3rd Friday Speaker: Building & Sailing Catboats in China

Feb - sailing in shanghai

Each month CWB finds a speaker of wit and experience to talk about his or her special knowledge. It is also an opportunity for CWB members to meet one another and the staff. The program runs from 7pm to 9pm, with opportunities to ask questions. February’s 3rd Friday lecture will be held on February 19th.

After a childhood spent on boats, including sailing a on a tall ship across the Atlantic when he was 18, Boston-born Bill Crampton, now of Renton, Washington, went to China in 1986 as an exchange student – and stayed for 18 years.

His longest stint in one city was 10 years in Shanghai, which has a large lake but few boats. To remedy this Bill (that’s him at center above with the white collar) enlisted the help of his maternal uncle, Harwood Ives, a designer of the Hans Christian 33, 38 and 43 sailboats (along with Bob Perry). Eventually, Ives sent a design for an 18′ catboat, similar to the New England ones Crampton’s grandfather had, and Bill started building them in China.

The traditional catboats had a tabernacle mast rig and a retractable rudder and centerboard. With the board up, the draft was only 12 inches.

After he built the first catboat, Bill began introducing people to sailing. By his own estimate, 300 folks had their first sailing experience on Bill’s boats. He will unfold the rest of the story, including founding the Shanghai Boat and Yacht Club 24 years ago.

The event is free (donations are welcome) and light refreshments will be available.

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