First up is Myles Quick's Swampscott dory in Auckland New Zealand.Miles has buildt a Swampscott dory, based on a design by Pete Culler, to enjoy the excellent sailing conditions in Auckland, which lies across a volcanic isthmus separating two harbours. Waitemata Harbour to the east opens on the Hauraki Gulf and the Pacific Ocean. Westward, Manukau Harbour opens to the Tasman Sea.
Miles recently launched his yet unnamed dory, in Waitemata Harbor, for a test sail.
"I have had a wonderful weekend of sailing, but still no pictures. The truth is that I don’t know how to take photographs when I am sailing alone - I am too busy trying to handle the ropes and tiller."
"The main thing is she sails very sweetly. I have only my current boat for comparison, and that is a Welsford Rogue but how different this boat is! She wallows not at all. I have become accustomed to sailing a snake-like path, with each gust of wind bringing the boat into wind, and me correcting with a great heave on the tiller. That doesn’t happen at all. She is incredibly good-natured and peaceful and just goes where she is pointed. You don’t even notice waves. The sea picked up a little bit on Sunday, but that just made it more enjoyable."
"My list of things I was testing:
1. Centreboard position and size (given that I moved both rear mast and centreboard back and changed the shape and size) seems perfect to me. There is never helm of any kind, and no leeway that I could notice.
2. Tippiness (sorry to use that word again) – none! This is a very stable and forgiving boat – perfect for what I want.
3. Size of rig – perfect for the conditions I experienced (10 knots)
4. Speed – nothing too exceptional, but very pleasing – similar to my current boat, but I think with room for improvement once I get the hang of things.
5. Windward ability – a bit disappointing – perhaps not as good as my current balanced lug. I think I am doing something wrong, because from what I have heard the sprit sail should be quite good. Maybe I am not flattening the sail enough (those ropes are quite heavy on the arm and hands!)
6. Going about – it takes a while, but seems pretty dependable.
7. Jibing – not a problem with the sprit sails, except getting caught up in ropes.
8. Raising and striking the rig at sea – no problem – I had to do this a couple of times because I went through a squally patch. Standing upright and walking about in a bit of sea was no problem at all. I just plucked the masts out, furled the sails and rowed 500m to shore. I am not sure a motor is necessary, because rowing is so easy, but I am sure I will be grateful for the motor-well some time or other.
9. Home-designed tip-up rudder (I copied Pete’s lines though) – this worked fine – after launching I tie a few knots to fix it in the down position. When I retrieve it I tie a knot to fix it in the up position - nothing fancy or complicated at all. The rudder can dismantle, but I leave it on the boat on the trailer.
10. Trailering – the completely flat bottom (with no fixed keel) works exceptionally well for retrieving from a rough sea. You just hitch and crank, and the boat very quickly gets centred by the bow guides (see picture below). There is no way for the paintwork/plywood to get damaged by a wave lifting and dropping the boat."
"All in all Pete Culler was spot on. This is a beautiful little beach-boat and quite different from the wonderful boats by Oughtred and Welsford, which tend to be wider and heavier with much more sail, but she does the job beautifully. For someone (like me) who wants the simplest, lightest, most canoe-like of rough-water boats I just can’t fault her."
"For the remainder of this beautiful New Zealand summer I will be trying to improve my skills, and also tweaking what I can to improve performance. At some stage I am sure I will figure out a way to get some pictures as well, and I will send them on with an update."
That's Miles' first mate, Izzy, getting in the way, as usual.
The winning combination of sails.
The test run.
Great job, Miles! And they say dories don't sail well.......
As a bonus we have progress reports on two Ken Basset Firefly designs nearing completion. Our second feature is Bayard Story's double Firefly under construction in California. His boat is identical to my Finesse, so we've had an extended conversation on the quality of these boats for some time.
I'm pleased to see Bayard making good progress. Keep up the good work, my friend!
More photos of the build can be found here.
We've recently heard from Lorenz Rutz and it seems he is just a few coats of varnish and paint from launching his single rowing station Firefly in Connecticut. This boat is built in the tape and glue method, as light as is practical. Lorenz has done a very commendable job and a few readers have requested his advise on building the Firefly without traditional framing.
Nice job, Lorenz.
I expect we'll see these boats on the water soon.