Friday, October 26, 2018

Memories - written in 2007 - with the postscript in 2013

"Seduced Again"

Anyone who has sailed long enough has had that experience of  “Wow! This is what it’s all about.”  For some, including me, the experience includes an adrenaline rush brought on by speed and power. Big boats sailors get it, dinghy sailors get it, multi-hull sailors and sailboarders get it.  I’ve had that experience on all of those platforms. I recall the first time the speedo broke double digits during a breezy downhill spinnaker run on the J-33. Of course, included are the numerous times I was whooping with delight on the heavy air broad reaches on my Laser. Or on the canoe, blasting to weather, hiking off the end of the sliding seat. Surely, hitting twenty knots with the weather hull kissing the tops of the waves on a NACRA 5.2. And definitely sailing a short board with the hull seemingly in the air as much as it was in the water as I skipped across the surface of Willoughby Bay. But all of those experiences happened back in my younger days. It’s been almost twenty years since I’ve heard the siren’s song. Six weeks ago she grabbed my attention with a whispered “shussssssssssssh.”
      The occasion was the classic moth nationals in Elizabeth City. After we finished racing on Saturday, Bill Beaver loaned me his foiler Bambi Gets High. Within five minutes, without having to tack once, I was foiling. Actually it would have happened sooner but the wind was in the 8-10 knot range and I needed the slight puff to lift my 175 pounds off the surface. I had read about the moment in numerous moth blogs but until I experienced it I didn’t really understand.  In every other boat I’ve sailed, the faster it went the more noise it made. The crashing through the waves, the splashing of spray and foam, the creaking of the rig, the hum of the board or rudder and the occasional flogging of the sail – these things are the hallmarks of power and speed. Until now. As the Hungry Beaver rose from the water and accelerated, the noise that meant a boat was going fast went away. Silence. Wonder. Amazement. A quiet shusssssssssh as the foils sliced through the Pasquotank River. I was immediately smitten. 
    Bill has gotten it right. His foiler was immaculately prepared and constructed so that even I, a 52 year old high school teacher, could scamper aboard and feel in control.  During one sustained puff I was hiking full out off the rack, steering and holding the sheet with one hand as I dangled my other hand down and dragged it through the water, all the while being foil-borne 24 inches above the river. Compared to Bill’s earlier Bambi Meets Thumper, an extremely narrow low-rider, his new boat is forgiving and stable. The large diameter wing longitudinals and the Styrofoam he stuffed in the outer bit of the tramp allowed me to stay hooked in whenever the wind died and threatened to capsize me to weather. At the next puff I just needed a couple of quick pumps on the sheet and I was out of the water and moving smartly. Easier than waterstarting! Bill had told me that the area of the hull around the daggerboard was reinforced so that if I needed to stand on the hull to right it after a capsize, that was where I was to step. I never used that technique. Actually, righting and climbing aboard was much easier than my 1970’s Magnum moth design. 
     I’m now committed to having a foiler of my own. With Bill’s and Gui’s assistance, I started on the road to foiling last weekend. I’m working on the blades now and I’ve gotten a quote for a new KA sail and Burvill mast. I hope to start the hull before the holidays. By next spring my seductress will have her way with me. 
Stay tuned.  

Post Script:

So, yeah, it's sort of an addiction, a seduction, an urge that needs a periodic fix. The fact that my boat will probably never win a Gran Prix level regatta is rather irrelevant. In fact, I get the most pleasure just blasting across Willoughby Bay, my local piece of water, and coming ashore tired but satisfied -- even more so if nothing broke or if the latest fix seemed to be an improvement. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Moth as flight school vid

A new vid just posted.

It makes me want to get back on the boat...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Your boat in a museum?

One of my first madmothist posts, written exactly six years ago today as I was waiting for Try-Foil to be returned from Weymouth, was about the history of the Moth class and included a reference to the Mariner's Museum, which is only 45 minute from my house. After a short blurb in Scuttlebutt about an AC72 J-board being given to the Museum, I sent an e-mail to the Lyles Forbes, the chief curator. My note and his response are copied below.

So, there's an opportunity for someone's boat to gain international respect and be saved for posterity. Are there any unused boats about?

I see from the latest issue of Scuttlebutt that the Museum will be
getting a AC foil to add to the small boat collection. I'm a local 
(Norfolk) moth sailor and am familiar with the Museum and the 
small boat gallery. You may be aware that moths are also foiling 
now (and have been for ~10 years.)  Maybe the acquisition of a
foiling moth would be a nice comparison to the Silver Spray that
you now have.

Joe Bousquet

Lyles Forbes

Jul 29 (1 day ago)
to me
Dear Joe,

Thanks for your e mails this morning!  We do indeed
have the J-foil from the AC72 as well as a T-foil 
rudder from an AC45 now in the collection. Hopefully
we will be able to get them on display very soon – we
are trying to design a mount to support the foils.

As to your mention regarding the Moth class, 
absolutely I have been aware of their foiling 
capabilities for several years! The evolution of the 
current design from that of Silver Spray is really 
amazing. Although I think we ultimately would like
to have a foiling Moth for the collection, at the 
moment we are really out of room to display any 
more boats. We recently were given a large dhow from
Kenya, that has overtaken the area that my volunteers
used to conserve our collection.

However, if you become aware of a foiling Moth that
someone is interested in donating, I will certainly 
present that to our collections committee for 
discussion; as well as with our exhibition designer to
see if there is some way of displaying the boat in the 

Thanks again for contacting us, and hopefully you will
soon be able to view the Oracle foils in the 
International Small Craft Center!

Best regards,

Lyles Forbes

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The blog is dead

Congrats to Nathan on the win. I wish I was there. Lots of stories to be told, I'm sure (for example, what happened to Dylan???) but the medium had undergone a sea change.

As witnessed by the most recent blogroll on the International Moth home page, the blogging among mothists is just about dead. posts about the worlds....what's up with that?

On the other hand, the Facebook page for the worlds has had lots of action. I suppose Facebook is a social blog, but I'm afraid the concept of individual blogging has past its prime.

The twitterverse has adequately covered the event on its site but I think the best overview came for the Yachts and Yachting coverage, even if it did neglect most of the fleet (70 of the 140 entries were in the silver fleet and it was a while before any mention of the back half was made.....)

I thought the Beau Outteridge Production pieces were okay, but their sailor profiles left a lot to be desired when compared to the extended interviews from Motterfeiber back in 2009.

So where do I go from here? Next week Susan and I will attempt to get her flying in Aftermath down on the Chowan River in North Carolina. I hope to race the boat at this year's classic moth nationals in September.

Stay tuned for occasional reports.

Friday, July 4, 2014

We hold these truths to be self-evident...

Happy Independence Day. In CONGRESS, July 4th, 1776...

As of today, Americans still only account for 3/131 entries. I wish I were one of them. Good luck to Dylan, Zach and Brad.

Concerning the decision to put the kibosh on efficient solid wings: I'm pretty sure it was made in the interest of keeping the class members happy for the near term (and, yes, because we are a class with a "una-rig" to use an old term) but that a collateral effect was to move the moth off the bleeding edge of development. 

I'm looking forward to reading about the championships, now only 2 weeks off.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Formula 1 on the water...

I just finished a week in Manteo assisting with the A-Cat North Americans. My impression is that the class is as techie as the Moth and at the top level has as strong a talent pool as the Moth. At the Takapuna worlds in February the foiling development took long strides due to the efforts of some cup sailors. That regatta was won by class stalwart Glenn Ashby. The NA Champ Bruce Mahoney finished 16th.

The A-Cat class claims the moniker "Formula One on the water," which was also used by the moth in years past. But the A-Class rule limits racing to a max wind of 22 knots. This past week saw a windiest day of 18 knots and there was lots of difficulty in boat handling from mid-fleet on down. In race 4 almost 50% of the fleet recorded a lettered score. Certainly in top regattas the moth is capable of much windier conditions. Even I can manage reasonably competently in up to 25 knots. So I suppose the moth talent pool is, if not deeper, certainly wider than that of the A-Cat.

Bruce Mahoney had brought back some of the latest gear from NZ and had moments of foiling, but by and large I didn't see a huge difference between the boats capable of sustained flight and those with the older C-boards. There was no doubt in my mind that the moth would have certainly been faster in any breeze from 10 knots on up. One of the most impressive aspects of the regatta was the well done media package. Each day there was a professionally done video by Richard and Rachel from Ocean Images. It was fun to see the action from afloat, from the drone and even from a helicopter. Mr. Clean's SA video reporting seemed primitive in comparison.

Preliminary video

Practice race

Day 1

Day 2 (no racing, but an explanation of foiling)

Day 3 (with some helicopter video)

Day 4

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Only three entries?

Looking at the most recent entry list for the '14 Moth Worlds at HISC I see just 3 of the 125 entries from the US. Deja vu from '77 when we only had 3/86 entries....