There are no better charted coasts in the world than those bounded by
the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The United States Navy has done
and is doing magnificent hydrographic work. The charts issued by the
Government are accurate, reliable, up-to-date and reasonable in price.
The top of a chart when spread out in front of you so that the reading
part appears to you like the page of a book, and you can read it from
left to right, is the North, the bottom is the South, the side on your
right is the East, and the side on your left is the West. There are
always compasses on a chart, either true or magnetic, by reference to
which and with the aid of the parallel rulers the bearing of one point
from another may easily be ascertained by the following method:
Lay the edge of the rulers over the two places; then slide them
(preserving the direction) till the edge of one ruler is on the center
of the nearest compass; when this is done read off the course indicated
by the direction of the ruler.
To measure the distance between two places on the chart spread out the
dividers till their points are over them, then apply to the graduated
scale at the bottom of the chart, which will give you the required
distance. This method, it should be remembered, is only accurate when
applied to the large coasting charts. When measuring distances on
general charts which extend across many degrees of latitude, the mean
latitude of the two places must be measured from.
There are certain signs and abbreviations used on charts which are
easily comprehended, such as _hrd_ for hard, _rky_ for rocky, etc.
Lighthouses and lightships are clearly marked, and shoals, rocks and
other obstructions to navigation are plainly defined. All the marginal
notes on the charts should be made familiar by the navigator. I need
scarcely say that charts, instruments and books of sailing instructions
should be kept dry. There are cylindrical tin boxes for charts which are
quite cheap, and these I recommend.
[Illustration: Fig. 6.]
The position of a vessel may be ascertained simply and accurately by
cross-bearings. Suppose you are in a ship at _A_ in Fig. 6. The point
with the lighthouse on it bears correct magnetic N. by W., and the point
with the tree on it E. by N. You lay the parallel rules over the compass
on your chart at N. by W., and work them to the lighthouse, preserving
the direction. You then draw the line from the lighthouse to _a_. You
then lay the parallel rules over the compass on your chart at E. by N.,
and work them in a similar way to the tree. Then draw the line from the
tree to _a_. The spot where the two lines cut was the vessel’s position
on the chart when the bearings were first taken. The distance of the
ship from both lighthouse and tree can be measured by taking in the
dividers the distance between either and the ship, and referring to the
scale on the chart.
It should be remembered that when sailing along the land cross-bearings
will always determine your position, always allowing the proper
corrections on the compass. In taking cross-bearings, try to have a
difference between the two objects of as nearly ninety degrees as
The old-fashioned log-ship and log-line for determining the distance run
by a vessel need have no place in the equipment of a small yacht. There
are several patent self-registering logs which record the distance run,
either on the taffrail or on dials on the log itself. Their performance
is fairly satisfactory, but they should be kept well oiled, and should
be often examined and tested—for instance, in a run between two objects
whose distance apart is well known.
By careful attention to the Lead, the Log and the Look-out, a boat may
be navigated, by dead reckoning, with a certain amount of accuracy.
A nautical mile, or knot, is the same as a geographical mile. Its length
is six thousand and eighty feet. A statute mile in the United States
measures five thousand two hundred and eighty feet.
The amateur yachtsman should be able to make all the splices and most of
the knots in common use. This knowledge will come in quite handy when
fitting out his craft in the spring, and will save him the expense of
hiring a sailor to do the work. I have spent many happy hours in rigging
a fifteen-ton cutter, doing all the work myself (except stepping the
mast) with the aid of a boy.
A few fathoms of rope, a marlinespike, a knife, a small pot of grease, a
ball of spun yarn, another of marline and one of roping twine, and you
are equipped for work. Splicing ropes and making fancy knots may be made
a quite pleasant way of spending a winter’s evening. It keeps one out of
mischief, and the art once learned is rarely forgotten. I think if you
follow my directions and take heed of the diagrams that accompany them
(which I have taken pains to make as clear as possible) you will have no
difficulty in becoming quite expert in the use of a marlinespike.
The ends of all ropes, whether belonging to the running or standing
rigging, must be whipped with tarred roping twine or they will unravel.
Take the rope in your left hand and lap the twine round it very tight a
dozen times, taking care that the end lies under the first turns so as
to secure it. Then make a loop with the twine and continue the lapping
for four turns round the rope and the end of the twine, as shown above.
Haul taut and cut off the end.
EYE SPLICE—Unlay the rope and lay the strands E, F, G at the proper
distance upon the standing part, as shown at A. Now push the strand H
through the strand next to it, as shown in B, having first opened it
with a marlinespike. Strand I is then thrust over the part through which
H was passed. Strand K is thrust through the third on the other side.
Repeat the process with each strand, and then hammer the splice into
shape with the butt of the marlinespike. Stretch and cut off the ends of
the strands. If particular neatness is required, the strands, after
having been passed through the standing part the first time, should be
halved and passed again, and then still further tapered by being
quartered before being passed for the third and last time. An eye splice
is useful. Standing rigging should have eyes spliced in to go over the
mast-head, and for dead-eyes to be turned in, etc.
SHORT SPLICE—Unlay the ends of two ropes of the same size and bring
their ends together, as shown in Fig. 1. Hold the rope D and the strands
A, B and C in the left hand. Pass the strand E over A and under C of
rope H and haul taut. Pass strand G over B and under A. Pass strand F
over the strand next to it and under the second. Turn the rope round and
treat the other side in the same way, when the splice will be like Fig.
2. The single tucking of the strands will not, however, be strong
enough, and the process should be repeated on both sides, halving the
strands for the sake of neatness. This splice is used only for rope that
is not required to run through a block.
LONG SPLICE—Unlay the ends of the two ropes that are to be joined some
two or three feet, according to the size of the rope. Place the two ends
together, as shown in Fig. 1. Unlay strand C and lead it back to A; then
take D and lay it up in the space left by C. Do this with the strands E
and F on the opposite side. The rope will now look like Fig. 2. Give the
two middle strands, G and H, a lick of tar if the rope is of hemp, and
grease if of manilla, and knot them together with an overhand knot,
taking care that the knot is so formed as to follow the lay of the rope.
Then halve these strands and pass them over one strand and under two.
Treat the remaining strands in the same way, after which stretch the
rope well and cut off the ends of the strands. A long splice is the
neatest way there is of putting two ends of a rope together. If well
made it does not increase the diameter of the rope, and therefore
renders through blocks as though it did not exist. If one strand of a
rope is chafed through while the other two are sound, a new strand may
be put in to replace it, and the ends may be finished off in the same
way as in a long splice.
CUT SPLICE—A cut splice is made the same as an eye splice, only with two
ropes instead of one.
OVERHAND KNOT—It is used at the ends of ropes to prevent them from
unreeving. There should always be one in the end of the mainsheet, which
is difficult to reeve again in anything like a breeze.
REEF KNOT—It is always used to tie the reef points of a sail. First make
an overhand knot and then pass the ends so that they take the same lay
as the crossed parts of the overhand knot. If passed the other way, the
knot will form what sailors call a granny, which will slip when it is
subjected to a strain.
BOWLINE KNOT—Take the end (1) of the rope in the right hand and the
standing part (2) in the left hand. Lay the end over the standing part
and turn the left wrist so that the standing part forms a loop (4)
enclosing the end. Next lead the end back of the standing part and above
the loop, and bring the end down through the loop as shown. This is a
very useful knot.
RUNNING BOWLINE—It is made by passing the end of a rope round its
standing part and forming a bowline as in Fig. 8.
BOWLINE ON A BIGHT—To make it, double the rope and take the doubled end
(1) in the right hand, the standing part (2) of the rope in the left
hand. Lay the end over the standing part, and by turning the left wrist
form a loop (3) having the end inside. Next pull up enough of the end
(1) to dip under the bight (4), bringing the end towards the right and
dipping it under the bight, then passing it up to the left over the loop
and hauling taut.
TWO HALF HITCHES—Pass the end of the rope round the standing part and
bring it up through the bight. This makes a half hitch. Repeat the
process and haul taut. If the knot is to bear a great strain, seize the
end back with spunyarn to the standing part.
TIMBER HITCH—Pass the end of a rope round the spar, then round the
standing part _b_, then several times round its own part _c_ against the
lay of the rope.
GAFF TOPSAIL HALYARD BEND—Pass two turns round the spar, then lead the
end back round the standing part and underneath all the turns, bringing
it round to its own part and back again over the two outer turns and
underneath the inner turn.
BLACKWALL HITCH—It is the simplest method known of making fast the end
of a rope to the hook of a tackle. The figure is self-explanatory, the
underneath part or the rope being jammed hard and fast by the strain on
COMMON BEND—Make a bight with the end of one rope, and pass the end of
the other through the bight from beneath, and round both parts with the
end under its own standing part. The greater the strain, the faster will
this bend jam.
MAGNUS HITCH—Pass two round turns with the end of a rope over a spar,
then take it before the standing part, pass it again under the spar and
up through the bight.
SELVAGEE STROP—It is made by driving two nails into a length of plank at
a distance apart equal to the desired length of the strop. Make fast one
end of a ball of spunyarn or knotted ropeyarns to one of the nails and
pass it round the other, continuing the process until the strop is as
thick as required. Marl it down with spunyarn and sew canvas or leather
round it if intended for a block.
GROMMET STROP—It is made of a single strand of rope. To make it, lay one
end over the other at the size required, and with the long end follow
the lay round until a ring is formed with three parts of the strand all
round. Finish by dividing the ends, overhand knotting, and passing them
over one strand and under the other exactly as in a long splice. To make
a neat job, use a strand from rope that has been some time in use and is
well stretched. The strand should be about a foot more than three times
the length of the strop, to allow for the knotting. It may be wormed and
covered with canvas or leather if intended for a block.
Figs. 19 and 20 show a Wall Knot. Unlay the end of a rope and with the
strand A in Fig. 19 form a bight, hold it down at the side B, pass the
end of the next strand C, round A, the end of strand D round C and
through the bight of A. Haul taut and the knot is made as in Fig. 20.
This can be crowned by taking strand in Fig. 21 and laying it over the
top of the knot. Then lay B over A, and C over B and through the bight
of A and haul taut. Fig. 22 shows a double wall and double crown, which
is made by letting the ends follow their own parts round until all the
parts appear double, first walling and then crowning.
MATTHEW WALKER KNOT—Made by unlaying the end of a rope and taking the
end A round the rope and through its own bight, the strand B underneath
through the bight of A, and the strand C underneath through the bights
of strands A and B, and hauling all the strands taut. This knot is used
principally for the ends of lanyards. In making these knots a whipping
of sailmaker’s twine should be put round the rope where the knot is to
be when formed.
This illustration shows the process of worming a rope, which consists of
winding spunyarn of suitable size into the space between the strands
with the lay of the rope, so as to make the rope smooth for parcelling.
This must be done with the rope on the stretch. A shows the spunyarn.
This illustration shows the process of parcelling and serving. After the
worming is finished wrap narrow strips of canvas—tarred, if the rope is
of hemp, and painted if it is of wire—round the rope with the lay,
secure the parcelling to the rope by marling it with twine, the rope can
then be served against the lay. Lay the serving mallet B with its groove
on the rope. Take a turn with the spunyarn round the rope and head of
the mallet, round the side next you, and two turns on the other side and
twist it round the handle. Get an assistant to pass the ball A round the
rope while you heave round the mallet. The last half-dozen turns of the
service must have the end of the spunyarn put through them and hauled
taut to secure it.