Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bob Schock Writes about US 34 Restoration

In 2002. seven years before I started this blog, Bob Schock wrote a short piece for Woodenboat about the restoration of International 14 U.S. 34, another bones 14 based out of a small lake in New York. At the time I took note, but this restoration remained tucked in the back of my brain until Bob joined in via email on the discussion of the origin of U.S. 107 and my memory was jolted.

U.S. 34 appears to be an Englert R.I.P purchased from Cape Cod Shipbuilding in the late 1930's. I reprint below Bob Schock's amended article on the origin and restoration of U.S. 34:

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Peter Scott Painting of the 1934 Toronto Team Races

Cambridge University Cruising Club Collection

I found this Peter Scott painting over at the Cambridge University Cruising Club website (their history section is a very good read). It is a painting of one of the 1934 Team Races in Toronto with the English team featured prominently in the foreground, and the racers seemingly caught out in one of those Lake Ontario line squalls. The 1934 Team Races would mark the beginning of U.S International 14 class. George Ford from Rochester would try to buy the Uffa Fox R.I.P. from Stewart Morris in Toronto. For some reason the deal could not be completed in Toronto and R.I.P was shipped back to England. George Ford and a syndicate from Rochester were able to complete a deal in the fall/winter of 1934 and R.I.P was shipped again, over the Atlantic, to Rochester N.Y..

I reprint the text accompanying the Peter Scott painting from the Cambridge University Cruisng Club website:

"This is a photograph of an 80 X 50cm painting of "dinghies racing on Lake Ontario" according to the CUCrC Annual Report of the time, which records Peter Scott's gift of the painting in the Club's year of 1935/36. In 1934 a team of 4 UK International 14ft dinghies and sailors (including Peter Scott), from the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk YC, went to Toronto to sail against a team from the Royal Canadian YC and a US team from Rochester YC, New York. The UK beat the US 3-0 and Canada 3-1 to take home the trophy, and Canada beat the US 2-0 (one race being abandoned due to the time limit expiring). There was also an open race for the Wilton Morse trophy which was won by Peter Scott in Eastlight. The series, which had started in 1933, went on to become an international biennial event, interrupted from 1940 to 1958 by WW II.

"The picture was painted in the year after the event - presumably from memory, notes and sketches made at the time, and possibly a photograph - because Peter is shown in the race. The scene is a start (a Preparatory Signal is flying), but only 6 boats are included. The three UK boats are K290 (Lightening - John Winter); K267 (R.I.P. - Stewart Morris); and K318 (Eastlight - Peter Scott). A fourth UK boat, K322 (Canute - David Beale, not a CUCrC member), and an opposing boat are missing from the scene - possibly a deliberate omission because Scott intended the painting for the CUCrC and wished to celebrate the achievement of the CUCrC members on the team. Of the team, three helmsmen and two crews were CUCrC members, one crew was a Cambridge Rugby Blue, and one was an Oxford University YC member. Further details are given in a document accompanying the painting, also available from the Alumni Administrator, and in the Club's archives at the University Library - along with printouts of the articles mentioned below.

"The origins and development of the series are a fascinating part of dinghy sailing lore, well recorded in the history section of the International 14 Class website...; pages 70-74 of 'Uffa Fox's Second Book' (which gives the results of the 1934 races when Uffa was Team Manager); and two articles on Canadian 14 history by Rob Mazza in the Royal Canadian YC 'KWASIND' bulletins of August and September 2013. '14' dinghies evolved in parallel in the UK (where the International Rule was formulated), the US, and Canada. The Canada and America's Cup events of 1930 initiated some animated discussion, between leading sailing figures of the time, as to the relative merits of the UK, US, and Canadian 14 dinghies. The outcome was that Sir John Beale, Commodore of RN&SYC, undertook to organise what became the 1933 international team racing event at Seawanhaka Corinthian YC, Oyster Bay, New York, and then accepted the invitation for the UK to attend the 1934 event at the Royal Canadian YC, Toronto.
From the Louise Ann Ford collection is this 1934 news clipping showing R.I.P (destined to be U.S. 1) sitting on a dock in Toronto with the spinnaker drying.

Louise Ann Ford Collection

Monday, August 1, 2016

2016 Aykroyd Catboat Regatta This Weekend

I just got off the phone with Brett Somerville from the Juniper Island Store who confirms that the 2016 Aykroyd Catboat Regatta on Stoney Lake, Ontario is this weekend, August 6 and 7. The Aykroyd "cottage" 14-footer was part of the L.S.S.A 14-footer class, the dinghy class that was the predecessor of the International 14 dinghy, primarily in Canada but also in Rochester, New York. The Stoney Island cottagers, led by Hugh Drake and Jay Matthews, have been busy restoring these pre-WW II cat-rigged dinghies since the 1960's and now have a robust fleet of around 15 of these lapstrake beauties out for weekend racing. I'm working on getting some contact with fleet members so I can fill out more details of this interesting historical collection of dinghies.

I've pulled some photos from the 2015 Aykroyd Championship, taken by Nick Glas, which I found on the Web and will repost them shortly.

Click here to view some of the other posts about the L.S.S.A 14-footers on the CBIFDA blog.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Update on U.S. 104 (previously 107)

New owner, Paul Galvez, has been inspecting his bones US 104/107 and sends along these updates. The origin and builder of this International 14 is a head-scratcher to say the least. Paul is tending to US 104 as the correct hull number and not US 107.

"Just on update on this particular 14... I had some time to really inspect it last night. Overall, in really good shape considering it's age. I definitely believe pre-war, mid to late 1930's. The builder plaque is missing. Hull was hanging in the garage for about 50 years unused. Owner Bill Sweningsen was a collector of fine cars and boats. He mainly had it as a day sailor. No racing.

"He passed away about 6 mos ago and we have purchased the boat from his wife and son. They do not know much about the boat or where Bill got it from. They only that know he purchased the boat around 1967. Appears to be a West Coast boat at least from 1950 onwards based on what I see.

"The bright finished hull appears to be 5/16" thick carvel planked cedar on 51 individual 3/4" oak ribs. Each plank is screwed in with countersunk double bronze fasteners spaced about 4" apart then filled. Very nice craftsmanship. Bulkhead/Mast Support, Centerboard Case, and transom appear to be Honduras Mahogany.

"Rails appear to be a combination of Oak and Mahogany. I see zero rot and the hull is still stiff!

"Original Spars and foils appear to be in great shape. Most likely Spruce. The mast has a very interesting external halyard winch box made of bronze and aluminum.
"Hull is either US 104 or 107 since it has two sets of cotton miter cut sails with both sail numbers.

"One set is by Ratsy & Lapthorn, Cowes - 1939. The other set is by Kenneth Watts, San Pedro, no date but appears to be same vintage. This sail is stamped: "APPROVED - Intl 14 Association 1950, Long Beach CA."

"I have both the One Design and this hull in the garage at the moment side by side and they definitely look different in the hull shape with the Carvel planked boat carrying the beam a bit more forward and more tapered in the transom.

"I did some quick measurements last night on both the D&M and the Bones. Both mast steps are deck stepped and positioned 48" from the stem. Both bows are the same height from the knuckle. The transoms are the same width but the bones boat has a shorter transom height. Rigs are somewhat similar in overall length and spreader config with the bones boat spreaders are about 3" shorter than the D&M spreaders. Bones boat mast is much thinner and bendier. Rudder and center board are also lower aspect than the D&M. I will measure more next week and try to get a weight on it. What is still puzzling is that this boat is not double planked with silk liner but a thicker single planked boat of what looks like cedar.

"In my investigation over the last few days I was able to find a few notes from Louise Ford regarding her father's obsession with building the Rochester US fleet. It seems he had at least 18 or more RIP boats made from a few builders in NY/East Coast. On the later boats (before the D&M builds) he implemented his own ideas with the cockpit layouts. My thinking is I may have one of these variations. Louise apparently has records of these designs and perhaps photos. I have not reached out to her yet.

"During this digging I located another bones boat - US 34. Alive and well, still in NY fully restored and breathtaking. Owned by Dr. Robert Schock and sailed at his lake house in Lake Wanaksink, NY. We traded emails and he is dying to know more about the origins of his boat. He has some good info on it but is looking to complete the puzzle. I have forwarded him your contact info. I will forward the email he sent to me.

In a further email, Paul said he measured US 104 and his USOD, side-by-side, and US 104 is definitely an Alarm hull shape.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Long Beach "Worlds" - 1950

In July, 1950, the Californians hosted a "Worlds" at Long Beach, though technically we would consider it a North Americans since the attendees were all Americans, with the exception of the two Canadians making up the foreign contingent. This was the third of three consecutive years of major North American regattas, the previous two being; 1948 in Rochester N.Y., and 1949 in Montreal, Canada. These regattas would solidify the post WWII International 14 presence in North America, with strong fleets developing on both coasts and Canada (though, ironically, by 1950, the original Rochester Y.C. fleet was struggling and would not remain a viable fleet for too much longer).

The regatta would feature two series; a three race One-Design series, since the California fleet was now a one-design around the Douglass and McLeod hot-molded Alarm shape, and a three race Open Fleet series, which accommodated the development International 14 of the Canadians. (and the East Coast was moving toward an Open Fleet as well.) The USOD 14's raced in the Open Fleet (they were still International 14's) but it is unclear what the Canadians did while the One-Design series was held.

Bill Lapworth was the overall winner when the results of both series were added together (getting his name on the Founders Trophy) but Dick Stephens of Stockton would win the Open Fleet series. I was able to get the results of the Open Series off the Web which I post below (the hull numbers I have added as best I can).

To view this file, click on the pop-out icon on the top right of the window. This will put it on another tab on your browser.

I have posted this photo before on the CBIFDA blog and which I can now identify as taken at the 1950 Long Beach "Worlds" regatta.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

U.S Builders of the 1930 Bones International 14's

My research has uncovered three U.S. builders of the Uffa Fox inspired "bones" International 14's prior to WWII.

Rochester Boat Works- Volney Lacey and his boat-building business, Rochester Boat Works, would build the first 11 R.I.P. copies, 6 in 1935, and 5 in 1936. Volney Lacey's boat yard was in close proximity to the Rochester Yacht Club, and since 1917 had been building fast runabouts, and providing a full service yard for the yachting elite of Rochester. He was a natural choice when George Ford went looking for a builder of R.I.P. copies. Volney took a look at the exquisite construction of the Uffa built R.I.P. and decided he couldn't duplicate it and also make any money from building these new-fangled 14-footers. He changed the spec, putting in larger ribs at a greater spacing, and eliminating the small seats of the Uffa 14's, adding the stiffness back in by building a wide gunwhale plank where the crew sat (he got around the rule by cutting 3/4" slots to make it an "open" boat). The Rochester Boat Work's R.I.P. copies were not considered fast. Norm Cole called them "crude" and they were most likely heavy. Volney Lacey would not make any more R.I.P. copies after 1936, citing an inability to make a profit even at the reduced spec. But George Ford had already located another builder.

A.C.E. Boat Works - Starting in 1937, the Rochester fleet would get their R.I.P. copies from an obscure boat-builder in Syracuse, New York. George Ford selected Albert F. Englert, who, with his brother Clarence, had been building small runabouts since 1930. Albert also had a good reputation for building fast Snipes. It is unclear how many R.I.P. copies Albert and his brother produced (some estimates are 12-18) but it appears he built them from 1937 - 1941. He also supplied hulls to Cape Cod Shipbuilding, most likely starting in late 1939. (Cape Cod Shipbuilding was advertising their International 14 for the 1940 New York Boat Show.) Norm Cole remembers they were built to the "R.I.P. spec" but were also very flexible. He relates that you could grab the forestay on an Englert 14, wiggle it back and forth, and watch the transom dance. The Englert R.I.P. 14's were down to weight (225 lbs) and fast enough, George Ford would pilot the first one, US 11 Venture to an unbeaten season among the Rochester fleet in 1938.

Gordon Douglass Boat Works - George Ford had recruited Sandy Douglass to the class in 1938 when some of the Rochester Y.C. 14 fleet attended the Put-In-Bay regatta. Sandy would shortly begin building "bones" 14's in his shop at Vermilion Ohio, the "Fishhouse"; building them to the full Uffa spec. Again it is unclear how many he made but it is probable he only built them for three years. He, like Volney Lacey, found the Uffa building method too time consuming to make any money. Sandy estimated that, to build one "bones" 14, to hammer the double planking to the ribs and then clench the nails, took 70,000 hammer blows! Sandy's "bones" 14's were considered stiff and down to weight.

It is highly likely, (though I haven't confirmed it by measuring his boats) that Sandy was building his "bones" 14 to Uffa's Alarm lines and not to the older R.I.P lines. (See the comment by Stephen Smith to this post.) Sandy was a very good friend of Uffa from their time competing in the sailing canoes. In 1935, the same year George Ford was trying to get the Americans going with the R.I.P design, Stewart Morris had appeared on the English scene with the faster Uffa Alarm. It wouldn't surprise me if Uffa happily provided Sandy with the lines to Alarm when Sandy let him know that he intended to build International 14's.

[ed. note - I don't have a copy of Sandy Douglass's book, "Sixty Years Before the Mast" though I did peruse it some time ago. Some of the questions may be answered in his book.]

Existing known 14's of each builder -
  • Rochester Boat Works - US 5 Eddystone Light - Mystic Seaport Museum, CT.
  • ACE Boat Works - US 79 Chit - Mariners Museum, VA.,  US 34 - Restored Lake Wanaksink, N.Y. - bought from Cape Cod Shipbuilding -
  • Douglass Boat Works - US 112 - Mark Woodard, WA.
Existing bones 14's of unknown lineage -

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

K 848

Readers of this blog know that I'm not averse to post English International 14 history if someone makes the effort to contact me. Andrew Roosaak sends along a photo of his dad, Terje Rossaak, sailing K-848, an English, McCutcheon built, Shelley design produced in 1964. Note the wing logo of Anderson Aerosails, one of the first lofts to pioneer the radial cut. Andrew provides some background history of his dad and Chris Bevan partnering in K-848 and some of their exploits with the English fleet. (Andrew wondered if his memory was correct so I checked Tom Vaughan's history and the number and boat name check out.)

"My late father (Terje Rossaak) and his great friend, the late Chris Bevan sailed Int 14's for many years. They eventually got a new one designed by Shelly, if I remember right. K 848 was, I think, called Samantha. This must have been around 1964 to 1967. Had a black spinnaker.

"They sailed at Ranelagh on the Thames and also at Itchenor.

"I recall stories of the POW cup and others.

"Both were initially asked to sail the Naples Olympics in 1968 for the UK, but as neither were UK citizens, it didn't work out. Chris did sail., for Rhodesia, and narrowly missed out on a medal. Terje went to Naples and trained the either Chris or the UK crew.

"There were two [tales] about accidents that have stayed with me.

"The first was on a race day on the Thames. There was a bit of breeze and a current. On the upwind leg everyone was hugging the bank to avoid the current and hiking hard. It also happened to be a practice day for the rowers on the same piece of water. The sailors thought they should row in the current where the extra work may be worth it. So the banks were busy, the wind blowing and crews hiking hard, behind those massive jibs. Suddenly there was a crunch noise nearby and one of the rowing boats had rammed right through the side of an I-14 nearby. The crew released the sails on the stricken dinghy. The resulting pressure of the righting dinghy simply snapped the rowing boat!

"Another accident involved two rather lovely young girls racing a National 12 on the same area as the I-14's were racing. The girls had some Merlin Rocket crewing experience so were doing OK. But the N12 is a little boat was hidden behind the large I-14 jib...Chris and Terje managed to hit them. The talk in the pub later was that it was no accident! Anyway Chris and Terje spent a couple days the following week fixing the N12 - and that's how Terje met my mother!