South Bay Scooter



(Photos courtesy South Bay Scooter Club)

Pretty interesting, from their website:

“Men on Long Island’s south side bays since early times have fished, clamed, oystered, eeled, and set fykes, fish traps, frostfish nets and smelt nets. Years ago they built small plumb-sided flat-bottom scows and rowboats or sharpies. These made good carriers for their catches, and when winter came they placed narrow wagon-tire [metal] strips on the boats’ chines. ….., so boats or scows could be dragged through snow over the ice. With a lot of hard labor men got these crude boats through thin ice and up on hard, thick ice to work their many sorts of fishing equipment, and to carry their numerous kinds of foodstuffs in the raw that our bay have produced over the years. It was all cold, rough, hard work….


The evolution of the Scooter is not well documented. It did not evolve from a designer’s drawing board nor was there a class association. It evolved out of necessity. Something like this. Take an old duck puntie and add runners. A mast, sprit sail or gaff and a pike pole to steer her. Angle the runners (bevel) to bite into the ice and to prevent the boat from sliding sideways. Add a jib to balance the main sail and a bit of rocker (curve) to the runners to increase steerage and you have a Scooter.”




As with the cover of the current issue of WoodenBoat, ice boating is in season here.  I would just as soon see winter recede in the rear view mirror.

But the South Bay Scooter seems very cool.  What do you think?

Here’s their website:

Thanks, Carl

Posted in My Wooden Boat of February 2014 | Tagged , , | Comments Off

I Finally Found It!: The NS14

For so many years, I’ve been looking for a reasonably high performance DIY dinghy that is designed for an adult and a youngster.  What do you think?:

NS 14B

(Photos courtesy of the NS14 Association;

The NS14 is a development class, not a one-design.  Thus, any design which meets the specific parameters may measure and qualify, as follows:

Minimum hull weight of 150 pounds

Length 4.27m
Sail area (jib and main) 9.3m2 max
Weight of hull 64kg min
Max height to top of mainsail 5.5m above deck
Beam 1.6 – 1.8m

The boat must pass between two horizontal beams, spread 660mm apart. No trapezes, sliding seats or spinnaker. The boat must have buoyancy to be rightable after a capsize. The complete rules are available from the association secretary.

Here’s an example (the Tequilla hull):

NS14 hull

And of course they can be built of wood.

From the association’s website:

Introduction to the NS14
The NS14 is an Australian designed sailing, intended for competitive family sailing. It has a simple rig, is light enough to be lifted from a trailer into the water by three people of average strength, requires no olympic skills to sail, and is affordable for the private sailor.

How It All Began
The NS14 was designed in 1960 by a group of senior members of Northbridge Sailing Club, Sydney. They wanted a high performance class boat which would not demand abnormal strength or acrobatics from its crew.

After some experimentation, the class restrictions were formulated around the successful combination of the New Zealand Javelin Hull and a sail area of 100 square feet. From the original two prototypes the class grew rapidly. Over 2000 boats are registered in the state of New South Wales, with numbers continuing to increase.

Control of the class was transferred in 1965 from the Northbridge Sailing Club to the NS14 Association of New South Wales. The Association is now a National body with state associations active in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and in the Australian Capital Territory.”

Apparently, some were shipped to the US.  I can’t see why this class couldn’t be a winner here, or anywhere.



So, no traps, no spinnaker.  How does she sail?  Check out this great video:

What do you think?  Please comment below.  I think I’m going to build one or more from my grandkids as a stepping stone to the single-handed Moth.

Again, the association’s website:  And a pdf or Excel file here for measurement points:

P.S.  On another note — Old friend David Payne, the curator of the Australian National Maritime Museum, has sent more information about the Historic 18s which were featured here last week.  I will add to last week’s post.

Thanks, Carl

Posted in My Wooden Boat of January 2014 | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments