Sunday, February 28, 2016

___________________________ CATBOATS (2) __________________________

The catboat in the above photograph is 'Jenny' said to be a 16 foot Crosby designed Cape Cod Catboat built in 1933 and recently restored. I think she shows a striking resemblance to the catboat in the following black and white photograph.

The full building plans including the Table of Offsets for this catboat 'Hitty' (below) appeared in the March 1951 edition of Rudder Magazine (Two months before I was born).  I like to think she was built and launched around the time I was born  (Yes this photograph appeared in the Rudder in March and I was born in June, but just settle down and stop letting facts get in the way of a good story).

A few years ago, with the aid of a photocopier and by matching a scale rule to written lengths on the plans I worked out a magnification number (from memory 360%). I then took the Rudder magazine along to the local, strangely named "The Gaudy Green Copy Company" where using this percentage they printed off the plans for me. (For those who have built boats - yes, of course, the Table of Offsets is the ultimate check on things).

Using given station measurements on the plans (not the scale rule in this instance) Hittys' length is 15 foot 2 inches, so she appears to be about 1 foot shorter than Jenny. So if she is not a twin sistership she is at the very least a slightly shorter sister belonging in the same family.

Interestingly the designers name doesn't appear anywhere on the plans or in the written article about Hitty in the Rudder magazine. It appears that 'Cape Cod Catboat' was at that time synonymous with the famous Cosbys, so I am presuming it is a Cosby design. It would be a long shot but it may not be a Crosby Cat as there were other designers of note that designed Cat Boats in the first decades of the 20th century e.g. Fenwick Williams, John G Alden, Charles Wittholz, Fred W Goeller, C C Hanley et al. But when you look at the similarities between Hitty with Jenny I would bet my cotton picking sailing socks that she is a Crosby.

I have been looking at Hittys' plans for years now and despite other pressing projects - I would dearly love to build this little centerboard Cat Boat.


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Corrrrr... now there's a winter project... :o))

Alden Smith said...

Quite right Steve, although a little longer than just winter - I reckon, all up, it would be a 12 month project. I shall give it some thought!

Coracleken said...

Hitty was sailed out of Milford, CT in the late 1950s. Walter Skinner was the owner. My family sailed Wings, an old Great South Bay sloop and often sailed along with Hitty out to Charles Island. I am still enamored with the design. This is the first reference I have ever seen about Hitty.
Walter Skinner did not design Hitty. In the October 1961 issue of Rudder Magazine there is a much larger catboat design Tabby, by Mr. Skinner.
Thanks for the memorable reference.

Alden Smith said...

Thank you very much Ken for your comment, it is much appreciated.

I would be interested in your opinion as to one, whether she is a Crosby design? and two, whether you think is a sister ship to Jenny? (perhaps my information about Jenny being 16 feet long is incorrect).

Also, would you by any chance have any photographs of Hitty sailing? Now that would be finding treasure indeed !!!

I may have seen catboat design(s) by Walter Skinner in the Rudder as the name is familiar but I haven't ever had any luck when Googling his name. I originally thought he was the designer of Hitty and was just being modest in not putting his name to the plans but as she is not his design I think she is probably a Crosby design.

Thanks again - Alden Smith

Alden Smith said...

Ken, of course I failed to ask the obvious question - is Hitty still around and sailing??

Coracleken said...

Alden, I do not know if Hitty was a Crosby design, but I suspect so. Walter Skinner as I remember was an architect, but not a naval architect in Bridgeport CT. I remember him as sort of a Goddard (The Complete Cruiser) character. That was probably 55 years ago.
Walter Skinner commissioned a David Stevens baby Bluenose schooner to replace Hitty. We did the same but it was delivered by rail to the West Coast as we had moved by completion. I don't remember any pictures but I will check some old family albums.
The boats were stored and moored at what Google now identifies as Port Milford. If I come up with anymore details I will let you know.

Alden Smith said...

Ken, that makes Walter Skinner a lot more familiar, I know Goddard quite well! 'The Complete Cruiser' is a book I had put off reading for some time because of its didactic style, but I read it recently and enjoyed it immensely.

I did a Google on the Baby Bluenoses - quite a lot smaller than their namesake, but a serious cruising boat all the same.

Thanks for taking the time to comment, and yes, if you happen to come up with any more details I would be very interested in hearing from you.

Coracleken said...

Alden, Thank you for reviving the memory of Hitty. I too have considered building her. The springy sheer and hull shape is mesmerizing.
My best, Ken