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International 14 Racing Dinghies and the Dolphin 24 - developing, updated October 28, 2015  
   

November 26, 2012. Here's how this story starts. Marionette won her class at a 2012 season ending regatta called the Thomas Clark Memorial Regatta held on the Connecticut River (this you can read all about this by clicking here). The host club, Essex Corinthian YC, was the club that Tom Marston, a former owner of Marionette, belonged to and, as Marionette was scheduled to be hauled out at a boat yard further up the river, it seemed a weekend race at her old club was the right thing to do. At the after race party - Marionette won her class - did I already say that? - I found out that Tom had been an International 14 dinghy sailor, and that he had contributed to a book about small boat racing.....

Christophe Favreaux photo - a planing International 14
Click for large views and more about this book

The Race Committee Chairman at this regatta, Ed Birch, had also been an International 14 racer - and also a very active Morgan 24 racer (Morgan 24s were major Dolphin 24 competitors in the 60s and 70's). Ed lent me his copy of the book "The Techniques of Small Boat Racing by the International 14 Sailors of North America" - edited by Stuart Walker, and published in 1960. This book had jacket comments praising it by such sailing notables as Emil Mosbacher, Arther Knapp. Jr., and Robert Bavier, Jr. So, some investigation regarding the connection between this high performance racing dinghy and top level racers, and our Dolphin, was in order...

I knew that George O'Day, our Dolphin 24 'founder', had been a very active International 14 sailor in the 1950's/60's. He was US Nationals Champion in 1958, and a 12 meter America's Cup racer. George wrote two of the chapters in this book....and Tom Marston also wrote a chapter.

Sandy Van Zandt (Van Zandt Sails) was an International 14 sailor, and also owned Hound, a Dolphin 24. Sandy was an important early website contributor. Sandy later raced in 505 dinghies as well, and with Bill Healy won the 1967 North American Championships. In the 50's and 60's these 2 dinghies were the favorites of very competitive racers with the International 14 having 'a bigger box' from a developmental perspective - more room to tinker.

Dyke Williams, who owned Trina and who wrote the 2005 Dolphins Galore article for Good Old Boat Magazine, was an International 14 sailor while he was at Yale 1958-1962. He won the Pacific Coast Championships in 1963 and the Connecticut Cup in 1962, hosted at the Essex YC - a local hub of International 14 racing in the 1950's. Dyke recalls racing against these guys. 

In the 1950’s George O’Day and Associates was a boat sales company and George was an avid fan of the then ‘new’ fiberglass technology.  He was trying hard to get Fairey Marine, his International 14 supplier in the UK - he was their US importer - to make him a fiberglass racing dinghy - they declined as they were committed to their hot molded plywood technology. He ended up meeting with Uffa Fox after the 1958? London Boat Show, and the O'Day Daysailor was born –  some 13,000 were eventually built....Uffa Fox has been called 'the father of the planing dinghy' and had a major impact on International 14 design developments.

George needed a place to build this boat in the US - and went to Palmer Scott, owner of Marscot Plastics, later to become O'Day Manufacturing Company. Palmer also built for George a fiberglass version of the International 14 called the Gannet – also designed by Uffa Fox. Readers of this website, of course, know that Palmer built the first 29 Dolphins for O'Day...

Its been reported that the Fay brothers from Texas, and who sailed with/against George O'Day in International 14s in Marblehead, Massachusetts, were early investors in the O'Day Corporation. And George O'Day won the 1958 '14s National Championship!

So the connection between the International 14 and the Dolphin 24 has many threads. The International 14 is a highly technical, advanced racing dinghy - with a long and broad developmental history. Many changes involving rig, trapezes, weight, sails, etc., coupled with basic construction changes, from traditional wood to hot molded plywood, fiberglass and advanced composites. The transition challenges from wood to fiberglass experienced by the racers, designers and builders in 1950's and 1960's added to the mix. That some of these racers were simultaneously interested in 12 meter America's Cup boats, fast wood racing dinghies, and 24' MORC racing/cruising boats - in which several invested $$$ to develop and build, is also fascinating.

In a phone conversation with Sandy Van Zandt about this connection Sandy got it just about right, I think. He said (paraphrased) that many International 14 racers did not have the deep pockets to afford to own and race larger wood boats. They were very competitive and found good racing in dinghies. They wanted a fast boat and could tinker with the International 14s to make them faster, and win races. Some were attracted to the Dolphin 24 because, it too, was a winner - and was, especially, a 'giant killer' in light air. Amen. And, some did tinker with their Dolphins - ie., Sandy added another set of lower shrouds to Hound to help him control the mast and better shape "his" (Van Zandt Sails) sails.

We are looking for more pieces to this story - and invite comments.

December 1, 2012. Another 'connection'. Steve Shumaker, son of John Shumaker, founder of Yankee Yachts, is an International 14 dinghy racer, and is currently building a new boat!

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March 17, 2013. Rod Mincher from Annapolis, Maryland has been researching the North American International 14 history and came across this website and page. He offers a photo of a vintage International 14 - the kind George O'Day, Tom Marstrand, Dyke Williams, Stuart Walker and the rest would have been sailing.

 

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November 11, 2013. Recent contacts with Ron Noe (En Charette, Lunn #200) and Dyke Williams (TRINA), plus Dolphin24.org staff work resulted in still another International 14/Dolphin 24 connection

Ron Noe is a marine architect who has been around the racing scene in eastern Connecticut for many years. His Dolphin 24 was one of the first Lunn built Dolphins and was modified by him for racing. It turns out that Ron was also connected to the International 14. The picture below is of the I-14 he donated to the Essex Yacht Club and hangs in their club bar.

This varnished beautty once belonged to Sandy Poindexter - we'll try and get more information about her. Dyke Williams was cruising around the website and came across this page and it stirred up some memories that he shares here (minor edits)

Ron, what follows is a portion of an email to Hop Hopkins, old friend and partner with Gerry Milgram in the world's first computer designed sails. I didn't know your I -14' article existed until Hop noted its existence.  FYI!

The I-14' article was news to me, though I remember Ron quizzing me at length about what I knew - never thought he'd write about it.   He got most of it right, except that I actually owned seven 14's and sold the last one in the early 80's.   Brought my Kirby Mark V out here and raced it in the all-comers regattas.   Actually had the lads from the dwindling Milwaukee fleet drive over here for at least two years to run 14' regattas on Lake Minnetonka.  

Before that I kept right on owning 14's (14' One Design, Fairey Mark VI, Kirby I, Proctor !V, Kirby V, Souter Casson !! (?) and another Fairey VI that I restored but never sailed.   Katie and I drove from Boston to everywhere on the east coast (plus one summer in Vancouver and Seattle) with a 14' behind for as many as 15 regattas a year, until we moved to MN the fall of 1969.  Banjo went along and we mostly sang old songs and gave beer a temporary home on Saturday nights.   As was noted, 14's were all I could afford.   Except for the sails you and Gerry (Milgram) built me, I was age 28 before I could afford ever to buy a new sail ( a North jib) - the rest were always used, sometimes very used!

Our last regatta was the "Mid-Coast championships - I-14's from both east and west coast drove to MN for their nationals one year prodded to action by Rod Ter Beest from Mankato, MN who also had 14's.   Sailed on a widening of the Mississippi (Lake Pepin).   Several Aussie 14's and totally modern versions (2 trapezes, etc.) raced too, to see how the various versions compared.   My daughter Molly crewed for me (first time on a trapeze), and we won the "regular" 14' divisiion.   Great way to go out!   I'd cobbled the Souter together from a tired hull.   The glue holding one skin to the keel let go in the first race - had to be screwed back in place for the duration.   Molly's face when I quietly told her we were sinking was quite a sight.   Flying Dutchman mast recut and redrilled, used sails from California sources and much prayer.

For years I couldn't understand why Sandy Van Zandt moved toward the Dolphins, and then my body started to get older and his reasoning came to me - that pain and total saturation weren't absolutely necessary to the enjoyment of sailing.   And I could afford bigger boats.   Had an M-16 scow when we moved here.   Bought an Ensign which the family loved - great and competitive fleet and our kids played hide and seek and the bigger ones ignored the spinnaker sheet tied to the little one.   Had the first Laser in Minnesota - of course the three guys responsible for the boat (Bruce Kirby, Ian Bruce and ???????) were all 14' racing friends from way back, so I had to try one.   Had one of the first J/22's built and raced it here in Fleet #1 and then moved it to Lake of the Woods where I still own and sail it after 30 years.   I consider it "the Old Man's Planing Dinghy".   We measure how old we really are each summer by whether we can set, fly, plane with and retrieve a spinnaker with just the two of us.   So far so good.

Dyke

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October 28, 2015. Steve Shumaker, whose Dad, John Shumaker, founder of Yankee Yachts, passed away earlier this month, sent in the following email (minor edits)

The first 14' wood boat Dad and I built (finished in 2006) was designed as a single-trapeze dinghy. It turned outthat the hull could measure in as an I-14, so I put a larger rig and a larger "sprit" or spinnaker pole on it, and sailed it as an International 14 for about
3 years. I designed the second boat specifically as an international 14, and built it out of wood as well. It is finished bright, because I loved the look of the clear-coated Okoume plywood.

I am currently working on a third I-14. The hull has been completely skinned and it is almost ready to be turned overfor putting in the cockpit floor, etc. Attached are some photos of the first boat, the one Dad and I built together. Some show the original rig, and some the I-14 rig. There is one on launch day with him in the foreground.

Click on the photos for a larger image - click the return arrow on your browser to get back here


Here are some photos of "Crucible", International 14 USA 1183. You can see Dad watching the progress of the build in one photo, and in another, he and I are next to each other at the boat turning party (turning from upside down to rightside up, a milestone of sorts).

 

The builds of the second and third I-14s are extensively documented on the international14.org site. Here are thelinks:

http://forum.international14.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=865

and

http://forum.international14.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1750

Steve

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