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Thread: Massachusetts Bay Sailboat Classes

  1. #1
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    Anyone remember the "Indian" or "Radio" class
    ---I believe they were lapstrake hulls about
    18-21 feet.

  2. #2
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    The Indian is 21', designed in the John Alden office by Sam Crocker in 1921. They are terrific sailing sleds. There are a few of them around, mostly in need of some help. I know who to ask about the Radio, I have heard it mentioned but I don't know any details.

  3. #3
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    WB sells plans for the Indian; it's also in "50 Wooden Boats".

  4. #4
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    Indians are still raced as a class in Nantucket, Mass. The Nantucket Yacht Club may have info if you want to know more.

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    Thad is being more than a little modest about the Indian class.

    At a recent Crocker Memorial Race held in Manchester Mass Thad did a horizion job on the entire mixed fleet of large sailboats using an Indian class sloop borrowed from a friend.

    Dave Thibodeau

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    I was sailing with Bob Campbell who grew up sailing that boat. We were ordered in the nicest possible way to sail the race for the master of Indian Class racing, Lee VanGemert, who told us we would win. What could we do? It was a great time, especially for Bob who had the tiller for the first time in more than 40 years and kept saying "I can't believe I didn't tank" as we came down on the finish line. A Shields Class boat made a vain attempt to catch us.

  7. #7
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    So, Thad is a great sailor(left them all in the "wet dust") as well as an excellent builder--- Thad, what makes this old boat class go besides the captain? Is the shields class relatively new compared to the Indian?---are they about the same length?
    Norske
    p.s. any info on the Radio? (I think it had a lightning insignia on its sail)(funny how this forum is jogging old memories of my young years on the water)

  8. #8
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    The Shields is a circa 1961 design by Olin Stephens, 30' long, 4'9" full keel, derived from the 5.5 Meter class sailed in the Olympics at the time and the International One-Design class. I have one and can believe an Indian would scoot on ahead in a breeze downwind, if that's what the conditions in the Crocker event were like.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Massachusetts Bay Sailboat Classes

    A brief follow up on an old thread: Indians were penned by Crocker for Alden's design firm, circa 1921 based on a Swampscott Dory. (Crocker's name is on the dwgs). In fact, that's what they were called 1921-1926 before the class was formed. There were, AFAIK, three different versions: lapstrake CB, carvel CB, and fullkeel (using lapstrake I think). They are broadly listed in the Excel spreadsheet of Alden's designs, which can be downloaded at MIT's museum website because they now hold the entire Alden records. The class was formed in 1926 for the inaugural 1927 season as the Mass Bay Indians, and the name came from the Squantum YC that purchased the first few boats, via the Eastern YC which decided they didn't want them as training boats.

    The Radio's were also designed by Crocker but not from his work at Alden. I think he did the work under commission for a Winthrop MA (Pleasant Park) yacht club in 1935. By 1937 there were 11 built. After the war the number was above 50. They were also lapstrake CB designs and to me look like baby Indians, 16'6" vs 21'2" LOA. My grandfather built both types in South Boston, but he built a lot more Radios than Indians because they were a lot smaller, and faster builds. My dad remembers helping with both. I know he built them for Savin Hill YC and for Quincy YC, but many (most) of the others were done at Reid's shop. HTH.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Massachusetts Bay Sailboat Classes

    Thank you.
    Any images of the Radio?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Massachusetts Bay Sailboat Classes

    There are some here, very recent. I'm still scouring for originals from 1935+

    https://www.woodenboat.com/register-...-boats/egret-4

    The boat, Egret, is #20. It was originally called a name apropos of the class: STATIC.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Massachusetts Bay Sailboat Classes

    I don't know the Radio, Ken, but I built a Compass, an 18' Crocker, also very like a smaller Indian.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Massachusetts Bay Sailboat Classes

    Thanks Thad. Interesting. I suppose that a smart Naval Architect would choose to not reinvent the wheel, or in this case, tiller and re-use scaled versions that are already proven. The 1921 Indian / ex Swampscott Dory would make a fine foundation to start from for Compass (year?) and for the Radio (1935). I checked in the Alden / MIT excel database and I couldn't find an obvious reference to it using keyword Compass. It may have been a commissioned job like the Radio was from Pleasant Park YC, so not owned by Alden.

    As an added new footnote to this old thread, I have written to the owner of Egret, the #20 ex-STATIC and he enthusiastically wrote back with a detailed email plus a vintage Radio race photo, and Crocker's 1935 sail plan blueprint! I also wrote to Crocker's Yard in Manchester-by-the-Sea and the great-grandson wrote me back with a nice email, but sadly few details. He didn't know about the design at all, and their records were very sparse on the old stuff. He did know a lot about the Indians though. So I sent *him* what I had. Lastly and thoroughly I wrote to the Pleasant Park YC, because they owned the design and commissioned Crocker for the work in 1935. My grandfather was their Class Measurer in 1940 (I sent them the Globe article) so that might motivate them to dig into The Old Files. Fingers crossed, will update if there is one. Stay safe everyone.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Massachusetts Bay Sailboat Classes

    The Compass was also drawn in 1935, design 175, in the Crocker book. The Mower dory lines from 1898, that morphed into the Indian, Radio and Compass, were also the basis for all of Mower's later sailing dory designs.

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    Default Re: Massachusetts Bay Sailboat Classes

    I remember some Alpha Dories at Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield, Mass mid 1950's, but maybe I'm dreaming...
    (I used to ride my bicycle down to that lake)

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Massachusetts Bay Sailboat Classes

    Could be. The Alpha Dories were built by William Chamberlain in Marblehead for the Alpha Dory Club in Salem. They were 21' sailing dories similar to the Beachcombers he built for the Beachcomber Dory Club in Marblehead. These were not really separate classes and not true one designs as Chamberlain modified the design over time. Then, in 1912, Sam Brown (MIT trained Naval architect in Marblehead) built OUTLAW to race with the Beachcombers but with a hull shape leaning toward the Mower dory lines and carrying more sail which lead to a new division, racing. All these are 21' dories. Chamberlain died in 1939. By the 1950's everything was changing and some of the Alphas might well have been moved to the lake in Wakefield, the Indians were in their prime but the older club dories were gone.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Massachusetts Bay Sailboat Classes

    Great thread, thank you all.
    I'm a big fan of Sam Crocker, and I have owned a couple of sailing dories, not Cockers though. My ketch was designed by Crocker's nephew, WD Knott.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Massachusetts Bay Sailboat Classes

    An update on an unexpected but welcome find. Crocker's papers (incl designs) are at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), and #170 (the Radio Class) is among them.

    https://pem.as.atlas-sys.com/reposit.../resources/401

    When they reopen for this sort of thing, I will visit. FYI.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Massachusetts Bay Sailboat Classes

    08_06_031016.jpg
    1938 photo, Radio Class yachts in a Leslie Jones collection 08_06_031016.jpg probably taken at Wollaston YC (Quincy MA), Interclub Regatta based the the four boats that I have identified in the same race.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Massachusetts Bay Sailboat Classes

    Quite a lot like the Townie. I like the reef points.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Massachusetts Bay Sailboat Classes

    I should have added, the photo is part of the Jones collection at the Boston Public Library and online accessible via DigitalCommonwealth.org

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Massachusetts Bay Sailboat Classes

    Beautiful pic! Thanks for posting.

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