displayed on the upper level in my next post.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The 2012 DC Auto Show

Since our son was shopping for a car, your diarist family decided to ring out the wimpy month of "Junuary" with a visit to the Washington, DC Auto Show.  The show takes place about this time each year but it's been over 10 years since we've bothered to go. The show is held in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, near Mount Vernon Square.

The first thing that caught our attention as we came into the lower hall was the FIAT display.  FIAT had a "test track" and was offering rides around this small driving range in a half dozen of their  new 500 model.  They also had a DJ constantly spinning Euro-pop and Hard Rock to keep the atmosphere hopping.

The various array of FIAT 500s included Abarth and Gucci versions.
This Gucci Cabrio started off at about $27,500!
Matching Gucci shoes and luggage could be had at extra cost...
Gucci-Schmucci--your diarist preferred this classic 500 FIAT better than any of the newbie 500s on offer.
Things were simpler when this baby was built.  Bluetooth?  Fogitaboutit.

Mini-Cooper was showing the new to the U. S. market 2-seater Mini Roadster and Coupe.  Here is the Roadster.

And here's the John Cooper "Works" version of the Coupe.
We moved on to the Volvo area.  Diaristwoman was initially taken with this felony red C30 coupe.
But she was less impressed with the lack of storage room in the boot.
Further along we discovered a display of classic cars offered by a local collector car company.  Here is a '67 Corvette.
This '57 T-bird was a nice bit of eye candy.
Your diarist was taken by this tastefully hot rodded '38 Chevy Stepside pick-up.
Here's the Chevy's interior.  Note that the windscreen cranks open at the bottom.  Nothing worse than a stuffy cab...
Other tasty Chevys included this '69 Camaro RS/SS.
This nice '62 Impala had a 327 cubic inch V8.  Back in the day, one of my high school buddies borrowed his Uncle Skeeter's brand new Impala and we hit 100 MPH on our way to pick up our dates for the senior prom.  Beau could chirp the tires in fourth gear.  "A fast car on a foggy night--sure hope the road stays straight."  Yeah, we were reckless and stupid but somehow avoided collecting the "Darwin" award that night.  Brings back memories...
The National Capital Region Mustang Club had a corral full of vintage Mustangs including this nice Shelby  GT 350.
Now days, this soap box derby car is about my speed.

 They race them down Capital Hill in the spring.
But then, perhaps your tastes run to Lamborghinis,

or Maseratis. You could find them here.

 On my next post we'll move along and look at offerings from Lotus, Ferrari, Rolls, Bentley and more!