Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Paralympic Women Team Video

The Internet bombards us daily with the inspiring, the feel-good pluck of the underdog, the gritty - so much so that we sometimes become inured to it all. Despite the overload, this particular video of the U.S. Womens Skud 18 paralympic team manages to resonate the naked courage it takes to move forward in the wake of a disastrous, paralyzing injury or sickness. This is one part of a well-done series of sailing videos sponsored by Sunbrella - the manufacturer of cover materials.

SKUD-18: Adaptive Sailing Dreams from Sunbrella on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

MacGregor 26

When the MacGregor 26 came out in, I think the 1980's, I and other sailing purists were horrified. The MacGregor 26, the sailboat that was a motorboat, or vice-versa, had the effrontery to strap a big outboard on the back and become a very quick motorboat, one that could easily pull a water-skier. My thought at the time, "why not just go out and buy a nice little outboard skiff rather than this sailing/motor bastardization?" I'm sure, this was the same thought many other sailors shared. It seemed the the #1 marketing point of the Mac 26 was its motorized performance as shown in this video (this is not what a sailboat is about! What about the ambience, the wind and the waves?).

I recently had a conversation with Jim, a retired boat dealer, 35 years in the industry, and he couldn't say enough good things about the MacGregor 26, enough praise to make me feel that my first knee-jerk reaction may have been unwarranted. Eleven thousand of the 26's were built, seven thousand in the U.S and four thousand distributed world wide. Those numbers alone make the MacGregor 26 one of the most successful small cruising sailboats ever built. Jim told me this real life story of one of his customers to demonstrate the capabilities of the MacGregor 26.

Two fathers with their sons trailer launched their MacGregor 26 out of West River one Friday night and motored the mile or so over to Rhode River to spend the night off of one of the small islands. Saturday morning, early, they blasted over the flat calm waters of Chesapeake Bay to where the fish were biting. They fished all morning, grabbed a lunch in the spacious cabin, and, with the breeze up, filled the ballast tanks for a pleasant sail back to the take out ramp at West River.

Jim, who sold and also owned the 26, ticked off several selling points of the MacGregor 26:
  • A great family boat because the kids got to do the things they enjoyed; water skiing, tubing and not so much the things they found boring, such as drifting in light air. Plus you could get to the anchorages quick enough to enjoy swimming and hanging out with other kids.
  • A very roomy interior. With the MacGregor 26, designer Roger MacGregor anticipated the latest "French" styling of Beneteau and Jenneau with the high freeboard and swoopy coach-roof, all in the name of interior space.
  • Decent sailing performance. Jim is an accomplished sailor and took the MacGregor 26 over to the Bahamas and did a circumnavigation of the Outer Banks.
  • Trailerable, so you could get to a place to sail to the Bahamas or the Outer Banks. Or you could just pull in to a beach.
I must admit, I've never been on a MacGregor 26 (overall though, I haven't been on many different cruising sailboats so that isn't much of a surprise). After my conversation with Jim, I will give Roger MacGregor credit. It appears he was a design genius to successfully combine all these capabilities in one boat (my sailing snobbishness aside).

Here is  a drawing of the MacGregor 26M, which I think was the last model of the 26 (the 26X was the first). Thanks to bluefreeyachts.com.au where I got the image.

Plenty of MacGregor 26 cruising videos up on YouTube. Here is one of them.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Header Photo: Monotype du Bassin d'Arcachon

The Bursledon Blogger got this right. The previous header photo was of a beach gathering of the traditional lug-rigged dinghies from France's Arcachon Bay. You can read more about the traditional sailboats of the Arcachon Bay over here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Music Whenever: Lord Huron "Fool for Love"

During early summer, this song was getting a lot of play time on the local WHFS station. The song is about a crazy-in-love lunk who goes after the girl only to get the crap beat out of him by her bigger and more violent boyfriend. So, in this song, we have an underdog who loses big time. Despite the outcome, the song is still one of my favorites of 2015.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Larken Klasse Plans

I have found scanned-in, one-sheet, Larken Klasse plans kicking around the Internet. They are amazingly detailed for one sheet (just have Google Translate handy if you are not Dutch).

Here are the plans below for those who are interested. To view them zoomed in:
  1. Click the pop-out icon in the top right corner to open in a new tab.
  2. Click the zoom-in magnifying glass icon.
  3. This will give you a slider control to change zoom magnification.

The original post on the Larken Klasse can be found here.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Larken Klasse: Another Modified Lark Scow Resurrected

As mentioned in my post on the Lark Scow - The Laser of the 1900's, Thomas Day of The Rudder magazine encouraged the home-builders of the Lark to be inventive; there was no strong concept of one-design strictness at this genesis of small sailboat development. So builders strayed from the plans, building Larks with yachty looking counter sterns, with cuddy cabins, longer and shorter Larks and they gleefully sent reports of their modifications into The Rudder and Thomas Day published them.

In 1903, in The Netherlands, W. Beekhuis, owner of the boat building yard "Navis" te Loosdrecht, built a small Lark, only 3.6 meters long (11.8 feet). He built them from the time period 1903-1905 but it is unclear how many he actually produced.

The 1903 Beekhuis Mini-Lark

In 1919, A Van Gool, from the northern coastal district of Friesland, The Netherlands, built a Beekhuis type Lark with additional modifications. Having traveled to America and observed American sailboats, Van Gool borrowed the Star type keel and grafted it on the Beekhuis Lark scow hull. He made the hull longer, 4 meters (13.1 feet). He replaced the squat gaff rig with a taller gunter rig. This Larken Klasse would become very popular in Friesland and Twente during the 1920's and 1930's.

The Van Gool/Friesland Larken

In 1934, Romke Vries designed an even higher aspect, full battened gunter rig for the Larken Klasse. By the end of the 1930's the more modern O-Jolle singlehander centerboarder was cutting into the Larken Klasse numbers and, as the Finn dinghy and OK dinghy were introduced after World War II, the class continued to lose popularity. In 1965, the class made its last appearance at Sneekweek, seemingly destined to fade into obscurity.

That is until 2004 where a group of Larken Klasse enthusiasts banded together to start restoring the old Larkens and build new ones. In the short span of 11 years they have built the class up to where they are now getting a vibrant 20+ turnout at the major regattas. An amazing resurrection of a true classic!

The newer Larkens have adopted a more modern keel with a separate rudder. The lead ballast is 34 kg.

The present day Larken Klasse on a reach (Anyone know who the photographer is?)

A vintage photo of a happy Larken skipper.

At this years Sneekweek regatta, artist and small boat racing enthusiast, Jan Tekstra decided to jump into a different class each day and record his race on a GoPro. This is his Larken segment.

Acknowledgement: All of the history of the Larken Klasse was taken from this article by J.K Kuipers

As I was tossing this post around my brain, the German Segel Reporter beat me to it by about two weeks and brought out Michael Kunst's post on the Larken Klasse.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

L'Opti or the Laser 3.3

I don't know how I missed this but several years ago, sailing coach Dan Brandt at Richmond Yacht Club introduced a Laser with an Opti rig. I would imagine Richmond Yacht Club, being just off to one side of the very windy and choppy Berkeley Circle on San Francisco Bay, would find a very depowered Laser of great use for their junior sailors. Come to think of it, at this time in my life, this is just my speed for racing a Laser in anything over twenty knots.

More info on the L'Opti can be found here.

Also, at about the same time the L'Opti came out (2011) there was, that year, another performance rig introduced for a Laser.