Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bear Mountain Boats restores a Vintage 14 "Shottie"

I saw online that Bear Mountain Boats, known for strip plank canoes, had a restored pre-war International 14 at a outdoor boat show somewhere in Ontario last year. A very interesting transom which looks quite unlike the Bourke or Mallette 14's I've seen from that era. I sent an email to Bear Mountain last year but didn't get a reply. It's worth another try. A real beauty as can be seen by the photos.

Monday, April 14, 2014

SHDI: Designers Comments

The following JPEG is the SHDI I-14 design as explained by her designer, John Shelley, from Yachts and Yachting magazine, mid 1960's.

Monday, March 17, 2014

US 1009 - The Kirby VII "Summertime"

Mark Adams sends along two pictures of a rather forlorn Kirby VII tucked away in a corner of a boat yard in San Francisco. The Kirby VII was commissioned by Eric Arens and built by a young Steve Clark who would later go on to fame with his Patient Lady C-class catamaran team in the Little America's Cup as well as owning and running the U.S. Laser/Performance/Vanguard operation for many years (as well as fitting in an International Canoe World Championship as well). Mark continues the story:
"Funny we've been emailing about old 14s when I happen to come across Eric's old Kirby 7, wasting away at Treasure Island out west.  Crazy fast boat back in the day.  I think the board was more than a foot forward of anything else sailing back then  I borrowed it and got a 2nd at a Seattle Nat'ls.  One race we started at the pin and pinched off all 20 or so boats, tacked and lead start to finish.  In anything over 8 knots, it had such weather helm that it took all your strength to resist the tug on the helm.  God help you if you lost your grip, as the boat would auto tack and capsize on top of you.  Eric can tell you all about my love/hate relationship with Summertime...

The pictures. Looks like she could still be saved. (As always, click inside a picture to start a slide show.)

As far as I know this was the only Kirby VII built in North America - an odd fact considering Kirby made his name designing for the North American International 14 crowd. Builder Steve Clark adds his recollections about building Summertime:

"Summertime was a great project because Eric was such a good guy to work with. He let me have lots of freedom in the structural design and construction of the boat: far more than anyone else would and probably more than he should have. But it was OK because he fundamentally trusted me and I fundamentally wanted to build the best boat I could. The fact that I spent about twice as much building it as I charged him and wasn't suicidal about it is a testimony to how naive I was in 1981. It is also interesting that I found out some things that I later ignored and then came back to bite me.

"The construction was a bit unusual. Below the chines she was 2 plies of 3mm plywood at + 45. The centerline web was a box beam. The topsides were a single ply of 3mm plywood. Outside the hull had a laminate of 5 oz (200 g/m^2) Kevlar. The double bottom was 3mm aircraft ply over stringers and bulkheads. There was a ply of the same Kevlar laminated to the back side of the floor in the high traffic area. I was enamored of space frames, so there was aluminum welded frame with tension straps down to the mast step which was intended to take all the rigging loads. Eric liked having the ability to move his shrouds fore and aft, so these were on Harken travelers. For gunwales, I built hollow box beams instead of thick laminated spruce gunwales. These were stiffer and lighter than solid wood rails typical of the time. In all the boat ended up being massively stiff (you think?) with all that structure in the bottom, and with a very low VCG. This was so low that the boat wouldn't lay on its side with the rig in it, but kept rolling upright until we tied the masthead down to a picnic table.

"Other details were enormously simple: There was really no rig tension tackle. To get rig tension you tipped the boat on its side. You eased the shrouds travelers forward so that no matter how tight they were they couldn't hold the mast aft. You then pulled the mast tip forward toward the jib (inducing about 8” of bend in the spar) and pinned the jib in place. You then pulled the shrouds aft and voila! Rig tension up the wazoo!.

"Summertime also had very nice foils shaped by Tom Price; the dagger board gybed and was very fat. Eric felt this gave them the chance to tack on anyone’s lee bow and pinch them off or to hang in any lane or climb off any weather hip.

"I only sailed one race with Eric, a long distance race in Seattle. We were pretty quick but spent a bit too much time swimming. I was always happy that Eric really liked the boat and that she seemed to last. If she is still in one piece and sailing 30+ years later I think it is remarkable.

A photo of a young Steve Clark (on the left) about the same time as Summertime build. On the right (click on the picture to get the full width) is the renowned marine historian Ben Fuller (who, if I remember, at this juncture, was chief curator at Mystic Seaport).

And a picture of US-1009 Summertime, back in happier times, full bore, skippered by owner Eric Arens and crewed by Paul Weiss. (photo part of the Paul Weiss collection.)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

McCutcheon Shdi - K839

Mike Liggett from the UK sends along pics of the McCutcheon built Shelley design that he has become proud owner of. Details from Mike:
"My name is Mike Liggett and I live near Cambridge in UK. Most of my life has revolved around the Merlin -Rocket and I have still have a couple of vintage boats from the 40's and 50's which I race at vintage events. However I have recently acquired Int 14 K.839 "Trumper" a Shelley "Shdi" design built by Mc.Cutcheon in 1964. She has been modified to take crew on trapeze but no other mods. I have been working on her and she has yet to take to the water under my hand!"
I realize this blog is supposed to be about North America 14's and I remember a Shdi making it to this side of the pond and being based out of Severn Sailling Association in Annapolis in the late 1960's and early 1970's. In talking with fellow ex-14'er Tom Price, he recalls it was painted green. I had no idea where this U.S. Shelley 14 ended up until Tom took the bull by the horns and tracked down Bruce Empey, who owned the North American SHDI. Bruce's story:

"Yes, I owned a 14 at one point. I believe the actual design was a Shidu or Shidu II. Maybe she was a Shidi and Stoney named her Shdu. She was home built by Stoney Duffy over in Queenstown / Centerville area. Stoney still races Comets, so he can be found if more history wants to be known.

"I bought her for $5 at the SSA opening day lost and found thing in probably about 1974 or 1975...maybe a year or two earlier. She was probably overpriced by then. I had great plans to square off the two gaping holes, chisel back an inch around of each layer of plywood, and piece her back together. Notice the adverb "had" in that sentence. Instead, I went to Florida for the SORC, skippered a boat in the Caribbean for a winter, and sailed over to Europe and back and poor old Shdu didn't get rebuilt. At some point in the 1970's, we dug a 14' long boat-shaped trench in the backyard -- out just beyond the septic tank - and planted her in there with about 10" freeboard; then backfilled with the trench dirt and some peatmoss and for several years my mom had a unique planter for her impatiens. Eventually the plywood weathered, glue failed, and as I recall whatever couldn't be pulled up and put in the neighborhood dumpster was rototilled into the yard and grass planted. I do know that about 15 years ago when I dug some French Drain ditches out there, I found a couple of bits of Mahogany plywood about the size of a silver dollar and painted green on one side. Ashes to ashes.

"I forget how much rocker she had or how rounded she might have been, but with her chines and firmer back end, I always thought she was ahead of her time and wondered how she would have stood up to a trapeze or two.

"Ciao, Bruce

Shelley was one of those underrated dinghy designers who was quite ahead of his time with U'd forward sections and flatter rocker hull shapes.

The pictures show a typical layout of a 1960's seat tank International 14. The bridge reinforcement on top of the bow tank is something I have not seen before

The view from the bow:

The stern with the trademark Shelly concave topsides at the transom.

See John Shelley's comments on the SHDI over at this post.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Harvey Brothers at Speed

One of my favorite Classic International 14 photos was taken by Ellie Martin of the Canadian's Doug and Al Harvey at full chat under spinnaker. I think this was from the 1980 U.S. Nationals in Annapolis Maryland. The hull is a McCutcheon KV.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

1925 L.S.S.A 14-Footer "Hyking" Out

Picture from the Toronto Star newspaper, circa 1925, of two National Yacht Club sailors hiking the cat-rigged L.S.S.A 14-footers that were the precursor to the International 14 and a extremely popular racing fleet in Toronto Bay.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Chris Benedict with his Mk1's under construction

Mark Adams sends along a photo of Chris Benedict with his original Mk 1's under construction, circa 1978 (cold-molded out of Western red cedar). Of all the American designers of International 14's of my generation, Chris was the one who made it big (at least big in terms of I-14's). He garnered a large share of the new British market with his popular Mk IV, even moving to England to be close to the dinghy action. He also developed a junior trainer, the 404 for a English builder (maybe Ovington, I can't remember).

Chris was out of San Francisco and made his name initially as an excellent boatbuilder, working for the firm Sailnetics that produced top quality Fireballs and Kirby MkIV's in glass composite. One of the legends in the class; sadly, mostly unknown to the larger sailracing community.