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Thread: The 15' footers of the Delaware

  1. #1
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    Default The 15' footers of the Delaware

    I thought the group might be interested some information from the Delaware, the river of 15 footers, hikers, tuckups, duckers. I have data on over 1000 boats/races from the 1870-93 period pulled from newspapers and other sources over the years. It is incomplete with holes, which maybe fillable now that there are more newspapers on line. I recently did some analysis, after a week of creating a new database: this represents some 500 boats. I was astounded. Maybe the biggest fleet in yachting over a couple of decades. Virtually unknown. With it comes names of skippers and some crew. I may take these names as well as the names of people represented in boats and run it against ancestors or similar programs. I suspect we have a large thriving artisanal working/ middle class boating community long before the automobile and trailers made it possible for todays. But that is the social history.

    What's left besides these buried accounts? Lines for one tuckup and two now museum examples, a dozen or so replica boats, maybe a dozen non racing duckers, a half model of one hikers, the famous painting of a hiker race by Eakins, and some magazine renderings. The newspaper stories are great, lots of detail.

    What is left for us? Hiking: the phrase we use to describe using our weight to flatten out a boat. I'll send my spreadsheets and files down to Independence Seaport Museum, don't know what else to do with them. There are lessons to be learned: access to water is critical, communal boat ownership makes things affordable, and having a good place to sail. These things change.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    Good work, Ben! Interesting. You know the fun of it all.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    That's a lot of work - bravo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    What's left besides these buried accounts? Lines for one tuckup and two now museum examples, a dozen or so replica boats, maybe a dozen non racing duckers, a half model of one hikers, the famous painting of a hiker race by Eakins, and some magazine renderings.
    I'd be interested in seeing the tuckup lines, if that is part of what you found. I've got ducker and tuckup aspirations - though not anytime soon.

    Dave

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    Good going Ben!
    I have plans for 2 Tuckups. I was all gung ho to build one as it was a local boat and we were in NJ at the time. Put this Tuckup website together and even got a model built. The fact that I had difficulty having the model stay upright should have been a clue that I was into more boat than I probably should be. Luckily the boys of the Delaware River TSCA have a couple of Tuckups and suggested we go for a sail before building one. I did and with only a fair breeze and small crew the boats proved to be very sporty. On the way home my wife asked who was going to be crew...good point. So I built Rivus the melonseed. Wise choice.

    Tuckup model 2" scale
    Last edited by SBrookman; 02-20-2019 at 02:12 PM. Reason: model scale
    Steve B
    Sjogin IIIa
    PAYTON 13' Pea Pod

    RIVUS 16' Melonseed


    "If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most." E. B. White

  5. #5
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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    Plans for the Thomas M. Seeds (Mariners Museum) and Spider (Independence Seaport Museum) are available from Mariner's Museum, Independence Seaport Museum and Mystic. Lines for Priscilla were published in Forest and Stream.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    Quote Originally Posted by SBrookman View Post
    Good going Ben!
    I have plans for 2 Tuckups. I was all gung ho to build one as it was a local boat and we were in NJ at the time. Put this Tuckup website together and even got a model built. The fact that I had difficulty having the model stay upright should have been a clue that I was into more boat than I probably should be. Luckily the boys of the Delaware River TSCA have a couple of Tuckups and suggested we go for a sail before building one. I did and with only a fair breeze and small crew the boats proved to be very sporty. On the way home my wife asked who was going to be crew...good point. So I built Rivus the melonseed. Wise choice.
    Steve, the hassle with the boats that were built is that most of them had a racing rig, not the 100sq foot or so cruising rig. The ones that did were a lot less sporty. One was sailed regularly on Buzzards!
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    Plans for the Thomas M. Seeds (Mariners Museum) and Spider (Independence Seaport Museum) are available from Mariner's Museum, Independence Seaport Museum and Mystic. Lines for Priscilla were published in Forest and Stream.
    Priscilla plans May 3 1888 F&S https://archive.org/details/ForeststreamXXX/page/298
    tuckup.jpg
    Last edited by MN Dave; 03-03-2019 at 10:06 PM.
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    The 15 footers are not related to the LSSA 12, 14, 16, 18 footers? https://sailcraftblog.wordpress.com/category/sailing/


    There is a 15 ft Ducker in Forest and Stream. It was mentioned in an article that talks about a fellow named Ben Fuller. https://lingeringlunacy.com/category...ucker-sailing/
    More about the boats here https://sailcraftblog.wordpress.com/...ps-hikers-and/

    Plans: https://archive.org/details/ForeststreamXXVIB/page/286
    The entire article is:
    15 ft Ducker.jpg
    Last edited by MN Dave; 03-03-2019 at 10:46 PM.
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    WP Stephen's Canoe and Boat Building (1898) has Priscilla's lines among others. It was what got me interested in these boats.
    41XudBTGRnL._SX376_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
    Steve B
    Sjogin IIIa
    PAYTON 13' Pea Pod

    RIVUS 16' Melonseed


    "If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most." E. B. White

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    First hard build date on these boats that I is 1867. 1870 newspaper reports on racing and 1872 first club organized. I'd like to explore this further in papers prior to 1870 but havn't found any on line. Philadelphia Press and Evening Star used to carry accounts; Forest and Stream had a correspondent named Wilkins ( responsible for the material sent in that has been run in this thread, but only got underway in 1872. I know there were racing boats ( bigger ones) before the Civil War and I suspect these were kept on the Jersey side around Cooper's Point ( where Wilkins hung out) as they were after the Civil War. The key is boat house. I've located the Kensington ones on an 1875 map, now hunting an early map that has that degree of detail. Unfortunately Southwark was not in the 1875 map and the later ones that do show Southwark don't show boathouses although I do know the pier where they were located.

    I understood from Joe Liener who had an old timer working with him in the Navy Yard in the 40s who grew up with these that the size of these boats was based o what could be easily moved by wagon and that 16' was a standard board in the sawmills which made the 15'' logical. And once you got into rows of boathouses with boats on racks the size made sense as well. Early form of dry sailing.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  11. #11
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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    1895, One design 15 footers 15'4" lwl, 21'4" loa, is this the same 15 foot class?

    There is a description of the one design 15 footers in Forest and Stream, Dec. 14, 1895 that says that the design is "building from the designs and specifications of the Scarecrow as published in Forest and Stream." Rod Mincher has a blog with some clearer images than the archive scans of Forest and Stream here: http://earwigoagin.blogspot.com/2016...scarecrow.html


    Lines and offsets: https://archive.org/details/Foreststream39/page/456
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  12. #12
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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    Quote Originally Posted by MN Dave View Post
    1895, One design 15 footers 15'4" lwl, 21'4" loa, is this the same 15 foot class?

    There is a description of the one design 15 footers in Forest and Stream, Dec. 14, 1895 that says that the design is "building from the designs and specifications of the Scarecrow as published in Forest and Stream." Rod Mincher has a blog with some clearer images than the archive scans of Forest and Stream here: http://earwigoagin.blogspot.com/2016...scarecrow.html


    Lines and offsets: https://archive.org/details/Foreststream39/page/456
    No, that one is a much bigger boat; the 15 that is in the description is LWL. The 15 footers of which I speak are LOA. Several types of hikers/ tuckups , cat rigged differentiated by beam and sail area as well as the double ended duckers. They were all drysailed out of boathouses.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  13. #13
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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    I understood from Joe Liener who had an old timer working with him in the Navy Yard in the 40s who grew up with these that the size of these boats was based o what could be easily moved by wagon and that 16' was a standard board in the sawmills which made the 15'' logical. And once you got into rows of boathouses with boats on racks the size made sense as well. Early form of dry sailing.[/QUOTE]

    ................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .......................

    With its 4 foot beam the York Ducker conforms nicely to our current haulers and the construction module they're built to carry . Such handy boats .

    https://pix.sfly.com/dNRtEm


  14. #14
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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Perkins View Post
    I understood from Joe Liener who had an old timer working with him in the Navy Yard in the 40s who grew up with these that the size of these boats was based o what could be easily moved by wagon and that 16' was a standard board in the sawmills which made the 15'' logical. And once you got into rows of boathouses with boats on racks the size made sense as well. Early form of dry sailing.
    …................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .......................

    With its 4 foot beam the York Ducker conforms nicely to our current haulers and the construction module they're built to carry . Such handy boats .

    https://pix.sfly.com/dNRtEm

    [/QUOTE]

    Somewhere I have a copy of a photo of Joe's ducker in the back of one of the 60s era station wagons, no extender. I'm going to try the back of my pickup this year and carry a home made dinghy trolley on the roof racks. I will use an extender.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  15. #15
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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    My store bought extender can hold 1000 pounds : a bit of overkill, I decided, for carrying my 120 lb.boat . No big problem but it is a bit unwieldly to move around and store in the restricted space of my storage unit . Plus it's started to feel heavier over time … I decided to make my own . For this a 2 inch by 2 in. piece of square steel tube was the obvious and best choice but I couldn't find a shop in town that wanted to supply the 4 foot piece I needed and drill the required holes for a sensible price .

    I then found a great shop on the internet which would sell short lengths of some common structural shapes and machine to your drawing (they don't anymore!) . They had structural steel angle and I selected 2 by2by 1/4 in. Angle is rarely the theoretically perfect shape ,but it does form simple strong connections with other things . It has less torsional rigidity than the square tube , but has served well . Once that flat floored boat is lashed to the bed it is absolutely immoveable .

    https://pix.sfly.com/xQKy

    https://pix.sfly.com/9QCZ6i

    I first learned of the Duckers in a Small Boat Journal article . Ben; did you write that ?
    Last edited by Bill Perkins; 03-07-2019 at 09:05 AM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    Now that's fancy.

    -Dave

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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    The cross planked diamond bottom Pascagoula catboat I am looking into from the 1950s shares a lot of the same features as the tuckup. They were mostly 16 footers built for racing, overcanvassed. What i found interesting as well was the club racing, where the clubs built the boats. They would meet the day before the racing and draw to see which boat they got.

    I've been looking real hard at Spider's lines. I think our boat will need a monogrammed rudder too

  18. #18
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    Default Re: The 15' footers of the Delaware

    In working on my 15' story (maybe someday publishable) , one of the principle correspondents to Forest and Stream ( mostly available on line but also available as a CDROM which I will be getting) is a boatbuilder and captain Rufus G. Wilkins of Cooper's Point NJ, just across the river from Fishtown, and directly accessible by ferry. This is where Philadelphians kept larger boats than the 15 footers, indeed even cabin yachts. It occured to me to run a search on Capt. Wilkins, and lo an behold, his father has a legit claim on being the first to put centerboards in American small craft.... in 1820 or earlier.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

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