Wow, another year has rolled around. It's time to
get the year's racing calendar sorted out, gossip a little about
who's building what, and in general start thinking about spring
and love and Moth Boats. My finding time to face the computer
keyboard and generate another newsletter can be put down to my
daughter having the flu and thus forcing the Albaugh family to
slow down a tad (at least for a week). Earlier this year Erky
sent out post cards reminding us that it's time to pay CMBA dues.
Haven't paid yours yet? Me neither, but I'm going to the post
office first thing in the morning!
On another front, Walt Collins and I have discovered each other's E-mail addresses. Say what you will about modern technology, but the ability to communicate long distance for the price of a local call is wonderful. My E-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have E-mail, send me a message so I can add your E-mail address to my file. Also, I have tripped across the home pages of a number of small sail boat classes on the "web". Not only that, but Elizabeth City has a fine web site that mentions the MOA regatta, among other items. As editor of this newsletter and all around swell guy, I'm going to suggest that the membership of the CMBA consider the idea of constructing a Classic Moth Boat web site. I understand that web sites once built are relatively cheap to maintain. Costs seem to range from free, (i.e. already factored in to the cost of your monthly fee from your Internet provider), to the low hundreds per year depending on how much "code" you produce for your page. This may be a good way for other like-minded folks to hook up with us. Does anyone in the club have the skills to design a site? Can anyone provide a site for the club at a low cost? Talk it up.
Yup, it's spring. I can always tell. I don't need
to look at crocuses poking through the snow. My yardstick is the
up-tick of requests I get for boat plans, info on sail makers
and phone calls about regatta dates. Mike Jones seems to think
that a "Stockholm Sprite" like the ones John Atwood
and Ted Causey built last year might give him that extra "something".
Herb Fithian in New Jersey is getting close to finishing rebuilding the 1930s vintage Moth that he has owned from nearly new. Herb says that the boat was built by the Skaneateles Boat Works, up in New York. I knew that they built Lightning Nr 1, among other boats, but Herb's is the first Moth I am aware of built by that yard. The boat is plank on frame and will once again sport a canvas bow deck. She still has her builder's tag from Skaneateles. However, Herb is looking in to getting a new sail as well. Another classic Moth surfacing in New Jersey is being restored by Patricia McKernan in Cape May. The sail Nr is 1536 and the description seems to indicate that this boat is a "Challenger" built by Challenger Marine in the mid 1950s. Hope to see them both at Brigantine.
A request for plans came from Greg Allen, down in South Carolina. After talking to Randall Swan, Greg decided on the Cates "Florida" plans. He tells me he's going to build three or four-- one for each kid! He also mentioned that he might be able to get Classic Moths an invitation to the Mid-winter regatta at St Petersburg, FL next February. Let's see, the gulf coast of Florida in February, that shouldn't be too hard to sell!
Erky tells me that his son Bryan and Greg Duncan are building new boats. Finally, down in Savannah, GA, Jim Hardee has two boats along the lines of the boats that Erky builds going together. The highest hull number assigned by the CMBA to date, is 44. Maybe we'll crack three dozen boats racing at Elizabeth City this fall!
Scott Sandell, after sailing and then buying Bill Beaver's Modern Moth, is trying to form up a group for the Modern Moth. His immediate feelings after flogging (and being flogged by) Bill's boat are that ( 1). the current IMCA skiff is too "severe" for sailors brought up in an era of TV remote controllers, and (2). the Moth as a development eleven footer is a very appealing but dated concept. He sent out his first newsletter aimed at potential U.S. "modern" Moth sailors called "Moth Balls" this month. Scott says that the new Modern Moth group in the U.S. may adopt rules somewhere in between the CMBA and the IMCA, What he envisions are boats like the Stockholm Sprite or early Magnums (last of the classics/first generation of the moderns--before the hulls became so narrow), with a more powerful rig than the classic moth (full battens, loose foot, mylar etc.), but not so powerful that the boats need wings. Also Scott thinks that the boom height should be increased to allow adult sized sailors wearing life vests to tack and jibe without getting hung-up These boats would not have a minimum hull weight. In summary, an ultra light classic moth with an adult-high boom and slightly more powerful rig, no weight limit and more freedom of hull shape. Will such a boat be the best of both worlds, or seem like a retro-step to the high aspect purists and an insult to the dedicated classicists? If he can get at least three boats together they may come and race at Brigantine as a separate class. Since the rules for this proposed modern Moth are, as of this writing, very plastic, it would seem that anything 11 feet long and capable of floating will measure in as legal.
Speaking of other Moths, I was recently contacted by the British Moth Class. This class got started in the 1930s after a Van Sant designed Moth boat was imported to England. The British Moth (not to be confused with the IMCA-UK modern Moth class) is an eleven foot class with a one design hull shape dating from that 1930s American boat, and features a pivoting centerboard (not a dagger board). The deck layout is open to personal preference, and the shape of the blades are open to a certain amount of development. The British Moth has recently adopted a loose footed sail which is slightly bigger than ours, and increased the height of the boom above the deck, but still uses the M within the circle sail emblem. I've always known of this class, (in fact I have photo copies of correspondence between the British and American Moth Classes from the 1940s and 1950s), but this is the first personal contact I've had with them. I have an info-packet if anyone is interested. As it stands, the rules of these two classes of "old Moth boat" (the British Moth & the CMBA Moth) are different enough that the boats could not compete other than as a demonstration race. Their sail is larger and more advanced than ours, and we have a lower minimum hull weight and permit much more freedom of hull shape than we do.