Saturday, April 19, 2014

More Shreveport Moths

Readers may recall an earlier post on this blogspot that addressed the subject of Moth Boats down in the Shreveport, Louisiana area.  Recently I was contacted by Frank Hendrick.  Frank's father Dale Hendrick was part of the Shreveport Moth Fleet during the late 1930s.  Frank plans to  build a replica of his father's boat based on several similar early Moth designs which I've shared with him.  What follows are some period photos which Frank shared with me.  They show Dale Hendrick sailing the Moth Boat which he built in those days.

Dale Hendrick, 1937.

The cockpit of a Moth was roomy enough for two in the era before boom vangs and other sail shape control clutter.

However, this photo reveals the large pivoting center board, which in the raised position occupies most of the cockpit!  Center boards offer certain advantages over dagger boards during beach launching.

Moving away from the beach, board still up.

Stern view.

Bow shot.  Note the large spreader used to keep the mast in column.

Dale Hendrick (dark suit) is to the right of the gent in the light grey suit (marked as Nr 10) in this group photo of Shreveport Moth Fleet from the spring of 1938.  Sadly the Shreveport Yacht Club appears not to have retained any record of Moth Boat activities from this era so we don't have any idea of how often these members raced.  However the Hendrick family photos clearly demonstrate that the idea of building and racing small development class dinghies was not isolated to the east coast.  It would be interesting to hear the stories of other fleets which grew and flourished away from the mainstream of Moth Boat activity during these early days.

In many respects Dale Hendrick's Moth is very similar to Skimmer the Moth designed by William  F. Crosby, then editor of The Rudder magazine.  Skimmer was featured in a two part article which was published in the October and November 1933 editions of the magazine.  Both the Circle-M and Moth insect silhouette insignia (as seen on the sail in the drawing above) were in use during the first few years of the Moth Class.  Indeed, Australian sailors who were also sailing eleven foot development style dinghies in the '30s read these articles, noted the measurement rule similarities and adopted the name "Moth" for their boats.  There were differences between the American and Australian boats but this being the height of the great depression and with the two groups 13,000 miles apart, no attempt was made to rationalize the two sets of rules. Thus, very early on, the Moth Boat started to evolve into different "species".  The International Moth Class Association uses the Moth silhouette to this day.  The Americans and also the British Moth Class settled on the Circle-M.

Moths of this era typically have "transom" bow plates rather than sharp stems.  Decks tend to be "flat iron", without any hint of crown and, as noted, early designs had pivoting center boards.  The "jab" or "dagger" style board was introduced a few years later and by the end of the 1930s competitive Moth designs had moved to the dagger board.

Details of Skimmer's body plan.

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