Saturday, June 13, 2020

Who remembers the P. Evanson Boat Company?

While going through boxes of stuff during our virus lock-down, I rediscovered an old brochure I've had since back in the early 1960s when, way back in the pre-internet days, I wrote off for a copy.  Responding to advertisements by hand, licking a stamp and waiting patiently for a reply.  Remember that?

Of course the Moth (a Cates-Florida design) and the Penguin were what piqued my interest.  P. Evanson  produced their own boats but also imported boats both in kit form and ready to sail.  I wonder how many Evanson Penguins and Moths were sold?  On the Penguin front they would have faced stiff competition in the local marketplace against Jack Wright (Penguins) and Blair Fletcher (Moths).

The boat is as long as the car!  I think the car is an Austin A-30.

Surprisingly, Evanson pushed the Blue Jay rather than the Comet which was more commonly seen at south Jersey regattas.  IIRC, Corinthian YC of Cape May was the only club in my neck of the woods that had a fleet of Blue Jays.

The Enterprise, like the dinghy seen on the top of the Austin, was without a doubt an import from the UK.  I don't recall ever seeing one on the water.  Jack Wright had better luck importing the slightly larger GP 14.  The GP caught on while the Enterprise stalled in a fickle marketplace. 
I tried google-searching P. Evanson Boats but turned up very little extra info for the company.  They appear to have existed from the early 1950s to perhaps the mid-1980s.  Suffice to say that like many other providers of small sailing dinghies, they had their moment of commercial success and then faded away.  They live here on the pages of this brochure.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Another mis-labeled postcard?

I spotted another old post card featuring Moth Boats the other day on flea-bay.  This one supposedly taken in Surf City, NJ a beach community on Long Beach Island (or LBI in local speak).  LBI is another barrier island along the New Jersey shore, just north of  Brigantine.  Unlike Brigantine, LBI has several towns, from Holgate at the south end to Barnegat Light at the northern tip.

On the back side, the card is entitled "Taking boats out of the water after a day of racing from the Surf City Yacht Club."  The scene features Comet class boats, (a magnifying glass reveals that the Comet with the red hull and white transom is named Red Devil, if that helps jog someone's memory), as well as a stern view of a Cates-Florida Moth (the white hull with the girl in red standing next to it), and a Dorr Willey Moth seen in the background.  Folks are patiently waiting for their turn at the ramp or hoist, much as one does today.  To the right, on the pier, a crowd of people are gathered around what appears to be a third Moth with a dark blue hull being loaded onto a trailer.  That boat looks like a Shelley or perhaps a Europa Moth. If so, that would move the date of this exposure to the mid-1960s rather than the late 50s/early 60s.  The upside down boat could of course be another Cates design Moth.  It's impossible to tell even with magnification.  The cars in the photo all appear to be from the mid 50s to early 60s which seems about right.  The real sticking point with this postcard for me is the clubhouse! 

As a teenager, I raced my Moth at the Surf City YC's annual fall regatta.  This was a big multi-class two day event held the weekend after Labor Day, (September in the USA) and was a last hurrah of summer for us before having to put the boats away and get semi-serious about school and studying.  The SCYC clubhouse looks nothing like the unpretentious flat topped building seen here.  Surf City's clubhouse was (still is) a large multistory structure which reminds me in a vague sort of way of a large Dutch colonial beach house.

The building in this postcard might be the Brant Beach YC or perhaps an early shot of Spray Beach's clubhouse, but not that of Surf City.  Having said that, the photo still provides a pleasant journey back to a time which no longer exists--at least in terms of casual simplicity or the types of boats being raced--not a Sunfish, Opti, or Laser in sight.  Speaking of casual, it seems that the producers of postcards during this era exercised a lot of poetic license when labeling their products!  Can anyone comment on the actual location?