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Thread: L. Francis h.

  1. #36
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    One interesting thing about LFH's shop, his sanctum sanctum, was that just opposite and above the fireplace that had andirons in the shape of anchors was a dug out canoe that he and Starling Burgess carved. The boat hung from the ceiling of the shop and was of an incredibly fair and slender form; or I should say sculpture. The bow was that of a polynesian or eskimo boat. It had a beaked bow in the form of that of an open mouthed shark and a long tapering hull thad ended in a slim canoe stern. It was in fact, one of the most beautiful hulls I have ever seen!
    Jay

  2. #37
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Going back to the Sailski.. LFH used luff spars on the headsails of the R boat Live Yankee and the Q boat Nor'easter(V). In both cases the class declared them illegal. I thought the idea was clever indeed as it added unmeasured sail area, eliminated the need for backstays and produced a tight luff. It is my understanding that the aerodynamics off it didn't work out to an advantage, but an A+ for originality.

    The Sailski rig, however lived on in the unsightly but popular Aquacat, remember those?

    Jon

  3. #38
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    L. Francis loved to tinker with things that would make sailing both more efficient as well as less complicated. His roller furling luff spars were a very good idea. As always it was the governing bodies of the various class rules committees that view a new innovation as either placing one vessel at an unfair advantage to the class or to be of such great expense as to make modifications a burden to other members of the fleet.
    Jay

  4. #39
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    I recently bought LFH plans from Mystic Seaport for the Stormy Petrel, identified on the plan as # F 18, dated December 1923. I also have hanging on my wall Design No. 59 - a 26 Foot Fishing Launch, dated July 1934. These were designed for my grandfather who knew LFH personally and had several boats designed by LFH. I never knew my grandfather, he died in 1945. I have done a little research via the family trying to piece together the relationship and the boats. In addition to Stormy Petrel my grandfather had these boats: a Herreshoff kayak (1928), a Suicide (1928), a Manchester 17, Live Yankee (#16), Yankee (US X 16), Walrus (1931), Yankee One Design (1938), Carpenter (1931), Albatross (designed by LFH but never built), Untertaker (6 Meter), Retriever, Gadget ( I think this was the No 59 design), Ingomar (6 Meter), Mae West, Beelzabub (1920), Cy-press, Slipper (an iceboat, 1925), and Bacchant (designed by Gustav Estlander).

    I don't believe all of these were LFH designs. However, I wonder if some of you know exactly which ones are? Do any of you know any more about these boats?

    Mystic was kind and helpful in sending to me a copy of a Feb 1925 Yachting article (p 46) entitled "Stormy Petrel, A Fast and Able Auxilary Yawl". I found it interesting reading as I work on learning more about LFH and my grandfather and his boats. I am told that Stormy Petrel was used to go offshore, pick up rum, and run it back into Marblehead. Stormy Petrel is described very nicely in the article and an emphasis is placed upon its ability to be singlehanded.

    I am enamoured with the thought of building the boat someday for my use. I wonder if some of you have an opinion who would be a good builder to do justice to an old LFH design? Thanks.

  5. #40
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slaterturf View Post
    I am enamoured with the thought of building the boat someday for my use. I wonder if some of you have an opinion who would be a good builder to do justice to an old LFH design? Thanks.
    Thad Danielson - http://www.reddspondboatworks.com/

  6. #41
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    In the "Nautical Quarterly" article about LFH, Phil Bolger mentions (this is a paraphrase. I haven't read the article in over twenty years.) that the only time he ever saw LFH embarrassed was when someone enquired about building a design he'd produced for an articulated keel on a sailboat, designed to cant from side to side. According to Bolger, it worked opposite to how LFH had thought it would.
    But on the other hand, I think this idea is currently being used in some big boats.

  7. #42
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Quote Originally Posted by seo View Post
    In the "Nautical Quarterly" article about LFH, Phil Bolger mentions (this is a paraphrase. I haven't read the article in over twenty years.) that the only time he ever saw LFH embarrassed was when someone enquired about building a design he'd produced for an articulated keel on a sailboat, designed to cant from side to side. According to Bolger, it worked opposite to how LFH had thought it would.
    But on the other hand, I think this idea is currently being used in some big boats.
    Its a bit more than that, its pretty well leading edge over the last 1/2 decade or so, or current state of the play for ultimate fast sailing boats.

    The LFH sailing machine concept, like very many LFH designs , was actually built here in the late 1940's. The boat sailed very well but the mechanics were never worked out fully.I've spoken to both the designer and builder as well as another local designer builder who sailed on her. When the local yachting association pointed out that she was' illegal' under current racing rules (moving ballast rules right up until just a few years ago), they locked up the keel.

    This is the boat directly inspired by LFH' sailing machine , and designed and built by Jim Young with the canting keel.

    photo taken in 06 or 07 She's about 48 ft x 7 ft beam. Her keel is locked up and the rig changed.


    Last edited by John B; 05-06-2009 at 09:29 AM.

  8. #43
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    LFH was more of an artist than his father was when it came to the pure asthetics of the relationship of form. However, like a true artist, he would at times forget some detail or draw something backwards. This can be seen in the original plans of the "Medowlark" where one of the lee boards is backwards. The fact that he was an atrocias speller was part of his charm. I can't spell either but that does not make me a great yacht designer. The canting keel of the sailing machine was certainly an innovative concept. The only flaw being the mechanics of the mechanism were not practical.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 04-18-2016 at 09:05 PM.

  9. #44
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Yes , it took 50 or 60 years for the sailing world to catch up with that particular concept , and that only with some radical improvements in materials and hydraulic/mechanical assistance.Plus a law change.

    I've been meaning to say how much I appreciate this thread. One of my early threads here on the wbf perhaps 8 or 9 years ago was an enquiry about insights into the general character of the man from anyone who may have known him. Its great to finally hear some. I have most of the books and even some Rudders with the original articles which became 'Commonsense', but there's never too much information is there.
    Last edited by John B; 05-06-2009 at 10:07 AM.

  10. #45
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Canting keel RC sailboat (youtube):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSuxF...eature=related

  11. #46
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesCaird View Post
    ... I made the acquaintance of Muriel Vaugh and was invited to The Castle. It was with a sense of wonderment that I entered that inner sanctum-the upstairs workshop.
    Muriel loaned me LFH's own patterns for the Rozinante hardware.
    In the mid-70s I stopped by the Castle unannounced and Muriel welcomed me inside. It seemed she was used to people doing that kind of thing and took me upstairs to the workshop. It was as described by others here with the wood hull hanging overhead and various bits and pieces and plans and magazines all around. It certainly looked like there was a problem with leaks but I didn't ask about it. A pile of plans lay on one bench and as I tentatively peeked at them she told me to take as many as I wanted! We chatted for a while and someone later told me I must have 'caught her on a good day', but I had no reason to credit that.

  12. #47
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Muriel liked men, especialy men who could talk boats! L. Francis just liked to have visitors he could chat with. When ever he might spy looky loos out side of the Castle, if he was in a good mood, he would ask Muriel, "Madam do you think they are house broke?" A guided tour would often be the result of an afermitive answere.
    Jay

  13. #48

    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Wow, what a great thread! Thanks to all who contributed, this is fascinating!

    Jon R wrote:

    >I am sad to say that I am not sure if I ever met LFH myself or not.. I
    >would have been young. He remained a friend of the family and was a
    >frequent guest at my great grandmother Paine's house. She lived to a
    >ripe old age and I knew her well. I wished I had mined her wealth of
    >knowledge when I had the chance. A story that she did tell me once was
    >that when LFH FP and Burgess were in P town Starling designed two six
    >meters one with the help of LFH that was Sheila, and the other, Jeanie
    >with help from FP. The latter was built in P Town by LFH, FP and WSB
    >themselves. Now that would be a cool piece of history. Jeanie was
    >sailed in 1921 with a crew of FCP, LFH and Nick Potter. Either too
    >many cooks or the boat was genuinely bad. I think the latter. They
    >took her to England and stunk up the Six meter competition. FP sold
    >the boat in England. Sheila fared much better, and is with us today.

    You memory is correct. Sheila was built at the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, building number 861. Both Sheila and Jeanie were test-sailed in May 1921 off the Herreshoff works in Bristol. On June 25, 1921 they were shipped to England to compete for the British-American Cup held off Cowes the following month.

    The Herreshoff Marine Museum holds a few photos of the two boats, taken by Tom Brightman and Agnes Herreshoff. I hope no one is mad at me when I post two of them. Sheila is the dark boat, US4, and Jeanie is the white boat with no sail number (she was later assigned US1). These must be some of the very earliest photos of six meter boats sailing on American waters.




  14. #49

    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Slaterturf wrote:
    >I recently bought LFH plans from Mystic Seaport for the Stormy Petrel,
    >identified on the plan as # F 18, dated December 1923. I also have
    >hanging on my wall Design No. 59 - a 26 Foot Fishing Launch, dated
    >July 1934. These were designed for my grandfather who knew LFH
    >personally and had several boats designed by LFH. I never knew my
    >grandfather, he died in 1945. I have done a little research via the
    >family trying to piece together the relationship and the boats. In
    >addition to Stormy Petrel my grandfather had these boats: a Herreshoff
    >kayak (1928), a Suicide (1928), a Manchester 17, Live Yankee (#16),
    >Yankee (US X 16), Walrus (1931), Yankee One Design (1938), Carpenter
    >(1931), Albatross (designed by LFH but never built), Untertaker (6
    >Meter), Retriever, Gadget ( I think this was the No 59 design),
    >Ingomar (6 Meter), Mae West, Beelzabub (1920), Cy-press, Slipper (an
    >iceboat, 1925), and Bacchant (designed by Gustav Estlander).

    That is very interesting! I would love to find out more about Albatross, for I have an almost finished half model and an unfinished full model of her. I also have the original model lines plan made by LFH, leading me to believe that he also made (but never finished) the two models.

    I'd be most interested to find out more about Albatross. All I know was that she was meant to be an 83' auxiliary power cruiser. She was designed in 1931 as design #31 for C. A Welch, but was never built. Her plans (but not the model lines plan) are today at Mystic Seaport Museum. Albatross was once featured in The Rudder, and appears in the L. F. Herreshoff books "Common Sense of Yacht Design" and "Sensible Cruising Designs." Interestingly, a photo of quite similarl model built by L. F. Herreshoff appeared in his December 1948 Rudder article "Some Hints of Model Making" (later reprinted in "An L. Francis Herreshoff Reader"). The photo shows the Albatross half model at the top and the model featured in the Rudder at the bottom.






  15. #50

    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    A bit more information about Sailski: She was designed in 1949 by L. Francis Herreshoff in response to the numerous inquiries about catamarans he had received after his series of articles he had written in 1947 for The Rudder, the leading American yachting magazine. Sailski was presented in a series of articles in The Rudder by L. F. Herreshoff from May 1949 to February 1950.

    Overall, Sailski was not a successful design and suffered from poor hullshape and too little sail area. Furthermore, even though designed with home-builders in mind, she was complicated and expensive to build. Accordingly, only very few were actually built, although many building plans had been sold by The Rudder. Her shortcomings notwithstanding, Sailski was an innovative catamaran which pioneered the practical use of the canvas trampoline between the hulls that would later become the standard for small beach catamarans. Likewise, her tripod rig was later copied for the highly successful Aquacat design. Sailski was the last catamaran designed by a member of the Herreshoff family and the last to have independently articulating hulls.

    I wonder how many Sailskis have ever been built and would like to find out more. I am aware of the original Sailski built by William Berry in the early 1950s, another one built on City Island probably also in the 1950s, and a third one, built by Ray Ingersoll of Pelham, NY and launched by him in 1966. Mr. Ingersoll once wrote to LFH praising the virtues of Sailski and LFH responded: "Thank you for your nice letter about the sail ski. I must say that I am pleasantly surprised for all of the few builders of these boats that I have heard from were much disappointed with them."



    "The Sailing Machine "Sailski" --- Design No. 90, Sheet 1."
    Source: Herreshoff, L. Francis. "How to Build Sailski, A Sailing Machine. Part I." The Rudder, May 1949, p. 20-21, 66.
    Last edited by HCR; 05-07-2009 at 04:50 AM.

  16. #51

    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    "Frozen snot" --- that's how L. Francis Herreshoff is said to have characterized fiberglass boats.

    Is that true?

    When and where exactly did he use the term for the first time and in which context?

    Did he ever write about "frozen snot"?

  17. #52
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Many years ago I wrote a letter to him wondering if Rosinante could be built in FG. Eventually I received an answer. He was not enthusiastic. However, some time later I discovered that Rosinante had been built for a while by the Kinner Boat Company. I assume Kinner purchased the rights to the plans. How did LFH ever let himself do such a thing?

  18. #53
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    I forgot to mention the Kinner Rosinante was made of FG.

  19. #54
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Quote Originally Posted by HCR View Post
    "Frozen snot" --- that's how L. Francis Herreshoff is said to have characterized fiberglass boats.

    Is that true?

    When and where exactly did he use the term for the first time and in which context?

    Did he ever write about "frozen snot"?
    I heard he said epoxy was frozen snot. Not the same as a fiberglass boat. Guess it doesn't really matter all that much which he meant.

  20. #55
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    I heard that quote used in some connection with a builder (I think it was Alan Vaitses) building a Meadowlark out of FRP. I think the end of the story was the LFH approved of it for that hull. Said that the owners of Meadowlarks were afraid to let them take the ground, which limited their usefulness, and maybe having it built out of FRP would make them worry less.

  21. #56
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    It's amazing to me that someone from Herreshoff's background, growing up around 'round-the-buoys racing and swank-ola yachts, would have gravitated to the simplicity of the "double paddle canoe," which is one of the true phenoms of the modern era.
    In an article about the demise of the yacht industry, I read a comment that there were actually more boats being built now than thirty years ago-but they're canoes, kayaks, Hobie-cats, windsurfers, and (shudder) jet-skis.

  22. #57
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Quote Originally Posted by seo View Post
    It's amazing to me that someone from Herreshoff's background, growing up around 'round-the-buoys racing and swank-ola yachts, would have gravitated to the simplicity of the "double paddle canoe," which is one of the true phenoms of the modern era.
    Kayaks are perhaps more numerous now, and could be considered a phenomenon in that respect, but dp canoes have been around a long time. His piece written about a dp canoe exploration of "The Dry Salvages" is excellent.

  23. #58
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Quote Originally Posted by HCR View Post
    "Frozen snot" --- that's how L. Francis Herreshoff is said to have characterized fiberglass boats.

    Is that true?

    When and where exactly did he use the term for the first time and in which context?

    Did he ever write about "frozen snot"?
    Yes, he did. In the double set of The Common Sense of Yacht Design within the chapter on Materials, L. Francis described the possible future of plastics in yacht construction. This was before the advent of fiber glass cloth or polyester or epoxy resins. In his rant on modern materials, he mentioned that juke boxes and other items were often made of plastics and that in some instances it was made to resemble some "weird marble which, some workmen refer to as frozen snot."
    The name stuck and with the advent of fiberglass boats, the term was automaticaly used to refer to boats built of resin and glass or some other kind of fibers. He did go so far as to predict that in the future, most boats would all be built of plastics and painted bright red with nickel plated fittings. He further mentioned that these boats would suit the ash man's son, the garbage man's son and the son of the local politician. He further ranted that he didn't know why these chaps would want to be out on the water any way as all they were interested in was to take some bad girls up around the bend in the river and that they might as well do this on the swill wagon their fathers navigated before them as there was nothing on the water that they wanted to see or hear anyway. He even went so far as to predict that allowing, what he called the masses, to venture out on the water that the only result would be a lot of morbid drownings as Father Neptune would turn their plastic boats into plastic coffins.

    I might mention here that when L. Francis was writing he often would partake of a bit of "the good New England rum which, may have in part, inspired many of his most famous opinions and quotations on modern boat building. He was also a hater of F.D.R.
    Jay

  24. #59
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    Kayaks are perhaps more numerous now, and could be considered a phenomenon in that respect, but dp canoes have been around a long time. His piece written about a dp canoe exploration of "The Dry Salvages" is excellent.
    You will forgive my correction, but L. Francis was referring to a set of rocks, which are about a mile off of the entrance to Marble Head that are known as the "Dry Breakers". This is because, in the distance, the rocks which are covered with white bird droppings, resemble breaking surf.
    Jay

  25. #60
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Meanwhile LFH's brother Sidney forged on and developed fg production boats. He was no slouch in the design arena either. I prefer his designs!

  26. #61
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Of course a lesser known fact is that L. Francis was never intended to become a designer as far as Nat was concerned. He was started off studying agriculture. There was a smoldering feud that went on for years between Francis and his father Nat.
    It was not until Francis was well established, in his own right, as a designer that the ice began to thaw and the two were able to converse and share opinions on design.

  27. #62

    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Jay Greer wrote:
    >>Did he ever write about "frozen snot"?
    >Yes, he did. In the double set of The Common Sense of Yacht Design
    >within the chapter on Materials, L. Francis described the possible
    >future of plastics in yacht construction. This was before the advent
    >of fiber glass cloth or polyester or epoxy resins. In his rant on
    >modern materials, he mentioned that juke boxes and other items were
    >often made of plastics and that in some instances it was made to
    >resemble some "weird marble which, some workmen refer to as frozen
    >snot."

    Wonderful! Thank you very much! It's on p. 101 in Vol. I. of the
    Common Sense of Yacht Design: "Some of the designers who work in it
    and, of course, hate it call it frozen snot."

    Again, thanks for steering me towards that quote!

  28. #63
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    L. Francis was referring to a set of rocks, which are about a mile off of the entrance to Marble Head that are known as the "Dry Breakers".
    That's right! "The Dry Breakers" is a chapter in the book "An L. Francis Herreshoff Reader" and that's where he describes the dp canoe trip. The previous chapter about sailing an Alerion from NYC to Bristol is a classic also.

    He mentioned the Dry Salvages (not too far away, off Sandy Bay on Cape Ann) in "The Compleat Cruiser". I confused the two.

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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Double-paddle canoe, kayak, honestly I don't much care what you call them. The type of boat that Herreshoff was championing was small-something you could keep in your back yard, carry on your hip, paddle out among the rocks and ledges, or up where the orioles and soldier birds are singing in the marshes.
    He may have hated FDR, but on the other hand there is a true egalitarian bent revealed in his choice of vessels.

  30. #65
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Egalitarian or not he had a noticble avarice for tax assesors and government officials.
    Jay

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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Doesn't avarice mean 'greed'?

  32. #67
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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    Doesn't avarice mean 'greed'?
    By God! I can't believe I did that! Abhorrence was what I meant.
    Jay

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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    One real gem that I recieved as a gift when we came home from the Castle is Skipper's cast iron chowder pot that is designed to fit into the fire hole of the Shipmate wood or coal burning stove. On the bottom is a protrusion that fits the fire hole exactly and keeps the pot in place when the boat is heeled. I also have his recipe for good New England Chowdah!
    Jay

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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Maybe "aversion?"

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    Default Re: L. Francis h.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimConlin View Post
    Indeed it is.
    How true!
    Plures Naves Quam Mentes!

    More Boats Than Brains!

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