Going in Circles to Get a Blast From the Past

Today I got a blast from the past.  While cruising the WoodenBoat forum over at the Woodenboat Magazine website I came upon a post from a guy who is building what he called a Stevenson’s Lake Scow. I started building a boat of the same design back in 1974, I think.  Electrolosis has corroded some of the fastenings in my brain.  I had a long time fascination with sailing when I was a wee lad but no way to experience it in reality.  After I had gone through my long hair smoke filled hazy days, surviving mostly intact, I wanted a boat to really learn about sailing on the actual water.  reality what a concept!

I found this design, actually my girlfriend found it in the pages of Family Circle magazine.  It was called… wait for it… “The Circle Sailor.”  I swear it’s true and not a left over hallucination from, well you know.  I was very excited about it and traveled from central Pennsylvania down to Glen Burnie, Maryland to get clear Doug fir and marine ply.  I got the basic hull together in my parent’s garage.

It all started out well enough but at the time  I was doing some more in depth study of sailboats and their design.  I began to doubt the sailing qualities of the design.  The rig was okay as hundreds if not thousands of Alcort Sunfishes had proved. The idea of a scow type hull without the traditional pointy front end did’nt shake me up.  Later on I would end up with a San Francisco pelican.  The thing that bothered me was the straight constant taper to the sides.  This boats widest point was at the transom.  It left abrupt corners hanginging out at the stern.  Everything about it said “drag inducing.” In the world of aircraft engineering they would get downright rude and call it “parasitic drag.”

We vacationed at Assateague Island  National Seashore that year.  While strolling around the marinas at Ocean City, Maryland I happened on a ride on a schooner. Her name was “Heart’s Desire.”  Ooh baby! was I hooked and hog-tied by the sailing bug then? That spoiled me and made me anxious to get on the water. The funds saved for the remaining materials bought a small sailboat. It went by the not completely descriptive name of “Super Scamper.” At eleven feet long it had the lateen sail on aluminum pole spars typical of cheap sailboats  and a Styrofoam hull covered in a polyester shell.  That boat taught me a thing or two. I sold the unfinished  hull to an uncle who finished it off and went fishing on placid lakes all the live-long day, end of story.

To the gentleman  on WoodenBoat forum, I thank him for the blast. Sailing has always been a deeply fulfilling activity and a constant source of interest for me.  Passion is a blessing and the fuel of dreams which make the best memories.

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