10 Frames of Vintage Sailboats with a Zeiss Super Ikonta 533/16 – by LA Sousa

An annual vintage yacht regatta is held at the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island. Most of the regatta participants are classic Herreshoff designs built in our town in the glory days of the storied Herreshoff Mfg. Company. Captain Nat Herreshoff was and is a legendary yacht designer and was light years ahead of his time. The Friday night feeder race from Newport, Rhode Island was followed by a display of classic and storied boats on the museum waterfront.

My Zeiss Super Ikonta was loaded with Ilford FP4, making an appropriate tool for capturing the glorious vessels. My Zeiss Super Ikonta 533/16 model was CLA’d recently. It is rangefinder coupled (and accurate) with a working but inaccurate light meter. There is a positive frame stop for film winding, a welcome feature. Despite the CLA the shutter speeds are randomly slow so compensation is required (a stop, maybe two). Another niggle is frame overlap, apparently a function of the camera being designed for thicker emulsions and/or paper. I have read of a few workarounds (winding on extra paper for instance). Here is a discussion link: https://www.flickr.com/groups/574362@N21/discuss/72157607529307666/

The Zeiss 2.8 Tessar lens is full of character and sharp but not overly so. The folded camera slips easily into a very small camera bag. The camera is all about precision build.

FP4 is a wonderful and consistent film, and the images were developed in Rodinal using the semi-stand method recommended by Simon King on this site, leading to pronounced grain. This camera comes highly recommended for light carry

Here are five images from that day, a cloudy one with looming rain.

A beautifully restored sloop at rest.

For the fleet’s “filler race” a run down Narragansett Bay was used, led by Weatherly, the 1962 America’s Cup winner (not a Herreshoff design).  On days two and three she was raced against Nefertiti (not a Herreshoff design), another 1962 American entrant vanquished in the trials by Weatherly.  Dorade (not a Herreshoff design) lies beside her.

This the bow of Gamecock, an impeccably restored boat. I spent some time astride her listening to the owner’s description of her history and learning about her restoration. She took first place in class in the feeder race but fell back over the next two days. Her crew had uniforms and at dockside, she wore a flag bearing her name. She is definitely a big boy toy.

Looking back at the celebration on the Marine Museum’s dock.
A beautiful cowl vent.

I received a second roll shot that day.  It was made using Kodak Portra using Sunny 16 at 200.  Some of the images are repetitive, but the camera delivers well using color film. The film overlap issue is evident from these images.  In the prior ones, I cropped down.

The use of bronze on these old boats is evident in the wheel and the cleats and elsewhere.
Several boats including Weatherly berthed on the inside front are shown.
This bluegrass band elevated the day’s celebration.
Teak decks and varnished mahogany abound.
Gamecock, adorned.

I hope you enjoyed this capture of sailing’s memory lane.  I can be found sailing Narragansett Bay aboard my Alerion 28 sailboat “Victoria”, and on my blog also bearing my late daughter’s name here: victoriaslight.blog

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28 thoughts on “10 Frames of Vintage Sailboats with a Zeiss Super Ikonta 533/16 – by LA Sousa”

  1. Wonderful to know you have been shooting with a Super Ikonta! I’ve been using a 532/16 from 1937 recently – I must look up to see what the differences are (might just be the presence of the meter…)
    I found the Super Ikonta to be a very practical camera, although the focus on my (well actually my father’s) copy is a bit stiff.
    Lovely pictures, the colour is very good to see, although I’m not sure my uncoated Tessar from before the war would fare so well.

    1. Thank you very much. Yes, the Super Ikonta is as you say, practical. I did not check the meter on mine for accuracy, I metered independently. One must read the instructions carefully to get the process for unloading, loading and advancing the film correct. There is a small lever near the advancing knob that must be in the correct position. L.

  2. Really lovely images! The combination of both FP4 and Kodak Portra with that lens are just fantastic. You’ve inspired me to take my Nettar up to the Northumbrian coast next week.

    1. Es ist eine sehr traurige Geschichte über Deine Tochter Victoria und ich würde Dich gerne trösten.
      Deine Fotos von den Booten sind sehr gut geworden ! Das 120er Format bringt die Details schön heraus !
      Es erinnert mich an eine Fotoserie von Yachtbooten, die ich vor einigen Jahren mit einer Praktica Nova IB geschossen habe. Ich erinnere mich an eine Ankerkette, die ganz mit kleinen Muscheln besetzt war. Fasziniert war ich auch von den Farben der Boote, die sich im Wasser spiegelten.

  3. Alasdair Mackintosh

    As I was scrolling through, I thought the B&W images perfectly captured the essence of these yachts, but then I hit the first colour image, full of bronze and teak, and that one really stood out. Nice work.

  4. Zeiss. The Herreshoff fleet. And you have a Alerion? Be still my heart. Lovely images, too:)

    I feel obliged to point out that it’s disingenuous to say “An annual Herreshoff vintage yacht regatta is held in Bristol for owners of classic Herreshoff wooden boats.” The “Herreshoff” in the title is the regatta host, not a limitation.

    Herreshoff boats (your Alerion design among them) are unimpeachable classics, but this race includes classic yachts from many designers’ boards. Of those you mention, only Gamecock is a Herreshoff design (and distinctively so!) Weatherly is a Philip Rhodes 12-meter and Americas Cup winner. Dorade is a legendary Olin Stephens boat. Nefertiti another 12-meter, by Ted Hood.

    I envy you the opportunity. Thank you for sharing your camera and photographs and experiences with these beautiful boats.

    1. Hi you are correct that the regatta is not confined to Herreshoff yachts, although using the word “disingenuous” is a bit off the mark – I am not pretentious at all and I am sure that is not was intended by you. I did not intend to imply that Weatherly for instance was an H design and perhaps should have been more clear on that point. I considered going into its interesting history but demurred on that. The majority of the boats participating in the regatta were Herreshoff designs (not all sidled up for public viewing), so the essence of your point is well taken. This year, there was also a “modern” non-H boat class, perhaps to promote participation. In 2019 there was a Herreshoff only regatta celebrating the 100th anniversary of the S Boat. That was something to behold. I was on the racecourse that day with my camera. L

  5. Oh dear, I stand corrected. “Inaccurate” is more accurate. No pretentiousness or insincerity on your part intended.

    My remark stands: what gorgeous boats and a wonderful opportunity with a camera.

  6. What a wonderful old camera. I love the rendition that the old lens produces. What a great classical line up – Zeiss, FP4 & wooden boats!

    1. Thank you Dave, I was quite pleased with how this old camera performed. Even in digital form, the images have good character. It was CLA’d about a year and a half ago by a gentleman from California. Louis.

  7. Jay Dann Walker in Melbourne

    Most excellent images, and your captions are well written. My congratulations to you on both.

    Obviously you know your boats and quality cameras. I used the same model Ikonta for some years as a teenager in Canada – my late uncle had one he bought new before the Second World War, so it had the uncoated lens. With Verichrome Pan film and a light Y filter it produced many fine images, particularly landscapes which showed a unique ‘glow’ I attributed to those prewar uncoated Zeiss Tessars.

    My negatives from that period (1961-1966) were lost for many years, but recently while cleaning out our family home prior to its sale my sister in law came across a cardboard box of most of those, put away in larger boxes of old clothes which stayed undisturbed for half a century or longer. Next year I will be traveling back to Canada to collect them, along with original 616 film negatives and contact prints of myself as a baby, also mislaid in two suitcases of clothing. Amazing that these have survived so long (according to ‘sis’ all the negatives look to be still very printable with no silvering or deterioration) – so next year I hope to be printing the best of them in as big enlargements as I can from those ancient emulsions.

    To return to your article, many thanks for having taken the time to share so much good information about not only a unique 6×6 camera, but also boating in your part of the USA. Obviously you know your photography and also your boats. I grew up on the Atlantic coast of Canada, so I’m greatly interested in all these topics and I foufindnd your writing and photos to be most instructive. Good work, well done!

    Best regards from Dann in Melbourne

    1. Thank you so much. I made some miscues about the boats that were corrected by another reader. That is neat to have found the old negatives and to have the ability to bring the past to life again with them. Kind regards, Louis.

    1. Thank you so much. As I look back at the images, I could have gotten more out of them. As far as the push on filter goes, I have it lying around someplace but looked and can’t find it. From literature, I believe it is a 37mm push on filter. Be well, Louis.

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