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Jim Ledger
11-10-2011, 05:21 PM
A few weeks ago I received a PM from a fellow forumite, Bill Bibeault, who expressed an interest in building the Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei". Today I found myself in the vicinity of the Long Island Maritime Museum so I stopped in and took a few shots of the boat, along with some others. As these boats seem to be of interest to many here, so I'll post them for the enjoyment of all.

First, a little background...



http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m193/searover1916/DSCF0834.jpg

A shot from the bow...

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m193/searover1916/DSCF0835.jpg
...and another from the stern, showing the characteristic finely-shaped tumblehome stern. You can see the brass half-oval that covers the upper edge of the transom clearly in this picture.

I'll follow with some detail shots shortly.

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m193/searover1916/DSCF0839.jpg

Reynard38
11-10-2011, 05:57 PM
It was the photo on the cover of WB of the Gil Smith catboat that inspired me to build my first boat.
I had restored several bikes, scooters and motorcycles at that point, but when I saw that boat I thought that is the most beautiful man made object I had ever seen.
I say go for it on the build and please LOTS OF PICTURES!

James McMullen
11-10-2011, 09:37 PM
I really wanted to build one of those too. . .but I got talked out of it for a bunch of callow, insipid, practical reasons. Still think they're beautiful, beautiful boats.

johnw
11-10-2011, 09:45 PM
Wish someone would build a replica of Una, the Bob Fish catboat that introduced the type to Europe in 1852. Lines, offsets and specs are available.

Reynard38
11-10-2011, 09:54 PM
I look at these boats and think that the conditions on Great South Bay are probably more than a bit like the Gulf Coast and some of our lakes down here.
If I ever get a shop big enough.....

johnw
11-10-2011, 10:03 PM
Hey, Una's a 16' New York catboat...

Duncan Gibbs
11-11-2011, 06:23 PM
A bump for this one and a link to Jim's other Gil Smith catboat thread (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?71201-New-Gil-Smith-catboat-pics).

Thanks Jim! Such lovely boats!

The mast position on the one above seems well set back from the eyes as compared to many of the other GS cats I've seen pictures of. Would that be to allow a small headsail to be set on occasion? There was a catboat I saw up at a classic boat regatta at Bribie Island, which seemed like a cross between the Atkin Krazy Kat which I want to build, as a practice build, and the type of cat shown here. It used to be una rigged, but the guy fitted a small plank bowsprit and had a smallish headsail set as well. The boat completely blitzed the fleet including a few NIS 26s. It was multi-chined ply construction.

Here's a shot before she had the headsail and bowsprit fitted:

http://pic80.picturetrail.com/VOL1913/10058894/19730453/319337866.jpg

There was an issue of Classic Boat not that long ago that had a really good write up on a replica Gil Smith sloop that looked like it had evolved directly from his cats.

Paul Pless
11-11-2011, 06:46 PM
Duncan, you do know that some of the Gil Smith boats were rigged as sloops?

Duncan Gibbs
11-11-2011, 07:01 PM
Yes I do, as pointed out with the CB article. But I'm wondering if any of the cats themselves carried headsails. Looking at the position of the mast in the OP photo would make me believe they may have; or at least some of them may have.

Jim Ledger
11-11-2011, 07:22 PM
I don't think that they used a jib on this boat, Duncan.

Here's a shot of the interior looking forward. You can see the sawn Hackmatack frames with the smaller steam bent frames between. This seems to be typical.

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m193/searover1916/DSCF0836.jpg

Looking aft...

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m193/searover1916/DSCF0837.jpg

A view of the centerboard and trunk

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m193/searover1916/DSCF0838.jpg

Duncan Gibbs
11-11-2011, 07:24 PM
CB Issue # 256. It's in my pile somewhere...

Also found this thread of yours (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?99230-Gil-Smith-Catboats) Paul. Nice pictures of Kid II from Roger on it as well. And Chuck continues to be a terrific answer-er of questions from the beyond: "Noank Sloop."

I remember the guy that built the ply number above said the jib really helped with weather helm on his... and made it faster!

ETA: It'd be interesting to dig further on that question Jim, next time you find yourself at the museum. And thanks for the new pictures! :)

johnw
11-12-2011, 01:09 AM
I think on the spoon-bowed boats, the mast had to be farther back so it could be stepped on the keel.

Jim Ledger
11-12-2011, 07:37 AM
I think on the spoon-bowed boats, the mast had to be farther back so it could be stepped on the keel.
That's a good point. Here's a picture of two bow profiles. The plumb stem is an early boat, and the spoon bow a later development. The boats were continually refined over the years. The funny thing is, though, is that people seem to prefer the older, plumb stem designs. See the picture that ChrisBen posted above, and the thread about the reproduction built at this museum, both plumb stem types. The maximum beam also moves aft as the boats developed.

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m193/searover1916/DSCF0860.jpg

johnw
11-12-2011, 08:30 PM
I suppose the plumb stem looks more 'classic.'

Duncan Gibbs
11-12-2011, 09:03 PM
I would have thought the spoon bow would provide a drier cockpit as the boat would ride up over waves more than slice through them. I'd say the moving the maximum beam aft would allow for more of a planing styled hull, whereas the older plum bow would rely more on a slippery semi-displacement hull and more sail area for its speed. There would be trade-offs with either style: The plum bow provides wetter ride, but nicer motion, whilst the spoon, a drier ride with a bit more up and down motion and an easier sail to manage.

johnw
11-12-2011, 11:15 PM
Plumb stemmed boats can give a nice, dry ride, and spoon-bowed boats can be wet. You want a bow that knifes through the waves instead of bashing them. All Gill Smith's bows look good to me from that aspect. I suspect the spoon bows were a little faster for the waterline, which is what the boats were classified based on. There were some quite extreme catboats that had long overhangs at bow and stern.

Paul Pless
11-13-2011, 06:03 AM
There were some quite extreme catboats that had long overhangs at bow and stern.

Wouldn't you like to see someone recreate N.G Herreshoff's Wanda. (36'6" LOA, 12' Beam)

http://www.brayprints.com/wp-content/uploads/wanda_enlarge.gif

Jim Ledger
11-13-2011, 07:47 AM
I'm going to guess that they we're all pretty wet boats to sail in the Great South Bay, which is quite choppy much of the time.

I've got a few shots of the plumb-stem boat which might be of interest. Here's a bow-on shot, the flat sheer probably did little to keep the spray off the occupants.

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m193/searover1916/DSCF0852.jpg

A stern view showing the typical tumblehome and oval deck. This characteristic seems to have remained through all the development of the Smith boats.

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m193/searover1916/DSCF0853.jpg

A view of the interior looking forward. You can see the extreme forward placement of the mast clearly. You get the impression looking at this boat that it's somehow deeper than the later boats exhibited alongside. All sawn frames here, no steam bent intermediates.

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m193/searover1916/DSCF0854.jpg

Looking aft. The tiller is a typical Smith design and seems to be used on all his boats. The lazarette doors are particularly frustrating, as they block the view of the construction of the tumblehome, something I was always curious about. Jumping into the boats to have a look is I suppose, frowned upon.

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m193/searover1916/DSCF0855.jpg

holzbt
11-13-2011, 09:22 AM
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k253/holzboat/MarionG4.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k253/holzboat/MarionG3.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k253/holzboat/1-4.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k253/holzboat/MarionGCuttySark.jpg

Marion G. I think this was built about 1937 and might be the last Gil Smith catboat. It was actually built by his son Asa under his direction.

johnw
11-13-2011, 03:22 PM
I'm going to guess that they we're all pretty wet boats to sail in the Great South Bay, which is quite choppy much of the time.

I've got a few shots of the plumb-stem boat which might be of interest. Here's a bow-on shot, the flat sheer probably did little to keep the spray off the occupants.

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m193/searover1916/DSCF0852.jpg

A stern view showing the typical tumblehome and oval deck. This characteristic seems to have remained through all the development of the Smith boats.



A view of the interior looking forward. You can see the extreme forward placement of the mast clearly. You get the impression looking at this boat that it's somehow deeper than the later boats exhibited alongside. All sawn frames here, no steam bent intermediates.



Looking aft. The tiller is a typical Smith design and seems to be used on all his boats. The lazarette doors are particularly frustrating, as they block the view of the construction of the tumblehome, something I was always curious about. Jumping into the boats to have a look is I suppose, frowned upon.



I doubt that bow would be particularly wet. Here's a wet bow:
http://cdn-as3.myvirtualpaper.com/o/one_design/snipewinter_09_lowresproof/2009012101/thumbnails/page1_v1.jpg
Not particularly sharp, and fairly flat on the bottom.

Here's another boat with a reputation for being wet:
http://www.boatinginstruction.net/images/boatinginstruction26_clip_image009.jpg
The Atlantic class has a long bow overhang that is sort of U-shaped in section. It pounds down on a chop and throws spray. A sharper-bowed boat, like a Shields or a Yankee One-Design throws far less spray.

Here's what the bow of a Yankee looks like (my old boat, the Yankee Venture):
http://www.yankeeonedesign.com/images/y36_venture-on-a-beat.jpg

I'd say the plumb-stemmed Gil Smith catboats have bows more like Venture's than like a Snipe's, and his spoon-bowed ones had a bow more like a Shields than an Atlantic. Gil Smith would not have had much success if his boats weren't well suited to Great South Bay.

This may be why his boats don't have extreme bows like Wanda's.

Don Scott
01-27-2016, 05:10 PM
Looks like this thread died the death in 2011. I have just come across it in my search for anything on the 'Lorelei' catboat because it has enthralled my mind as did 'Melonseed' a few years ago. Readers might remember that I did a build thread on the 16' Melonseed (Mallard) with lots of photographs (around 2007). Anyway, I was wondering if anyone can supply additional detailed information, dimensions, etc. I have the table of offsets but they are difficult to read due to pixilation.I really do fancy building one of these beautiful boats but it may end up more as a tribute to Gil Smith rather than a dedicated replica. For instance, I only have an 18' shed to build in so straight away I would reduce this catboat length to 2/3 of the original which is a little short of 25'.

The build may never happen as I am heavily into R/C model aircraft and it will depend on getting sufficient information to warrant launching such a project. Some folks may wonder what happened to 'Mallard'.....well, I gave it to my son-in-law and it now sails occasionally off the South Coast, Portsmouth area.

dannyboy
11-17-2016, 08:36 AM
Hi Don, I just saw your interest in building a Gil Smith South Bay Catboat.

I want to draw your attention to the fact that there is one for sail here (https://www.gumtree.com/p/for-sale/sailing-boat-21ft-south-bay-catboat-with-trailer-new-build-project/1200022330)

I built it at the BBA in Lyme Regis this year along with my build partner. She is currently in storage on the south coast there so wouldn't be far from you. If you do want to have a look you are more than welcome. As the ad suggests, she is currently unfinished, however if you still fancy a project, I can't think of anything much more rewarding. Price is negotiable.

They are beautiful boats and we put our heart into building one but unfortunately did not get Lucille finished in time for launch day.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you are interested at all. Or if you want any advice or anything like that I am most willing to help.

All the best,
Dan