Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Kitten

For quite a while, from time to time, I have searched in vain to find information about the family boat that was previous to Lido #443. Dad used to call it just "the kitten" and the sail logo was "DK". Ours was number 58. Until a few days ago, I had not known what the DK stood for.

It was a cat boat, 8 feet 6 inches long. The hull was fiberglass with wood rails and thwarts and was fitted with oarlocks. The unstayed hollow fiberglass mast was made in two pieces and could be stored in the boat. It fit through a hole in the forward thwart and was stepped on a fixture on the hull. A pocket sewn along the luff of the sail slid over the mast, and the boom, also fiberglass, was held up by the sail at the clew and the tack (like a Sabot), and had a fork that fit against the mast. The kitten was fast and very stable.

Searching for DK only led me to lots of Danish websites, Danish boats, and the "DK" book series. But in March, someone at Forgotten Fiberglass started writing about sailboat designer and founder of Glasspar Co., William Tritt (1917 - 2011) and my searches finally paid off. Glasspar Co. got it's name because much of their early business was the production of fiberglass masts and spinnaker poles. The posted articles - taking pages from the book "Heart of Glass" - mentioned two boats he produced in the late 1940s through the 1950s - the Dincat and the Dinkitten: "DK". Bingo.

The Dincat came first and was 12 feet 6 inches in length. Here is a picture of Bill Tritt with a Dincat that was published in the book "Heart of Glass : Fiberglass Boats and the Men Who Built Them":

The Dinkitten looked the same, just smaller. Sorry, I haven't yet found a photo of it.

I have fond memories of sailing in her, my father rowing it around Santa Barbara harbor, and of fishing from it. A 3 hp Evinrude outboard pushed us along well when we went fishing next to Stearns Wharf.

With four kids in the family, it was soon time for something larger and Dad sold the kitten and bought Lido 443. Although I welcomed the change, the kitten was my introduction to sailboats and even though I don't recall getting to take the helm of her myself (was 5 and 6 when we had the boat), I loved it. You might say I was smitten with the kitten.

Until next, sweet sailing.

3 comments:

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Wow! Origins! History! I just can't help myself. I tear up. And you made it here, long before I did! What can I say....?

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

And, back in the days at Shadow Mountain Reservoir in Colorado, I had a Evinrude on the stern of my Penguin!

Pandabonium said...

Colorado Rocky Mountain High - eh, Doc? 'Been in the Rocky Mountain National Forest a few times - fishing, hiking, horseback riding. Some of the most beautiful scenery on Earth.

SB is also a great place. You are very fortunate to live there and enjoy the ocean with trophy wife and doberwoman.