Monday, April 25, 2022

Slow progress does not mean a slow boat

Charlie Fuller's Mint design Moth out of the garage.

 Long term readers of this blog will recall that I got this Moth from an ocean rowing club up in Massachusetts back in 2019.  I examined the boat, made lists of things she'd need before racing, and speculated on her history but did nothing beyond that.  In 2020 the pandemic kicked in and with the boat stored in New Jersey I had limited access to her.  That has since changed.  Most people by now have had their shots, so earlier this month I asked my across the street neighbor to help me move the boat from where she was suspended to a small dolly which allows me to pull her out of the garage and work on her as time permits.

One of the first jobs was to make a new streamlined boss for the new mast step.  The photo above shows the boss and the step.  I took the original boss and traced it off on a piece of mahogany (a broken Sunfish dagger board).  The mahogany was a bit thinner than the original step so I epoxied a pair of tracings together.  Bill Boyle took my layer cake and round-overed the top edge.  William Duffield accurately drilled the various screw holes so that they would pick up the existing holes in the fore deck.  I have a bit more refining to do so that the new boss is in contact with the crown of the fore deck.  Once I'm satisfied with the fit I'll add epoxy and screw it down permanently.  The mast step pin is from a Taser class boat.  

With the mast step in place I could move on to rigging a carbon fiber wind surfer mast with a simple three stay rig.  The rig in this photo is temporary.  The shrouds and bow stay, left over from another boat, are all too short.  I'm using stay adjusters and extension tangs in order to step the mast.  Making new stays of the correct length will involve revisiting high school math (Pythagoras's Theorem) for calculating the hypotenuse of the triangle created by the distance of the heel of the mast from the shroud chain plate (side a, measurable), the distance from the heel of the mast to the hounds fitting (side b, measurable) and side c--the unknown hypotenuse--the required length for the shrouds.  The same strategy can be employed to derive the length of the bow stay.  The luff groove is plastic awning track epoxied onto the back face of the mast.

One of the enduring mysteries surrounding this boat, which I detailed in the earlier post, relates to her old IMCA hull/sail number.  The very first Moth of this design is Nr 1335, was built over the winter of 1953/54 to compete in the 1954 International regatta.  So how could this boat have an earlier number?  The sail which came with this boat also carries the number 1296.  To further complicate things, years earlier, Charlie's younger brother Clayton (age 95 at the time) gave me a sail bearing Nr 1581.  Clayton believed that boat itself had been lost during a hurricane which swept up the New England coast in the mid-1950s.  I have since dismissed Nr 1581 as a red herring.  How the Fuller brothers came to have that sail is not important, other that it is misleading.  Period photos exist showing another boat using that sail number.  Additionally, looking at the old class records, the first handful of boats in the 1200 series (Nr 1200 - 1225) were issued in 1949.  The next batch (1226 - 1258) were issued in '50.  1259 - 1268 were issued in '51.  1269 - 1281 were issued in '52 and 1282 - 1295 were issued in '53.  Charlie Fuller is listed as being granted number 1296 but there's no date.  Just a mysterious "x" after the number.  Perhaps the "x" is a place holder.  Perhaps Charlie was issued his number but then delayed construction after seeing the Moth which Bill Lee was building at about the same time and would soon be granted the number 1335.  I will never know the real answer to this mystery--all the folks who knew are no longer with us.  What I do know is that Bill Lee loaned his building molds to Harry Cates and Harry help Charlie Fuller build this boat.  As an aside, Harry later built a copy of Bill Lee's design for his own use.  Harry named that boat "Top Banana", a reference to the swooping shear line of the design.  Locally, in Florida," boats of this design were called "banana boats".

Not knowing much has never stopped me before, so I removed the boat's plywood floor board to see if there is a number carved into the keel.  The webbing thingies are toe straps for hiking---held in place by tiny Nr 6 bronze screws (!).

Unlike Nr 1335, there was no number hiding in plain sight.  I was a bit disappointed, but as I turned the floor board over I discovered this---

The boat's number, the boat's name, the builder's name and the year built--rather faint--"1955".  So, although it is nonsensical, I now accept that this boat, built two years after Mint has a hull number earlier than Mint!  The boat's name is a bit strange-- "B. B. Baby".  I google searched that name with the year 1955 and the most plausible pop culture handle of the mid-1950s that I could find was a popular B. B. King rock 'n roll song, released in 1954 called "Bye! Bye! Baby".

Sunday, March 20, 2022

2022 Mid-Winter Regatta at Gulfport YC

 Once again the good ol' Gulfport YC hosted the Classic Moth Boat Mid-Winter Regatta at the tail end of February.  The weather was perfect for both traveling down and back up I-95, and also during the times we were out on the water.  "Palm trees and 80 degrees" as Jimmy Buffett is wont to sing. A far cry from Maryland in February.

Nine Classic Moth Boats assembled for a perfect regatta; Five boats in Gen II and four in Gen I.

What follows is a photo collage of the action from Saturday, taken by Lennie Parker and Amy Linton from the mark boat (sadly the family camera packed it in towards the end of Saturday, so no pix of Sunday's races).

Not sure who captured this exposure, but no matter.  Here we see Len Parker (designated mark grabber) and Amy Linton (mark boat operator extraordinaire).  Many thanks for working diligently both days on keeping a square course! 

In no particular order (well, it is my blogspot after all) we have here your old diarist sailing his woodie Euro.

Next up in diaristson, Erik, sailing the family glass Euro.

Greg Duncan made a welcome return in  his glass Euro.

Of particular interest is Jamey Rabbitt in Moth Nr 134--a boat of his own design.  Jamey didn't think that the Mistral, which dates to 1972, is the final solution to the Classic Moth equation.  This new boat, barely completed in time for the event, had teething problems on Saturday, but with a  bit of overnight refinement both he and the boat came roaring back on Sunday.

Jeff Linton had done a bit of repair to his aging Mousetrap which included a new sail.

A look at the stern of Jamey's new boat.  The boat appears to be even narrower on the water than a  Mistral and is noticeably narrower than that boat on deck.

Joe Bousquet reappeared after a several  year absence from this event.

Waiting for the horn.

Jamey's boat has a slight reverse bow.  An unexpected consequence during construction.

Erik putting a shoulder into the day's work.

One of the starts.  Erik's in the second row, but WTH am I?

The wind was, at times a bit reluctant as seen here: Jeff holding his boom out, off wind.

A minute later, a nice puff.

John Z and Mike P side by side.

Mike demonstrating good form: "behind the back" hand changing the tiller extension and main sheet!  Rick White is smiling down from Heaven...

Downwind.  John Z. closest to the camera.

A close up of Jamey's new boat.

One can see the difference in Jamey's transom and that of a Mistral.  He had to tie up the foot of his loose footed sail due to the loose foot exceeding the class limit--another item for the rectification list.

Joe Bousquet rolling tacking.

Mark Saunders seems pleased.  He should be; he went on to place first in all eleven heats which we sailed over the two days of the regatta.

Greg Duncan is the lone hold out in the full length batten experiment.  Most others have settled on a full length top batten and short battens for the remaining pockets.  Note that Greg has lengthened the height of  his mast to provide a bit more room under the boom than a stock Euro provides.

Jamey had his own cheering section!

A beautiful day on the water in mid-February!  What's not to like?  Well,  for one thing, my starts were horrible but did improve as the event ground on.

Joe leads Jeff to the mark.  I believe Joe was able to hold him off to the finish this once.

The remaining Gen II boats plus Mark's Gen I Euro approach the same mark as in the photo above.

Jamey had some rig problems which contributed to "Ooh La La" moments such as this one.  He was able to address some of those over night.

Mark, pressing up among the Gen II boats.

Erik got a good start on this heat.

Amy L. on the mark boat.

Jeff finishes without another sail in sight.  Not too unusual.


Jamey combining swimming with his Moth Boating.  A tippy boat's gotta do what a tippy boat's gotta do...

Erik had new found boat speed after I looked at his sail and told him to sweat up on the Cunningham.

He thanked his dad for the advice by beating him the next race!

Greg Duncan enjoying the day.

Erik's improved sail shape allowed him to briefly annoy some of the Gen II boats.

The scores at the end of the regatta.  Mark crushed us.  He discarded his worse score--a first place!  Also note that Jamey dramatically improved during the final four heats raced on Sunday after he had a chance to correct a few bugs on his new boat Saturday nite.

One of the things I like about this regatta is that the "trophies" are big bottles of rum rather than yet another plastic Goddess standing on a faux wood base, holding aloft a small boat of unknown design.  The tradition of the prize giving is the that lowest member of the podium gets first pick of the bottles.  Erik took 3rd in Gen I and is pictured with Amy holding his choice.

I somehow managed to cling to second in Gen I.  I'm pictured here looking a bit gaunt after two days in the boat.  The rum improved that immensely!

Mark, the winner of Gen I seems quite chipper with his winnings!

Joe Bousquet took 3rd honors in Gen II.

John Zseleczky was 2nd in Gen II.

Jeff took 1st in Gen II.

Mr. and Mrs. L. celebrate another splendid regatta!

Jamey received a wee bottle from Amy plus Jeff gave him his winning bottle in the hopes that Jamey will be back.  One hopes this doesn't mean that Jeff is thinking of "retiring" from Classic Moths!

Finally, as is customary for this event, Amy thanked PRO Mike Kasper with the fixinin's for Dark 'n Stormies.

Erik's and My winnings.  

At the awards presentation, I was asked how many times Classic Moths have raced at GYC.  I had to think about it.  After getting home and looking at my records, it turns out that we've raced at Gulfport for 14 years (this should have been year 15 but we had to cancel last year b/c of the virus).  All told, we've raced  23 years in Florida:  7 times at St. Pete YC, 2 times at Davis Islands YC and 14 at Gulfport YC.  One hopes for many more!