Thursday, July 31, 2008

License to Chill

The latest word from Seko is that the boat should arrive in Norfolk on a cargo flight tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. Of course, there's still clearing Customs at the mandatory weather forecast that I will be looking for:

So in the meantime I've forced myself to chill, not too easy since it's 95 degrees outside with a heat index over 100. I did update the Wikipedia entry on moths and uploaded to the US Moth Yahoo! Group site a copy of the 1933 article from The Rudder magazine that was the impetus for the Aussies to change the name of the Inverlock Eleven Footer Class to Moth boat. So, listening to Jimmy Buffet and sucking down a Corona can't be all bad. Let's see what tomorrow brings....

Track Listing:
1. Hey Good Lookin' (with Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and George Strait)
2. Boats To Build (with Alan Jackson)
3. License To Chill (with Kenny Chesney)
4. Coast Of Carolina
5. Piece Of Work (with Toby Keith)
6. Anything, Anytime, Anywhere
7. Trip Around The Sun (with Martina McBride)
8. Simply Complicated
9. Coastal Confessions
10. Sea Of Heartbreak (with George Strait)
11. Conky Tonkin' (with Clint Black)
12. Playin' The Loser Again (with Bill Withers)
13. Window On The World
14. Someone I Used To Love (with Nanci Griffith)
15. Scarlet Begonias
16. Back To The Island

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A look back 80, 50, and 30 years ago

My boat is still in transit, I hope, so I'm still relegated to internet mothing. Today I made a trip to the Mariner's Museum in Newport News and visited their international small craft center. There I found two boats of interest, coincidently right next to each other. One was Silver Spray, built in 1933 and was sailed by Bill Cox to win the Antonia Trophy for Moth World Championship in 1938.

Silver Spray is a typical vintage Classic Moth and other boats of her type are raced today in the vintage races of the CMBA. The other boat of interest, seen in the background of the photo above, is the Monitor, and lays claim to be the world's first hydrofoiling sailboat. The Monitor was built in 1958 by Baker Manufacturing Company under contract by the US Navy to investigate foiling. Here's a website that has lots of pictures and information about her performance. The picture to the right shows an historical photo of her
sailing in Wisconsin. Here is a website that has a video of the Monitor foilborne passing closeby at speed. Impressive, even now. The last thing I did when I was at the museum was drop by their library and get a photocopy of The Rudder Magazine article that appeared in October and November of 1933 that discussed building a Moth. Once I get the museum's permission I'll post the entire article, but for now you'll have to be content with the line drawing at the top of this blog entry.

Lastly, digging through some old files I had at home I found a cover from the August 1975 issue of Soundings, a newsprint periodical that was published in the United States. It shows a scene at "Rat Beach" off the Norfolk Naval Station during their annual summer regatta. Prominent are a few moth boats. I believe most are Stockholm Sprites. Note the two-piece masts: we would buy a long section from Dwyer Spars and cut it in half for two masts. To get the correct length we would splice on a spruce top that was lighter and more flexible. I believe the two sailors shown are Richard Wallio (the blond) and Tommy Lutton (with the dark hair.) My boat is nowhere to be seen (even back then!)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oregon Beer and British Ale

So I opened the local paper this morning and I came across two articles about beer: one with a Bend, Oregon dateline, the other with a London dateline. Since I just came back from the UK (and, no, my boat hasn't arrived back yet) I thought I'd share. Still "interesting and informative," I hope!

More Alcohol. Bigger Flavor, Growing Market Share: Craft Beers may traditionally come from small breweries, but their makers are seeing big interest from comsumers.

Fewer Pints: In Britain's iconic pubs, ale sales are ailing

So, obviously, all you UK mothies should come and experience the microbrewery scene at the worlds next year! Simon will give a preliminary accounting since he's coming to our nationals in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Enough of His Story, Here's a History of the Venue

So Michelle at Seko says my boat is scheduled for pick-up today from the WPNSA - only two weeks later than I had planned....but enough of my trials and tribulations, I'm sure I have bored you enough with my history, so here's some info about the venue for the '09 Worlds - Cascade Locks on the Columbia River.

The racing venue is at the intersection of two important geological features: the Columbia River flowing from its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains west to the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountain Range, running north and south about eighty miles inland from the coastline. The Columbia River is now the boundary between the states of Washington and Oregon.

View Larger Map

For those who don't know, these two states in the US Pacific Northwest are home to some of the most forward thinking companies and organ1zations, including Starbucks Coffee, Micrsoft Computers, Boeing Comercial Aircraft, Nike shoes and apparel, and lots of Micro-breweries!

As the Columbia River flowed from the Rockies to the Pacific over eons of time, the landscape beneath the river has changed. Two tectonic plates, the Juan de Fuca plate and the North American plate are colliding and forcing the land up, forming the Cascade Range and creating a geologically active area of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, part of the "Pacific Ring of Fire." Many active volcanoes form part of this range, including Mount St. Helens, but 35 miles north of our sailing venue. This particular mountain had a famous eruption in 1980 and in the past few years has shown unstable activity. Since the gradual subduction of the Juan de Fuca plate uplifted the land at a slower rate than the river could erode it, the Columbia carved a Gorge through the rising mountains. The Columbia River Gorge is the only significant break in the mountain range and historically was the path taken by the first white explorers in 1805.

Lewis and Clark and Susan, from our 25th anniversary bike ride across the USA.

Lewis and Clark were two explorers who were sent by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the Louisiana Purchase territory, which had recent been acquired from France. Part of their mission was to see if a reasonable water route existed through the mountains from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. Their expedition utilized the major river systems (Mississippi, Missouri, Yellowstone, Snake, Columbia) and found not one mountain range but hundreds of miles of rugged mountains, the last of which they named the Cascades because of the rapids they encountered there.

The Columbia River cascades were formed about 300 years ago when two mountains on the north side of the river collapsed, probably during a large earthquake. The resulting landslide blocked the river and created a 200 foot high bridge which the native americans called the "bridge of the gods." The river eventually broke through the landslide but the remaining rocks created the rapids and hence the cascades. Lewis and Clark portaged around the rapids and when commercial traffic on the river was instituted later a system of locks were created to circumvent the rapids (these were the "cascade locks" of our venue.) Subsequently, the Bonneville dam was built about four miles downstream of the locks and the resulting rise in the river level flooded the cascades and removed the need for the locks. We will be sailing on the backed up river, whose flow is controlled by the dam downstream. Interestingly, in 1926 a bridge was built at Cascade Locks and was named the Bridge of the Gods, after the geologic event a couple of hundred years earlier.

The Cascade Range and the Gorge combine to create a reliable "sea-breeze". East of the mountains the land is dry and hot. The cool maritime air west of the mountains flows upstream to replace the rising thermals. We get to sail in this thermal driven flow. In some locations, notably the "Hatchery," about 15 miles upstream of our venue, the wind is very strong and draws the windsurfers looking for extreme conditions. At the locks, the wind is a quite a bit less extreme and suitable for excellent dinghy racing. So what's going on now? The CGRA recently hosted the 29er, 49er and I-14 classes for a major regatta and I'll try to get some info on the conditions they experienced.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Trying times -- "back in the day"

Still no boat -- will I have to go back to the UK and put it in a windsurfer bag and bring it back personally? On the flip side, I did get a mention on the IMCA world home page about the new blog. Now if Doug could add a link to the bloggers list on the left hand margin (hint, hint) I'd be in the game. Still working on Andrew's theme of "informative and interesting," I'll add some more tidbits for all you out there in the moth-o-sphere.

Elaborating on my previous 1973 I built a plywood Stockholm Sprite. The job was so pitiful that when people saw the boat they inevitably asked, "What's that?" and I would reply, "It's my first try." So that became the name of the boat: 1st Try. I only have one photo of that boat, and it was published in the Daily Advance, the newspaper in Elizabeth City, NC (the "Home of the moth boat") as I was headed out to the annual regatta sponsored by the Pasquotank River Yacht Club. While the photo is grainy it does show the sleeve sail I used on my first three boats. My second moth was a Mistral, after I had read a page in the UK Yearbook that described the Mistral as a design suitable for helm weights of up to 14 stone (= 196 pounds or about 89 the way, why do the Brits sell gasoline by the liter but measure their highway speeds in miles per hour?) Since I was about 180 pounds and sailing against folks quite a bit lighter, I thought this hull shape would suit me well. This boat I named "Try Too" extending the "try" naming theme from my first boat. Again, photos are hard to come by but I found one that graced the cover of the IMCA-US newsletter in the spring of '76. What's going on? I was wading the boat out into water deep enough to fit the fixed rudder when the bow got away from me and the boat started to take off down wind. I think I managed to grab the starboard shroud but not in enough time. A photographer on shore just happened to catch the result (this was way before photoshop, and no, the picture wasn't staged...)

My third boat was built over the winter of '76/'77. It was a Magnum 2 from a mold taken off of John Claridge's boat that he used at the '76 worlds and I named this boat "Try-Umph." I'll try to come up with a photo of it, but the boat was sold at Hayling Island after the worlds so I didn't have to ship it home (boy, maybe I should gone that route this year!) So, naturally when last year I started building the foiler, my fourth international moth, I would continue with the "Try" theme, hence "Try-Foil." It's interesting, to me anyway, that a "trefoil" is a mathematical knot that can be analyzing in knot theory. I put a trefoil graphic on my foredeck and I hope I may get to see it again in the near future....

Friday, July 25, 2008

How a US Mothie becomes a Madmothist

So, I thought I'd create a blog separate from the IMCA-USA site to record my progress toward the 2009 moth worlds in the Gorge. Besides, I'd like to participate in the World Championship Moth Blog suggested by Andrew Brown.

Where do I stand now? Well, I found out Wednesday that my boat is still sitting at the WPNSA, a result of a shipping snafu. George Denny is threatening to start charging storage fees if it's not gone soon. The firm SEKO has said that is should be picked up asap, but they were supposed to arrange that last week. So my slightly damp wetsuit has been sitting in the storage crate for over ten days. Boy, I hope the boat clears Customs and isn't quarantined as a bio-hazard! So, yes, I'm steamed and have therefore adopted the moniker "Madmothist."

In the meantime I've been trying to get the moth class history as presented on the IMCA worlds site to include the US perspective. Whether folks know it or not, the IMCA has existed since 1935, 37 years before the IYRU officially blessed the organization with the "international" class designation. As such, the IMCA held world championship regattas for the International Antonia Trophy from 1933 through 1964 when it was retired. The present world championship trophy, recently won by John Harris at Weymouth, was donated by the Coca-Cola Company and first awarded to Jean Pierre Roggo in 1965. It's a piece of trivia that he is the only person to have won both the Antonia Trophy and the Coca-Cola Trophy, being the last on the Antonia and the first on the Coca-Cola Trophy. The Antonia Trophy, by the way, now resides in the collection of the Maritime Museum in Mystic, Connecticut. I am working with George Albaugh, the historian of the Classic Moth Boat Association to get all of the IMCA history posted on the world site.

That's all for now,
Joe, who's still waiting for his foiler to return from the UK....