View Full Version : Midget - 1955 20ft MORC sloop by Edward R Weber (a restoration project in Australia)

Patrick Miller
07-04-2011, 09:13 PM
This is essentially a message to Aussie members who might be interested in taking over a nice little project where the ballast keel, backbone, framing, planking, spars, rigging and sails are already there and she merely awaits floors, internal fitout, cabin and deck.

Midget is advertised on a certain international auction site and is pretty easy to find.

I first bought this boat in 1984 and sailed her from Port Fairy to Williamstown, which, I found out, was where she was built in 1963. I sailed her mainly single handed around Port Phillip Bay for several years only selling her to get into racing.

In 2001 I had the opportunity of buying her back. By this time I was very interested in her design and I wanted to restore her as a project. I was lucky enough to track down the man who conceived her in the 1950s and got my hands on facsimiles of the original plans published in the US magazine Motor Boating in 1955. The designer was Edward R Weber and I had some correspondence with him. He even sent me a water colour he had done of two Midgets racing.

The builder of my boat departed from Ed’s plans in building the deck and cabin. Besides being a bit ugly and boxy the cabin and the deck were both affected by rot and I removed them as well as the floors (heavy timbers that connect the frames to the keel. I also began to strip off the Dynel (a sort of fibreglass) sheathing that encased the hull.

Work proceeded smoothly at first but life intervened. I had to stop in 2006 for personal reasons and now the farm where it has been in the shed for the last 7 years has been sold. I have nowhere to put the boat and my spark of enthusiasm for the project has gone out.

It’s time to pass the baton on to a younger and more enthusiastic owner.

Here’s what Motor Boating had to say about the plans when they published them in 1955:

Midget is designed to be one of the smaller boats under the MORC rule, with an overall length of only 20 feet. Thus her proportions affecting costs are such that many will be able to build or buy her who could not aspire to a 24-footer. Her hull lines and profile under water follow proved form, with a trend toward the old and proved rather than the new and rare. The profile underbody is long and full, with a real grip on the water, able to hold a course without yawing or broaching, easy on the helm and most seakindly. With a view to keeping costs down initially as well as later in upkeep, there is a trend toward lightness in her lines, which will also permit speed provided the boat is not burdened with too much weight from equipment and gear. This lightness gives long sailing buttocks and a clean run, little wake and a boat on which one can leave the helm for short periods to tend to other duties. Short fin keelers and centerboarders can claim speed and manoeuvrability but in a sense must be likened to a tricycle that can be spun in its own length, yet a one-wheeled unicycle that needs constant attention to keep her on course and driving ahead. Thus this “old-fashioned” profile suits the seas, it meets the cruising needs and will be a real racing companion and as valuable as an extra crew member. Space below on Midget is secured through the use of high freeboard and a straight sheer. These give her a modern look above water, following recent trends. At the same time, they have the necessary amount of boat below them to give proper balance. When one has a skimming dish type of hull, with modern high freeboard, then one has little control, but Midget has a blending of the modern in space and looks, and the old in ability and performance. There is 4-foot 5-inch headroom below—more than most 24-foot sloops of normal proportions. And if one looks her over, from plan to plan, he will note that she has a pertness and pleasing appearance despite the sacrifices made for the sake of interior space, comfortable sleeping and galley accommodations. One great advantage Midget has, as drawn, is the ability to sleep a third hand. Very often it is necessary to cruise a small boat such as this with three aboard, possibly to sleep three before a race or just after a particularly tiring race. It will be seen that by clearing off the galley and toilet tops one additional person can sleep athwartships in a sleeping bag or on an air mattress. Crowded? Yes, but necessary at time, and it is mighty seldom one cruises on a 20-footer that can sleep all three of her racing crew! For hatches there are the hinged forward hatch, a sliding companionway and two access hatches in the aft deck for the stowage space there. The forward hatch is a valuable safety factor and useful for stowing headsails or handling ground tackle. The arrangement plan shown provides for a completely watertight, self-draining cockpit, without even openings in the seats. Stowage under the seats is reached from the aft hatches or from the interior.

donald branscom
07-04-2011, 11:01 PM
Not even one photo or link to a photo....nothing????

Patrick Miller
07-04-2011, 11:45 PM

Patrick Miller
07-04-2011, 11:53 PM

Patrick Miller
07-05-2011, 12:01 AM

Patrick Miller
07-06-2011, 07:46 PM

07-07-2011, 02:31 AM
Sweet little boat....hope she finds the right owner. SMALL BOATS ARE MORE FUN!!!!