We have three interesting Skeeter projects under way for this season. These are all C Skeeters; no one has stepped up yet to build a new A Skeeter. The C class is intended to yield a boat that is more reasonable than the mighty A’s. Mast limited to 20′, plank can be 16′, and 36″ DN runners can be used. But the racing performance is still breathtaking. The Whizz is technically a C, but with the mast at 18′ 10″ it doesn’t take full advantage of the rule. Why is the Whizz mast 18′ 10″? Because when Steve Lamb built W-! for James he used the long section of a broken A Skeeter mast which turned out to be just that length. We now have 15 Whizz, all with that same mast length!
The canopy has been removed for safe keeping; you don’t want to imagine the effort it takes to make a new one should it become damaged. The aft deck has been lowered in the stern by about a foot, and the fuselage shortened.
This boat was built as an A Skeeter back in the nineties, and Lance Bennett is cutting it down to a C. Six feet was taken off the mast and a new 16′ plank built. Here he has made new bulkheads and is ready for the deck.
On Long Island Mike Acebo has started on a boat for George Neyssen designed by Pat Heppart. Pat’s boat Drifter has been burning up the course at the past few ISA’s with only one other boat to give him a good race. Mike expects to have her done for this season, and Apache Boatworks has already built him a mast.
These boats aren’t that much more challenging to build than a Renegade, Yankee or a Whizz. The fore deck has a nice compound curve, but just enough to allow the plywood to take it. The biggest effort is to build the sliding canopy, but as we’ve seen with Tom Nichol’s new boat, stellar visibility, comfort and performance can be had with just a windshield, and the 8″ mast is proving to be much more versatile for the kind of sailing we do than the 12″.
But, when it comes time to line up at the start and go for the gold, every little bit helps. Only the power of the big mast and the awesome aerodynamics of the canopy will do. After seeing Drifter race at the ISA last season Keith Kennedy commissioned one to be built here in Maine with the plan to go back to the ISA this season and bring home the cup.
With these three boats, as well as Tom Nichols and Cody Sisson’s, we could have quite a show sometime this coming season. Best case scenario is that we have the ISA on Lake Champlain and everyone shows up! Think building, think ice.