Green 10 x 13” Victorian album with a color illustration of a child on the front, and elaborate gold and black design elements. Stamped on the inside cover is the name “H. Manley Crosby, successor” and the date “August 11, 1897”. This partially filled album acted as a scrapbook for Crosby, who apparently succeeded in a boatbuilding business and collected articles about knockabout yachting. At the time, the knockabout appeared to be a fairly new design, or was at least new to the yacht-racing world that Crosby was working in. There are 7 cyanotype photos or prints of boats glued to the pages, without annotations; one cyanotype has been cut. There are also blueprints and designs for catboats. The prints measure between 5 x 4” and 6.5 x 8.5”. The pages and some of the loose newspaper clippings are crumbling at the edges.
Example newspaper articles:
Crosby newspaper advertisement
H MANLEY CROSBY, designer and builder of racing and cruising “Cats,” Knockabouts, Raters and special class Yachts, is prepared to accept orders for designing, building or rigging any sized craft of the above types; high grade work exclusively; speed guaranteed when desired; my hollow spars and special fittings are the lightest and strongest made; second hand Yachts for sale; 32, 28, 26, 17 foot Cabin Cats; 24 foot Knockabout, 24 foot Sloops, 18 foot Open Cat. Foot 45th st., South Brooklyn.
CROSBY Catboats and Knockabouts, [illegible] and cruising boats; speed guaranteed when desired; second hand boats always on hand. H. MANLEY CROSBY, designer and builder, foot 45th st., Brooklyn.
ADVENT OF THE KNOCKABOUT.
Seawanhaka-Corinthians Adopt a New Type Which Promises to Become Popular.
From the present indications the most popular type of boat that will be used in yacht racing along the Sound next summer will be the knockabout, and the Seawanhaka-Corinthian Yacht Club, through whose efforts both the half-rater and 20-footer were made popular in these waters, is also the first to make a special class for this really useful type of boat. About thirty yachtsmen were present at the meeting called a week ago at the clubhouse on Centre Island with the object of discussing the proposed new class. D. Leory Dresser acted as Chairman and after explaining the scheme fully designs were exhibited that gave an excellent idea of an up-to-date knockabout. That submitted by W. B. Stearns of Marbelhead was especially complete, the lines, construction and accommodation plans being accompanied by a handsomely finished half model. The price submitted, providing ten yachts were ordered from the same moulds, was $775 each. The Stearns proposition was accepted and eleven enthusiasts at once subscribed their names as prospective builders.
The model is practically a fin-keel craft, although not actually so under the translation of the rules as expounded by a well-known expert from Boston, who makes the rather fine distinction that to be a fin keel the keel must be a metal plate inserted into and bolted to the hull. Her lines are graceful throughout, but she has somewhat less draught and more sail area than the acknowledged ideal type around Boston Bay, while a small metallic centreboard is placed in a manner that allows it to house inside the keel but entirely below the cabin floor. The principal dimensions for the new type are: Length over all, 33 feet; load water line, 21 feet; beam, 7 feet 8 inches; draught, 4 feet, with centreboard, 7 feet. The sail area in mainsail and jib shows about 550 square feet, and she will have 3,300 pounds of ballast in the keel. Several minor alterations in the accommodation plan will be made, the principal one being to enlarge and lengthen the cabinhouse so as to give eight feet in length and five feet head room.
The knockabout has been developed in Boston and its vicinity, where during the past few years the principal sport of the Corinthian sailormen has been in these little boats that combine with great speed the most satisfactory cruising qualities as well as absolute safety. So firm a hold has this useful boat taken upon yachting enthusiasts at the “Hub” that there has been a racing organization formed known as the Knockabout Association. A knockabout under their rules is defined as follows:
A seaworthy keel boat—not to include fin keel—decked or half decked, of fair accommodations, rigged simply without bowsprit, and with only mainsail and one headsail. The load waterline length not to exceed 21 feet. The beam at the load water line shall be at least seven and not more than eight feet. The freeboard shall be not less than 20 inches. The forward side of mast at the deck shall be not less than five feet from the forward end of the load water line.
The planking, including deck, shall not be less than three-quarters of an inch thick finished. The frames shall not be less than one inch square and spaced not more than twelve inches on centres. The dead wood shall be filled in and the rudder hung on the stern post, while the outside ballast shall be not less than 3,500 pounds.
The actual sail area shall not be over 500 square feet, not over 400 square feet of which shall be in the mainsail. The inspector shall be provided with a correct sail plan of any boat to be measured, and previous to measurement the owner shall cause distinguishing marks, satisfactory to the inspector, to be placed on the spars as follows: On the mast at the tack and at the throat of the mainsail; on the boom at the clew of the mainsail, and on the gaff at the peak of the mainsail.
No part of the mainsail shall be allowed to extend beyond these marks, which shall be black bands painted around the spars, the lower and inner edges of the marks to be the limits of the sail. The area of the jib shall be considered to be the area of the forward triangle, viz.: the product of one-half the distance from the attachment of the tack to the stern to the forward side of the mast at the tack mark of the mainsail, multiplied by the distance from the upper edge of the said tack mark to the bottom of the jib ballard block. Only mainsail and working jib shall be allowed, but a storm jib may be substituted for a working jib.
While several noted designers have been represented in this class of boat, the restrictions governing design and construction are such that the boats have shown marked affinity in speed, and as a consequence the racing has been very keen and exciting.
That a special restricted class of the “one design” idea is bound to be popular with yachtsman in this vicinity is shown by the special class of 30-footers, which has been conspicuously successful for two years. Yachtsmen accordingly predict a most successful season for the new class in these waters, especially as they are real yachts in both design and construction and not mere freaks and racing machines such as have been developed in the half-rater and 20-foot classes.
A great deal can be said in favor of the knockabouts. They are known to be the “handiest” small boats ever sailed around Boston harbor, and the venturesome amateurs of that section often go ten or twenty miles out to sea in them. In heavy weather they can be reefed down quickly, and every amateur sailor who has clung on to the end of a long bowsprit by his eyelids while reefing a jib under adverse weather conditions will be ready to invoke blessings upon the man who invented a jib that can be reefed without going outboard.
The Race Committee of the Seawanhaka Club believes that the establishment of a knockabout class will especially contribute to the success of yacht racing, and desiring to aid in the movement in every practicable way, it will encourage yachtsmen to build by arranging frequent races for them.
While the Stearns boats will make a fine class in themselves, it is not deemed advisable to restrict competition to the dozen or more boats constructed by him. Several designers are at work upon drawings and specifications for boats of this character, among them being Charles Olmstead, Manley Crosby, Thomas L. Ferris, Charles J. Davis, and T. R. Weber, while others will doubtless be heard from as soon as the season for building begins.