Monday, December 30, 2013

Old Nr 2249

Last post for the year 2013 is this pix of your old diarist driving his George Szabo-built Cates Moth to weather at the 1963 summer invitation regatta at Sea Isle City.  I was 16 years old, and didn't have a care in the world or a head of white hair for that matter!  That Seidelmann sail looks well set in spite of having the primitive tied-off sail shape controls of the day for outhaul, downhaul, etc.  At a strapping 150 lbs. it looks like I had my hands full keeping her flat while driving to weather in maybe 12 knots of breeze.  Photo courtesy of Dave Schill.  I wonder where my old boat is tonight.  Perhaps enriching the earth?  I hope for a better outcome than that.  She was a sweet boat.  I hope she's still sailing and treasured by someone somewhere.  I had to let her go in the early 1970s when I entered the service with a draft number of 52.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tillerman's Best/Worst Sailing movie challenge

Not many movies address sailing or even bother to include a sailboat.  With that in mind this is a hard challenge.  I rarely bother with moving picture shows these days (diaristwoman tells me they're not referred to as "talkies" any more) so I'll submit an old favorite of mine as a potential "best" and skate around the worse case scenario.

The movie in question is the 1979 British movie entitled "The Riddle of the Sands".  Based loosely on a novel, written in 1901 by Erskine Childers (who was later executed by the British during the Irish Revolt).  I read the novel years before the film and highly recommend that you do the same.  Like most cases, the original book beats the movie hands down for suspense.  After all for 1901 this must be if not the first spy thriller, among the first.  A gripping tale of sailing, espionage and flirtation.  But don't take my word for it.  Get your hands on a copy of the book or if you're a slow reader then view the film itself;  the movie features Michael York in the lead role:

Tillerman: you can wire me the huge prize.  I'm confident that this is the winning entry.

Trans-America Bike Ride

Former lab co-worker Johanna and her husband Ben crossed the country this past summer and made a brilliant collage of snap shots and video clips.  Their ride takes us from the initial wheel dip in the Atlantic (near Yorktown, Virginia) to the ultimate wheel dip in the Pacific Ocean, some 4000 miles later.  A great ride and no doubt a life time adventure.  Enjoy this when you have an uninterrupted half hour to spend.

Friday, November 29, 2013

CLC's Annual Open House--Always a good day well spent.

Open House Next Saturday! 

Saturday, December 7th: 9 am to 5 pm
Don't miss our Open House in Annapolis on Saturday, December 7th, from 9am to 5pm. We're looking forward to hanging out with fellow boat nuts in our capacious shop and showroom.  We'll have coffee and donuts in the morning and light snacks in the afternoon. And door prizes at the top of every hour for those who have sent in an RSVP!

We'll have one-day-only specials running with fat discounts on all the popular gear and supplies.  Kits, too.

We're excited to welcome JB Currell, one of the epoxy wizards who helped put MAS Epoxies on the map. JB will be demonstrating professional epoxy techniques and fielding your epoxy questions.
Here's the lineup of Open House seminars:
10 a.m.: Making Your Own Kayak Seat: 
Nothing can turn a day in a kayak into a grim forced march like a bad seat. Our own Joey Schott, who spends a lot of time sitting in kayaks, shows you how to build your own custom seat that fits YOU perfectly.
11 a.m.: Sharpening Tools: The only thing as bad as no tools are dull tools. A sharp edge on block planes and other woodworking essentials will transform your experience in the boatshop. David Fawley leads this demonstration.
12 noon: Fiberglassing Over Wood: Did you know that fiberglass is perfectly clear? That's how you get to have it both ways with CLC's wood-epoxy composite boats: the beauty of wood, but the durability of fiberglass. MAS Epoxies guru JB Currell demonstrates that fiberglassing is easy, but benefits from lots of little tips and tricks.
1 p.m.: Rigging Small Boats: Whether you're an old salt or whether you don't know a jib from a jibe, everyone will pick up some tips in this intensive one-hour small boat rigging seminar, led by John Harris.
2 p.m.: Wooden Boat Repair: Got a hole in your small wooden boat? Don't panic. JB Currell shows you how to make fast and neat repairs.
3 p.m.: Working With Stains: Okoume. Sapele. Western Red Cedar. These are all beautiful woods if finished naturally. But what if you want to take it a step further? You can change the color of wood in wild and wonderful ways, but you must do so with great caution in wood-epoxy composite boats. Joey Schott demonstrates how it's done.
4 p.m.: Varnishing: There's nothing like shiny wood. Varnishing is another one of those things that's easy to do but hard to do well. John Harris will show you how to do it well.
Hope to see your there!
John C. Harris
Chesapeake Light Craft 
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Monday, October 28, 2013

BYC Rebuild--first pix

A year ago Hurricane Sandy devastated large parts of Brigantine.  This new bit of fence indicates the high water level at the VFW hall on 30th St. South (note arrow at the right hand side).  This address is towards the south end of the island and is a well known flood-prone area.  Many parts of the island experienced water this high or higher.

Meanwhile, down at 10th St. South & Bayshore Ave. (another flood-prone part of the island), the new BYC clubhouse is starting to take shape.  One can see a few photos of the former clubhouse here.

The basic footprint of the new building will largely be the same as the old structure.  Looking at the border of the tarmac, one can see where the wooden porch extended from the old building. 

I wonder why this bit of the old fireplace chimney was retained?  Slob sentimentality?  A reference point for the placement of a new chimney?  I just don't know.  No doubt all will be revealed in due time.  I'll post progress reports as construction moves along this winter.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bottle of Red

Thanks to our Tea Cup Congress I have a bit of time on my hands and so I went down to Bay Ridge Wine and Spirits this wet, chilly afternoon and joined the throng of peeps waiting to gawk at the winning skipper of AC 34.  I arrived fifteen minutes earlier than the published start time for the event but like all rock stars, Jimmy kept us waiting (he was the main attraction at an event over at the annual sailboat show and no doubt road traffic between city dock and Bay Ridge was at its boat show week best-- for those not familiar, Thursday is VIP day which features higher priced tickets and predictably smaller crowds; I always go during the weekend when the tickets are cheaper.  Yes the place is heaving with people then but that's part of the charm).

I don't know what role Jimmy played at the boat show but at Bay Ridge he was flogging Penfold Wines.  The room full of people snaked around and although I've never been to a book signing I suspect that the vibe was about the same.  Instead of people telling an author how much they enjoy his writing and getting him to sign a copy of the book, people were telling Jimmy how much they enjoyed watching him beat the New Zealanders and asked him to pose with them for photos.  I overheard one couple saying that the photo of man, wife and Jimmy would be their Christmas card pix.

When it was my turn, we shook hands and I said "I scarcely recognized you without the helmet and body armor, but I'm guessing you're kinda counting on that."  He laughed as he autographed my bottle of $9 red and asked what kind of boat I sailed.  When I said Moths, he looked up and I quickly indicated that I sail Classic Moths not the sexy foiler variety.  He said that he still has his foiler and that they're really not that difficult to sail.  Easy for him to say!  Every time I've tried it, I've been nervous as a cat about smelling bottom at speed with somebody else's expensive T-foils.  But I digress.  Penfolds had a selection of reds, mostly Shiraz and Shiraz-Cab blends, all offered in boxes showing the winning Oracle cup boat with the Golden Gate bridge in the background.  A good start to boat show weekend! 

This nice box of red plonk should keep the wife and me busy for a few days.

The signed bottle.  I wonder how many of these will wind up on flea-bay in a couple days?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Wanna meet Jimmy S?

It seems that Jimmy will be flogging Aussie Penfolds wines on the tenth of the month at one of my fav bottle shops, Bay Ridge Wine and Spirits:  

With the Fed Gov slated for shut down, perhaps I'll have the afternoon free...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Putting an eye splice in Spectra/Dyneema line: If I can do it, anybody can do it.

The vang puts high loads on hardware attached to the aft face of a mast.  This can cause failure as diaristson and I discovered during a recent regatta.  To avoid a repeat of this problem at the CMBA Nationals I decided to see if I could teach myself how to splice eyes into the ends of 4 mm twelve strand spectra line, sometimes called "spectwelve".  A spectra mesh strop, looped around the mas,t is SOP for the high ratio vangs on Europe dinghies. Borrowing this strategy would permit us to transfer the loads from the vang to the front face of the mast rather than to a fairlead attached to the aft face. An eye splice in spectwelve is similar to Chinese finger cuffs--the harder the pull, the harder the splice sets.  To keep the line from creeping up the front side of the mast I first fabricated and epoxied a small carbon cloth/G-10 fairlead to the front of the mast similar to the one John Z. taught us to make on an earlier post.  The only differences being that my fairlead has a hole large enough to pass the line through and John's craftsmanship is streets ahead of mine.
After a bit of web trolling I found a nice little youtube video by Steve Cockerill of Rooster Sailing Ltd.  As Steve explains, in order to make eye splices in Spectra one needs a pair of Swedish fids, one 4 mm the other 5.5 mm (that's 3/16" and 1/4" in old money), and a knife or pair of scissors capable of cleanly and safely cutting the line.  The fids are available from APS.  I used a razor box cutter to taper the tail of the line.  So, settle back with a brewski and learn this simple but very valuable skill.

You may have to copy/paste the URL for the video.  For some reason youtube wouldn't transfer it to this post.  Bottom line:  the strop I made stood up to the two days of racing in the 10-15  knot winds we encountered at this year's National Regatta at Elizabeth City last weekend.  In higher winds I suspect something else in the vang cascade will fail before these eye splices do.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Some day Orville, man too will fly."

Here's a short video, shot by Lennie Parker this past Sunday, of Joe Bousquet successfully coxing his wife's old McCutcheon-Shelley design Classic Moth to lift her skirts and foil.

The demo flight recorded above took place after the conclusion of racing at the CMBA Nationals, and was short because (a). the wind went soft at the end of the day and (b). Joe was adapting the relatively small foils from his IMCA-legal foiler Moth and thus probably didn't have the area required by the heavier Classic for sustained lift.  But he did prove the concept and does get to claim being first to get a heavy (hull weight ~75 lb/all up weight ~100 lb) Classic to foil.  Actually Joe almost pulled this off a couple of years ago at our Mid-Winter Regatta but in that case the winds were a tad too strong:  

Joe in Aftermath during the 2010 Classic Moth Boat Mid-Winter Regatta, Gulfport, FLA.
 No doubt Mr. Bousquet will continue to refine this and give the rest of us Classic Mothists a rules headache! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Brigantine Yacht Club: Sic gloria transit mundi

Good Bye old friend--many fond memories.  I'll let the photos, taken by BYC member Paul Murray, speak for themselves.  The old building came down Monday, the 16th of September.  The club can only go up from here. 

Stay tuned.  I'm sure the rest of us will come to share Paul's enthusiasm for the new building.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Random Moth Boating Photos From the Mid-1930s and Early 1940s.

Charlie Miller, an old Moth Boat racer called me up the other day and said that Herb Davenport, from down in Elizabeth City had found some old pictures in a drawer and passed them along.  I'm a sucker for old photos if there's a Moth Boat connection.  Here we see young Sir Charles, aged 13.  As indicated, this picture was exposed in the year 1939.  You can do the math and figure out how old Charlie is today.  I'm not going to bother.  Instead I'm digging those pin-striped trousers and rakish grin.  The venue is Elizabeth City, no doubt at a Moth Boat regatta.

Charlie was apparently quite popular with the young ladies.  Donnie Wescoat, standing behind Charlie in this picture, told me they used to call him "lovie-duck"!  The girl with the dark glasses is Madeline Kammerman.  The girl to the extreme left of the group is Aleta Van Sant.  The young lady to the extreme right is unknown.  The venue in this instance is Clam Creek, the home of the old Evening Star YC of Atlantic City.  The kids are sitting on the front fender of Dorr Willey's Dodge.  The south end of Brigantine can be seen across Absecon Inset in the background.  Note what appears to be an early Ventnor or perhaps a Red Spot design Moth on the roof of the adjacent car.
Enjoying a "Co-Cola" and a smoke.  Madeline Kammerman with two unknown young lads.  The Atlantic City Coast Guard base can be seen in the left hand background.  Gunnar B. identifies the car with the tear drop head lamps as a '38 Ford 2-door Vickie. 
Great Bear, Moth Nr 123 with Joel Van Sant's son Jimmy in the cockpit.  Charlie borrowed this boat and won the New Jersey State Championship Regatta with Isabel Brear as crew.  Why Charlie needed a pretty young girl as a crew in a Moth Boat is anyone's guess.
More Evening Star action.  Many of the members owned the small houses which lined Clam Creek just down the street from the YC clubhouse, which survives today as the home of Kammerman's Marina, and launched off their own bulkheads.  Some of these homes still survive along Carson Avenue, although last year's hurricane did them no favors.  From left to right we see Peggy Kammerman, the 1937 women's World Champion (kneeling) , her sister Madeline and Aleta Van Sant.
The white Moth behind the three sailors on the dock is Joel Van Sant's Gretchen, Nr 606.  When racing resumed, after the end of WW II hostilities, Captain Joel won the 1946 Nationals in this boat.  Left to right, Aleta, Peggy, unknown man.
All dressed up for the Regatta Ball.  Note the A-model Ford peeking out from behind the houses.
A race, starting on Clam Creek in front of the ESYC's dock.  The Evening Star club hosted Moth fleet Nr 1.  Note that  all the boats have crews even though it appears to be a light air day!  Maybe those guys knew something we don't...

The scene shifts to Elizabeth City and the Pasquotank River Yacht Club, which had Moth fleet Nr 2.  Left to right: unknown, Doug Alexander (aka "dog"), Chuck Higgins, Eddie Gasch and Charlie Miller.

A blurry photograph of Herb Davenport sailing Blackbeard, built by Ernest Sanders.

Doug Alexander sailing Dopey, an early Dorr Willey-built Moth.

Here we see Chuck Higgins in Small Fry.  Opinions are divided as to whether or not this is a Dorr Willey Moth.  If so she carries an atypical rounded cockpit combing.  All the surviving Willey-built Moths have combings which are sharply peaked at the forward end.

Billy O'Neal died shortly after this photo was taken.  He picked up a splinter while diving off a piling and developed lockjaw.  Vaccinations for tetanus were relatively new in those days, and so many individuals were at risk.  When did you have your last booster shot?  If you can't remember it's probably time to get one.  The vaccination is good for about ten years.

Finally, included with the photos of Moths and sailors was this photograph of three women standing in front of a small beach house probably on the Carolina outer banks.  The significance here is that the Mrs. Willey in this picture is thought to be the mother of Dorr Willey, the well known Moth Boat builder.  Can anyone looking at these photos confirm this notion?  The woman in the striped dress is probably Herb Davenport Sr.'s mother since these pictures were found by Herb Jr. while sorting through family scrapbooks.  Mildred is unknown but perhaps another Davenport relative.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Spirou Sailing

Normally, Tweezerman is the blogosphere harbinger of obscure dinghy classes but the Spirou is one that I think even he hasn't heard of.  The Spirou was designed by Charles Bertels as a smaller entry level version of the Europe Dinghy suitable for junior sailors.  Bertels, the founder of the Belgian sailing magazine Yachting Sud, was also involved in the early popularization of the Europe Dinghy.  The boats are still sailed primarily in Belgium but perhaps with a little publicity this little boat might replace the dominant Optimist dinghy in at least a few clubs, much like the Bic Class dinghy is currently doing.  Anyway, the boats appeal to this Europe/Classic Moth sailor and the kids sailing in the videos look like they're enjoying the little boats.

The second video shows a Spirou Class start ("depart" if I heard the RC correctly).   More info about this class can be obtained here: <>  Unfortunately the class website <> appears not to function but I'll post the URL in the hopes that whoever is the class website guru will eventually fix it.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Last Tango on 10th Street.

This past Saturday the members of the Brigantine Yacht Club met at 10th Street and Bayshore Avenue to decommission the old clubhouse.  All the glassware, dishes, framed photos, interior furniture, memorabilia and appliances worth saving were packed up and moved out to a waiting 18-wheeler tractor-trailer box.  Exterior items that might prove useful in the future such as the front entry's awning and framework were removed as well.  Led by the BYC juniors, members wrote and painted their names, wishes for the future and fond fair wells to the Esso gas station/island post office that had been our home since the late 1940s when the original part of the structure was moved from the south end of the island to10th and Bayshore.  The old gas station was added on to over the winter of 1959-60 and over the years, the building witnessed and survived many storms including the Ash Wednesday Nor'Easter of 1962, during which the entire island briefly went underwater. 

Although we where able to kludge things back into functional shape for one last summer, Hurricane Sandy proved to be just too much for the old girl.  We eked by this summer with a building which would have been more costly to properly repair than replace.  And so, demolition is scheduled for some time this month. What follows is a fond fair well to a much loved building where I squandered many a pleasant day.  I came back in the quiet of the following morning to take these last photos. 

The curb side aspect of the club house looks gaunt now that the front awning has been removed.  The twin port holes and storm doors resemble a grim, pale face staring out through darkly circled eyes.

The bay side aspect.  It's obvious that the exterior of the building received minimum spring spruce-up maintenance this year.

This is the original part of the clubhouse--the old gas station.  One can still see the gas station's hip roof.  I remember when the cinder block addition was added over the winter of '59/60.  I imagine that the current junior sailors will tell people years from now that they remember the days of the "old" building, meaning what we see in these photos.

Here's what I remember.  This photo dates to the late 1950s and is courtesy of former member Fred Kray.

Interior "good-bye" graffiti.

People really got into the spirit of this.

What was it that my primary school teacher used to drum into us?  Something along the lines of "fools names and fools faces are always seen in public places."  My family joined BYC in '51.

Someone carefully harvested the globe for this outside light fixture and after carefully wrapping it in newspaper forgot to take the bulb.

It's no longer important that someone in their haste forgot to shut this back window.

All the salvaged stuff that didn't go to various island homes for safe keeping is inside this box waiting for spring.

We also hoisted the ramps up for the winter.  I've never seen this done so early in the season; usually members are sailing well into October.  This year is a little different.  Boats in the yard must be removed to make room for demolition and construction equipment so it made sense to square away the other fall work day chores while all hands were assembled.

One last backward glance.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bottoms Up!

Last night we finally got around to consuming this particular bottle of red.  It was quite satisfactory as Mary Poppins might say.  I bought this when we stopped at Ventimiglia Winery on the New Jersey wine trail.  Part of the charm was the boat on the label, which I believe is a surviving member of an ancient class of racing yachts still active, either somewhere on Barnegat Bay or perhaps southern New York (maybe the LYC on the main sail indicates Larchmont Yacht Club).  However, I can find nothing about this boat via the all knowing www..  Perhaps Baydog or one of my other fellow travelers can comment.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Drag Race.

If you are a betting person, which would you put your money on as the fastest?  An open 60 Ocean Racer, a hydrofoiling Moth, a windsurfer or a kite boarder?  Place your mental bet and then watch this video.

The answer is here

Sorry Tillerman, no foiling Lasers in this match up.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fabricating small parts with carbon fiber: A John Zseleczky Production.

Dear constant reader, you may recall that I posted some pix of Mark Saunders' redecked Europe-Moth a few months ago.  Mark's spars featured some neat attachment pieces fabricated from G-10 fiberglass board and carbon fiber cloth set in epoxy.  You may be curious as to how those parts were made; your diarist certainly is.  What follows is John Zseleczky's step by step instructions for making a forestay tang which can be bonded to a carbon fiber mast thus avoiding drilling holes for pop rivets as would be the case if one was attaching a conventional stainless steel hounds fitting.  This same strategy can be used to fabricate other small parts to bond hardware items to carbon fiber components such as fairleads for boom blocks, vang attachment, etc. V. useful info! Enjoy.

The finished forestay tang installed on Mark's carbon mast