SAIL PLAN OF FIN-KEEL

Though I recommend the catboat as a general craft for knocking about and
having a good time in, I am not blind to the advantages of the yawl rig.
In fact, the bold young seaman contemplating long cruises and sometimes
venturing out of sight of land will find that the yawl rig possesses no
mean merit. For single-handed cruising its worth has long been
recognized. The sails are so divided that they are small and easy to
handle, but this division of sail inevitably decreases the speed and
also the weatherly qualities of the boat. If we take a catboat and
change her into a yawl rig she will not be nearly so fast, nor will she
point so close to the wind. There are fathoms of scientific reasons for
this with which I will not bother my readers. Suffice it to say that it
has been demonstrated practically over and over again.

But although the yawl-rigged sailing boat of the smallest type has at
least three sails—foresail, mainsail and mizzen—yet the last named,
after once being set, practically takes care of itself. The mainsail,
too, is quite easily handled, the whole sail being in the body of the
boat. The foresail sometimes gives a little annoyance in taking it in,
if the boat is pitching her nose under in a steep sea. This, however, is
unavoidable. Headsails on all sailing vessels, big or little, have never
been conducive to dry skins under certain conditions of wind and sea.
The yawl is always under control, and in this attribute lies her chief
charm. When a squall is bearing down all one has to do is to lower the
mainsail and pass a tyer or two round it to keep it muzzled. When the
gust strikes the boat she is under easy sail and is not likely to come
to grief. If the squall is of exceptional strength, ease off the
foresheet and keep the sail shaking a little until you have felt the
full strength of the wind. Act then as judgment may dictate. If the blow
is very heavy and seems likely to last it may be necessary to take in
the foresail and the mizzen, and close reef the mainsail.

If you are sailing with the wind a-beam and a squall smites you it may
not be necessary to lower the mainsail at all. Ease the sheet right off
so as to spill the wind, and you will pass safely through the ordeal
without parting a rope yarn.

In getting under way or in working up to anchorage in a crowded harbor
or roadstead the yawl rig is one of the handiest known, for by having
the mainsail furled the speed of the boat is reduced so that you can
pick your way among the craft without danger of collision or striking
flaws. So many famous cruises have been made in small yawl-rigged craft
that there can be no doubt about their adaptability for such work, and
to the man anxious for more ambitious achievement than merely sailing in
rivers, bays and sheltered harbors, I most certainly would recommend the
rig.

Despite the yawl’s certain safety for single handed cruising, I am not
in favor of sailing by myself. I prefer a congenial companion to share
whatever pleasure or peril may be encountered. Of course one must
exercise some wise discrimination in the choice of a cruising companion;
for when once at sea there is no way of ridding yourself of an
objectionable mate except throwing him overboard, which would not be
exactly fair to him. Besides, he might throw you overboard, which would
be bad for you. There are, however, hundreds of good yachtsmen and
boatmen who have made long voyages alone and have written charming
accounts of their nautical expeditions. John McGregor’s “Voyage Alone in
the Yawl Rob Roy” and E. Middleton’s “Cruise of the Kate” (also a yawl)
are two entertaining books of sea travel which I heartily recommend to
those who contemplate sailing by themselves.

While I am in favor of a catboat for general purposes in the
neighborhood of New York, yet when long distance trips are to be made
the yawl rig will, on the whole, be found preferable.

That keen sportsman, Mr. W. H. H. Murray, is a firm believer in the yawl
rig for cruising. In OUTING for May, 1891, there appeared a most
valuable article from his facile pen entitled “How I sail _Champlain_.”
The _Champlain_ is of sharpie model, thirty feet on the water-line. She
is of remarkably strong construction, her oaken keel being sixteen by
twenty inches amidships and tapering properly fore and aft. Through this
keel is sunk a mortise four inches wide and sixteen feet long, through
which the centerboard works. This “fin” is of oak planking thick enough
to easily enter the case when hoisted, but leaving little space between
it and the case when in use. The centerboard is sixteen feet long, four
feet deep forward and seven feet aft, and it has fifteen hundred pounds
of iron for ballast. Mr. Murray says: “When the centerboard is lowered
this mass of metal is eight feet below her water-line, and guarantees a
stability adequate to resist any pressure which the wind can put upon
her sails and the sails withstand. Of course I am speaking with the
supposition that the boat receives, when under stress, judicious
management.”

The centerboard, which weighs two thousand pounds, is lifted by a
“differential hoist,” by means of which “the helmsman, with one hand on
the tiller, can, if need occurs, with the other easily run the heavy
board rapidly up into the case. The value of this adjustment can only be
appreciated by a cruising yachtsman. It places him in perfect control of
his craft under all conditions of varying depth of water and difficult
weather. In a heavy seaway; in rapidly shoaling water on an unknown
coast; when suddenly compelled to beat up against a swiftly flowing
tide; or when finding himself unexpectedly near a reef, unobserved
through carelessness or not plainly charted—this hoist is simply
priceless. It is not over expensive, and can easily be adjusted to any
yacht.”

[Illustration: YAWL IN A SQUALL]

The cockpit is roomy, and, because of its high coamings, is also deep.
The cabin is sixteen feet long, the forward half being permanently
roofed. The after-half of the cabin is constructed, as to its roof, in
equal divisions. The forward-half is tracked, and the after-half is
grooved to run upon it. Mr. Murray finds this arrangement most
convenient, as it gives to the yacht such coolness and comfort as cannot
be obtained in a cabin permanently roofed. The whole roof is so fitted
to the coamings that it can be quickly and easily removed and stowed,
leaving the yacht to be sailed as an open one, decked from stem to
midship section. This arrangement is an admirable one for harbor sailing
in bright weather or for racing.

Regarding the handiness of _Champlain_ Mr. Murray says: “All yachtsmen
know what a disagreeable job it is to reef a sloop or cat-boat in rough
water, and from this cause many skippers will delay reefing as long as
possible and often until too late. And because of this many accidents
happen yearly. In this respect the yawl rig shows to the greatest
advantage and commends itself to all sensible yachtsmen. For when the
moment has come to reef, if the boat is running free her head is brought
up to the wind, the mizzen and jib sheets trimmed in, and with the main
boom well inboard the pennants are lashed and the reef points tied down,
when she is let off again and goes bowling along on her former course.
In _Champlain_ the three reef cringles on the leech of the mainsail are
all within easy reach from the cockpit, and the skipper, without leaving
the tiller, can lash the pennants, and hence, with only one assistant,
the three reefs can successively, if need be, be tied down. Indeed, so
well do the jib and mizzen sail work in unison, that unless the wind is
very puffy and variable, the helm can be lashed and she will hold her
course steadily onward while the skipper is tying down the after reef
points. It is a matter of pleasant surprise to one not accustomed to
this rig how easily and rapidly a reef in most trying conditions can be
taken in the mainsail of a yawl whose sails are well balanced.

“Moreover, unless the squall is a very heavy one, a yawl can be eased
through it without reefing at all. For when the wind comes roaring down
and the white line of froth and spray is right upon you, the boat can be
brought up to the wind and the mainsheet eased handsomely out, and with
jib and mizzen drawing finely and the mainboom off to leeward the wind
whistles harmlessly between the masts, while the yacht, only slightly
disturbed in her balance, sails steadily along. Or, if the squall is a
heavy one and there is no time to reef down before it strikes, the yacht
can be luffed up, the mainsail let down at a run, and with the belly of
the sail held within the lazy-lines the yacht is under safe conditions.
But ordinarily it is better to reef or even tie down the mainsail
snugly, and as in a yawl it can be done rapidly and easily there is no
reason why it should not be done and everything be kept shipshape.

“In cruising I often sailed _Champlain_ under jib and mizzen alone, with
the mainsail stowed and the boom crutched and tied snugly down
amidships, especially in the night time when it was very dark and the
weather foul. Under this scant canvas with a favorable wind she would
sail along at a very fair rate of speed and even make good progress in
beating up against quite a sea, and I need not say that it adds greatly
to the pleasure of cruising in a small yacht with only one man for your
crew to feel that you have your boat in a condition of perfect control.
It is evident that with no other rig can this condition to the same
degree be obtained or such a sense of absolute security be enjoyed.

“To an amateur nothing is more trying than coming to or getting away
from moorings, especially if the wind is blowing strongly and the
anchorage ground is crowded with other yachts, not to speak of vessels
of commerce, bateaux, tugs and ferryboats. Under such circumstances it
is no easy matter for any, save an expert, to work a sloop or cat-boat
or schooner safety out through the crowded harbor or basin to the open
water beyond; and it is all the more trying to a skipper if there is a
strong tide running at the moment. But with a yawl the difficulties of
the situation are almost wholly removed. For with mainsail unlashed he
can hoist his anchor or cast off from moorings, and under his two small
sails work his boat out slowly and safely from the jammed basin or
crowded space within the breakwater. He must be a tyro indeed who cannot
safely manage a yawl under the worst possible conditions of this sort.

“In cruising, if the weather is threatening it is well to carry a single
reef in the mainsail until it clears up, for a yawl works well under
such a sail with jib and mizzen furled. In such trim the yacht is as a
cat-boat with a small sail, and as her main boom is shorter than a
cat-boat’s or a sloop’s she can be worked in a very heavy sea with her
boom’s end well above the rollers. And I know of nothing more trying to
a skipper than to sail his craft with his boom’s end half the time under
water. In such a condition the spars, rigging and boat are under a
stress and strain which every prudent skipper dreads and seeks to avoid,
and it speaks volumes in favor of the yawl rig to say that with it such
a trying condition can never arise. Indeed a yawl under a double-reefed
mainsail alone is in perfect trim for scudding. If well modeled she will
neither yaw nor thrash the water with her boom’s end, but career along
almost with the speed of the wind itself. For her canvas is low down, as
it should be, and her boom carried well above the seething water. In
this shape, moreover, she can lay a course with the wind well over her
quarter without strain, and it must be a very hard blow and rough water
indeed to give anxiety to any on board of her.”

That the _Champlain_ is a capital sea-boat is beyond question. Her owner
thus describes a run on the lower St. Lawrence in returning from a
cruise to the Saguenay: “We passed Baie St. Paul in the evening, whirled
along by a rising gale blowing directly up the river. The night was
pitchy dark, the tide running fiercely on the ebb at the rate of five
miles an hour at the least. The water was very wild, as one can easily
imagine. Stemming such a current it would not do to shorten sail if one
wished to pass Cape Tourmente and get into quiet water, the Isle of
Orleans and the north shore, so we let every sail stand, cleated the
sheets tightly and let her drive. How she did tear onward! The froth and
spume lay deep on her pathways and after-deck. The waves crested
fiercely, rolling against the current, and the black water broke into
phosphor as we slashed through it. I do not recall that I ever saw a
yacht forced along more savagely. How the water roared under the ledges
and along the rough shores of Tourmente! And I was profoundly grateful
when we were able to bear off to starboard and run into the still water
back of Orleans. Perhaps that midnight cup of coffee did not taste well!
Its heat ran through my chilled veins like Chartreuse. I can taste it
yet!”

The ordinary jib-and-mainsail rigged boat, as seen in the waters round
New York, might easily be improved upon. In the first place, the
majority of them are too much after the skimming-dish pattern to suit my
fancy. Then the mast is stepped as a rule too far forward for the best
work, and renders reefing difficult, as she will not “lay to”
comfortably under her headsail, whereas if the mast of a boat is stepped
well aft, cutter fashion, the boat will lay to quite well, and reefing
the mainsail is easy. The American sloop rig is open to the same
criticism, and that is why the English way of rigging a single-sticker
has been adopted in all our new racing craft. To my mind there is
nothing more hideous than a “bobbed” jib. It renders good windward work
impossible, as it causes a boat to sag off to leeward and is in other
ways a detriment. A small boat with the mast stepped in the right place
and carrying a jib and a mainsail is, however, a very satisfactory
craft, good at beating to windward as well as reaching or running. I
should advise that a “spit-fire” or storm jib be carried along whenever
a sail of any distance is contemplated, and also a gaff-headed trysail,
so that the adventurous skipper may be always prepared for storm and
stress of weather. This extra “muslin” takes up little room when
properly rolled up.

The simplest and safest rig in the world is the leg-of-mutton sail. It
is the one fitted exactly for river work, where one is sure to encounter
puffs of some force as ravines are reached or valleys passed. To
amateurs it is the sail _par excellence_ for experimenting with, for no
matter how many blunders are made a mishap is well nigh impossible. The
leg-of-mutton sail has no gaff, nor need it have a boom. There is little
or no leverage aloft, and all the power for mischief it has can be taken
out of it by slacking off the sheet and spilling the wind. The learner
might with advantage practice with a sail of this shape until he becomes
proficient. If he eventually determines upon a jib and mainsail or yawl
rig for permanent use, he may avoid wasting it by having it made over
into a storm trysail.

I would strongly advise every amateur skipper to shun the ballast-fin
device as he would shun cold poison or a contagious disease. That is
unless he intends to go in for a regular racing career, in which case
the cups carried off might possibly compensate him for the woe, the
anguish and the premature gray hairs inseparable from this contrivance.
Mind you these remarks of mine apply only to amateurs and not to
grizzled sailing-masters of yachts who fully understand how to navigate
and handle all types of pleasure craft. Theoretically the ballast-fin
has many obvious advantages.

[Illustration: TYPE OF FIN-KEEL.]

The fin consists of a plate of iron or steel to the base of which is
affixed a bulb of lead, which, being in the best possible place, insures
stability. The fin proper gives lateral resistance in an almost perfect
form, for there is no deadwood either forward or aft and the least
possible amount of wetted surface. I remember when a little boy in a
fishing village on the bank of a land-locked arm of the sea, where the
water was always smooth, how we youngsters came to appreciate fully the
worth of an improvised ballast-fin. We used to enjoy the diversion of
model yacht sailing and the delights of many regattas. I owned one of
the smartest models in the village. She was rigged as a cutter with
outside lead, self-steering gear and all the latest maritime
improvements, and she generally came out a winner. I tell you I used to
put on a great many airs on this account, and as a natural result was
duly hated and envied by my playmates, who owned more or less tubby
craft that could scarcely get out of their own way.

But the day arrived when my pride was destined to have a fall. A shrewd
youth of Scottish extraction came to our village for the summer with his
father. He had the keenest, greenest eye you ever saw, and one of those
money-making noses that are unmistakable. His whole physiognomy and form
indicated shrewdness. He mingled with us for some time on the beach,
mudlarked with the boys and watched our model yacht matches with
undisguised interest. We all got the notion that he was an inland
landlubber, though it is only fair to him to acknowledge that he never
told us so in so many words.

One Saturday afternoon, after my little cutter had surpassed herself by
distancing all her opponents, I indulged in some unusually tall talk,
and challenged each and every one of my rivals to a race across the
“creek,” as the sheet of water was called, offering to give them four
minutes’ start, the distance being half a mile.

To my surprise, our green-eyed friend came along and accepted the
challenge, saying that on the following Saturday he would produce a
craft that would knock spots out of my cutter without any time allowance
whatever, and without the aid of a longer hull or larger sailspread. He
also remarked that he had a month’s pocket money saved up, and was
willing to wager it on the result. I accepted his offer without
superfluous parleying, and in my mind’s eye was already investing that
pocket money of his in various little treasures for which I hankered.
But, for all that, I made every preparation for the fray, using very
fine sandpaper and pot lead till my boat’s bottom was beautifully
burnished, and seeing that her sails and gear were in tip top racing
condition. All the boys wondered what sort of a craft my opponent would
bring out. He had never been seen with a boat of any description. We
laughed in our sleeves and whispered it about that he would probably
produce one of those showy vessels that one sees in the city toy store,
and that generally sail on their beam ends.

The hour for the race arrived. The boys were all excited and flocked to
the water’s edge, whence the start was to be made. There was a goodly
throng of them present, and, notwithstanding their contempt for the
Scotchman, it was no doubt the desire of their hearts that some of my
overweening conceit should be taken down a couple of pegs or so.
Presently my rival appeared on the scene, carrying in his arms the
queerest looking craft any of us had ever seen. Her hull was shaped like
an Indian birch bark canoe, except that to the rounded bottom a keel was
fastened. A groove was made in the keel, in which an oblong piece of
slate was placed, to the bottom of which a strip of lead was secured.
The rig was that of a cutter, and I noticed that her sails were well
cut. She looked quite business-like, and when she was measured we found
she was two inches shorter than my cutter.

There was a nice, fresh westerly wind blowing, and quite a lop of a sea
running for diminutive craft such as were about to race. I had already
deemed it prudent to take in a reef in the mainsail of my vessel, and
set a No. 2 jib, but my Scotch friend said he thought his boat would
carry whole sail without any trouble. The course was south, so the craft
had to sail with the wind a-beam. The start was made, my boat being to
windward, as I had won the toss. And that was all I did win. The
“ballast-fin” craft beat my cutter so badly that even at this distance
of time my ears tingle and I feel ashamed. While my boat was burying
herself, her rival took the curling wavelets right buoyantly, standing
up to her work valiantly, and moving two feet to the cutter’s one. We
accompanied the model yachts in row-boats, keeping well to leeward, but
quite close enough to observe their movements accurately. That was my
first experience of the ballast-fin. We all became converts, and shoal,
round-bottomed craft, with slate fins to give stability and lateral
resistance, were thenceforward the fashion. My successful rival, we
afterward discovered, was the son of a naval architect of repute, and he
is now practising his father’s profession with a good deal of success.

Thus I have not a word to say against the ballast-fin so far as racing
is concerned, but in cruising the average man who sails for pleasure
wants a craft that he can haul out of the water easily to scrub, clean
and paint. Now, if you put a ballast-fin boat on the mud for any one or
all of these purposes she requires a “leg” on each side to keep her
upright, and also supports at the bow and stern to prevent her from
turning head over heels. The stationary fin always represents your true
draught of water. It is always with you and is an integral portion of
the boat’s hull. If you happen to get stuck on a shoal—and this is a
contingency that has occurred frequently to the most skillful and
careful navigator—in thick weather for instance, your lot is by no means
to be envied. This is particularly true if the tide is falling fast. The
boat would go over on her side as soon as the water got low enough. The
crew and passengers might have to wait aboard until high water, and a
precious uncomfortable time they would pass I am certain. When the flood
tide made it might be a moot question whether the boat would float or
fill with water.

The movable centerplate will always let you know when you get on a
shoal, and will in nearly all cases give you warning in time to avoid
grounding, which is always an unpleasant predicament and one entailing
much labor. Then, again, the anchorages at which small boats can safely
lie are generally pretty shallow at low water and the ballast-fin is
found to be mighty inconvenient for such places.

The knockabouts, which had their origin in Boston, have much to
recommend them. They are free from freakiness. None of them at this time
of writing have been fitted with fin-keels to harass their skippers when
they come in contact with the ground. They have a moderate sail area,
and thus are under control at all times. In a blow one is as safe aboard
one of these craft as a converted Chinaman under the lee of his fair
Sunday-school teacher at church-time. The variety in vogue in Boston in
1897 was limited to 500 square feet of sail. All were keel boats, 21
feet being the limit of length on the load water-line.

This class gained popularity from the intrinsic excellence of the boats
themselves, combining capital cruising qualities with fair speed and
good accommodations. Several designers competed, the restrictions
governing their construction, dimensions, and sail area being such that
the boats were very even in speed, and the contests in which they took
part were keen, close, and exciting.

[Illustration: SEAWANHAKA 21-FOOT KNOCKABOUT.]

The type of knockabout chosen for the season of 1898 by the Seawanhaka
Corinthian Yacht Club and the Westchester Country Club has proved to be
quite admirably adapted for cruising and racing. They were designed and
built by Mr. W. B. Stearns, of Marblehead, their dimensions being:
Length over all, 33 feet; on the load water-line, 21 feet; beam, 7 feet
8 inches; draught, 4 feet; with board down, 7 feet. The area of the
mainsail and jib contains 550 square feet. The centerboard is a small
one of iron, and houses below the cabin floor. The trunk cabin is 8 feet
long, with 5 feet head-room. The price of these boats was $750 complete,
and, their construction being sound and strong, they will, if taken care
of properly, be good for many years.

It is impossible to speak in terms too high of this class after a
surfeit of the racing machines and freaks like the 20-footers whose
alarming antics so often amused and amazed us whenever they happened to
meet in a reefing breeze. Another good property they possess is that
they look like boats when hauled up on the beach, and can never be
mistaken when their masts are unstepped for pig-troughs or fish floats.
There is no doubt of the seaworthiness of these craft. They are
perfectly safe in a northwest squall off Sandy Hook or in a dirty
easterly gale on Long Island Sound.

[Illustration: SEAWANHAKA KNOCKABOUT.]

Another craft of this type which was deservedly popular last year is of
larger size than the one described above. She is 25 feet on the load
water-line, 38 feet over all, with a beam of 8 feet 6 inches, and 5 feet
draught with centerboard up. The boat, which was designed by Mr. B. B.
Crowninshield, of Boston, has a commodious cabin with six feet
head-room, a seven-foot cockpit, and 800 square feet of duck in mainsail
and jib. A very able and roomy boat nearly twice as costly as the
Stearns craft, but indeed quite a little ship.

[Illustration:

SAIL-PLAN OF SEAWANHAKA KNOCKABOUT—550 SQUARE FEET.
]

Personally I favor a short bowsprit in a knockabout, it being convenient
for hoisting the anchor, keeping it clear of the hull, and preventing
unseemly dents from the flukes.

I fear that knockabouts, or raceabouts, even in restricted classes, are
destined eventually to be fitted with fin-keels. As a speed-inducing
factor the fin has fully demonstrated its capacity since the first
edition of this little book appeared. I have not, however, altered my
opinion one iota since my remarks on the ballast-fin made in the chapter
which precedes this. In my judgment the fin is admirably adapted as an
adjunct to a racing machine, but for cruising craft I like it not. Brand
me as an old fogy, if you will; half a century behind the times, if it
so pleases you, shipmates, but give me credit for sincerity.

The keen sense of rivalry inherent in every American will not permit him
to be content with a good, honest sailing boat for cruising purposes
only. If one of his chums comes out with a faster craft, whether a
fin-keel or a modification thereof, he will become dissatisfied with his
own boat, no matter how seaworthy and comfortable she may be, and will
promptly discard her for a new-fangled design in which speed is the
principal characteristic. The so-called restricted classes, which are so
popular just now, are, I think, sure in the end to become purely racing
classes, something after the fashion of the Herreshoff 30-footers now so
fashionable in Newport. As racing boats, none afford more sport than
these wonderfully smart flyers, and I can well understand what
fascinating toys they have proved to their owners. But, after all, they
are only toys, vastly expensive, too, with no accommodations for
cruising and apt to be uncomfortably wet in a breeze.

The one-design classes of small yachts are not confined to knockabouts
only. Cruising schooners, designed by Cary Smith, made their appearance
in 1898, and the class, from a modest beginning, seems likely to grow.
The features of the boats are their sound and wholesome characteristics.
They possess moderate draught, large accommodations, and strength of
construction. They are 64 feet 2 inches over all, 46 feet long on the
load water-line, 16 feet beam, draught without board 6 feet 6 inches,
least freeboard 3 feet. A rather low cabin trunk gives full head-room
for the greater part of the yacht’s length, the main saloon being more
than 13 feet long with a floor width of 6 feet 9 inches. On each side
are two berths and two sofas with drawers beneath. There is
accommodation in the forecastle for four men. The yachts carry 20,000
pounds of lead ballast, of which 18,000 pounds is on keel. Another
one-design division is the Riverside Yacht Club dory class, which has
been adopted by many of the clubs enrolled in the Yacht-Racing Union of
Long Island Sound. These boats are thirteen feet on the keel, seventeen
feet over all, with four feet beam, fitted with a centerboard and rigged
with a small jib and a leg-of-mutton sail. They are for single-handed
racing, but for pleasure cruising or fishing a man can take his chum
along. Fully equipped with oars, sails, etc., they cost about forty
dollars, and afford capital sport on fine afternoons. To encourage this
little class, prizes worth winning are offered by the club, and
sweepstake races are popular features.

The idea was probably taken from the Nahant Dory Club, organized in
1894, which did much to encourage sport in this serviceable and
inexpensive class. Spectators will find amusement in watching “green
hands” in their maiden efforts at sailing these dories, as strange and
startling results often follow the rash experiments of an adventurous
tyro. But apart from the comic element, valuable lessons in yacht-racing
may be learned by steering and manœuvring a dory against a fleet of
half-a-dozen eager competitors. Thus, yachtsmen cannot help approving
this new Riverside venture, originated, I believe, by Mr. F. Bowne
Jones, of the Regatta Committee.

The origin of the one-design class was Dublin Bay, where the “Water Wag”
type was first evolved. A Norwegian praam with a boiler-plate
centerboard, combining ballast and lateral resistance, and carrying a
big sail, was built in 1878 at Shankhill. She was christened
_Cemiostama_ and proved an ideal boat. The conditions were a sloping
sandy shore on which the high surf not infrequently broke, and from
which the craft had to be launched every time her owner wanted a sail,
and onto which she had to be beached after the cruise was finished.
_Cemiostama_ was a capital sea-boat; she pointed well, hit what she
aimed at, did not sag off to leeward, and was quite fast. When the
centerboard, weighing about one hundred pounds, was raised she ran up
easily on the beach, resting quietly on her flat bottom. Her centerboard
was then lifted out, and her crew of two hauled her up.

The knowing Irish yachtsmen, appreciating a good thing, saw that there
was a lot of fun in a boat of this class, and several were built, and
many scrub races were indulged in. In 1887 the Water Wag Association was
started, the craft being built on the same lines and the sail-area being
limited. Their dimensions were thirteen feet in length, with a beam of
four feet ten inches, full lines and a flat floor.

The Water Wags are presided over by a king and a queen, bishop, knights
and rooks; and although the boats were at first used principally for
pleasure, they are now racers pure and simple. Their headquarters are
now in Kingstown Harbor, and prizes are put up for them at all the local
regattas. They are very handy, too, and quite admirable for the purpose
for which they were designed. They cost from $75 to $100, and the rules
that govern their races provide that they shall be similar in every
respect except sail-plan. The mast must not exceed thirteen feet over
all, measured from top of keel to truck; the fore and aft sails must not
exceed seventy-five square feet in area, and the spinnaker (which is to
be used only before the wind and never as a jib) must not exceed sixty
square feet.

Each boat shall carry no less than two or more than three persons in a
race, all of whom shall be amateurs. A member or a lady may steer. No
prize shall be awarded a boat for a sail-over, but she may fly a winning
flag therefor. A pair of oars and a life-buoy must be carried in every
race. It is only right to mention that these sailing regulations are
vigorously enforced.

The latest one-design class established by our rollicking Irish cousins
is known as the 25-footers of the Dublin Bay Sailing Club. These craft
are of such noteworthy type as to deserve a few lines of description and
approval here, especially as it was wisely decided that the type shall
not be altered for five years from January 1, 1898. The boats, of which
quite a number were built and raced, are deep-keeled cutters of the
following dimensions: Length over all, 37 feet 3 inches; length on load
water-line, 25 feet; beam, 8 feet 8 inches; draught, 6 feet 3 inches;
lead on keel, 3 tons 5 cwt., and sail area, 845 square feet, divided
into a mainsail laced to the boom, gafftopsail, foresail and jib. A
second jib, jibtopsail, balloon foresail, spinnaker, storm jib and
trysail may also be carried. The design, made by Will Fife, Jr., of
Fairlie, is handsome, the type being eminently adapted for Dublin Bay.
Restrictions of the strictest kind ensure the boats being exactly alike
in size, material, construction and canvas.

The “Mermaids,” a craft much used by the B division of the same club,
are large Water Wags, 18 feet long, with 6 feet beam, fitted with
centerboards, but carrying no ballast, and limited when racing to 180
square feet of sail. These are vastly popular, and a dozen or so race
every Saturday afternoon during the season.

Although one-design racing originated on the other side of the Atlantic,
it is questionable if any one class has been sailed with more spirit or
persistency than were the Herreshoff 30-footers at Newport during the
yachting season of 1897 and since.

That the classes are destined to prosper there is no doubt, the only
condition being that the type must be carefully adapted to the location
for which it is intended, and the more it is available for fishing
excursions and pleasure trips the greater favor will attend it. Another
helpful feature is the substantial economic gain from the construction
of several boats by the same builder from the same design.

The sailer of a boat, little or big, should keep his weather eye open
all the time. When sailing in a river where the banks are of irregular
height he should be especially on his guard, because puffs of
considerable violence frequently come with little or no warning. A few
inches of sheet eased off, and a gentle luff not quite sufficient to
spill the sail, will generally prevent the shipping of water over the
lee gunwale, and a possible capsize. Thus the mainsheet should never be
made fast permanently, and should always be coiled so as to be clear for
running. A neglect of either of these precautions has often been
attended with fatal results. If by any mischance the mainsheet becomes
jammed do not hesitate, but cut it. A sharp knife in such an emergency
has often saved life when an upset has seemed inevitable through the
boat being nearly on her beam ends. If you are sailing in a jib and
mainsail craft, and the squall has a good deal of weight in it, let fly
the jib sheet and let the boat come up in the wind, at the same time
lowering away the mainsail and taking care to spill it as it comes down.
A reef should then be taken in, and the boat be filled away on her
course.

While sailing anywhere in the vicinity of New York, and when one of
those heavy thunder-squalls that are so frequent in the summer time is
seen rising in the northwest, waste no time. If not in too deep water,
anchor at once and stow your sails snugly. You can then ride out the
fury of the squall in perfect safety; that is, if your ground tackle is
sufficiently strong. If your cable parts and you are on a lee shore and
there is a harbor to run for, scud for it under bare poles or with a
fragment of sail set. If there is no refuge under your lee, set as much
sail as your boat can safely carry and thresh her off shore. The chances
are that you will be successful, because these squalls while often very
dangerous seldom last long, and are generally followed by a flat calm
which is more exasperating than a blow.

We will take it for granted, however, that your anchor and chain are of
the correct strength and quality, and that you bring up before the
squall strikes you. If you have time it would be well to close-reef your
mainsail before furling it, and then you would be prepared for any
emergency. But let me impress upon all who are in charge of boats with
women and children aboard, that it is their duty, when one of those
peril-fraught thunder-squalls is seen approaching, to dowse every stitch
of sail at once and let go the anchor. There is a wide gulf between
bravado and bravery, and no truly courageous man would imperil the lives
of anyone, especially of helpless women and children. The rash carrying
on of canvas has been responsible for more loss of life on the water
than any other cause. It is a seaman who shortens sail in time, but a
lubber who “cracks on till all’s blue.”

Great caution is necessary when passing under the lee of a vessel at
anchor or under way, especially in a fresh breeze. Your boat is sure to
get becalmed and may possibly nearly lose her way, so that as she draws
clear of the object the full force of the breeze will strike her when
she has scarcely steerage way on. The result may be a complete knockdown
or even a capsize. Therefore have your mainsheet clear for running, and
do not hesitate to let it fly in a hurry before your little vessel’s
gunwale is anywhere near the water. By all means endeavor to keep clear
of vessels at anchor. Do not try to get in the wash of steamboats, as
some foolhardy persons do, “just for fun.” On the contrary take special
pains to avoid them. When you must encounter their wash, which in the
case of large and fast steamers is heavy and dangerous, do your best to
let your boat take the brunt of the waves on the bluff of the bow. If
they strike her broadside on, swamping is a possibility not far remote.

In sailing a boat in rough water the greatest precaution is necessary. A
craft that in smooth water could safely carry all sail, might when the
sea is perturbed be forced to stagger along under double reefs, the
force of the wind being the same in both instances. Especially is this
the case when the wind and sea are both abeam, the former strong and the
latter heavy. This is probably the most dangerous point of sailing there
is, and requires the most careful touch of the tiller. A boat heeled
over to fifteen degrees by the force of the wind, by the joint influence
of a sudden puff and a heavy roll to leeward may be inclined to such an
angle that a capsize is inevitable. When there seems to be any danger of
this mishap occurring the helmsman must not close his eyes to keep them
warm. When he sees a larger wave than usual coming along he should put
his helm up a little, so that it may strike the boat abaft the beam and
so reduce the danger to a minimum. The judicious application of weather
helm in a beam sea has saved many a big ship’s deck from being swept,
and many a small boat from being capsized.

It is in my judgment rash to sail a small boat under these conditions
unless it is imperative, such as when a harbor is being entered, or when
the boat’s course must necessarily be steered with wind and sea abeam. I
should strongly advise the hauling of the boat on a wind until she
reaches the point where her sheets may be eased off and she can be
headed for her destination with wind and sea on the quarter. A boat with
any pretensions at all can be sailed close-hauled in rough water with
safety if certain elementary precautions are observed. Everybody on
board except the helmsman should sit amidships in the bottom of the
boat, so as to keep the weight as low as possible and the craft herself
in her natural trim. No unusual weight is wanted in the bow of the
vessel, which should lift in a prompt and lively manner to each sea. In
an open boat and a nasty sea no more sail should be carried than will
keep her under proper command.

A great deal depends upon the nerve and skill of the man at the tiller.
Keep her moving all the time. If a big wave threatens to come aboard
over the weather bow, luff smartly into it and meet it as nearly end on
as possible. Then up with the helm at once and fill on her again,
repeating the process as often as it may be needful. Never let the lee
gunwale get under water in a seaway, nor at any other time, but always
luff before it is too late, and help her to come up in the wind if
necessary by easing away the jib sheet.

If the wind keeps increasing and the sea rising, haul down the headsail
and pass a gasket round it, close-reef your mainsail, previously seeing
your sea anchor clear for letting go. If you have no sea anchor with
you, rig some sort of a raft with oars, boathook and sails, the latter
lashed securely to the spars. Make a line fast to this raft and pay out
about twenty fathoms and let the boat ride to it as to an anchor. It is
surprising what a good effect this contrivance has in breaking the waves
and keeping the boat head to sea. Nothing else can now be done until the
gale moderates sufficiently for sail to be made and the boat headed for
her destination. It may be consolatory to those aboard a craft in such a
contingency to buoy themselves up by remembering that some of the
heaviest gales known have been safely ridden out in cockleshell boats
without any damage to crew, hull or gear.

[Illustration: DROGUE, OR SEA ANCHOR.]

The sea anchor consists of a hinge-jointed galvanized ring about three
feet in diameter. A conical bag made of stout canvas is sewed to the
ring and roped, as shown in sketch. A bridle is fitted to the ring, to
which the riding hawser is bent. A cork buoy prevents the anchor from
diving. When thrown overboard the mouth of the anchor opens and fills.
To hoist the anchor on board, the tripping line, shown in diagram, is
hauled on. When not in use the ring is folded together by the joints,
and the bag is made fast snugly round it.

[Illustration:

DIAGRAM OF FLOATING ANCHOR.
]

Another plan for making a floating anchor is shown below. K, M, N, O,
are the ends of two iron bars formed into a cross and connected by a
stout bolt, nut and pin at their intersection, S. At each end of the
bars is an eye through which a strong rope is rove, hauled taut, and
well secured. Thus a square is formed, and over the square a piece of
strong canvas is laced to the roping. Four ropes are made fast to the
iron bars, forming a bridle. To this the riding hawser is made fast. To
prevent the anchor from sinking, a buoy, B, is made fast to one corner
by a rope, with five or six fathoms of drift. The buoy rope, P, leads on
board. H is the hawser to which the boat is riding, A is the anchor, and
B the buoy. To get the anchor aboard haul in on the line, P. This will
cause the anchor to cant edgewise, and it can then be easily hauled in.

[Illustration: FLOATING ANCHOR IN USE.]

In scudding before a strong wind and a heavy sea in a small craft, a
trysail is always preferable to a sail with a boom, which may effect
much mischief by trailing in the water or suddenly gybing. The helmsman
must be always on the alert to prevent the boat from “broaching to,”
which means flying up in the wind; or from being “brought by the lee,”
which means running off so as to bring the wind on the other quarter. A
long, narrow boat will always run before the wind better than a short,
beamy craft, as she is better adapted for taking the seas, and she also
steers easier, not yawing about so much or turning round every few
minutes to take a look at her wake. The inexperienced boat sailer should
bear in mind that scudding in a seaway is ticklish work, and is not
unlikely to be attended with peril. If you have no trysail, reef the
mainsail and lower the peak. Hoist on the weather topping lift so as to
keep the boom as high as possible out of the water. By no means run a
boat before the wind until it blows too hard and the sea is too high to
heave to with safety. If the breeze seems likely to pipe up, make up
your mind immediately. Delay is dangerous. Have your sea anchor ready.
Watch for a smooth. When it comes put your helm down smartly, trimming
in the mainsheet. When she gets the wind on the bow, heave your sea
anchor overboard and ride to it either with the mainsail set or lowered,
as may be deemed best.

If you happen to be on a lee shore, with the surf breaking high on the
beach, and you cannot claw off, do not wait until it is too late and
your boat is in the breakers. Let go the anchor, and if it holds try to
ride out the storm. If your ground tackle gives way, do your best to set
the mainsail and steer boldly for the shore. The faster you go the
better chance you have to be carried high and dry. Remember that this
will give you a fighting chance for your life, whereas if your boat gets
broadside on in the breakers she will most likely roll over and over and
in all probability drown you and your crew.

It may be thought preposterous for me to advocate the use of oil to
break the force of curling wave-crests when a small craft is riding to a
raft or sea anchor. Most people would naturally suppose that a boat
could not carry enough oil aboard her for it to have any beneficial
effect in smoothing a turbulent sea. Nor could it if it was poured into
the ocean out of its original package, or out of “bags with small holes
punctured in their bottoms,” as some marine experts advise. The proper
way to apply oil is to fill a round bottomed canvas bag, about two feet
long and eight inches in diameter, three parts full of oakum or cotton
waste. Do not pack too tightly. Pour into this as much fish or animal
oil as the oakum or waste will suck up. Sew the mouth up tightly with
palm and needle. Secure a lanyard to it. Make a few holes in its sides
with a marlinespike and hang it over the lee bow, and you will be
surprised at the result. The seas, instead of breaking over the boat and
threatening to swamp her, will become comparatively smooth as soon as
they approach the limits of the film of the oil as it oozes slowly out
of the bag. When running over a harbor bar where the sea is breaking
badly, a couple of these bags suspended from either bow will prevent the
waves from pooping the little craft and help her materially in her
struggle for existence. Mineral oil will do if no other is available,
and a gallon of it will go a long way if used in the manner mentioned
above. These bags should be carried all ready for use when cruising, so
that all you will have to do is to pour the oil in, sew up the mouths
and hang them over the bows by the lanyards. A ship’s boat with a dozen
men aboard once safely weathered an Atlantic gale by riding to a couple
of buckets and a cork fender saturated with kerosene. Pouring oil on
troubled waters is by no means a case of bluff or the dream of an opium
smoker, but a capital “wrinkle” by means of which many a good man has
been saved from Davy Jones’ yawning locker. I trust that these little
bags will form part of the outfit of all going on long cruises. They may
serve as pillows or may be made in the shape of cushions, so long as the
above general idea is followed.

[Illustration: THE BOSTON KNOCKABOUT “GOSLING.”]

As a striking instance of the value of oil in a heavy gale I will quote
the case of the British ship _Slivemore_, which took fire in June, 1885,
while in the Indian Ocean about eight hundred miles northeastward of the
Seychelle Islands. The ship was abandoned and the boats steered for the
islands. Capt. Conly, of the _Slivemore_, gave orders that each boat
should take aboard two cans of paint oil for use in bad weather, and he
also instructed the officer in command of each boat in the use of the
oil. Three days after the ship was left the boats encountered a cyclone.
Drags made from spars, oars and sails lashed together were rigged, and
to these improvised sea anchors the frail craft rode securely. Stockings
filled with oakum saturated with the oil were hung over the bows of the
boats and formed an oil-slick of considerable expanse. Before the
stockings were hung out the boats narrowly escaped being swamped and the
men had to bail hard with buckets. The oil prevented the seas from
breaking and the boats rode over the enormous waves in safety. Little
water was shipped, and those on board the boats were able to lie down
and sleep while a tropical cyclone was raging furiously. All the boats
reached the islands in safety without the loss of a man, but had it not
been for the oil the loss of the _Slivemore_ would have remained an
untold mystery of the ocean.

A still more wonderful example of the efficacy of oil is told by the
captain of the ship _Martha Cobb_, and it relates to the achievement of
a sixteen-foot dinghy. In December, 1886, the _Martha Cobb_, petroleum
laden, encountered a heavy gale in the North Atlantic. She shipped some
tremendous seas which swept away all her large boats, washed away her
bulwarks and played havoc generally with her decks. The only boat that
was left uninjured was the aforesaid sixteen-foot dinghy, intended
solely for smooth water work.

While laboring and plunging in the mountainous sea, the _Martha Cobb_
fell in with a sinking vessel flying signals of distress to the effect
that the water was fast gaining on her and that all her boats were stove
in. The captain of the _Martha Cobb_ determined to stand by the vessel
in distress, in the hope that the gale would abate. He knew that his
little cockleshell of a dinghy could not possibly live in such weather,
and that it would be suicidal to lower her and attempt a rescue.

After standing by till near nightfall with no prospect of the storm
moderating, the commander of the _Martha Cobb_ determined to make an
effort to save the crew of the fast foundering craft. The _Martha
Cobb’s_ petroleum was in casks, some of which leaked. The captain had
noticed that when the pumps were being worked the sea in the wake of his
ship was always much smoother. He got the _Martha Cobb_ to windward of
the wreck and started the pumps, in the hope that the oil in the well
and bilges would create a smooth when it reached the sea, so that the
dinghy could be lowered in safety.

He found, however, that the ships drifted faster than the oil, so that
while the sea to windward was comparatively smooth the water to leeward
was rough as ever. So he kept his ship away, ran down under the vessel’s
stern and luffed up under her lee. Then he started the pumps and also
allowed a five-gallon can of fish oil to trickle into the water through
the scuppers. The effect was almost miraculous. In less than
half-an-hour the crested surges and breaking combers were converted into
long heavy swells such as you see when a calm has succeeded a heavy
gale.

The little dinghy was lowered, and manned by three men was pulled to
windward alongside the wreck with little difficulty. All hands were
rescued, and the tiny boat, while engaged in the gallant work, shipped
no water. All this time the waves were breaking furiously outside the
magic limit of the oil-slick.

One more illustration and I am done. Capt. Amlot, of the steamer
_Barrowmore_, on January twenty-fourth, 1885, while in 51 degrees north
latitude and 21 degrees west longitude, fell in with the sinking ship
_Kirkwood_. This ship had for part of her cargo several hundred casks of
canned salmon. In order to make a smooth and allow the boat of the
_Barrowmore_ to come alongside in safety, the crew of the _Kirkwood_
broached a number of the cases, and opening the cans poured the oil from
them into the sea. This had the desired result, and although the sea was
very heavy the oil reduced it rapidly, and the boat of the _Barrowmore_
had no difficulty in taking off the twenty-six men that composed the
ship’s company of the _Kirkwood_.

Two quarts of oil used per hour will produce effective results. A ship
scudding before the wind, with a mountainous sea running and threatening
to poop her, has expended this amount and kept dry. Experts have
calculated that this quantity of oil has covered the sea with an
infinitesimal film measuring thirty feet in width and ten nautical miles
in length. As the thickness of this film is only .0000047 of an inch,
its efficacy is indeed marvelous.

A simple and excellent device for distributing oil has been invented by
Capt. Townsend, of the United States Signal Office. It is cheap and
convenient, and is especially adapted for use in boats or small yachts.
It has been thus described:

“It consists of a hollow metal globe ten inches in diameter, with a
capacity of about one and a-half gallons of oil. It has an air chamber
separated by a partition to keep it afloat in a certain position, and
there are two valves. When filled with oil the upper valve is adjusted
to allow oil to flow out at any desired rate, while the lower valve
admits water. When placed in the sea it floats with the upper valve a
little above the surface, and water will enter to displace the oil from
the graduated upper valve. The specific gravity of oil will keep it in
the upper part of the distributor, and the motion of the globe on the
breaking waves or swell will insure the ejection of the oil through the
graduated valve in any quantity.”

[Illustration: OIL DISTRIBUTOR.]

This may be used by towing over the bow when running, or made fast to a
sea anchor when hove to.

People inclined to be skeptical are, of course, at liberty to doubt the
efficacy of oil to lessen the dangerous effect of heavy seas, but the
examples I have quoted are simply a few culled from several hundred well
authenticated cases.

[Illustration: PLAN OF OIL DISTRIBUTOR.]

The lesson learned from the Shipwash lightship ever so many years ago,
has not been without profit and benefit to naval architects. Let me spin
you the yarn. The Shipwash lightship is moored in one of the most
exposed places on the east coast of England, and is thus continually
encountering particularly heavy seas. It came to pass that the old
lightship was replaced by a new and scientific vessel. The new-fangled
craft was, however, so remarkably unsteady and rolled so heavily that to
the storm-tossed mariner beating up the coast her light appeared to be
of crescent shape. Her crew got scared. They were afraid she would turn
turtle. A surveyor from the Trinity House was sent aboard, and he made a
report which was submitted to her designer, who eventually said the
fault complained of could be easily remedied by the addition of extra
ballast. Accordingly this was done, and the next gale she rode out her
rolling was worse than ever, and produced quite a panic among her crew,
who were afraid to go below while the storm lasted. Another report was
made to headquarters. Other students of naval architecture were
consulted, who not only advised that the extra ballast be taken out, but
that four tons of lead be attached to the frame or cage supporting the
light. These instructions were carried out, and the result was the
steadiest lightship on the east coast.

A vessel will carry herself full of coal and behave herself in heavy
weather. But when she comes to be laden with copper ore or lead, a
certain amount of ingenuity has to be used in the storage of such heavy
cargo to make her seaworthy at all. If it were all stowed in the bottom
of the vessel she would roll so heavily in a seaway as to get dismasted,
and would probably become a total wreck. It is now that the experienced
art of the stevedore comes in. The man who follows the proper
authorities would construct a bin or compartment in which to stow this
dangerous freight thus:

[Illustration: Fig. 1]

The result would be highly satisfactory. The vessel’s center of gravity
would be the same as though she were laden with coal, and her movements
in a seaway would therefore be quite as easy.

Another man might construct his compartment thus:

[Illustration: Fig. 2]

The vessel in this case would labor quite heavily on the slightest
provocation and would not be so steady or so seaworthy as the one first
mentioned, with the narrow bin or compartment extending to the upper
deck.

The same remarks apply to the ballasting of yachts. Before the days of
outside lead, when pleasure craft shifted their racing for a cruising
rig preparatory to a deep-water voyage, it was customary to raise the
inside lead ballast by placing layers of cork beneath it, thus ensuring
easy movements in a seaway. Racing yachts nowadays have all their weight
outside, and this device for their relief cannot therefore be resorted
to. When crossing the Atlantic, say for a race for the _America’s_ Cup,
they are always in danger of getting caught in a gale of wind and an
accompanying mountainous sea. In order to prevent excessive rolling,
which might endanger the mast and consequently the vessel herself, it is
necessary to keep a press of sail set. For this purpose a trysail with
plenty of hoist to it is indispensable. It should not be one of those
jib-headed impostors that some racing skippers most unaccountably
affect, but one with a good long gaff that will successfully prevent the
otherwise inevitable and peril-fraught roll to windward.

A yacht under these circumstances, it is true, cannot carry a great
press of canvas when on the top of one of those big rollers that a gale
soon kicks up in the Atlantic. But she wants as much of her sail area as
possible exposed to the gale when she is in the hollow of the wave.
Otherwise there will not be sufficient pressure to prevent her from
rolling to windward.

Rolling to windward—easy enough to write, you may think—but every sailor
knows what may follow. Green seas fore and aft, mast sprung, men washed
overboard; and if the gale does not abate, why, Davy Jones’ locker for
all hands and the cook!

The storm trysail must necessarily be a sheet-footed sail set over the
furled mainsail. It is a sail comparatively narrow at the foot, but it
should for obvious reasons be made as broad as possible at the head, in
proper proportion of course to the breadth of the foot. It need not have
quite as much hoist as the mainsail, for the throat halyards at such a
time must have a good drift, while to keep the sail inboard the peak
should be quite extreme. It follows, therefore, that although the
rollers may be high the peak of the trysail is above them, and the yacht
is kept jogging along steadily without any sudden and violent shocks or
strains to spar or rigging.

The following rough sketches will, I think, serve to demonstrate the
superiority of the gaff-headed trysail over that abortion, the
thimble-headed variety, which I do not hesitate to condemn as useless
for a modern yacht ballasted with outside lead in a seaway.

[Illustration]

No. 1 shows vessel with gaffheaded sail on the crest of a wave. She
drops down into the hollow of the wave and becomes No. 2. The shaded
part of the sail catches the wind over the crests of the waves, and the
area so exposed is sufficient to steady the vessel and give her a safe
heel or list.

[Illustration]

Now I wish to call your attention to No. 3. She has enough sail spread
when on the crest of a wave. But observe her when in the hollow. She has
scarcely a stitch of sail above the level of the crest. The consequence
is that her weight being so low down, and her form having so much
stability, she swings with a violent roll to windward and her mast is
thereby imperilled. This is the result of not having the requisite
amount of pressure at the head of the sail.

The commanders of square-rigged vessels always bear this in mind. They
heave to under a close-reefed maintopsail, never under a lower course,
and the ship when in the trough of the sea has enough sail exposed to
keep her steady. The smart schooners that used to ply between St.
Michaels and London in the fruit trade, and that were bound to make
smart passages or lose money, were always fitted with gaffheaded
trysails, and found them most efficacious in beating to windward in
strong gales. Their sturdy skippers would have looked with contempt and
ridicule upon any person so fatuous as to recommend a jibheaded trysail.
And they were skilled sailors of fore-and-aft rigged craft, and were
well acquainted with that stretch of the wild Atlantic between the
Lizard and the Azores. These vessels used to beat up the English Channel
in the teeth of an easterly gale and fight their way homeward inch by
inch, and I consider the practical experience of their captains as far
more reliable than the theoretical vagaries of men who were never out of
soundings in a small craft.

What is true of comparatively large yachts in an Atlantic gale applies
equally to the small cruiser. The theory is precisely the same, and in
ordering a storm trysail from his sailmaker the aspiring owner of a
smart, seaworthy cruiser might well be guided by the few hints given
above. A gaffheaded trysail is just what he wants to steady his boat
when hove to, and to counteract that tendency toward rolling that
outside lead always has on the hull of a boat in a seaway.

When coming to anchor at any other time than low water, do not forget to
allow for the fall of the tide. For instance, if you bring up in 10 feet
of water when the tide is high, in a boat drawing, say 5 feet, and the
range of rise and fall is also 5 feet, at low water your vessel would be
aground and perhaps under untoward circumstances in danger of damage or
even total loss. This hint is worth remembering in many parts of the
world, especially in some parts of the Bay of Fundy, where there is a
range of no less than 50 feet! Soundings on the chart denote the depth
at mean low water.

Share