Sailing in the USA
International Scow Moth KA 9199 - Flatoo-a-T
I purchased this Moth from James Dwyer of Sydney, Australia in
1996. He was leaving for England on a new job posting. My friend,
Bill Beaver, organized getting it on the International Canoe container
for the trip back to the U.S. ( Bill was over for the International
Canoe Worlds at Port Stephens). Before loading it on the container,
Bill took it for a test sail in Sydney harbor and promptly pulled
one of the shroud fittings out.
It is designed by John Quinlan who made three of these scows.
According to John McAteer, NSW Moth historian, John Quinlan sailed
out of Concord and Ryde Sailing Club on the Paramatta River and
designed this scow when he was in his mid fifties. The scow has
a very flat rocker with an unusual flat panel at the stem that starts
at a chine near the waterline and finishes in a very sharp foredeck/hull
juncture at the stem. It is a double chine design with a very narrow
transom. The rig, daggerboard and wings are set about 100mm further
back than in a normal scow design which keeps the helmsman near
the stern. Having never talked to the designer, it appears to me
that he tried to apply the flatter rocker and pintail of sailboard
designs radically to this scow Moth.
Foam/glass with a light ply foredeck. The hull has a fair amount
of dents that get filled and faired whenever I feel motivated. The
hull feels fairly light for a scow but I haven’t weighed it.
It has a rig that was standard for the Australian scows in 1980;
a Superspar mast with no prodder or diamonds, the original Lee sail
has been replaced, but the newer sail is similar, and has a homemade
boom out of a squashed pipe with a lever vang. The blades are made
from glass covered wood.
James Dwyer had this to say about the scow in an email, “it
is flatter than most fore and aft (i.e. not much rocker) which tends
to make it nose-dive”. This is somewhat understated as in
winds under 10 knots it has a tendency to put the nose under quite
regularly; - in any motor boat chop, downwind in slight gusts, sometimes
just out of the blue for spite. Since there is not enough displacement
in light winds, with the helmsman back, the transom drags and sends
up a little rooster tail. The helm cannot move forward or the nosediving
All this changes in 12 knots and above with flat water. Dynamic
lift takes over and this scow design planes upwind and down and
is a hoot to sail. This is what has got me hooked on scows.
I’ve put this scow through the wringer. Bill and I had to
fix the shroud fitting and a large piece of delaminated deck when
the scow got back to the U.S. Later, when sailing in some large
waves, the shroud pin fell out, the mast popped off and put a hole
in the foredeck. Another time the upper rudder gudgeon pulled through
the hull. The hull also fell from the ceiling of my carport where
it was being stored and crushed a corner of stem. Like most Mothies,
you just shrug, fix it and get back to sailing.
I’ve competed at the Modern Moth nationals held every year
at Brigantine YC in New Jersey. It is always short courses (sprint
racing) and light air. The front running, 1960’s vintage,
low wetted surface, Mistral design usually beat me handily. I have
won one race over the years when the wind came up but I have to
be careful with the chop.
All in all, in their elements, the scow Moth is one of the most
responsive planing dinghies I have sailed. Though at times I get
frustrated with my design after a particularly bad submarining race,
I always come back for the chance to put on the afterburners and
tear around the harbor. I would like to try out a more conventional
scow design at some point.
Annapolis MD, USA