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!)

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