Class News

February 21
Christian Flebbe

On two perfect sailing days with sunny skies and temps in the mid 70s, 13 sailors entered the 2011 CR 914 Midwinter regatta. With the excellent management of the PRO Tony Gonsalvez, who mastered the the first day of races and did an even greater task of teaching our alternate race committee (Virginia Russell and Bobby Lawrence with assistance from Vanessa Flebbe) who ran the second day of racing, 26 races were sailed in winds of 8 to 10mph, with sometimes down to 5mph, but basically it was a pretty steady condition.

The winner was experienced CR 914 sailor Rick Martin, followed by Christian Flebbe, Fred Deutsch and Chris Hughes. Seven different sailors won at least one race, so that the competition was very close and many times won at the first mark by who was able to stay out of the pack and get free wind. Click here to see the complete results. And click here to see a gallery of photos taken by Bobbie Lawrence and Bob Hughes during the regatta.

by Mark Benedict (CR  914 # 1084, Seabiscuit)

This cradle is simple in design and is functional in a variety of ways. In the upright position the boat sits on a relatively stable platform. When the cradle is lying on its side the boat is safe from a knock down in the highest winds, and it is also nicely positioned for sighting down the mast and viewing sail shape. Secured in the cradle, transporting a CR 914 by vehicle is easily managed. Traditionally, half models and yacht design profiles show the bow pointing to the viewer’s right but in this cradle, with a 15 degree angle of heel built in, the bow points to the left and, in a pleasant departure from sailing reality, the boat is perpetually on starboard tack. Scroll to the bottom of this page to see more pictures of the cradle "in action."

Although this cradle can be built from solid lumber, I recommend using a good quality hardwood veneer plywood for its durability. My cradle is made from ¾" teak plywood. Exposed edge grain has been veneered with teak strips for a furniture-like appearance. Some veneer core plywood, such as Baltic Birch, can have an edge grain which is fairly attractive. Veneering the plywood edges is optional but if you have access to a good woodworker’s supply house, see if they have your wood veneer available in a 1" wide roll with an adhesive backing. Solid lumber that matches the plywood veneer is used for making the handle and the keel block.

1) Begin by cutting the three plywood pieces. On a table saw, cut the base to the size shown and the uprights with the rabbeted corner joint, leaving some extra height to shape the tops.

2) The drawing shows the hull station shape of the forward upright at its forward edge and the aft upright at its aft edge. Both hull shape cuts should be beveled slightly towards the middle of the boat. If your sabre saw or small band saw can be angled, set it at nine degrees for the forward upright and 6 degrees for the aft upright. House carpenters ‘cut the line’ so the piece ‘fits’ without any fuss. Instead, however, use the boat builder’s approach which is to ‘leave the line’ and plan to work the wood to a close fit after the cradle is assembled.

3) After making the hull station cuts, cut the handle and shape it so that the three plywood pieces and the handle can be glued and screwed together in one operation. If you have built your own CR 914 you are familiar with WEST System epoxy. Assemble the pieces dry with screws, check the joints for good fit and reassemble with epoxy slightly thickened to the consistency of mayonnaise. Clean up any wet epoxy excess thoroughly with alcohol.

4) Once the cradle has been assembled it is time to finesse the upright fit to the boat bottom with a rasp or a drum sander. When finished, the keel bulb should be just touching the base with the boat heeled at about 15 degrees.

5) After a good fit is achieved, fashion and screw the keel block in place so that it fits tight to the bulb. Do not glue the keel block.

6) If the plywood edge grain is to be veneered, now is the time to do it. Then the cradle is ready for application of a finish. On my teak, I chose to use a satin varnish.

7) After the finish application, the final touch is to line the hull and bulb contours with adhesive-backed felt on the uprights and the keel block.

8) To secure the boat in the cradle, a cinch strap as shown in the photos works well. The strap should run between the keel block and the base, and it should wrap around the bulb just aft of the fin trailing edge.

9) The cinch strap will hold the boat more securely if, in addition to being captured by the keel block, it is secured to the base about 1-1/2" away from the block just to the port side of the bulb. This helps keep the bulb nested tightly to the cradle. I used a thin piece of stainless steel, countersunk for #6 tapping screws to accomplish this. The stainless steel holder is covered with electrical tape to protect the keel bulb from scratching (I removed the tape for some of the photos).

With some fairly basic woodworking skills and shop tools, this cradle is pretty easy to put together. Click here to go to the Members Area log on page where you can download a PDF file of a full-size copy of the plan, which can be e-mailed to a local Staples, Kinko’s or other copy and blueprinting service where they can reproduce the drawing in full scale. The printout will be 24" x 18" and should cost about $2.00. If you have any construction questions, please feel free to contact ‘the designer’ at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Take your time and do a nice job, and you may even get away with displaying your boat on its new cradle in the living room.

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