After watching the start to the sailboat race for the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival sailboat race I had the option of being dropped off with the race committee at the corner of the Chesapeake Maritime Museum harbor to watch the finish or, stay with the CBMM workboat, Volunteer, and motor through the fleet as it beat toward the finish. I chose the latter but as soon as we poked our nose out of the harbor there was, dead ahead, a sail with no hull, a sight that brokered further investigation.
It turned out it was one of the racers that needed assistance and it was also someone I knew. Larry Haff, a canoe sailor, was racing his homebuilt Polynesian outrigger canoe and as we drew near, we could see his main hull awash, Larry sitting forlornly in what was now a bathtub with the outrigger bobbing alongside, completely detached. The outrigger attachment point had failed when Larry had hardened up to go upwind and he was now discovering that he didn't have enough buoyancy in the main hull to support his weight and the sloshing water. I wondered how difficult this rescue would be as we would have to maneuver this longish workboat alongside but Lad Mills did a great job. Thankfully, the aft freeboard on Volunteer is low, the aft deck wide so we were able to work efficiently to get the rig out of the canoe and onto Volunteer, the outrigger stowed onboard and then, with some tugging and grunting, roll Larry up onto Volunteer's deck.
On our initial approach, the crew on Volunteer viewing the half sunken canoe. From left to right, Tweezerman, Rick Scofield, Lad Mills with Larry Haff in the water. Photo lifted from the CBMM Facebook page.
Rig and outrigger secured on Volunteer, Rick watches closely that the canoe main hull, still with very little freeboard, doesn't veer off or dive under the water as we slowly tow her in.
Lad Mills at the helm. Larry Haff adding another pair of eyes astern. Other than the outrigger attachment failure there didn't seem to be any other major damage.
Larry Haff's outrigger canoe, back on shore, loaded up for the journey back to Massachusetts and some engineering modifications over the winter.
There were only three dinghies at the National Sailing Hall of Fame's Wooden Boat Gathering. One of them was this iconic Clark Mill's design, the Windmill (and winner in the small boat division), whose skipper had driven all the way from Kansas City for the event. (For those of you reading Eawigoagin from outside the U.S., Kansas City is almost smack-dab in the middle of the U.S and a good three day drive from the coasts). His well-restored Windmill was of a batch of at least 20 that were built around Kansas City during the 1960's. I didn't catch up with this fellow but Earwigoagin gives him a big TOH for his determination to attend what turned out to be a short drift-fest around Annapolis Harbor. (Usually when someone drives this distance to Annapolis, they have another agenda; that of visiting Washington DC for the sights - although granted, Annapolis does have its charm as well.)
The sailboat race at the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival starts around 1 p.m.on Saturday and is a quick, short jaunt, usually two legs, around the Miles River with the finish off the Museum docks. This year the fleet launched in sunshine which quickly clouded over, the sun peeking through occasionally for the race and then reappearing after the boats had finished. Luckily, the wind which had been blowing hard out of the northwest in the morning had moderated. About forty of the Festival sailboats, sailed out, turning the corner just outside of St. Michaels harbor to make the start.
I was able to again wrangle a ride on the Race Committee boat, the Volunteer, a thirty foot open workboat built by Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum staff, ably handled by Asst. Curator Rick Scofield and Boat Donations Manager, Lad Mills. Although I have a reasonable knack for identifying sailing dinghies, I have difficulty in identifying the subset of designs by traditionalists such as Ian Oughtred and John Welsford. For the following photos taken before the start, readers may want to chime in with the boat types and I will add them later to this post.
Smiles! This is one thing that strikes a competitive racer, such as I, when viewing the fleet before the start. There were so many beaming smiles! This may be a Welsford Pathfinder yawl.
Smiles from a San Francisco Bay Pelican, a flat bottomed, dory sided centerboarder, known for their yacht-like stability.
A traditional gaff-rigged catboat.
A green catboat with a balanced lug and lapstrake topsides. According to the Woodenboat Forum, this is a Tom Hill Modified River Skiff.
Spirit is a design by West River, Maryland icon, Capt. Dick Hartge. Capt. Dick Hartge built Spirit in his retirement in Florida. It is a stretched Chesapeake 20, adding 2 feet to the length, finishing in a pretty canoe stern. Restored by a group in Calvert County, Spirit, under one reef, easily won the sailboat race.
It seems I've settled into a two year rotation in making it over to St. Michaels, Maryland for the Mid-Atlantic Small Boat Festival (MASCF hosted by the Chesapeake Maritime Museum, on their grounds). This year saw me once again go for a Saturday to wander around a crowd I normally don't hang out with, the ones with mostly home-built boats, kayaks, canoes, pulling boats, traditional reproductions, CLC kit boats, Bolger boxes, restored dinghies, and other oddball designs. Strange as strange as it could be, as soon as I arrived at the Festival, I ran into two ex-bosses. Walking across the parking lot to get a ticket I ran into an old engineering manager. He and I were the only two sailors at this former company, but he had a J-27 racing keelboat, so it was somewhat of a surprise to see him going into a show featuring this polyglot mix of mostly wooden boats. It turns out he was making a day-trip of it with his wife and another couple. For him, the feature event was to be later on, dining out in the delightful waterside town of St. Michaels. We caught up on some long-ago names - you know, what is so-and-so doing now? Is he retired? Where is he living? We split up after getting into the show.
I ran into an old sailmaking boss once inside the show. Again, an odd meeting since he is a racing Star and Log Canoe sailor and not known to take much interest in these small boats. And again I was updated on old co-workers.
Then it was my turn to wander the docks. I did wander into someone from the Kirby Paint Co,, New Bedford MA.. I have used their marine enamels and have found them easy to use and even I am able to get a reasonable finish with them, despite my impatience with painting boats.
Some boats at the docks, at least the ones I took photos of:
Pete Lesher, the chief curator at the Chesapeake Maritime Museum has collected the only two known C. Lowndes Johnson Eighteen-Footers, a design precursor, by ten years (1922), of his most famous dinghy, the Comet (1932). I had a very interesting conversation with Pete on where American dinghy design originated in the early years of the twentieth century.
The cat-ketch Graham Byrne's design Core Sound 17. The larger Core Sound 20 is the go-to design for those looking to do the Everglades Challenge. Two mainsails with wishbone booms make for simple day sailing on this easy-to-build shallow V-shaped hull.
This Force 5 had a purple hull and this puke-lime-yellow deck. Bravo to the old production builders from the 1980's! How I wish more fiberglass dinghies built today would add a splash of adventurous color. White on white on white gets boring, boring. (You also got to love the wood touches in this Force 5 - the centerboard cap and the front cockpit coaming. Does anyone know if this was original on the production boats?)
The always gorgeous Lavertue restored 1880's sailing canoe, a constant fixture, from year to year, at MASCF.
There is this Classic Moth, a Shelley design, that only shows up for MASCF, but has never attended any of our Classic Moth events, This Shelley sports mini-wings that are illegal under the Classic Moth rules. This could be easily fixed to comply with our rules but so far the owner has shown no inclination to race with us.
I've been reporting on local Annapolis Classic Mothist, John Z's building of his modified Mistral. Well, at the beginning of this year John Z bought back his old cruising boat and has been spending time refitting his old love. Consequently, this summer, progress on his Classic Moth build has slowed but, despite the distractions of his cruising yacht, there has been progress - he has got the foredeck ply on and added structure where he thought he would need it.
Aft stringers before the aft-tank plywood goes down.
You can tell the V-shape of the Mistral, even in the back end, from this photo. Note the 1/2 ply formers to support the side-tanks.
There is no such thing as sloppy boat-building where John is concerned.
In all the times I've been over to John Z's boat-shop/basement we have never thrown darts - a good thing as I'm sure he doesn't want all these holes in the dry wall (when I throw, at least 1 in 8 end up completely outside the dart board).
Bald but my eyebrows are growing at a prolific rate. Sailed Windmills and Y-Flyers in the 1960's. Founded Miami University (OH) sailing team. Sailed International 14's and Lasers in the 1970's. Sailed International Canoes in the 1980's to mid 1990's. Sailed Classic Moths since 2002. Enjoy boatbuilding though I'm very, very slow at it (the Internet doesn't help matters). Name in real life: Rod Mincher
After choosing this username (Tweezer is the name of my Classic Moth), further research on the Internet turned up that Tweezerman is a corporate name for a line of pedicure products. Let me emphasize that I do not work for, nor endorse these products.