Friday, October 20, 2017

Happy Ending/New Beginning

Fellow Moth Boat sailor Joe Bousquet has been encouraging some of the junior sailors on the high school sailing team where he teaches to give Classic Moths a try.  To further that end I've been passing freebie Moth Boats to Joe.  Earlier I gave him a boat which a lot of people thought was beyond rescue but Joe has already repaired the holes in the bottom and in the fore deck.  He indicates that it will be ready in time for next season.

I blogged about this poor ol' boat earlier.  Most people who looked said it was too rough to plant flowers in.  Joe B. plans to get her sailing by spring.

More recently Rich Larson, up on Long Island emailed me to say that he wanted to donate a Moth which his daughter was no longer using.  This boat was in much better condition that the boat above and included a road going trailer and a custom cover.  All someone had to do was come get the boat.  After talking with Joe B., diaristdaughter and I hit the road for New York.

For reasons known only to the programmers of Garmin GPS units, our little gizmo decided instead of the GW Bridge that we should take the Lincoln Tunnel and go smack down 42nd St and then to the Queens Midtown Tunnel.

The entrance to the QM Tunnel was blocked and by the time I realized that fact we had passed the detour.  We looped around, trading pleasantries with the Taxi Cabs and saw lots of big buildings of which I'm only vaguely familiar.  Is this one the Chrysler Building?  I think it is.
We eventually got to Rich's house on Long Island.  We were only a little bit late!  The rain magically stopped during the time we were actively hitching up the trailer and transferring boat gear from the garage to my wagon.

This Mk II Fletcher-Cates (blue hull closest to the camera) is in relatively good condition.

The Mk II version featured roll tank style decks while using the same hull as the standard version.  Originally this boat had a center main traveler rather than the current aft bridle.
Before leaving, we picked Rich's brain for some handwritten instructions to override our GPS.  I didn't fancy another ride down 42nd St., this time towing a wonky boat trailer with old dry rotted tires.  No, this bridge isn't the one you're thinking of.  This one is the Manhattan Bridge.

Here's the one you're thinking of.  Now, if you're interested in this bridge, be sure to ask me about my portfolio of prime Florida real estate.

We avoided downtown but every time I turned around we were going over another bridge, this one's the Verrazano Bridge--and no, none of these bridges are free.  I dread seeing my ezpass statement.  Sigh--the things I do for juniors sailors.  At least the sky was getting brighter in the  direction we were headed.
The next morning.  Yes, we eventually did get home in one piece.  I had brought two wheels/tires plus tools in case the old tires gave out but thankfully they didn't.  A week later, I helped Joe B. change wheels before he set out from my house in Maryland to go back to Norfolk, VA.  We had to use a sledge hammer to free one of the wheels from it's hub!

She looks good with her travel cover in place.
The following weekend Joe came to collect the boat.  He decided to stick on some reflective tape in case the tail lights decided to go on holiday.

Joe B. ready for the Grand Depart.  I'm the one who should be smiling--this boat came and went while my wife was out of town!

And yes, Joe also had an uneventful trip.  Perhaps this is a lucky boat.  Hopefully I'll see a new junior sailor in her next racing season.


  1. I've always wondered, given the number of Cates built, why more of the old Cates haven't resurfaced? It is also interesting that the wooden Cates had very wide side decks while the fiberglass Cates had very narrow rolled tanks. In vogue styling I guess. would you hazard a guess on the weight of fiberglass Cates? Around the weight of an Europe Dinghy?

  2. Oh, old glass Fletcher-Cates Moths are around. We just don't know who currently owns them. Actually, the glass F-C Moths for the most part had decks that where identical to the woodies. The example pictured here with roll tank decks is fairly rare. This variant was only offered for one year (1963) and then withdrawn from the market due to a lack of enthusiasm from the buying public. I think there were several reasons for this. First off, like the Europa, there is no stern deck and so this boat is very easy to swamp if the skipper ventures too far aft. This unfavorable trait is accentuated in the Cates design due to the small, pinched transom. Unlike the Europa, the roll tanks and the bow compartment were not sealed! This particular example has had those important modifications carried out. Also, instead of a keel stepped mast (with a vulnerable mast partner on the fore deck)the featured boat has been converted to a deck stepped mast, thus sealing another potential path for water entering the boat if sailed in a chop. Blair had a knack for copying whatever seemed to be fast and/or in vogue. During the early 1960s roll tank decks were featured on many French Moths as well as the Belgian designed Europa.

    The weight of either the wood or glass Fletcher-Cates hulls was, when new, roughly 75 lbs, which is one reason the CMBA adopted that number as a minimum weight for hulls. One of Walt's brothers has a glass F-C with the traditional deck format that still weighs about that much. Of course as boats grow older and are repaired, hull weight tends to increase--much like that of the skipper...

  3. wow old boats everywhere, Joe has it going on. I'm going to try and duplicate his effort down here. Just may work now that we have a sailing foundation downtown.

    1. Yep, we need young blood. The more boats we can get into the hands of junior sailors the better.

  4. Great story George - good to know all is well and active in Moth Heaven on the shores of Mid Atlantic!

  5. ..... and fantastic that old boats are on the mend and being used, they aren't much use gathering dust ..... although there are a few small sailing dinghies I wouldn't mind bolting on the wall in our house so I could get to look at them more and admire their lines .... but my wife doesn't think that's a very good idea : > ) .

  6. Thanks Alden. Several of us are trying to get unused Moths in the hands of junior sailors. Hopefully our efforts in fleet building will pay off.

  7. Sounds like an excellent adventure all around!

    1. Yep, Joe B. and I are hoping to get more kiddies involved with these boats before the current crop of sailors are wheelchair bound. Maybe we'll see that start to happen this spring. He had a young lady sailing my old Shelley (Say When) at the Nats last fall. Stay tuned.