Planing Keelboats-the Start by Uffa Fox

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Doug Lord, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  2. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    I have sailed a F15, quite wierd really. Very low freeboard so very wet, but because of its length it doesn't seem to be going fast until you go past other boats

    I also, somewhere, have a series of photos I took in 1962 of Uffa Fox and Prince Phillip capsizing their F15, Coweslip

    Richard Woods
     
  3. Gary Baigent
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    Sunbeam was an Arch Logan designed planing keelboat launched in Auckland in 1899 ... which was long time before Uffa Fox drew his Flying 15. If you look closely you can even see the bulb keel - which was also years ahead of its time.
     

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  4. The Q
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    The Q Senior Member

    Nice article, I have a couple of Uffas books and found them very interesting.

    Amusing the comments about the word queer, as it's use is quite common in the UK, being used as for it's correct purpose for anything that is a little odd..
     
  5. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  6. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    It's hardly "discrimination" to say that sporting equipment of a particular type should normally compete against similar equipment. It's what every sport does, and every sport needs to do to make competition accessible and practical. Moths did it, offshore shorthanded multis did it, skiffs do it, everyone does it.

    The Patikis were given their own class because the other boats in their former class were dramatically different. It's not the fault of the organisers that not enough people wanted to race in the special Patiki class on the Waitemata (sp).

    On the Solent, in Germany and around New York, where the earlier boats that raced under length restrictions had become too expensive, the rules encouraged "Patiki style" boats for years, but the owners themselves tended to turn away from them because they were too fragile. The Patikis ended up in Napier, where they died out because they were too fragile. They were sailed in South Africa, where they seem to have died out because they were too fragile. They were sailed in Sydney, where they seem to have died out for reasons unknown, despite being the fastest thing their size. Even where the Rater/Patiki style was welcomed by the biggest clubs and the most powerful establishment sailors, they died out.*

    It wasn't so much that they were discriminated against, or whether that even happened to a significant extent, but the fact that they were not a practical style of boat in the technology of the time. The Auckland regatta organisers had the choice of either allowing boats that would not last to race - and therefore probably destroying the entire fleet of old boats as well as new ones - or creating a special class for them. Their choice of the latter course was proven to be correct by the fact that long after the Patiki type has died, the style of boat that the Auckland organisers protected is still racing.


    * apart from on the Thames, where the weather and water conditions are extremely unusual.
     
  7. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Paticki-style planing sailboats

    Well, here we go again. There's history and then there's CT's version.
    This history was derived by Bethwaite from historical documents made available by Robin Elliot and Harold Kid. It's worth reading-see the link above.

    "..but still strong enough to give a long racing life given care."

    " Their sin was to be so embarrassingly faster than all the others in mixed fleets, and their fate was that henceforth entries from Paticki-style boats were not accepted from virtually all the clubs around Auckland harbor."
     
  8. Gary Baigent
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    CT, the Napier Patikis (they were not called Napier Patikis for nothing) were very much alive and well from turn of 20th C to when the major earthquakes arrived in 1929 and '31. We're not called the shaky isles for nothing either. And the large Napier lagoon where the lightweight planing boats sailed was destroyed and silted up. So they were forced to race in the open Southern Ocean after that where the lightweight Patikis suffered from big seas and swells. That is why they died out.
    I wrote about this in Sea Spray in the 1980s and later in Light Brigade - if you want to look it up. No one then seemed to know about the class. But originally it was covered by Ronald Carter in Little Ships in 1940s. Those other turkey scribblers came very much later. Just joking.
    By the way, the Patikis were centreboard designs around 26 feet long ... and this thread was/is relating to planing keelboats.
     
  9. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Doug;

    Don't say that I'm lying or fabricating history. I'm not. I did not make any personal remarks about you. Please have the simple manners to follow the forum rules.

    The information that I post comes mainly from primary sources. It is not ********. It is the history that was written by those who were there, not those who followed them a century later. I do use secondary sources when necessary and the NZ-related information in my post above came from Kidd and Elliott's book Southern Breeze, so there is no reason to refer me to them.

    If you look at my blog posts about Raters starting from here, you can see the sort of detail I went into when researching the Raters. I read Linton Hope, Crane, WP Stephens, Forwood, Duggan, Fox, Dunraven, Schenley, Nicholson, Hughes, Dixon Kemp and many many others. Only someone who is ignorant or dishonest (or both) would claim that I am fabricating history.

    The NSYC, Parnell, and Home Bay clubs all ran races for unrestricted Patikis. No, not every club had races for them, but that doesn't mean they were discriminated against. No class is raced at every club, not even Lasers, but that does not mean that anyone discriminates against them.

    It is not discrimination to create restrictions to preserve diversity and to allow people to have competitive racing on boats that have dual purposes or are cheaper, or both. It is simply accepting that not everyone wants to race the fastest possible boats - just as you champion a "people's foiler" rather than just promoting the fastest boats. Just as you have the right to promote a cheaper and easier to sail foiler, so the Auckland organisers had the right to promote a cheaper and easier to sail cruiser/racer.

    As Elliott and Kidd write, one club put down restrictions against the unrestricted Patikis "purely as a defence" of the existing mullet boat classes. The mullet boats were for many years the most popular type of yacht in Auckland, and they still exist. The people who were there at the time - who knew incomparably more about the boats, their scene and the conditions - felt that it was important to protect them. Only the most arrogant people in 2016 would pretend that they know more about how the Auckland clubs should have handled the issues they faced in the 1800s and early 1900s than those who were there at the time.

    As Kidd and Elliott - the very people you refer to - say of the later Patikis that "forays into the open water, however, were torture for the lightweight hulls. One by one the great boats fell apart". People like Dunraven and Schenley - who were leading skippers when the UK Raters were racing - also specifically wrote about the problems with the type. Clinton Crane wrote about the problems of the similar Seawanhaka Cup boats, such as one of his own which only lasted about six races. These were not boats that could be used for Gulf cruising and social sailing. If they were not put in their own class then NZ sailing itself would probably have been harmed.

    The Raters were great boats. Unlike you, I've owned a boat inspired by the Raters (and won a national divisional championship title in it) and I am very familiar with their development from the early Payne designs through to the later Crane, Linton Hope and Duggan designs. However, they have very significant flaws and they did not suit everyone. Putting them in their own class was not "discrimination" but eminently logical, just as it was logical for Moths to ban windsurfers and A Class cats to ban Moths.
     
  10. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Yes, the Napier Patikis survived until the earthquake - but the fate of the Napier boats once the lagoon vanished, and the experience of other Rater types such as Crane's Seawanhaka (which only survived a selection series), the Solent-based boats, and the 75% DNF rate in the only high-wind race in the Intercolonial One Rater challenge shows that the type was not really suited to coastal waters.

    As Elliott and Kidd say, the unrestricted Patikis were racing against a hodge podge of other types such as proto mulleties. They also say that it was the PCC's introduction of restrictions on the mullet boats that basically preserved the type. So if the unrestricted Patikis had not been given their own class, what would have happened? The experience in other areas seems to indicate that the Rater/Patiki types would not have survived outside the ideal conditions of Napier etc (just as in the UK they only survived on the Thames) but before they died they may have killed the mullet boats, just as the Raters killed the last of the Solent Length Class boats and the US boats seem to have helped to kill the last of the sandbaggers and other interesting types. Why allow one type to kill off other types that have different virtues? Why live in a monoculture instead of a diverse culture that allows more people to experience the joys of sailboat racing?

    Surely the experience of the other Rater/Patiki types shows that they couldn't do the sort of cruising and pleasure sailing that the mullet boat types did. Certainly about the time that Mercia and Laurel went to Oz, it was said that the Raters were not as good for local overnight cruising as the 22 Footers they raced against. The Rater/Patiki types were flat water racing machines and most people wanted more versatile boats that they could cruise, sail in open waters, and race. Given that the clubs and regatta organisers had the choice between either making the proto mullet boats etc uncompetitive or putting the Patikis in their own class, the latter option seems reasonable.

    Sadly, I lost my copy of Little Ships in a move eons ago; I should get another one.

    Yep, the thread is about keelboats, but the keelboat One Raters like Unorna that inspired Uffa were very closely related to the Patiki/Seawanhaka/Mercia/Laurel types.

    I didn't realise that it was you who brought the tales of the Napier Patikis back to light. Well done. They sound like great boats. I loved my FF, which is of course inspired by Raters. However, I can understand people who reckoned such boats should not race against conventional keelboats or mulleties, just as I didn't expect my FF to race properly against 1940s keelboats or against skiffs.
     

  11. Gary Baigent
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    CT, I have done moderate research on Patiki/One/Half Raters in New Zealand and what I have found is that there was a reasonable sized fleet on the Manukau Harbour (that is the other Auckland Harbour opening out to the Wild West coast) where crowds would bet on the races, they were also on the Waitemata too of course, Logan and Bailey designs mostly, and Napier where the fleet was strong and was represented by other local designer/builders too; that is until 1929 - but also in Wellington: here is an old Wellington photograph I found somewhere of what looks like a Half Rater. And check out the boat types in the distance; they look similar craft. So what I'm saying is that these fast planing designs, although not huge in fleet numbers, were still popular and especially so with punters.
    I don't know about Lyttleton and Dunedin but wouldn't be surprised if someone did research, that there were fast flatfish types there too. Because Kiwis, as you know, kind of like fast boats and playing about with experimental designs.
     

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