Thursday, June 6, 2013

Moth Boating on Mirror Lake: John Clark's photo collection

This series of evocative photos is courtesy of John Clark, a former member of the Browns Mills YC.  This first photo shows Marion Glover sailing her Ventnor Moth Slip. Note that this Moth, like my old Ventnor, has a cedar strip planked deck rather than the more common plywood decks seen on most of the later style Moths produced by Ventnor Boat Works.  After studying the color pattern of the strips in this photo and comparing them against that of my Ventnor Moth I've come to the conclusion that these are two different boats.
The following three photos are marked "the regatta" and date to the late 1940s to perhaps the early 1950s

The boat marked by the "white-out" arrow in this picture is Lloyd Morey's World Championship Moth, Lacerta, Nr 567.  Russell Post and Lloyd worked at Ventnor Boat Works during these years and Russ told me a funny story about Lacerta.  Lloyd designed and built this particular Moth Boat after hours at VBW.  The first year he raced her she couldn't get out of her own way.  Not being one to give up, Lloyd reworked the boat over the next winter, making the bow into the stern and vice versa.  The next year Lloyd won the Antonia Cup in Lacerta !  One might ask why Morey named his boat Lacerta which is Latin for "lizzard".  Lacerta is also a named constellation in the night sky.  It was a tradition within the now defunct Evening Star Yacht Club of Atlantic City, to name Moth Boats after a Heavenly body, (and no, not that kind of heavenly body, sailor); hence ESYC Moths had names like Southern Cross, Juno, Little Bear,Cassiopeia and so on.

The boat with sail Nr 879 is a design which goes back to the very beginnings of the Moth Class (1929) and seems terribly obsolete for a sail number that high.  The 800 series numbers were issued around 1947.  One wonders if this is an old boat borrowing a new sail or the case of someone finding a set of old plans and building an obsolete design just because they liked it even if it was off the pace compared to the newer Moths in our "development" class.

Breeze-e is another Ventnor Moth.

The following pair of photos appear to be the same boat with different skippers.

This boat is not a Ventnor but is typical of the state of development for Moth Boats in this time frame.  Check out that tiny cockpit!
Another photo of Marion Glover relaxing in Slip's cockpit in between races.

This shot reveals that Slip was Moth Nr 875.

Marion had a reputation of being a good racer.  Here, in a fuzzy photo, she's seen driving Slip to weather with perhaps only the lead boat in a position to get by her if he tacks over to port.

But it wasn't all racing up on Mirror Lake.  Here a young John Clark can be seen experimenting with just how much of the lee side of the boat he can bury without flipping.  Note the adult lazing away on the inflatable raft just behind the boat.  The cars in the background date this photo to the early 1950s.
Another delightful scene simply titled "The regatta".  What great penmanship folks used to have!
Here John is sailing the Dorr Willey-built Moth Termite, Nr 807 then owned by fellow Browns Mills YC member Bea Kratz.  Dorr Willey's boats were beautifully made with cedar planks over mahogany frames and were among the fastest Moths of the immediate post-war era.  I currently own Nr 807.  She's now named Blondie.
Both Marion and John "graduated" from their slower Moths to Dorr Willey boats.  Marion bought Punkie, Nr. 948 from Elizabeth City sailor Chuck Higgins while John was able to purchase Touche, Nr 909, seen here in a rare, early kodachrome exposure, from T. S. Owens, also a member of the Pasquotank River YC, down in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.  Punkie was still racing in the early 1990s but hasn't been seen in a while.  The fate of Touche is unknown.  In this photo Touche still wears the prior owner's hand painted burgee of the PRYC on her fore deck.