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....

Friday, June 6, 2014

I'm all a-twitter

Back in the twittersphere @madmothist

Looking forward to reports from HISC since I probably won't be able to make it this time around... unless I hit the lottery. Someone suggested starting a crowdsourcing fund drive...somehow I don't think so.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Bar is Raised

Ned Goss recently posted a 36.6 knot top speed in Charleston. If a relative newcomwer to the class with a stock Mach2 can hit that speed, I would think that 40 knots should be achievable by an experienced mothist in a special purpose class legal moth.

From Velocitek

Saturday, February 8, 2014

2014 Moth Worlds at Hayling Island

Well, as I look at the upcoming worlds at HISC I have to reluctantly admit I won't be able to make it this time around. I was hoping that circumstances and finances would align and I'd be able to make a return engagement. I did compete in the moth world championship at Hayling Island in 1977 as one of three Americans to make the trip. Our boats were fiberglass magnum 2s taken out of a mold from John Claridge's boat that he had sold to Ted Causey after the previous world champs in the States. Back in 1977 I had just graduated from college and had treated myself to a six week cycling vacation in England culminating with the regatta. As I fondly remember the experience I do have a bit of regret that I can't re-experience racing in Chichester Harbour and the Solent.

The 1970's were a simpler time in moth racing. I have to believe that our homemade boats were as competitive as the rest of the boats in the regatta and that the order of finish was determined more by sailing ability and less by the equipment. Of course the boats and rigs mattered, but as long as your hull was fairly light and stayed watertight and your rig had a decent sail you could have had a shot at the top end of the fleet.

As I look at the moths of today I realize that it's much more difficult for one person to build a competitive boat. I just watched a video about the "arms race" leading to the upcoming A-Cat worlds and I see things similar to the pointy end of the moth fleet: a very techie boat shop with some very talented builders and sailors working as a group to push the envelope.  There are folks who are very competitive with home built boats (Dave Lister, for example), but for me to have a chance, even in the silver fleet at a moth worlds, I'd probably have to sail something other than my six year old Hungry Beaver. As a minimum I would think that a new M2 or Exocet with a new rig would be required. Obviously the winners are those with the best skill set for the conditions but I would argue that the differences in the equipment used by the top ten finishers is slight. My boat wouldn't cut it this time around.

I'll keep playing the lottery once a week and maybe I'll hit a winner. Let's see...perhaps $30,000 for the package (and airfare, etc.) should do it..

Good luck all!