MID-ATLANTIC MOTH BOAT ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER
12327 Manship Lane, Bowie, Maryland 20715
14 December, 1997 301 464-0757 Vol. 7, Nr 3
ARE YOU READY FOR THE MEET IN ST. PETE?
Hopefully by now you have decided to race at the Classic Moth regatta at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club to be held during the weekend of Jan.3lst- Feb 1st, 1998. In case you're still undecided perhaps I can persuade you to do the right thing. As of this writing the following sailors are going: Myself, Merv Wescoat, Joe Courter, Greg Allen, Joe Bousquet, Greg Duncan, Randall Swan, Nancy Swan, and Erky Gregory. We need twelve boats to make a fleet for this Moths-only regatta. Dave Ellis, Sailing Master of the ST. Petersburg Yacht Club indicates that the following motels are close to the club. They are listed from the cheapest to most expensive: Bond Hotel (813/8224783); Beach Park Motel (813/89-6325); Heritage Holiday Inn (813/822-48140; Hilton Downtown (813/894-5000); Stoufer Vinoy (813/894-1000).
That Which Was Lost is Found Again, Department
This, gentle reader, is a gripping story of a boy and his boat. Back in the 1960s, up at Spray Beach, NJ, Moth sailor Sandy Renna owned Moth Nr 1999, a Harry Cates built "Florida" boat. Regrettably, when Sandy's parents sold the family house in Spray Beach, they allowed the boat to remain behind! Sandy was away at school at the time and thus was not present to intervene on behalf of his boat. Allow me now to scroll ahead about 27 years. Sandy, now living in Massachusetts, decides to visit friends down in good old SB. He further decides that since he's in the neighborhood to drive past the former Renna homestead. Providentially, the garage door is open. Lo and behold, the Moth Boat is still there, visible from the street, a varnished time capsule, missing only the stays for the mast! Yes, Yes, all right, I'll get to it. Boy and boat were reunited. And not a moment too soon. The homeowner, after 27 years, had decided that he had tripped over this boat long enough and was on the verge of donating her to the local watermens museum in Tuckerton. What a great story! Boy falls in love with boat, boy loses boat, boy wins boat back again. Sandy will hopefully have Nr 1999 tidied up by spring. I hope we see her racing in '98! This just goes to show, old Moth Boats are still out there, hidden away in garages and barns. I dug CHARM TROLL out from under the porch of a beach house in Cape May Point, ten years ago. Now, if I could just find my wooden Cates, Nr 2249, or my Ventnor Nr 774!
News from St. Michael's
Mariana Lesher send me an e-mail in October to report that she and John Pugh represented the Classic Moth brigade at the St. Michael's Maritime Museum's small boat festival race. Mariana sailed brother Mike's PEGASUS while John sailed the Blue boat he has acquired from Erky Gregory. The Moths more than held their own in mixed fleet competition, coming in 1st and 2nd overall.
Time for a "Vintage" Racing Bracket Within the CMBA?
Last issue I mentioned that Russell Post was going to donate several of his Moth boating trophies from the 1930s and 40s. He indeed has. The various trophies range from a second place silver pitcher from the 1935 Brigantine regatta held on Declaration Day (which he won in FOX, Nr 125, the first Moth he built at age 15) to a silver footed scallop shaped plate, which the Antonia trophy winner retained, from the World Championship races held at the Evening Star YC in 1946. Russell won the world championship that year sailing LUCKY, a round-chine Dorr Willey. Among the other trophies are a first place vase from the 1940 Miles River YC regatta (St. Michael's, Maryland, sailing ARA): a 1st place plate from the 1940 Stone Harbor YC regatta. sailing ARA; a 1st place at the 1944 Wildwood YC Moth regatta; a 2nd place plate from the South Atlantic States Championship at the 1946 Nationals at Elizabeth City; and a 1st place plate the 1946 Mid-Atlantic States Championship at Evening Star YC. Russell has also volunteered to foot the bill for replating and general restoration of these trophies.
In the last issue of the newsletter I also stated that I believe the time has arrived to have awards to encourage the participation of the older, heavier Moths in our Association. The older Dorr Willey boats, the Connecticuts, the Ventnors and other early designs typically have hull weights of 100 lb. or more, and have relatively primitive rig controls. These gorgeous boats are very, very nostalgic and are an important part of our class history, but they will not continue to grace our regattas and be raced if they can not realistically compete for a prize. In most cases, the best that the skipper of a nicely restored older Moth can hope for, at present, is a mid-fleet result. Seventy years of development does not defy one's expectations. The newer, more lightly built designs currently participating in CMBA events are faster, particularly in marginal planing conditions, than the designs which many of us cut our teeth on 30 or more years ago. This is as it should be. The Moth Boat always has been a development class. Right from the beginning, the intent of our founders was that the rules should encourage the design and construction of ever faster boats. The current rules, I believe, do permit sufficient opportunity for development within the class to allow modest improvement. Also, the current Classic Moth rules permit sailors of a broad range of ages, weight, and experience to race.
This does not mean that the newer designs are better, or prettier, or easier to sail. The fact is, in many cases the newer boats are much more demanding to sail. Indeed, the class died away in the 1970s, in part, because the boats became too big of a pain for most people to deal with, and that anyone older than their mid-3Os and heavier than about 150 lb. was not competitive. To a certain extent, this is a reason why the "Classic Moth Boat" has experienced a resurgence, while all the recent attempts to restart the "modern" Moth class in this country have failed. The modern boats are undeniably fast and offer great performance, and there seem to be no end of "talkers" who constantly extol the virtues of the "modern" Moth, typically from the safety of their desks at Sailing World magazine, but in reality the few sailors who have tried one want to sail a modern Moth more than once, let alone race!
This brings me full circle. Last September we drew 35 boats to the races at Elizabeth City. We are now beginning to attract a large enough group of boats, at least at the Nationals, to support a separate bracket for a "Vintage" or "Antique" division. There are currently well over a dozen original boats in race-worthy condition that I can think of that would be logical contestants for such an award. However, I would also permit newly constructed boats to compete in this division, on a case by case basis. Such boats would be no newer in concept than the "Connecticut" design, and would have to be built in the spirit of the original boats ,e.g. simple controls, older style rudder and centerboard shapes, hull weight of at least 100 lb. etc. George Ashley's ARA TOO, built by Russell Post is an example of the type of "new" old boat which I think would be within the spirit of the original boats. However, encouraging the preservation and racing of surviving, antique Moths Boats would, I think, be the rationale for this division, rather than providing undue stimulation for the construction of "new" old boats. Further, I think that some of the original surviving boats which have been remarkably upgraded with a lot of "go fast" equipment in an effort a keep up with the newer boats in the fleet would need to be retrograded to a simpler, more original level of controls, foil shapes, etc.
At any rate, we now have several awards which could be competed for on a perpetual basis at Elizabeth City and perhaps ~ some of the other regattas if interest is sufficient. The above are my ideas. I welcome your thoughts and hope I can stimulate some friendly discussions within the group, so that plans can be made to include these trophies in one or more of next year's regattas. I'd like to keep the old boats racing.
Another Moth Boat works her way out of the woodwork
Scot Hanson called from Clifton, Virginia the other day and told me that he had been given a fiberglass, round-bilge Moth, Nr 1611. The boat is sound and complete, abet with all the hardware removed. It appears that the previous owner was going to restore the boat, but lost interest. This boat last appears in the records in 1964 registered to Elizabeth Flemming, who sailed out of Corinthian YC in Cape May, NJ. After a brief chat with Scot, I think Nr 1611 is a Titan Moth, built around 1959. Scot hopes to have her racing in '98.
Yet Another Old Moth Boat works her way out of the ww
Following up on a tip from Bill Schill, I called Ted Krier up in Collingswood, NJ. It seems that Mr. Krier, after over 50 years of ownership, had given HAWK, Moth Nr 336 to a new owner about six months earlier. Mr. Krier promised to forward the MAMBA newsletter to the new owner of HAWK. Details, I hope, will follow in the next newsletter.
For Sale: Three Moth boats have surfaced in Miliville, NJ. The first boat appears to be in very good condition and is of cedar plank construction, finished bright. Editor's note: this boat's planking and combing are similar to a Dorr Willey, however the boat has a scow bow. The owner believes the boat to have been built in 1932 and has some documentation from a previous owner. This boat has a pivoting center board (not a daggerboard), and two cotton sails in good condition. The hull number is unknown.
The second boat is a Cates "Florida" design Moth, plywood construction, painted green and white, Nr 2186; has long bow cutwater, and "platform" type floorboard (like Mike Jones' Harry Cates built boat), builder unknown (perhaps built by Carl Patterson, or imported from England by Jack Wright?). The sail number suggests that the boat was built in 1963; the beat appears to be well made and in good condition. She was sailed last summer. Aluminum daggerboard, wooden spars (the deck stepped mast is not the shape I would expect from Harry Cates or Blair Fletcher), the sail is from the English, Roekhall loft. (if I recall correctly, Gene Pilot imported M6th sails from Rockhall in the early l96Os, and that Jack Wright supplied Kockliall sails with his imported English boats).
The third boat is a fiberglass Challenger. This boat is missing her rudder, and the deck stepped mast is broken in half. The sail which comes with the boat has #2675, which seems high for this design. For more information on any of these boats contact Kristen Schmidt (Cherry Hill, NJ) on 609/988-9350, or her father, Carl Schmidt (MilIville, NJ) on 609/327-1830. Carl may be interested in buying a mast for the Challenger.
Wanted: Mast and boom suitable for a Classic Moth. Contact Gerald Carter, Jr., 782 Woodward Road, Charleston, SC 29407; phone: 803/571-7818.