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´╗┐Title: On Yachts and Yacht Handling
Author: Day, Thomas Fleming
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "On Yachts and Yacht Handling" ***

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[Illustration: MINERVA]

                            Yacht Handling


                          THOMAS FLEMING DAY


                         NEW YORK AND LONDON:

                           COPYRIGHT, 1901,
                          THOMAS FLEMING DAY
                         ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

                               TO THOSE
                       ROUND THE CLUBHOUSE FIRE


  ON THIS BOOK                   13
  ON SEAMANSHIP                  19
  ON BOATS IN GENERAL            37
  ON ONE-MAN BOATS               55
  ON SEA-GOING BOATS             67
  ON RIGS                        81
  ON REEFING                    119
  ON RIGGING                    161
  ON STRANDING                  175


"_Books were made that man might pass his knowledge to his fellows;
through them he speaks to a vast audience, and his power to enlighten
is only circumscribed by the ability to impart this knowledge in lucid
and interesting language._"


My reason for writing this book is, that it is wanted; my excuse,
thirty years' experience. In those years I have handled many boats,
upon many waters.

You will find this book very different from other works on the same
subject. In the first place, I believe that all text-books should be
written in a manner to please, as well as to instruct; that they should
be agreeable reading; and, aside from their teaching value, have a
certain excellence as a writing. Again, there is nothing in literature
so interesting as the autobiography, real or fictional. Nearly all our
great works of fiction are of this class. Robinson Crusoe's history
from any other lips than those of the castaway would lose half its
interest; Gil Blas in the third person would lack warmth and be wholly
devoid of its peculiar zest. The flavor of the individual is lost
when you speak for, and not as him. The puppet talks like a puppet.
It is the difference between John Alden pleading the cause of Captain
Standish and John Alden pleading the cause of Master John. Let a man
talk to you and he will interest and amuse; let him write for you and
he will prove trite and dull. Therefore, when imparting information, I
like to talk, not write. I want to infuse into my words my person, to
endeavor to give my ideas an I-am-with-you tone, so that it will be me
and not the book that is present, and with whom you are in communion.

But this method of handling a subject is apt to breed dogmatism,
especially as the reader is unable to question or deny the statements
made until they have been chilled into ink. So you will find in many
of my chapters that I am exceedingly dogmatic. It is unintentional,
simply being a manifestation of the spirit peculiar to this style of
addressing an audience--one that must hear but cannot answer. Therefore
let me warn you to question all my statements, and to accept only those
that harmonize with your own conclusions, after you have carefully
thought them over. Those that you cannot reconcile to your own
knowledge and experience, lay on one side to be tried out at a future

Never, no matter how high the authority, accept any man's coin by its
minted face. It is as easy to strike a base as a sterling piece, and
the king's head on the reverse and his arms on the obverse won't make
lead silver, or copper gold. This in regard to statements made by those
who set themselves up as authorities on a subject is particularly true,
when the subject is one like this under discussion; one in which no
fixed rules may be established, and where so much depends upon the
man, the place and the means. I make a statement of practice; it was
deduced from my personal experience, and in my case gave a perfect
result; you follow it, but owing to certain complicating circumstances,
in your case, it fails. For instance, I tell you, that when a vessel
gets sternway on in a seaway to keep your helm amidships, and cast her
with the headsails, and not to put your helm hard over. You accept my
method as being the correct one, try it, and fail to cast your boat so
as to fill away. This does not prove that I am wrong in making such a
statement, but it shows that I am wrong in not having qualified it.
It also shows that you are a lax thinker in not having questioned my
method before putting it in practice. My error is the too frequent
error of men who write on vessel handling; yours the too common error
of men who study their books.

The object of this book, of these talks, is not to fill you, parrot
fashion, full of rules of action or methods of practice, but to furnish
you with food for thought; to lay before you certain statements from
which you must, to a large extent, deduce your own conclusions. Take
what I say, mix it with your own knowledge and experience, and put into
action the result.

These talks are not intended for men who are what we may call seamen,
men who are thoroughly versed in the art, nor are they intended for
those who aspire to boats larger than forty feet over all. A boat
above that size is too valuable to be trusted in the hands of an
inexperienced or half-trained man. The owner of a large yacht, if he is
not perfectly capable of handling her under all conditions, should hire
some one who is. My sermons are addressed to the man who is learning to
handle a small vessel, who wants to be a seaman, and who, to be free of
all paid assistance, is willing to study the art thoroughly and make
himself master of all its branches.


  "_The tar's a smart tar that can band, reef and steer,
    That can nimbly cast off and belay;
  Who in darkest nights finds each halyard and gear,
    And dead reckoning knows well, and leeway;
  But the tar to please me must more knowing be._"--



I have been all my life a lover of the sea; an observer of its natural
and social conditions; a student of its phases and fabrics; but
while my mind in its long and wide search has touched upon almost
every subject connected with ocean life, the one that has constantly
interested and fascinated me is that which relates to the care and
government of sailing vessels. This art, which is called seamanship, is
one of man's oldest and noblest attainments. What does the world owe to
him who possessed it?

To him the civilization of to-day owes its existence. Man cramped in
the confines of a continent, a prisoner at low-water mark, a dwarf in
a dwarf world, was released, lifted and enlightened by the Master of
the Sail. It was he who found the universe upon the sea, and brought it
home; a free gift, with the more costly but less valuable trophies of
distant trade. It was he who, broadening the world's world, broadened
the world's mind. With the spices and silks of the East, with the gold
and tobaccos of the West, he laded his ships with the new knowledge, a
commodity that paid no revenues to the crown, that added nothing to the
wealth and glory of princes, but, flowing slowly and steadily into the
minds of men, incited the intelligent few to broader, nobler and more
splendid achievements, and filtering through the masses, long steeped
in inveterate ignorance, uplifted, enriched and regenerated all.

In the shadow of his sail hamlets became cities; wealth increased,
suffering diminished. In his callous hands, the helm, that through
daylight and darkness guided his vessel from land to land, was more
marvelous in its powers than the famed ivory wand of the Eastern
genii; and to all who sought to receive, his sail bore more jewels
than ever burdened the magic carpet, or came into the hands of the
daring and fortunate through the incantations of the Sons of the Hidden
Light. While with one hand he struggled with chaffering Trade for her
sordid coin, with the other he threw into the laps of Science and Art
innumerable treasures. Impartial in his generosity as in his gifts, he
gave to Astronomy new constellations, to Medicine rare and efficacious
herbs, to Art fresh and invigorating colors, and to Literature a
strange breed of heroes, novel situations and unfamiliar plots.

The freedom that he found upon the high seas he brought back to cheer
the slaves of the mart. Kings bargained for his services, nobles and
merchants offered their purses to assist in his ventures. In return
for three paltry vessels he presented Spain with an empire; to prove
a chimera false he perished among the northern ices. No sea was too
broad to daunt him; no land was too distant to escape his search. The
miseries he endured, the hardships he underwent, were forgotten in the
joys of a new discovery. He opened roads of trade that brought riches
and power to his country, and sprinkled these pathways with the bones
of his companions--victims of exposure, famine and disease.

No reef lifts above the water, no shallow spreads its treacherous
sands, but the frames of his vessel have been broken upon it. The
hurricane and calm have taken toll of him; he has paid the penalty of
recklessness and greed. He has given to the annals of war its most
desperate and bloody conflicts; he has perished that nations might
live, and that a people might be free.

His life gave him strength and endurance; his art made him skillful and
courageous. He created and used a language of his own, and his customs
were not those of other men. The inventor of the sail, the user of
the elements, the discoverer, the trader, the protector, the world's
benefactor--the seaman.

A noble art makes noble men, and there is no nobler art than
seamanship. As free and changeful in its measures as are the elements
it employs and combats, it is prolific of resource, fertile in
expedient, and a prompter of mental activity. It promotes skill of hand
and tenacity of muscle. Courage is bred in its duties, and the mind
broadens in its services.

It is this that makes the practice of seamanship so valuable to those
who employ it only as a pastime. The care and handling of the sailing
vessel furnishes most excellent training for the young. Aside from
the skill it imparts, it takes men out into the open air; it offers
to those whom the obligations of life keep at the counter and desk an
opportunity to be free, to get away from and completely out of the
business world. It gives the mart-worn mind a change and a rest. The
sea has no postmen; no telegraph messengers. It prints no newspapers.
The feet of society merely tread its borders. It is a place where man
is really free, and where he can realize his freedom.

Many have written upon this art. Some of these works are an addition
to literature and of value to the seaman, but the majority are not. On
that branch of seamanship, which we will call yachtmanship, and which
is principally the art of sparring, rigging, canvasing and handling
fore-and-aft vessels, there has been penned several large works and
many small ones. The standard books are by Vanderdecken and Kemp,
and the majority of the others, I am sorry to say, are in the most
part copies of these two. In some cases the authors have lifted their
information bodily, and have forgotten to acknowledge the indebtedness.
While standard works of their time, both Vanderdecken and Kemp are now
out of date, and, moreover, they deal largely with big vessels, and
vessels of a type no longer employed in yachting.

Among the smaller works there are several good ones, but they lack
originality and do not properly cover the ground, nor do they contain
the information which is most necessary to the beginner. Again, many of
them have been written by men who are enslaved by one type, and are
therefore considerably biased; others are from the pen of those who
have had a special and not a general experience.

But the crowning defect of all these books, to my mind, is that the
authors in the portion relating to handling try to teach a man, instead
of prompting him to learn. You cannot teach a man to sail--he may
learn. In order to do so he must have the sailor instinct. Unless he
has that he will never become a seaman. That is why some men can never
learn to handle a boat, and why others will pick up the knowledge in a
few months.

Again, there are many men who learn to sail a boat; that is, become
possessed of so much knowledge as will permit of their working a
vessel from place to place, but yet never succeed in mastering the
nicer or more difficult points of seamanship. These are the parrots of
the profession--men who simply repeat what they see other men do. The
skillful seaman is the man who thinks, who studies his profession, and
who learns from his own experience what he cannot from the practice of

It is often said that experience is the great teacher. To be sure it
is; but even experience cannot teach one who will not learn. The most
intense and varied experience is of no use to one who casts it aside
without first fitting it into place in his life's record by turning it
over and over in his mind. Spasmodic storage of experience is of no use
whatever; it must be sorted, checked up, ticketed and stored away in
its proper place in the next bin to that which it joins in the sequence
of events. Unless this is done it will not be forthcoming when needed.

Properly arranged and stored, experience is the mother of what is
called "presence of mind," the most necessary mental part for a
seaman to possess. Without it he will be a menace to his own safety
and a threat of danger to others. Presence of mind is simply applied
forethought. You do in an emergency without apparent reflection the
right thing, and save your boat, your life, or somebody else's life.
People who see the act, exclaim, "What wonderful presence of mind!" but
would be more correct, if they exclaimed, "What perfect presence of
plan!" You have simply executed at a moment's notice a plan of action
that has been stored away in your mind, perhaps for years.

When a boy, I frequently amused myself when skating by thinking out
what I would do if a person fell through the ice. I pictured all
possible situations and methods of rescue. One day the accident
happened; a boy in skating across the head of a pond broke through the
thin ice formed where the river entered the lake. From the hundred
skaters present a yell of terror went up, and, as was the case when
the immortal Mr. Pickwick met with a similar accident at Dingley
Dell, everybody called for help, and nobody offered it. Though at
some distance, my attention was drawn to the mishap by these cries.
Instantly I responded. There was no mental preparation, no reflection;
the proper plan flashed into my acting mind. I executed it, and the boy
was saved.

Now, if I had not had that plan stored in my mind, I should have been
just as much at sea as the rest were. I should probably have joined
them in shouting for a plank or rope, or, like Mr. Tupman, have cried
fire, or performed some other senseless act, such as people do when
brought suddenly face to face with a dangerous emergency.

One day when running down wind I said to the young fellow at the wheel,
who was anxious to learn the seaman's trade, "What would you do if one
of us fell overboard?" "I don't know," he answered. "Haven't you ever
thought, planned out, what you would do in such an emergency?" No, he
hadn't. "Well," I said, "you think it out; put the boat in different
positions and under different sail, and plan out what you would do if
such an accident happened." A day or two after, while the same lad
was at the wheel, we lost the dingey. Without calling me from below
or hesitating, he wore round and recovered the boat, executing the
manoeuvre in so clever a manner as to call praise from all the old
hands. When, shortly after, I relieved him at the wheel, he said, "I
thought that out the other day after you spoke about what to do if a
man falls overboard."

Again, I was on the bridge of a steamer chatting with the mate. "What
do you do to pass away the long night watches?" I asked him. "Well,"
he answered, "I spend hours thinking and planning out what I would
do if certain things happened. I put the ship into every possible
danger--fire, collision, shifting cargo, broken shaft, and unexpected
land. I then plan how best to meet the emergency created. I place other
ships in every position--green to port, red to starboard, lights dead
ahead, lights on the beam, lights everywhere--then plan to work my ship
clear of them. I have some run into me, am sinking, lower boats, save
my own crew and rescue others. I pick up lame ducks, pass hawsers,
make fast and tow them in. Everything that could possibly happen I
have happen, and plan the ways and means of meeting them over and over
again. That is how I while away my eight hours in the scuppers."

There was a seaman who had prepared himself for an emergency; a
commander who had ready for instant use a plan, so, let occasion demand
it, he could stand forth the man of the hour.

Let me advise you who would learn the seaman's art to copy that mate.
Spend your idle hours thinking and planning. Never go into a difficult
channel without first picturing what dangers may confront you, and how
you can overcome them. Never pass through a fleet or come to anchor
among vessels without planning beforehand your mode of action. Never
turn in at night without first looking about you and outlining in your
mind your position in regard to shore and craft, and forming a plan
for getting away if anything should happen to oblige you to make sail.
After a little practice this thinking ahead will become second nature,
and your brain will plan and act with the regularity and cheerfulness
of a good clock.

The backbone of active seamanship is confidence--confidence in
yourself, confidence in your craft, confidence in your crew. The first
and most necessary of these is confidence in yourself. Without it the
place for you is on shore, or in a subordinate position. No man should
attempt to command who has shaken confidence in his own skill and
judgment. I mean by confidence the true article, not the false, which
is more commonly called conceit.

Confidence is inspired by action and confirmed by success. You attempt
a feat such as you have never attempted before and are successful,
therefore you are sure that the skill or knowledge you used in
performing it is reliable, and that you are possessed of a mastery over
it sufficient to enable you to repeat the act. In plain English, you
are sure you can do it again.

Let us suppose it is a feat of navigation. By yourself you have never
taken a yacht out of sight of land, but, having the opportunity, decide
to attempt to run from one point to another across an open stretch of
sea. You take the chart, find the magnetic course and distance, allow
for leeway and current, and having thus found your compass course put
the ship on it, and away you go. Land soon drops down astern, and you
begin to feel a bit shaky. Suppose you have made a mistake in laying
off the course; not allowed enough for leeway, too much for current.
Suppose you should miss the distant cape. This and a dozen other things
begin to haunt your mind. You go below, out with the chart, pass over
your figures, remeasure the distance, get the same result for compass
course--we will say N. E. by E.1/2E. You go back on deck confident that
your course and distance are correct, and then begin to worry about
the compass. You are sure it was correct yesterday, because you took
several bearings and found it so, and it was also correct two weeks
before, on your last cruise. Then you reason that it is very unlikely
that it would go waltzing off into an excessive error just because it
happened to have been taken out of sight of land for the first time,
and so give it back your confidence and steer away N. E. by E.1/2E.

Your crew now begin to worry, never having been out of sight of land
before. They look at you as though they suspected you of contemplating
their murder. They walk around uneasily, search the horizon ahead, and
cast regretful glances at the one astern, pay repeated visits to the
log and act generally like a set of condemned victims. Your confidence
under this condition begins to wilt again. You take the log index, go
below, and find that your passage is half made. You show this to the
crew, and they appear half satisfied and half doubtful, despite your
assumed air of implicit faith. They seem to know that your face is
acting, and that your stomach is not backing up the play. Just then the
helmsman calls out that a steamship is in sight ahead. The smoke-boat
approaches rapidly, running almost on the back-bearing to the one your
craft is on--S. W. by W., as near as you can make it. As she draws near
you recognize her as a coaster running between the place you are bound
to and the place you have left. Here is positive evidence that you are
on the right track. You strut round the cockpit with the airs of an
admiral, and the timid members of your crew shrink into their lower

But a few hours after passing the steamer, night comes on, and it
begins to blow and get nasty. You call all hands, reef down, and thus
check your speed, so that instead of making six knots you are only
doing four. Then the wind hauls a bit more forward, and you have to
flatten-in your sheets. This increases your leeway, and you decide to
allow another point for it--making your course N. E., 1/2 E. Then you
wonder if that is enough, and again begin to worry. By this time your
crew have accepted their fate, and are in a profound state of despair,
beyond even a murmur of insubordination, doing their work slowly and
sullenly, as though every act was a part of a preparation to commit

Down to the chart you go again; pass over the course, and pricking
off the distance, find that you are by your reckoning still twenty
miles from the landfall you expect to make. The light on it is visible
fifteen miles. Laying out this on the chart, you see that you can
hardly miss hitting that big circle, and are somewhat assured. Now the
wind falls light, and instead of being within the range of visibility
of the light in an hour or so, it is three before the log says you have
run far enough. You carefully search the horizon for it. No light is
visible. A cold sweat begins to break out. You are lost--lost at sea.
You must have allowed too little for leeway and have passed far outside
of the light. What had you better do, keep your course, or haul up?
After thinking it over, and again consulting the chart, you decide to
hold the course for an hour longer. How slowly that hour drags away! At
its expiration the log shows three and one-half miles more. You are now
by your reckoning eleven and one-half miles from the light. Certainly
you must see it. A long search with the glass; no light. You decide to
haul up and try for it to the north'rd and west'rd, but before doing
so have one more look. Hello! there it is, a point on the starboard
bow. That's the light, sure enough. It flashes; you count ten seconds,
fifteen seconds, darkness; again it flashes ten seconds. "Light ho!"
you shout.

Has your log overrun that amount? You decide it has; but a few
minutes later the light is lost again. That settles it--fog or mist
inshore; the log is all right. So you stand boldly on, your whole
mind aglow with the triumph you have just achieved--that of making
a good landfall. The drama of Columbus at San Salvador is replayed,
you taking the part of the great admiral, and your crew that of the
conscience-stricken mutineers. You wonder why they ever doubted your
skill and knowledge, forgetting that you doubted yourself.

The next day your crew strut proudly about the port like a lot of
mariners just returned from circumnavigating the globe. They are proud
of you, proud of their vessel, and very proud of themselves. But what a
change it has worked in you! You are a very different man to-day from
what you were the hour you took your departure to make that passage.
To-day you have confidence in your skill and knowledge, and in yourself
as a user of those powers.

I have written that little sketch to show you that knowing how to
hand, reef and steer is not all that is needed to make a seaman. The
knowledge of the methods of working sails and ship are only a part of
the seaman's craft. His head as well as his hand must be trained. He
must not only know his vessel thoroughly, but he must as thoroughly
know himself.


  _"Is it come?" they said, on the banks of the Nile,
    Who looked for the world's long-promised boat,
  And saw that the lines he had drawn on a tile
    Would make a good cruiser--if it would float,
  Thro' pyramids, temples, and mummies stuffed,
    We vainly search for this ideal plan;
  We fear the Burgess of Pharaoh's bluffed--
    Yet there was hope when that day began._


Men frequently come to me, and ask, "What sort of a boat would you
recommend me to have?" My reply always is, "What for?" In that small
phrase is contained the kernel of selection--what for? Do you want to
cruise, go day-sailing, or race? Do you want it to go alone, or with a
crew? Do you want to sail in rough or smooth water?

A boat that is suitable for cruising is not the thing for racing or
day-sailing; a boat that would fill the bill if used on land-locked
waters would make a poor showing on an open sea or in rough stretches
of tide-swept channel.

Let us first consider the racing craft. Racing, as I have often told
you, is a business, not a pastime. If you want to win, and those who
race usually do, you must subordinate everything to that want. If you
don't, you will never be a successful mug hunter. A racing boat must
be built as lightly as the law allows. This not only means that her
frame and planking must be kept down to eights, but she must be looted
of everything that the rules will permit you to remove. She must have
large, well-made and consequently expensive sails. Her gear must be of
the finest and strongest make, and it must be kept up to the top notch
of perfection by constant supervision and repair.

[Illustration: KNOCKABOUT]

Then you must give up all below comforts and consent to live on bare
necessities. You must forego all other pleasures and concentrate all
your faculties on one thing--your boat. If you are willing to do this,
and have the racing skipper eye and hand, you may pull out all right on

If, instead of racing, you just want a boat to knock round in during
the day, your craft is far more easily chosen and secured. You won't
have to read up several volumes of restrictions and rules, you won't
have to nose through half a dozen classes to find the one in which the
easiest-to-beat crowd harbor, before making up your mind and giving out
your order. You can just suit yourself as to how long, how wide and how
deep your craft is to be.

[Illustration: CAPE CAT]

A boat for day-sailing wants to be of strong and reasonable light
construction. She needs much more cockpit than cabin, and if the
latter is of the summer variety it will be far more comfortable and
convenient. All boats should have some sort of a cuddy or cabin,
especially if they are to be used to take out women and children.

A day-sailing boat, if to be used for taking out shore people, should
be absolutely uncapsizable and, if possible, fitted with tanks of
sufficient power to float the ballast. Her rig should be simple, and
her canvas of moderate expanse. The less gear and gewgaws she has
about her the better, as it means a saving of work at all times, and
especially in getting underway and coming to anchor.

The two best rigs for this class of boat are the cat and knockabout.
Both these rigs are quick and easy to handle, and having no bowsprit,
they can be brought up to a landing anywhere where there is water
enough to float them.

There is no better day-sailing boat in the world than the cat that
is used along our Eastern seaboard to take out fishing and sailing
parties. I don't mean the over-canvased brute that is frequently met--a
vessel that takes all hands to steer, and a double watch to shorten
down, but the properly sparred and balanced boat. I have handled many
of these boats, and under our ordinary summer conditions have found
them to do what was expected of them in a boatly manner. In skillful
hands they are as near being absolutely safe as it is possible for any
water-borne fabric to be. One of their chief advantages is that they
can be got under sail or be relieved of it quicker than any other type.
They have but one sheet and two halliards to look after, and all these
can be tended by one hand without leaving the cockpit.


The knockabout has many of the cat's good qualities, and is in some
respects a better rig, but the jib is apt to be a nuisance at times.
The disadvantage of the knockabout is that, being a narrower model
than the cat, you are cramped for room where it is most needed--aft.
Owing to this latter rig being in fashion, the cat has fallen out of
favor, but there is no better boat for the young sailor to begin his
studies in. An open cat--that is, one half-decked, say of sixteen feet
length--is just the thing for a boy to learn the sailor's trade in.

Now for the cruiser, and its name is legion. But out of the lot there
are more bad than good ones to be picked. A cruiser, in the first
place, is a house--a home for days, and perhaps weeks and months.
Therefore, she must furnish sleeping and eating accommodations. This
means room to stretch and stand, or at least sit upright. A cruiser in
which a man cannot live in comfort is no cruiser.

Then first, in selecting a cruiser, the accommodation must be looked
to; that is why when a man who knows anything starts to buy one he
invariably puts the question, "What is her head room?" The answer
generally tells the whole story. The next important query is, "What is
her draught?" the third, "What is her rig?"

Unless you can sit up and lie down comfortably the boat is no cruiser;
you can at once make up your mind to that. While no man expects to
spend the greater part of his time below, the time he does spend below
is that in which he seeks rest, and must get it; this is impossible in
cramped quarters.

The importance of the draught depends largely upon where you want to
sail and harbor. Your draft should never exceed the low-water depth of
the channel you have to pass through in order to reach your anchorage.
In our northern waters three feet is the minimum draught required; in
southern waters less is almost necessary. In some localities three feet
is the maximum draught. Short draught has the disadvantage of forcing
the bulk of the boat above the water line, and the making of high
houses, in order to get head room. This produces a boat that offers
considerable resistance to the wind, and consequently makes excessive
leeway. They are also unsteady at anchor, and hard on the ground tackle.

Deep draught cuts you out from many harbors and sheltering places, and
in getting from port to port along shore frequently obliges you to take
the longest way round, but it has the advantage of giving a firm hold
on the water and of keeping the weights and windages down low. But, as
in everything, there is a happy medium--a betwixt and between.

It may be stated that for all reasonable purposes on a cruising boat of
40 feet and under to be used on our coast, a draught of five feet is
sufficient. All over that will prove a cause of worry and a hindrance
to pleasant voyaging. With this draught you can pass into nearly all
our bar harbors and navigate with safety among the shoals in our sounds
and channels. I prefer to limit my draught to three feet, but then it
is my peculiar pleasure to sail where other men seldom venture.

[Illustration: CUTTER RIG]

It is difficult to get a weatherly keel boat on four or even five
feet draught. A boat to be good to windward must have a deep plane
of resistance. This makes it almost impossible to dispense with the
centerboard in small boats. But as soon as you admit this contrivance
into your plans you partly spoil your accommodations. Many designers
have tried to get round this by combining the two forms. Putting in a
half board that houses in the keel and does not come above the floor.
Such of these as I have seen have proved to be poor makeshifts, and the
result is the spoiling of what would have been a good keel boat.

While fully aware of its disadvantages, I am a firm believer in the
centerboard for small cruising boats. That it weakens a vessel there
is no doubt, but with the modern method of building the trunk the
injury to the fabric is very slight. The saying that "A centerboard
boat always leaks" is more fact than fiction, but in several modern
yachts that I have cruised in this is not so, the trunk having been
constructed in such a way as to resist the strains which are the cause
of leakage.

Now to return to the subject of accommodations. A cruising boat should
be of such shape as will give the largest interior possible in a given
length. In this the older type of yacht was far superior to the modern.
In the boats of to-day a man pays for a great deal of hull that is of
no use to him, except for looks and speed. The long overhangs provide
plenty of deck room, but they add nothing to the cabin and but little
to the storage space. In an up-to-date boat all that is habitable is
the middle third. In such a craft, 30 feet over all, you can get but
10 feet for cabin. I have seen a 40-foot boat, which was advertised as
a good cruiser, in which there was sleeping room for two. Compare this
with the accommodations furnished by an old-fashioned plumb-ender, or
with a Cape cat. One of these latter of 20 feet has more room than a
modern 30-footer of the up-to-date model.

The extreme overhangs are all right in racing craft, but they are a
detriment and a danger in cruising craft. The same may be said of the
extreme full bow. There never was, and probably never will be, a set of
ends better adapted for all-around work than those carried by the boats
of twenty years ago, as shown in Minerva and yachts of her day. This
is what is known as the half-clipper or schooner bow.

In boats of this type there is sufficient overhang to prevent their
diving and to give them sufficient buoyancy to lift easily over a sea,
at the same time the ends are not long enough to trip the vessel if
running in large water. Again, the entrance and run are sharp enough
to fall without pounding--a disagreeable habit that full modern boats
are possessed of. The most serious objection to the modern boat with
full and long overhangs is that it will not lay-to in heavy water
bow-on. Just as soon as you put it to the wind and check its headway
it will fall off in a trough and work around stern to the sea, a very
dangerous proceeding. It is a splendid runner, and remarkably dry when
so engaged; in fact, it seldom ships solid water when going either on
or off the wind, and is less liable to pooping than the older types,
but when brought to face a sea it pounds and sags and is exceedingly
uncomfortable. To one who has never experienced the sensation it is
impossible to picture the punishment these full-bowed vessels receive
when driven against a head sea. This pounding brings a terrible strain
on the spars and rigging and is very wearying to the crew. I have
known a sea striking under the stern of one of these boats to throw
the crew off their feet, badly injuring one man. The mate of a large
English yacht who had crossed the Bay of Biscay in her on the way to
Gibraltar told me that he had never in all his sea experience had such
a terrible knocking about. Every man on board was a mass of bruises
when the vessel made port, and the copper was torn off her bows back
for eight or ten feet. Yet this boat's bow was nothing like so full as
that of many of our yachts of to-day.


If you go to the other extreme, and cut all end off a boat, giving
her a straight up and down stem, she is a bad runner and very, very
wet. The cutters of this type were most uncomfortable sea boats, being
constantly deluged, but they would eat out to windward in heavy weather
and lie-to a sea like birds. Between these two there is the end which
is the one for the cruiser to use.

The ideal end is one that will lift and lower slowly, allowing the
vessel to fall and rise without jarring or jerking. This sort of end
will, when falling, bring a vessel slowly to when the extreme point
of the fall is reached. With the plumb stem a vessel is apt to go too
far, deluging the decks, and in one with the full long bow, not far
enough, jarring the whole fabric by suddenly checking the motion. It
is of course impossible to have absolutely perfect ends on a vessel,
as concessions have to be made to other purposes, but the ends of the
majority of our modern yachts are decidedly bad for rough-water work.

Another serious defect in many cruising boats is want of freeboard.
There is no excuse for this. A low-sided boat is wet and uncomfortable,
both inside and out. You see many boats of this description with scant
freeboard and excessively high houses. The only object to be gained
by keeping the freeboard down is to reduce the windage and weight,
important items in racing craft, but of little matter in a cruiser.
Farther on, in speaking of handling in rough water, I shall explain the
advantages of freeboard.


  "_Alone, alone, all, all alone,
  Alone on a wide, wide sea!_"



This is a subject upon which volumes of rot have been written by men
who ought to have known better. We can forgive a man of no experience
for writing absurdly upon a subject, but when those who have had
experience in handling craft alone come out in print in advocacy of an
utterly unsuitable type of vessel it is about time for somebody to call
them down. It is the books of such men that have made common the idea
that the single-hander's vessel must be a sort of enlarged toy boat; in
consequence, whenever a single-hander is pictured, it is of that type.

The principal cause of this error is that the men who have taken charge
of the task of disseminating information regarding the single-hander
are of a class that, as a class, look upon small things as making big
things and not as big things being made of small things. Consequently
they give more importance to any part than they do to the whole. Then
they are the servants of an idea; this once firmly fixed they distort
all out-doors to fit it. All evidence to confirm is at once admitted,
while just as quickly the door is shut in the face of whatever does not
go to prove their first and final conception to be correct.

[Illustration: SINGLE-HANDER]

Almost every man I know of who has contributed to the literature of the
single-hander has first sat by the fireside and designed a craft and
then built and sailed it to prove that it is the only perfect thing.

Go over a fleet of this kind; what are they? Either big toy boats or
small copies of large vessels. While they may perfectly fit the theory
and be theoretically perfect, they are practically of no use, or else
inferior in many ways to a boat of the same dimensions designed by
experience. The earliest types of these boats were closely moulded
upon the lines of fishing craft, being models built to withstand the
rough usage of that trade, and suited to oar and sail alike. That a
craft like this matured in a rough locality is the best for its purpose
is frequently true, but that it is best for another purpose is as
frequently false.

This is an error common to many who have advocated some local type
of boat for universal use. Having employed it successfully in certain
waters, they imperatively assert that it will suit all waters, and
having found it to answer one purpose, they are equally certain
that it will answer all. It is the old story of the blind men and
the elephant--that of forming a compound conclusion from a single

If a man cruise, and cruise without assistance, the first important
thing is that his craft be one that he can handle without excessive
muscular strain. Therefore she must not be heavy for her size, and her
gear must be of such weight as will readily permit of his working it.
The gear must be simple and of strength; the rig one that needs the
least attention. This is exactly what the typical single-hander is not.

The typical single-hander is a coarse-lined, heavily built craft, with
complicated gear and divided canvas. She is generally very full-bodied
and badly overloaded with ballast. Her initial stability is great, and
her helm action slow. This is the type of craft advocated by nearly all
who have written on this subject. One of the prime virtues of this type
in the eyes of single-hander writers, is, that such craft are good sea
boats. A few years ago boats of this description were more common than
they are to-day, but many are still afloat. The favorite rig is that of
cutter or yawl.

These boats are safe--that is, they seldom capsize--and are good sea
boats, if simple ability to float in rough water constitutes a good
sea; but they are slow, awkward to handle, and utterly unable to make
way in rough water and heavy winds.

Off the wind in all weather they move slowly and steer badly and in
light breezes are logs. One of these boats that I handled would yaw
four points either way when running off in a following sea, and when
close-hauled in a blow would lie down and sag off bodily to leeward. It
was utterly impossible to get her to windward except under conditions
of a smooth sea and steady breeze, weather in which any vessel will do
her best.

I remember once seeing a small cutter-rigged, single-hander trying for
several hours to beat round Matinicock Point against a head sea and
wind. This vessel, which was built after the plans of a celebrated
single-hander's boat, was a failure on every point of sailing. Another
time we passed a small cutter off Saybrook; she was jumping up and down
and chopping waves at a great rate. Our consort, who had passed the
same point two hours before, reported speaking the yacht in almost the
same position, and no doubt she would be there yet if the wind and tide
had not shifted and lifted her in.

The essential element of safety in all vessels is the power to move
forward under all conditions of weather. This is especially so of a
sailing craft. There must also be a perfect and rapid obedience to the
helm. A slow-moving or sluggish craft is a dangerous one. The smaller
the vessel the more true this is.

The other element of safety is the mobility of the rig. The ability
to make, reduce and shift sail rapidly is essential to safety. This
is only possible when the sails and spars are proportioned to the
strength of those manipulating them, and the gear of the simplest and
most direct description. The over subdividing of canvas is bound to
complicate the gear; the keeping of the canvas in large sails to make
the spars heavy and unwieldy.

The most perfect type of boat and rig for one man to handle is the
cat--in theory; but in practice it fails in many ways. If the weather
was a constant it would be the ideal rig. But winds are changeable
things in all localities. So long as a cat can carry her whole
sail comfortably she is the safest and most easily handled rig in
existence; but once reef her and she forfeits much of her ability. Then
again, in strong winds, she is a bad runner, and her sail being large
and well outboard she is difficult to reef. For windward work under
favorable conditions the cat is unrivaled, and as a one-man boat she is
for some purposes without a peer. But I do not recommend the rig for
single-handed cruising.

Let us next consider the sloop. This is, except for very small craft,
an inferior rig for the purpose to the cat, it having all the latter's
faults without any other advantages to compensate. In single-handers
under 20 feet top measure the sloop rig will work very decently. But
it is decidedly inferior to the knockabout, for the reason that in
order to expand its canvas both the boom and bowsprit must be carried
outboard. This latter rig, if kept down to reasonable proportions, is
better than either cat, sloop or cutter for single-handers under 30
feet top measure. But all these three rigs have the one objectionable
feature, that in order to reef the boat must either leave her course
or be hove-to while the operation is performed, a serious disadvantage
under rough conditions.

In a full-manned vessel, reefing, when the proper method is employed,
is a simple affair, but reefing by one hand is always a long and
troublesome job. If the vessel cannot be kept on her course and is
brought to the wind the work is made much more difficult owing to
the rolling and pitching. Not only is this the case, but it is very
often dangerous to venture on a bowsprit at such a time or to hang out
over the stern in order to secure the cringle-lashing. Any one who
has reefed a jib when the boat is head to the wind and pitching into
a steep sea will not deny this. Last summer in reefing down, owing
to the weight of the wind, I was obliged to take the sail completely
off my boat, as it was impossible to knot the points with the canvas
straining; losing her way, she fell off into the trough of the sea,
which was running very large, and rolled so heavily that she threw all
hands off their feet. We could do nothing but hold on until at last we
were obliged to run her off under the peak and reef her running. This
manoeuvre cost us a good two miles of hard-won weather gauge.

The three best rigs for single-man handling are the ketch, yawl or
sharpie, or double cat, as it is sometimes called. The advantages of
the yawl and ketch rig I have explained in another chapter. The double
cat is also fairly good, but its chief objection is that the stepping
of the foremast in the eyes of the boat makes it close work forward and
the lack of a bowsprit increases the work of handling the anchor.

As to the size of a single-hander. I have handled boats of 35 feet, top
measure alone, but it was labor; the ground tackle for such a craft
being a big lift for one man. The only advantage of a long boat is the
increased speed and accommodation, but the latter is generally not

I would recommend for this purpose a boat of not over 30 feet--25 is
better--and of either yawl or ketch rig. A moderate sail plan, light
spars and strong rigging, the iron work especially being extra heavy.
The hull, while strongly built, should be clean-lined, and, above all,
stiff and weatherly. The last is the prime necessity. She must be
capable of going to windward under any set of sail. At least half her
ballast should be inside, firmly secured. She should steer with a wheel.

We can summon all this up in one sentence, that will concisely describe
the ideal single-hander: A fast hull and a small rig.



"_The sea and the wind are not our enemies. They seldom destroy our
vessels without our connivance. It is our own folly, neglect or
carelessness, that opens the way for the attack._"


The first and absolute necessity of a seagoing boat is freeboard; the
second is a complete deck and water-tight openings. Given these two
things and you have an almost safe craft. There is no question of
capsizing a well-designed yacht of to-day by power of the wind. Our
outside ballasted boats cannot be kept wrong side up, so long as the
water is kept out of them. They may be hove down on their sides and
fill and sink, but they cannot be turned completely over so long as
they retain their buoyancy. I have been in one of them, a boat carrying
only about half the usual weight of lead for a vessel of her size,
that was laid on her side in a squall with both mainsail and jib in
the water; she remained in this position for nearly two minutes, and
then righted when the force of the squall was spent. Her lead kept her
from turning right over, and her large freeboard kept her from edging
down. She simply made a bottom of her side and floated on it. That is
one advantage of freeboard. Had she been a narrow-sided boat she would
have been forced between the pressure of lead and wind deeper into
the water, but as it was her displacement, owing to the bearing up of
the sail and mast, was probably less when in that position than when
standing upright.

Again, freeboard increases the range of heel. This is of enormous
advantage when sailing in a sea way with a strong breeze. The tripping
power of the wave is exhausted before the rail is brought down, and
the boat not receiving a load of water on her lee deck rights so much
quicker. A low-sided boat when canted by a beam sea edges her rail
under and shovels the water up on her deck as she recovers. For this
reason seagoing craft should have their upper freeboard slightly
tumbled home. Bulwarks and high rails are bad things, and combings
should be kept well inboard, while raised cabin houses if fitted should
not be carried too close to the waterways. Rails and bulwarks as far
aft as the rigging can be raised to an advantage, as they prevent the
water from coming in and not passing out. Water in breaking on board
will always follow along anything like the side of a house, and when
reaching a break spread in. This is how cockpits are so easily filled.
The height is suddenly cut down from house to combing, and the sea
having become crowded up to the height of the house in its passage aft,
when it comes to the low place rushes into the cockpit. If the combing
is carried up to the height of the house the water will pass along and
go out over the stern.

Ballasted boats should never go into rough water unless they have
water-tight cockpits and water-tight companions and openings. But
a water-tight cockpit, unless it is well-scuppered and really
self-bailing, is of little use. In eight out of ten small yachts the
cockpits are not, although they pretend to be, self-bailing. They will
bail perfectly when at anchor. In order to bail quickly the floor must
be at least ten inches above the load water line. Here again freeboard
comes in. Again, the placing of the scuppers in the forward end of the
cockpit and their outboard openings under the bilge is decidedly wrong.
In the first place it keeps the water at all times in the forward end
of the standing room against the cabin, just where you move about; in
the second every drop that goes out through the lee pipe has to force
its way against a pressure. This pressure is also constantly driving
the water up and into the boat. The place for the scuppers is aft with
the openings under the stern. Here there is constant suction so long as
the boat is moving ahead, no matter to which side or how far she heels.
Again, if the floor is sloped aft, whatever water is on the standing
room will run aft and be out of the way, a measure of comfort that
those who sail in rough water can appreciate. It is not generally known
but a boat going at speed of four knots and over will, if equipped with
proper scuppers, siphon, i. e., suck the water out.

[Illustration: A SEAGOING BOAT]

Another bad practice of builders is to put stationary seats around
a cockpit with lockers beneath them. This never should be done. You
cannot keep them tight, the wood being constantly subject to water and
sun. Never put lockers of any kind in a boat with outboard openings.
Another bad practice is that of putting in low companion thresholds.
The threshold of the companion should be as high or higher than
the side of the boat, and should on no account, no matter how high
the cockpit floor is, be on a level with it. The usual manner of
constructing companion doors is also open to objection. The new method
in which the door slides down into a recess through a rubber-packed
joint is far better than the old way of closing. Such a door can be
made absolutely water-tight, and can be opened without being opened.
This enables you to see into the cabin or out of it without running
the slide back or risking getting a wash below by opening the doors.
These may seem trivial details, but it is the neglect of such to whose
account the loss of the majority of seagoing vessels must be placed.
Poor hatches and low, badly protected engine room skylights are
responsible for nearly all the steamships that go to sea, and are never
heard of again. Keep the water out and you can live out anything in the
way of sea or wind. Let it get in and everything that before made your
craft seaworthy will be an aid to your ending. Your ballast will be a
weight to sink you, and the empty space that gave you buoyancy so much
room to quickly fill with water.

After this, look to your pump. Where is it? In most yachts directly
amidships, drawing out of a well over the lowest part of the keel.
Where should it be? In the place where it can be used when most
wanted--the bilge. You must have a means of drawing from the center,
so you can pump out when at anchor or sailing upright. But all pumps
should have a bilge intake. It would be a very simple matter to make
such a connection with a cock to cut off the other intakes. How often,
when he least wants to, has a man to let his boat up, so as to get the
water amidships for the purpose of pumping it out. If he could pump
from the bilges this coming up would be unnecessary. To kill a boat's
way in a heavy beam or head sea, so as to get her on her keel, is a
dangerous artifice; but it must be done with the pump amidships, if you
want to get the water out, and keep a dry cabin. Every seagoing small
yacht should have at least two fixed pumps, and a movable one. The
fixed pumps should be constantly looked to, and the limbers kept clean.
Never stow inside weight alongside of or over the intake, and never
allow rubbish to be swept into the spaces between the floors. With a
good pump a man can keep down all the water that will work into a tight
boat through her bottom, topsides and deck.

All seagoing yachts should have the rudder post boxed up and carried
well above the water line. The neglect of this is the cause of much
leakage. She should also have in her rudder blade a boring or rod in
which to make fast emergency lines or chains. In craft that have their
rudders well under them a rod must be used, but in shallow boats with
broad blades a hole bored through the outer edge will do. These lines
are extremely useful when anchored in a sea way; by hauling them taut
over either quarter you can relieve the strain on the head of the post
and gear attached to it. In case of a breakdown of the quadrant, wheel
or post head, you can at once take control of the rudder and keep the
boat under command.

No boat should go into rough water for a long run unless she have
ringbolts aft for the purpose of passing boom lashings, and also a
fixed boom crotch, or at least one that can be made immovable. There is
no other way of keeping a boom steady when the sail is lowered down.
You cannot by any possible means do so with lashings, unless you can
horn it in a crotch. A loose boom is a constant menace. Provision also
should be made for the trysail sheets, and for body lashings for the
crew, and lashings for the boat, even if you have davits. The principal
weak spot in the rigging of a boat that is to be driven in heavy water
is the bobstay. That piece of rigging is often carried away in a sea
than any other, and usually it is the bolt that goes. Look to it, and
look to it well; for if it parts, most likely you will lose your mast.
The only safeguard lies in rigging a preventer stay that will set up
with a tackle, the fall leading inboard. The stay should be of wire
rope properly and strongly secured to the stem. Use either a gun tackle
or luff tackle--the latter is preferable--and be sure to give it plenty
of drift. When in use, set it up just scant of the strain, so that if
the bobstay parts it will catch the strain before the spar gets a good
spring. In boats that have a forestay set up to the stem head there is
less likelihood of this accident happening; but it is always best to
have a preventer fitted. Make the fall fast around the bitts or mast
where you can readily get at it, and hold a turn to set it up. Seagoing
boats should have two shrouds on a side and set up with lanyards in
preference to rigging screws. If you fit the latter, have them about
twice the size of those ordinarily put on by riggers. She should also
have a heavy set of masthead runners and duplicate eyes to set them up
to, one pair being placed well aft. Our modern full-bowed boats are
very hard on their rigging and spars when in a sea way, and need to be
heavily ironed.

Outside of her ordinary sails a seagoing yacht needs a trysail, a
small square sail, and a small jib or staysail, all made of heavy
canvas. Particular attention should be paid to the roping and clews
of these sails. It is of no use using heavy canvas if the clew irons
are frail and the rope light. A gaff-headed trysail is better than a
jib-headed, but it is more bother to set. Care should be taken to see
that the cleat or ringbolt for the trysail sheet is in such a position
as will allow the sail to be properly sheeted, for a trysail when used
for riding must set flat, or else it will bang itself to pieces.

In seagoing craft looks don't count, and therefore be not afraid to
make all your rigging heavy and strong, and wherever possible have a
fitting or tackle that can be instantly made to take the place of one
that carries away. Always when in rough water or in heavy weather keep
a vang or down-haul on the peak of the gaff. It is sometimes the only
thing that will bring the sail down, and it gives you command of the
spar, especially when the yacht is rolling heavily. The chafing of gear
when in a sea way is constant and ruinous. To prevent it a close watch
must be kept on all ropes where they pass through blocks or lie against
spars or other ropes. If your halliards and sheet remain long in one
place they must be canvased or armored with some sort of chafing stuff.

One more important thing. Whenever you get far from land, lash the oars
and rudder in the dingey. Then put in a good long coil of light line,
a bucket, a jug or breaker of water, and enough food to last for a day
or two. Lash these in so they cannot get out. Many a life has been lost
and many a man has suffered horribly because these simple precautions
have been neglected. Something suddenly happens to the yacht; it is a
case of boat at once. The crew throw the boat over and jump in. Too
late they find that the oars are gone or that there is no water or
food. The bucket and rope are for use as a sea anchor.



"_The present tendency of canvasing is to increase the number of sails
on cruising yachts, and to decrease on racing craft. Experience teaches
that in both cases we are doing the right thing. Ultimate speed is
found in single sails; ease of handling, safety and mobility in divided


In discussing rigs suitable for cruising we may at once dismiss from
consideration several that are in common use, but which are not adapted
for service in our waters, or are distinctly inferior by reason of
being difficult to handle with small and unskillful crews. We will,
also, dismiss the true cutter rig from our considerations, as it has
almost passed out of use, its place being taken by the modern type of
single-sticker, which is part cutter and part sloop. This combination
rig is not in its full sparring suitable for boats under forty feet,
but when stripped of the topmast it is in some ways an excellent type.

We can also drop the cat, and what is called the cat-yawl, from our
list. The four rigs to which I shall call your attention are the
pole-mast sloop, yawl, ketch and schooner.

The pole-mast sloop, of which the knockabout is the commoner specimen,
is an excellent rig for use on a cruiser. The difference between
the sloop proper and the knockabout is in the method of spreading
the canvas; in the sloop the canvas is spread fore-and-aft, a large
percentage being forward of the mast; in the knockabout the much
greater part of the spread is in the mainsail, and the hoist is higher.
The tall, narrow-peaked mainsail of the latter is its characteristic
feature. The jib is small and tacked down to the stem head.

The disadvantage of this rig is that sufficient canvas to drive
a heavy, full-bodied boat cannot be spread; consequently, a true
knockabout is a comparatively roomless craft.

The false knockabout, a bastard craft that is becoming very common, is
one in which the sail area is increased by extending the headsail on a
bowsprit, and running the boom outboard.

The pole-mast sloop has many warm advocates, and is without question
a far better rig than the old sloop, hampered with topmast and lofty
gear, but it shares with all single-masted vessels the faults that are
common to the type. The most serious of these is, that you cannot
shorten sail except by reefing. This can be done with the yawl, ketch
and schooner rigs.

I have heard many men, and men of experience, decry the yawl rig,
giving as their opinion that it is inferior in every way to the
short-rigged sloop. But I have generally found that these men have
formed their judgment from the actions of one boat, and that failing to
confirm preconceived opinions they have condemned the type, root, bole
and branch.

In an article upon the yawl rig, written some time back, I explained
one of the reasons why this rig came into favor, and why it has lost
favor with many who at first highly valued it. I cannot do better than
reprint these remarks:

It has been said that the worst enemy a man can have is his best
friend. Howsoever this may be in the world of men, it is most certainly
so in the world of things, and nowhere has unmeasured eulogy of the
best friend wrought greater havoc than in the case of the yawl rig.
Unfortunately for the yawl rig, it has been repeatedly chosen to drive
the craft of the writing lonesome sailor, and consequently it has
figured to a marked degree in yachting literature, and as these writers
have lavished upon it page upon page of unqualified praise, the
effect has been to lift the rig into a singular and prominent position,
and to surround it with a glamour not the less charming because a
sparkle of truth concentrates and enhances its delusive glitter.

[Illustration: YAWL RIGS]

There is no question but what narratives like those penned by the
famous single-hand sailor McMillan were the cause of the yawl's sudden
elevation to favor in American waters, and there is no question but
what some books are responsible for much of the fabulous that envelopes
the rig. There are few of us who would be ready to swallow all that a
lover might say in praise of his mistress, and yet a man is just as
likely to magnify the points and virtues of his vessel as he is those
of his Dulcinea; therefore we cannot be too careful in accepting the
evidence of the infatuated yachtsman or in adopting his finding as
infallible precedents. For, often carried away by the good behavior
of his craft, he jumps at a conclusion, attributing to one quantity
that which should be adjudged to the fabric as a whole. This is often
the case; and again, too frequently is the rig of the vessel blamed
for results which are the sum of defects altogether foreign to a
peculiar sparring and canvasing.

[Illustration: YAWL RIGS]

The unqualified praise which has been lavished on the yawl rig has,
as is usual, awakened a no less unqualified storm of dispraise. While
the yawlman has, with that noble effrontery which distinguishes the
true crank, claimed for his favorite rig everything in sight, the
recalcitrant unbeliever has as broadly denied it, even those common
virtues which one supposed to be possessed by even the meanest and most
primitive craft.

I have no hesitancy in saying that so far as the driving value of the
mizzen is concerned it is an unimportant quantity. This is especially
so when on the wind. On most of the yawls I have handled there has
been good cause for this. In the first place, the boomkins were too
short, and the other spars too light. You cannot expect a sail to sit
properly and hold its draught on buckling spars. The lead of the sheet
is such that the boom cannot be kept rigid, and just as soon as it
blows its end turns up like a pugdog's tail, throwing the canvas all
out of shape. Then the back-wind from the mainsail makes it impossible
to keep the mizzen full unless it is sheeted very flat. On yawls with
gaff-headed mizzens the mast is frequently too short; consequently
the head of the sail cannot be kept in place. With jib-headed mizzens
the same spar is too light; in consequence when the sheet is brought
down hard the mast buckles aft, throwing the head of the sail into a
bag. How frequently you see a yawl on the wind with her mizzen all
a-shiver. If you make the boomkin longer, the boom stouter, and give
the mast a good head, you will get a better sitting and more efficient

[Illustration: YAWL RIGS]

Now let us, in order to test the qualities of short-rigged sloop and
yawl, place them in such situations as they are liable to get into
when cruising. First they are caught in a heavy, sudden blow with a
lee shore close aboard. It is necessary to shorten sail at once. The
yawl simply lowers her mainsail and, holding way under mizzen and jib,
forereaches along, while the crew, having secured the boom, proceed to
tie in the reefs. The sloop is in such a situation that she cannot run
off; she must either anchor, lower everything and drift, or else jolly
along with head sheets flowed and the peak of the mainsail up. Having a
part of the mainsail drawing increases the difficulty of reefing, and
if there is any sea the lowering of the sail will cause her to roll,
making it bad work securing the clew. The yawl's clew is inboard,
where it can be readily handled, and owing to her jib and mizzen sheets
being aft she is comparatively steady.

[Illustration: SHARPIE]

[Illustration: KNOCKABOUT]

[Illustration: SHARPIE]

[Illustration: RACEABOUT]

Again, we will suppose that both these boats have come to anchor,
sails stowed and awnings up. It comes on to blow, and it is necessary
to shift berth to a more secure anchorage. The yawl hoists her jib
and mizzen--a very easy matter--and beats up to a better anchorage.
The sloop has to take in her awning, clear decks and perhaps reef the
mainsail before hoisting it to follow. How many times has the cruising
man remained in an uncomfortable berth because of the labor of making
sail on his sloop after all has been snugged down?

Now let us suppose these two boats are running off large, with a steep
sea and heavy wind. The yawl takes in her mizzen and lets her boom
broad off, its short length preventing the danger of tripping. The
sloop has no mizzen to take in, but it has a long boom which must be
watched carefully or else topped-up. And with a strong beam wind the
yawl with jib and mizzen stowed will ratch along under reefed mainsail;
very few sloops will do that.

One time when coming down along shore with a yawl we had an unsteady
northwest wind, blowing a good whole-sail breeze, with now and again
tremendous heavy puffs, acting as wind off land frequently does. We
made company with a sloop of about our own size, but a much faster
boat. In the puffs it was necessary for both of us to let up, but the
rest of the time we could carry our canvas without worrying. I put
two hands on the main sheet with orders to spill the sail when a puff
struck, and, keeping on my course, shivered her through. The sloop man
first tried luffing out, but, losing distance by this, he resorted to
starting sheet and bearing off; consequently he was all over the shop.
Once or twice he had to drop his peak in order to keep control. Neither
of us wanted to get offshore, as we had to haul up at the next point,
so were hugging the beach rather close. At last he gave in, anchored
and started to reef. We followed suit, but kept on our course under
jib and mizzen, getting a two-mile lead and first home. He came aboard
that evening and asked me what kind of yawl his sloop would make. As
he flicked the oakum out of us the next day in a beat to windward I am
afraid he didn't stay converted, but relapsed into the sloop heresy.

[Illustration: CLIPPER DORY]

[Illustration: CAT SLOOP]

[Illustration: FISHING DORY]

[Illustration: CAT]

The ketch rig, which is very like the yawl, has all the latter's
virtues and defects and a few of its own. The difference between the
ketch and the yawl is this: in the yawl the mizzen-mast is stepped
abaft the rudder post, and in the ketch forward of it. In the ketch
this brings the mast just where it is most in the way, right at the
forward end of the cockpit, generally obliging the putting of the
companion on one side, or else taking the hatch well forward to the
middle of the cabin. The ketch mainsail is narrow-footed, and longer
on the hoist than that of the yawl. It is a very light and easy rig
to handle, and for large boats is better than the yawl; and for small
ones it is better than the schooner. In this country it is mostly used
on shallow, flat-bottomed hulls, such as are employed in navigating
Southern waters. In the British Isles it is a favorite rig for
coasters, and I have heard it highly commended by coastwise skippers.
Most of the sloops formerly used in that trade have been in late years
converted into ketches. The most marked advantage it has over the yawl
is that, if the largest sail be taken in, there is left in the head
sails and mizzen a good spread of canvas; whereas, if the mainsail be
taken off a yawl she is under too short sail to do satisfactory work.
The advantage the ketch has over the schooner is in getting rid of the
long main boom.

Like the catboat, if the weather were a constant quantity, the schooner
would be a rig without peer. In smooth water and when she can carry her
sail, especially to windward, there is no rig to equal the schooner.
She has the speed and weatherliness of the sloop, with lighter and
easier sails to handle. She can be shortened down without reefing, and
can spread plenty of light canvas in soft winds. Her defect is the
defect of all fore-and-afters, although in her case it is aggravated by
having the mainmast stepped further aft--she is a bad runner in heavy

I have made a passage of twelve days in a schooner, during which time
we never had the stops off the mainsail; during part of the time having
no after-sail, and the rest of the time a trysail set. To have set the
mainsail and squared off the boom would surely have brought about a

[Illustration: JIB AND MAINSAIL]

[Illustration: SLOOP RIG]

Let me here repeat some former remarks on the subject: It is often
a matter of wonder to landsmen why sailors continue to use square
sails, when to all intents the fore-and-aft canvas is so much easier
to handle. So it is in smooth water and under average conditions; so
long as one of our typical fore-and-aft schooners can carry all sail
and make progress in a windward direction there is no abler vessel
afloat. But when obliged to shorten down or make a run for it, they
are the worst craft in the world. So long as you can keep sail on them
they will do all that a ship can be asked to do, but once they are
stripped in a gale, good-bye to safety. Take a good look at an ordinary
two-masted coaster, and you will comprehend at once why this is. These
vessels have enormously long lower masts, and the spread of the rigging
is in consequence small; their booms are long and heavy, and all the
weight above deck is centered in a line over the keel. The pressure
of canvas, except when the sails are winged, is all on one side,
and is exerted so as to bring a twisting strain upon the supporting
spars. There is not, as in the square-rigger, a balancing of weights
and strains. The freer these vessels are sailing the more pronounced
is this strain. The only relief the spar can find is to impart this
strain to the hull, which in consequence forces the bow in the opposite
direction and brings a pressure upon the helm. To prevent this action a
reducing of the after canvas is necessary.

[Illustration: POLE MAST SLOOP]

[Illustration: CUTTER RIG]

[Illustration: KETCH]

[Illustration: SMALL SCHOONER]

A close study of the fore-and-aft rigs used along our coast will show
what devices have been resorted to in order to remedy this defect. In
the first place, there was the subdividing of the mainsail--making a
three-master; then a gradual reduction of the spanker, until on many of
our three-masted schooners it is to-day the smallest of the three lower
sails. At the same time the lower masts have been shortened and the
hoists of the topsails increased. On the great lakes the fresh-water
man has reduced his spanker to almost the proportions of a ketch's
mizzen, the necessity of more constant jibing having forced him to this
change. But alter as you please, the fore-and-after is still a bad
runner when winds blow strong and seas run high.

Our modern racing schooners are a particularly bad type. They are
really large sloops with a fake foresail, this latter bit of canvas
being more ornamental than useful. A good specimen of the rig proper
are some of our large cruising schooners, with wide-footed foresails
and short main booms. The pilot-boat and fisherman rigs are also
excellent types.

[Illustration: KETCH]

[Illustration: FULL SCHOONER RIG]

In a proper schooner the foresail should be in such a position as to
allow the vessel to be handled under it alone, as it is the last sail
to take off in heavy weather. It should be broad-footed in order to
trim properly; you cannot trim a narrow-footed foresail so as to draw
when going to windward unless it has a lug; this lug is a nuisance, as
it obliges the tending of the sheet when tacking. The main boom should
not go over the taffrail beyond easy reach. A forty-foot pole-mast
schooner makes a very handy boat for two men to work. Her heaviest sail
is lighter than the heaviest sail of a yawl or ketch of the same size.
This is something you must always take into consideration when choosing
a rig for cruising. The average yachtsman is a man who does not do
manual labor for a living, and is consequently soft-muscled. Handling
sails, unless you are constantly at it, is hard labor, and if a boat is
short-handed is sometimes a heavy tax on the strength of the crew. Any
one who has hoisted a heavy mainsail by himself will understand this.
Many a time after making sail or reefing when alone I have lain down
completely exhausted.

A man who intends to employ a crew can afford to ignore this question,
as he can suit his crew to his boat; but when you depend upon amateurs
for help you cannot do so. One day you may have a double watch, and
the next day nobody. So it is best to select a rig of such weight
as you can handle yourself if necessary. This makes you to a certain
extent independent of your friends.


  "_When blows the breeze we spread our sail
    And save the gasoline,
  But when the gentle zephyrs fail
    We start the old machine;
  And with a clank of shaft and crank
    Go rattling into port--
  And this is what, to be quite frank,
    Some folks consider sport._"


One day, while standing talking to a builder, we were joined by the
owner of a naphtha launch who was desirous of having his vessel rigged
as a yawl, and had come to get the builder's opinion as to what the
change would accomplish and cost. In response to an inquiry as to
what speed he might expect to get out of the craft under canvas, the
builder answered, "four miles." "Then," replied the owner in jubilant
tones, "she will go eleven miles, as I get seven out of her now without
any sail." He was greatly surprised, and rather suspicious of our
knowledge, when we informed him that if sail increased the speed of his
craft over her maximum to the extent of half-a-mile an hour, he might
consider himself fortunate. Now, this man is by no means a lone bird
in his belief; he shares the misconception with many launch-owners and
others. Like some of our popular authors who write sea stories that are
not sea stories, the average man firmly believes that steamships can
and do sail, and it will take many years of pounding to get this idea
out of the public's head. There are afloat steam vessels that can and
do sail, but they are sailing vessels equipped with engines. In former
times almost all ocean-going steam craft could work to leeward under
canvas, but they, unlike the vessel of to-day, were heavily rigged,
most of them carrying full sets of yards forward, and spreading many
thousand feet of cloth. The steam vessel of this age, when put to using
sail, simply drifts. Except as a check to rolling, the sails carried by
steam vessels are of little use.

Now, to the question of what use is sail as an auxiliary power. In
vessels of a speed exceeding ten knots, it is of little or no use,
except when due to the form of the hull, or for other reasons the slip
of the screw is excessive. As, for instance, in a vessel towing others,
such as sea-going tugs, where the actual speed is one-half of the screw
speed, sail is an aid. Again, in a vessel of bad form, when, frequently
owing to the weight on the engine it is unable to run at its highest
working speed, sail is an aid, as it lifts some of the weight off the
engine, and allows an increase of revolutions without an increase of
fuel expenditure. For this purpose, fore-and-aft canvas is of doubtful
utility, the square sail being far better. But in high-powered,
fine-lined vessels auxiliary sail is of no use whatever. The little
that might be gained by employing it under the most favorable
circumstances is offset by the retarding effect of the windage under
unfavorable circumstances.

A vessel whose screw speed is eight knots and whose actual speed is six
knots has a slip of twenty-five per cent. Supposing that her sail power
is sufficient to drive her five knots or three knots in excess of the
slip. Now, if her speed be increased to eleven knots by using canvas,
it must not only take up the slip, but induce an acceleration of the
engine, so as to give an additional screw speed of three knots--an
increase of 37-1/2 per cent. over the working speed of the engine. This
is practically impossible. No engine is built to run at a speed of
37-1/2 per cent. over its working speed, yet unless the screw travels
as fast as the hull, it is useless. It is exactly the same thing as
when trying to row a boat running under sail; unless you move the oars
faster through the water than the boat is moving you do not assist in
the propulsion. Reasoning from this, we may lay it down as an axiom,
that: When a vessel's maximum speed under power exceeds her maximum
speed under canvas, the use of sail in conjunction with power will not
increase the speed beyond the percentage of slip.

When mechanical propulsion is the auxiliary power, we have a different
problem. Take a vessel capable of being driven by sail at a speed of
eight knots, and by her engines alone at four knots. Now, if she be
sailing at a speed of eight knots, and we start her engine to make
the number of revolutions necessary to induce a speed of four knots,
the screw, not traveling as fast as the hull, will be dragged to
the amount of the difference between its speed and the speed of the
boat--four knots. In that the screw shall have a propulsive force it
must be driven at a speed to exceed eight knots, an increase of over
100 per cent. Reasoning from this, we may lay it down as an axiom,
that: A vessel whose maximum speed under sail exceeds her maximum speed
under power will not increase her speed by employing sail and screw

While auxiliary sail is of little or no value, auxiliary mechanical
propulsion is. But its chief value lies in it as a substitute, and
not as an auxiliary. The wind--the fuel of the sail--is not only a
variable quantity, but frequently an absent one. A small vessel, such
as are the majority of our cruising yachts, seldom exceeds a speed of
eight knots, and as a general average taken through a summer's cruising
do not log more than four, much of this low average is due to the hours
spent in calms and light airs; and if we add the time lost in waiting
for a breeze, the average will fall still lower. A yacht in sailing
100 miles in the usual summer weather takes, we will say, twenty-five
hours. Sixty miles of this is made in a fair breeze in ten hours, then
six hours in which she makes ten miles, leaving nine hours in which to
make the other thirty.

    60 miles 10 hours.          6 miles an hour.
    10  "     6  "              1-2/3 "   "
    30  "     9  "              3-1/3 "   "
    Average for 100 miles,      4     "   "

Let us suppose that a similar craft is fitted with a motor to drive
her at a speed of five miles an hour. She voyages 100 miles, the first
sixty in ten hours. During the doldrums she uses her power for six
hours, and makes thirty miles, and in sixteen hours has covered ninety
miles against the sail yacht's seventy. Having made the distance at an
average speed of 5-5/8 miles, she is within sight of her port when the
other is thirty miles off.

Last summer I ran thirty-eight miles in fourteen hours in a small
sloop. Thirty-two miles of this distance was made in eight hours, the
remaining six miles taking six hours to cover, and if you analyze a
set of cruising runs you will see that mine was an exceptionally good
performance. I usually, in cruising, figure on making an average of
three miles, thirty miles being a fair day's work and forty a good
one, while a fifty-mile run is possible only once or twice during the
season. This is in a boat whose maximum speed is seven knots.

I have not the slightest doubt but what a man with a yacht fitted with
a motor capable of driving her at a speed of five miles, and using the
engine only as a substitute for sail when the wind is dead or fickle,
could cruise twice as far and see twice as much as one who depended
solely upon canvas. This is a deal to promise, but no doubt those who
have had a long experience in cruising in our Eastern waters will
underwrite the opinion.

But while auxiliary power has its advantages, it also has its
disadvantages. It increases the expense; it takes up room in the boat;
it is noisy, and, to a certain extent, disagreeable, due mostly to the
use of a fuel which is not equal, odoriferously speaking, to genuine
wood violets. But its chief drawback is that its use tends to make
cruising less toilsome and hazardous. Like all modern

    "Inventions that save our seamen's lives,
    And murder the breed of sailor men,"

its effect is to discount skill and pluck, to take away from voyaging
that uncertainty which is the chief charm of the cruiser's existence.
The fact that you leave port with a certainty of getting to your
destination on time, barring accidents, makes somewhat monotonous an
event that otherwise containing a large element of chance induces a
corresponding degree of excitement. There is probably no pastime so
tiresome to an active man as steam yachting, especially if it be in
familiar waters. A steam yacht is a lazy man's palace and an active
man's prison. Except when there is a race or a difficult bit of
navigation, I would as soon run a trolley car as a power boat. But,
then, happily for the world, we are not all taken off the same molds.
Many men yacht for pleasure, and find such pleasure in idleness. I
don't. I find my pleasure in physical exertion, and in opposing what
skill and knowledge I may possess to the task of getting the better of
the elements. But as age and rheumatism tighten their grip, my heart
is being gradually weaned from the sail, and I find myself thinking
seriously, if, after all, it will not be better to have a little power
under the deck to fall back on at certain times.


_Precaution is the mother of safety._


This is a short chapter on a short subject, but one that is of interest
to the green hand. Men often ask when it is time to reef? It is always
time to reef when you think it is. The moment you would feel easier
and your boat handle better by having less sail spread, is the time to
shorten down. Never mind what anybody else is doing or what anybody
else tells you. It is your boat, not some other boat that is worrying,
and yourself, and not some other person, who is in charge. Never
carry sail for the sake of carrying it; the ignorant may praise your
recklessness and pluck, but the experienced man will call you either a
lubber or a fool.

Never let the action of another guide you in this particular, unless
the action agrees with your own judgment. It is very common for
young sailors to reef or not reef as they see some other man, and
consequently to carry sail much to the risk of their vessel and lives.
You must remember that these remarks of mine have nothing to do with
racing. In racing, a man cannot reef when he wants to, but when he can;
therefore, he frequently carries sail when he would give a good slice
of his daily income to have it off, and often keeps in his reefs when
he would like to shake them out, but does not for the same reason.
Then, again, in racing, boats are always in company, and if an accident
happens someone is close aboard to give assistance; but in cruising
this is not so, and many a life has been lost for want of a reef in

When I was young and fresh I had an idea that if anyone could carry
sail on a boat I could do the same. One day I had a lesson that made
me think, and partially cured me of the habit. I went with a clever
old boatman across the Sound to bring home a new cat. We each took a
crew, and, to return, he sailed the new boat, and I the one we had
come over in. Halfway across it came on to blow very hard, and it was
all I could do to keep my boat on her feet. My crew wanted me to stop
and reef, but as the new boat kept on, I insisted upon following her,
being afraid that the old man would laugh at me. In plain talk, I was
afraid of being thought a coward, and for this I jeopardized my own
and the lives of the other boys. When at last, after a struggle and
half full of water, we reached port, the old man met me with a torrent
of invectives, calling me a fool and several other hard names for not

"But you didn't reef," I protested. "Reef!" he exclaimed. "No, for
I couldn't; but I'd given fourteen dollars if I could have got that
sail down. Do you think I was carrying whole sail for fun?" It seems
the halliards, being new, had jammed, and they could not get the sail
down, so had to lug it. This taught me a lesson, one that I have never
forgotten; and oftentimes when I see a man struggling along under too
much sail, I wonder if he, like the old boatman, wouldn't give fourteen
dollars if he could get that sail down.

The first thing when you get a crew is to break them in to a method
of reefing. Give each man a place and teach him to keep it; this is
the secret of rapid and efficient work. Let us suppose that you are in
command of a small sloop, with a total crew of four. It comes on to
blow, and you decide to reef. There is a bit of lee under the shore,
and you go in for it. Now you have decided to reef without anchoring,
and when close enough luff up and prepare to lower the mainsail. Your
mate, your best hand, and the man in his watch go to the halliards, you
stay at the helm and your watch-mate takes the sheet.

Now, if you lower the mainsail all the way down, you will have to take
in your headsail and drift; this will soon take you out of your kindly
lee, but if you can keep some after-sail up, with the jib on an easy
sheet, you can jolly her up to windward a bit and keep close inshore.
Having decided on this you order the sail lowered down to the reef.
The getting down of the sail quickly depends on your cleverness at
the helm; you must spill just at the right moment. As the sail comes
down your two men handle and lay the sail along the boom, the mate
tending the halliards. When the tack cringle is low enough he belays
the halliards and ties down the tack. By this time you have the pendant
ready, and when the mate shouts "All fast," you haul out, one man
helping you and the others shaking and lighting out the canvas. When
this is handed out and made fast, the hands begin to tie the points,
beginning in the middle and working forward and aft.

Your business is to look after the dog-ear, to tie in the outboard
points, and pass a lashing round the clew, wrapping it round the boom.
The points are passed between the foot of the sail and the lacing,
not between the lacing and the boom, a common error with green hands.
Tie your points with a square bow knot; don't tie them too tight; try
and put the same strain on all. Don't haul out your clew too hard,
especially if it is raining or the water is flying. The pendant will
shrink one way, the sail the other, and in consequence the canvas be
pulled out of life. As soon as all the points are tied, look them over
carefully to see that they belong to the proper reef, and are not tied
cross-faced, and, if correct, hoist away.

Lazy-jacks on a boom are of great assistance in taking a sail in, but
they are in the way when reefing. Quarter-lifts as substitutes are
better for small craft. The reef points should be made of different
kinds of stuff, or else be dyed different colors, so as to be easily
distinguishable. I prefer different kinds of stuff, as they can be told
by the feel at night. The first reef being cotton line, the second
manila, and the third cotton.

If you are going to tie in more than one reef, it is best to tie in the
first, then the next over it, and so on. This also makes a much neater
looking job. Teach your men to roll the sail up tightly before tying
in; nothing looks so bad as a reef made up of a series of bags.


If you are caught out in the open, and have to reef, it is best to
lower all down and reef running off; by getting the boom firmly lashed
amidships you can handle the sail, whereas if you lay-to the sea will
make trouble. In running off carefully tend your helm, and keep the
vessel moving, or you may get pooped. If anywhere near shore it is best
to go in, anchor and reef in quiet, and at your leisure. The methods of
reefing a sloop are the same for reefing a cat, but if you have a yawl,
ketch or schooner, the work is much more simple and easy.

Always, when anchored in an open roadstead, or in any place where you
may have to get out in a hurry, reef your large sails before turning
in. Then, if it comes on to blow in the night, you are ready for it.
If you expect a squall to hit you, in a place where you cannot anchor,
reef down, and do so in plenty of time. Before leaving harbor, if
there is any question of weather outside, reef and carry them out with
you, until you get the heft of the breeze; if it is lighter than you
expected, it is a simple job to shake out.

Reefed jibs are not much use; they seldom work well, and it is far
better to shift headsails than to reef them. The jibs should be
snap-hooked on the stay; in this way they can be quickly shifted.
Reefing on a bowsprit in a seaway is a difficult and dangerous job. I
shall speak further of this matter of head-sails in another chapter.


  _"Let's forge a goodly anchor--a bower thick and broad;
  For a heart of oak is hanging on every blow I bode;
  And I see a good ship riding all in a perilous road--
  The low reef roaring on her lee; the roll of ocean poured
  From stem to stern, sea after sea; the mainmast by the board;"
  The bulwarks down; the rudder gone; the boats stove at the chains;
  But courage still, brave mariners--the bower yet remains!
  And not an inch to flinch he deigns--save when ye pitch sky high;
  Then moves his head, as though he said, "Fear nothing--here am I."_


One of man's oldest, simplest and most perfect instruments--the anchor.
Like all early inventions, it obtained its present form by a slow
process of evolution, and, as is the case with nearly all implements
of the same nature, it is to-day to be found in use in every step-form
which during the gradual process of development it assumed. The
primal anchor of stone is still universally employed, its immediate
successors, the stone-weighted net and log, are yet in use in the East,
and iron forms that might have found their shape under the hammer blows
of the sinewy Sidonian smiths still swing from the bows of vessels
plying the Indian seas.

As to who first forged anchors of iron there is some doubt, the
ancient historians disagreeing on this point with amiable unanimity
that characterizes all their statements in regard to the origin of
things, both animate and inanimate. The balance of evidence appears
to favor the Phrygians, a people of Asia Minor, whose most celebrated
king, Midas, is well remembered as the avaricious monarch who had the
unfortunate experience with gold, as related in a yarn which probably
originated in the imaginative brain of some ancient free-silver orator.

But whether these people or their contemporaries, the ingenious, rich
and daring Phoenicians, first forged it, there is no question but what
iron anchors were originally used by the maritime nations inhabiting
the shore of the great tideless sea. The anchors were, as I have said,
of stone and of wood weighted with stone and metal, such as are still
used by the Chinese and Malays. It is easy to see how from the latter
came the shape of the anchor of to-day. From the use of a straight balk
of timber to one with a crook is a natural step. It is much easier to
lash a stone to a crook of wood by placing it between the trunk and
branch than it is to lash it to a straight stick.

Evidence favors this as the step of progression; the first iron
anchors having but one arm and no stock; being simply the wooden crook
reproduced in metal. The next step was to add the bill or point, which
very readily took its shape from the spear of that day or the spade,
both of which implements were arrow-shaped. The next step forward
was the adding of the second arm. The arms of ancient anchors were
straight, not curved, as are the anchors of to-day. The curved arm
being very modern. With the stock added, when and by whom it is not
known, the anchor of the ancients continued to do its duty until early
in the last century, when an Englishman named Pering greatly improved
it by curving the arms and strengthening the crown and shank. At the
same time the trip-hammer came into use for forging, allowing of a far
more perfect welding of material than could be secured with hand-swung

In order to understand the action of the anchor, which is perfect,
it is only necessary to take the common pick, such as is employed by
laborers in breaking up earth, and drive it into solid ground. Drive
the arm of your pick right to the helve; now pull on it at right angles
to the arm. You cannot move it; nor could the strongest man; simply
lift the handle up and the arm will come out of the ground easily. Such
is the action of the anchor. Is anything more simple or perfect?

When out ahead this small arm will hold a great ship against wind and
tide; when brought under foot it is broken from its hold by half a
dozen men. An anchor weighing 2,000 pounds will hold a ship weighing
5,000 tons, yet when brought to such a position as will permit of its
being tilted up it can be broken-out by an engine of five horse-power.

Since Pering's day many improved anchors have been patented; of these
only two, the Rodgers and Trotman, are of any account. Of what are
called "patent anchors," that is, anchors of peculiar shapes, there is
this to say, they are inferior to the original form. The only argument
in their favor is that they stow easier, and it is for this reason that
the stockless variety is employed on steam vessels. This form can be
hauled directly into the hawse pipe, thus doing away with the labor
of catting and fishing, but they will not hold with the old form, and
need a much longer scope of hawse. I have experimented with several of
those built for yachts and have in every case found them inferior to
the common anchor. They are useful sometimes as stern-holds, and for
dropping on ragged bottom, where a common hook is liable to foul.

For use where a vessel is anchored in a current, and is apt to be
tide-rode, the Trotman is excellent. The peculiarity of this anchor
is, that the arms are pivoted so that the fluke of the upper arm when
the hook is biting is down on the shank; this prevents the hawser from
fouling and upsetting the anchor if the yacht happens to ride over it.

The average yacht anchor that is found on sale is an instrument that
could be largely improved without adding to its cost or weight. A
better distribution of the metal would add much to its value, but its
worst feature is the method in which the stock is secured in the head.
These pins are always a nuisance, frequently working out and more
frequently being lost. There are anchors made in which the stock screws
in, and others in which the stock passes through a slot with a lug,
which, on being turned, engages with the side of the head, preventing
its slipping back. Both these are better than the pin. Every yachtsman
knows what it is to find the pin missing just when it is wanted and
wanted in a hurry, and to have to substitute a nail or a penknife
blade. There is a small fortune for the man who will bring out an
anchor with a stock that can be shipped and unshipped quickly, and yet
stay fast when down on the bottom.

The strain on anchors when holding a vessel is nothing like what it
is commonly supposed to be. If it was how could a vessel be drawn
up to her anchor? It has to blow very hard when a man cannot draw a
small yacht up to her hook. The reason of this is, that the windage
of an anchored vessel is a comparatively small surface, so long as
she lies head-on. It is the sum of the area of the widest section of
the above-water hull, and the area of the rigging and spars, found by
multiplying their diameters by their lengths. This is, as I have said,
a comparatively small surface.

In a strong blow, such as yachtsmen generally describe as a gale, the
wind pressure is only about five pounds to the square foot, while in an
ordinary breeze, such as usually blows in summer, the pressure is scant
of a pound. So that a boat with a hundred square feet of windage would,
in a yachtsman's gale, only be forced back by a pressure of 500 pounds.
Some day, just for your own enlightenment, take a spring scale and put
it on your hawse when the yacht is riding to a wind with no sea on.

One day my boat was lying in a tide running at a rate of one mile.
The bottom was a medium hard gravel and the water perfectly clear. In
turning tides she had capsized the anchor and it was lying stock up and
flukes flat. This anchor, weighing thirty pounds, by its weight and
friction of the stock end on the bottom kept the boat stationary. Her
displacement was just over four tons. The anchor was simply resisting
the friction of the tide on the immersed hull. Reverse this and it
shows how small is the power necessary to drive a vessel one mile an

The direct strain on anchors is of no consequence except in very high
winds; it is the sea that causes them to leave their hold. Go back to
our pick for an explanation. When given sufficient scope the anchor,
like the pick, is resisting a pull at right angles, and stands fast,
but the minute the sea begins to move the vessel up and down the handle
of the anchor is worked up and down; the shorter the scope the more
surely is this motion transmitted, and the more effective is it in
breaking-out the arm. To prevent this in a heavy sea we resort to a
practice called backing.

The object of backing an anchor is to prevent this up and down motion
from passing from the vessel to the anchor. In order to do this it
is necessary to weight the cable, so as to prevent its lifting from
the bottom, some distance inside of the anchor. This is done either
by leading the cable through another anchor or by weighting the cable
with ballast. The last is the better method, as it can be done from the
vessel without disturbing the hawse.

I find that few yachtsmen make a study of anchoring; mostly because
they anchor in places where there is little to be feared either from
wind or sea. It is only when they get into harbors where both are to be
dreaded that they learn this part of the trade. To show how universally
careless we are in this respect it is only necessary to recall the
disastrous effects an unexpected summer gale has upon a fleet of our
yachts. In August, 1893, a storm of this character swept the Eastern
seaboard, and some eighty yachts were driven ashore and many of them
totally wrecked. In the summer of 1897 a moderate gale came on the
coast, and out of a fleet of some thirty yachts anchored and moored
about the boat I was in, twelve went adrift. The same day, in and
around Boston, the storm played havoc with the pleasure fleet.

Another time we were caught off the Thimbles in Long Island Sound in
company with a small fleet. Everything dragged and several were only
saved by a lucky shift of wind from going on the rocks. Many of these
boats had no spare anchors; some had the anchors and not sufficient
cable; others had ground tackle much too light for their bulk. Few
of the crews knew how to properly use what they did have. I was in a
30-foot sloop of the old flat type, an exceedingly bad sea boat. We
rode it out with two anchors and 300 pounds of ballast down ahead,
but it was only by judicious management, and the addition of a new
mainsheet to our scanty length of cable.

Every boat should carry two anchors, and every boat that cannot readily
make fast to a dock, three. The weight of anchors to be carried can
only be approximated, as it depends largely upon the build of the
vessel, the extent and prevailing conditions of her sailing waters and
the service engaged in. A boat that is only used for day-sailing that
finds shelter at night in a safe harbor and moors or makes fast, needs
but light ground tackle. She can get along with an anchor weighing a
half-pound to each foot of over-all length, and need never to resort
to her spare hook except on extraordinary occasions.

Narrow deep boats with sharp entrances are very light on their ground
tackle and do not need nearly as heavy anchors as do broad shoal boats.
Our modern full-bowed boats are very hard on all kinds of gear, and
need especially heavy anchors and cables. Flat-bottomed craft, like
sharpies and scow houseboats, are the hardest of all, and your hooks
and hawsers can't be too heavy to make sure of holding them. High-sided
and high-housed yachts are also hard riders, the windage having a
tendency to keep them worrying at their hawse. All these things must
be taken into consideration when selecting a weight of anchor and a
size of cable or chain, but, as it is always best to err on the safe
side, be less afraid of getting too heavy gear than of getting too
light. A 20-foot boat will hold to a ten-pound anchor, if the hook is
well proportioned and takes a good hold in good ground, but I should
not feel comfortable in turning in on a rough night with only that
weight of iron out ahead of me. An old fellow, who is a bit of a crank
on the subject, once took me to task for carrying such heavy anchors
and cables. To his mind they were totally unnecessary; ones half the
weight and size would do as well. He used a twelve-thread line and an
anchor about vest-pocket size on his boat.

His argument was good from his side of the deck, but things had a
different aspect from mine. In the first place, he always anchored
where he wanted to, but I, being a roving bird, had frequently to
anchor where I did not want to. In the second, if I turned in to sleep
I had to do so feeling sure that my boat would be in the same place the
next morning, or else I could not sleep peacefully. Again, a small line
is awkward to handle and is easily chafed through; these are things to
be considered as well as strength. The breaking strain of a cable used
should always be at least four times the weight you expect to put on
it. It is to the extra factor of safety that you must frequently trust
for the odd trick and the game.

A heavily-built cabin craft, or a yacht loaded with lead on the keel,
needs an anchor at least a pound weight for each foot of her deck
length. This is for a regular stand-by, something to be used whenever
she comes to a halt. Such weight will, under all ordinary conditions,
give sufficient hold, admitting that the bottom is suitable for
anchoring. I have seen a 25-foot cabin sloop hang to a twenty-pound
anchor in a gale of wind, in a place where there was no sea to bother
her. But the sea is what troubles the anchor, not the direct strain.

A yacht of 40 feet, used for cruising to distant ports and anchoring
here, there, and everywhere, should carry four anchors. Of course you
can get along with less, perhaps, for many seasons, but to have peace
of mind and absolute security, you need four. Two of these anchors
are for constant use and the other two for special work and dangerous

The two first are what are called on large vessels bowers, being the
anchors hung at the bows, but we will sometimes speak of them as
stand-bys, they being the instruments always ready for use. The third
is a light fellow, exceedingly useful when needed, called a kedge.
The fourth is the big-weight, whose services are only called upon as
the last resource, and who passes the bulk of his days in idleness
below--he is called the spare.

The stand-bys for a 40-footer should weigh together twice the boat's
length in pounds--80 pounds. This can either be evenly divided or
unevenly, as you see fit. I prefer to divide the weight unevenly,
having, say, one thirty-five and one forty-five-pound, or one thirty
and one fifty-pound. These anchors should be galvanized and be
uniformly strong throughout, the large one being of heavy shank and
broad palm; the smaller, lighter in build, with narrow palm and sharp
bill. This lighter anchor should always be ready for service under the
bowsprit or at the cathead.

On a cruiser the heavier stand-by should also be kept ready to shackle
to the chain or bend to the hawser. It need not be kept hanging under
the bowsprit or at the cathead, but can be lashed on the fore deck,
so as to be available for instant use. I remember once going ashore
because the owner insisted upon having the second anchor unshackled
and stowed below; his reason being that it made the boat look untidy
forward. When we rounded-to and let go the small one, the chain parted;
and before the other could be brought on deck and bent on we were blown
on the beach.

The spare anchor is kept below, but not, as in most boats, in a place
where you cannot get at it without hauling over a mass of dunnage. One
time, when anchored in an open bight, we were joined at sunset by a
large sloop; she letting go outside and to windward of us. During the
night it came on to blow very hard, and at daylight we were riding to
both anchors with a full hawse ahead. The big sloop was dragging badly,
and, in response to their calls for help, I took my crew and went
aboard her. She was in charge of her owner and three other amateurs.
They had let go both her bowers and all the chain, but they failed to
hold the yacht and she was slowly going for the beach.

As soon as I got on board I asked if they had a spare anchor. The
owner, who had just bought the boat and was taking her home, after a
little thinking, said he thought it was mentioned in the inventory,
but he had never looked to see. Taking my two hands I went below to
the usual place and began a search. We pulled out sails in bags and
sails out of bags, awnings and stanchions, old mops, holystones, rope,
brooms, deck cushions and the devil knows what, before finally the
spare hook was brought to light. Into a cabin, that looked like a South
street junk shop, we at last lugged it and its cable, and from the
looks of both, decided it was their first call to action. That as may
be, when once overboard they did yeoman service and held the sloop in
safety. I did not fail to read the owner a lesson on how not to keep
his reserve ground tackle, and I guess the job of putting the dunnage
back helped to impress it on his mind.


The spare anchor occupies but little room if properly stowed, takes
up the work of the same weight of ballast, and is a harmless but
exceedingly useful creature. It inspires a feeling of safety that
more than pays for its keep. This anchor should always be used with a
hawser, and a long and stout one, and to make assurance doubly sure,
should be fitted with three fathoms of chain and a stout ring to which
to bend the rope. You can either have the chain permanently attached
to anchor or hawser as you prefer, but keep both where the ends can be
readily laid hands upon. The best place to stow it is aft under the
cockpit floor, placing it in such a way as it will lie snug and not get
adrift, no matter how the boat pitches or heels. If your compass is
over it, you had better see that the placing of it does not affect that
instrument, and if so, how much. Frequently compasses are thrown into
error by the keeping of anchors and awning stanchions under the cockpit

The fourth anchor--the kedge--is a most useful piece of furniture.
Being light and easy to handle it can be kept on the bows when racing
or cruising. If it falls calm it is there to let go and hold you;
if you go ashore it can be at once run out with a line to haul off,
and if you miss a mooring it will enable you to hang on until a line
can be carried to the buoy. It is useful when coming-to at a dock or
when finding a berth in a basin or slip; light enough to be thrown
over anywhere you can anchor by the stern or head with equal facility.
Having it allows you in racing on tender trimming craft to keep the
stand-by anchor below out of the way and where it will interfere least
with the trim of the boat. Heavy weights hung on a boat's nose do not
improve either its speed or its bad weather qualities. To a cruising
man a kedge is invaluable; I would as soon be without my compass as my
little hook. In boats under 35 feet the kedge takes the place of the
smaller bower and performs its duties.

To give good service a kedge must be a properly designed kedge,
not simply a small anchor. The proper kedge is what is known as
spider-built--long arms, long shank, long stock and narrow, sharp
flukes. It is difficult to get these ready-made, but the shipsmith will
make you one. The best substitute for a genuine kedge is the seine

Now what is the best to use with these anchors--chain or rope? With an
anchor like the stand-by, chain is best for all boats that have a place
to stow it. Chain is more lasting, less dirty, and takes but little
room in comparison with the same length of rope. Hawsers are always in
the way, no matter how neatly they are coiled down. Besides they are
expensive, owing to their short lives. In bad weather you cannot well
keep them on deck, and they are wet and disagreeable cabinmates.

For the kedge a long light line should be used, something that one man
can readily handle. It is best to have it in two parts; one part being
kept stowed away and the other always bent. Then you have less of a
coil on deck or in the bow locker, but have, by bending on the second
piece, a length that will enable you to kedge off or on to advantage.

For the spare I prefer, and so will any man who has experience, a
hawser. In heavy weather a boat will ride much easier to hemp than
she will to chain; no matter how much of the latter you may pay out,
she has the weight to lift every time she takes up the slack, and
consequently rises slower and falls quicker. Hemp, until it gets well
soaked, puts little of its weight on a riding vessel, and besides the
give of the slack it stretches in itself.

But whichever you use, be sure and have plenty of it. Remember this:
that the first and all-important thing in anchoring is SCOPE.

One night, not long ago, we wanted to anchor a yawl, as it was calm
and the tide setting us away from our port. My companions let the
anchor go without first sounding; it ran to the bitter end of the
chain with no bottom. As the chart only gave 15 fathoms I was rather
surprised and supposed I had miscalculated the yacht's position, but,
as my bearings seemed to be correct, I overhauled the chain. How much
chain do you think was on that anchor? The boat being an old-fashioned
plumb-stemmer, 32 feet on top. Just 10 fathoms. Gaze on that--10
fathoms of chain to anchor a boat of that size. Why, to make it hold in
a breeze of wind you would have to be in eight feet of water.

The former owner, who was responsible for this, was a man who never
went ten miles from his home port, and I should judge knew very little
about vessel handling. There are hundreds of other boats in just the
same fix. And still we wonder why yachts blow ashore.

Now, as we are through with the anchors, let us bear-off for a bit
and tackle the subject of anchoring, which is the art of using them.
Let me here remark that in all my experience I never had anchors fail
to do their duty, when properly used and attended to, and that every
scrape in this line that ever I got my boat into, was due to my own
carelessness or laziness or somebody else's. I have had hawsers part
and chains break, and I have broken arms of anchors and have lost them
altogether, but in every case the accident was avoidable if proper
forethought and precaution had been used.

If you are rather new at the business, or have hands forward that you
cannot rely upon, when making port have the hook cleared away early in
the game. Then go forward and see that all is in order. When she comes
to let it be at sufficient distance to leeward to kill all way before
she reaches the selected berth. When stopped dead give your order to
let go. Then comes in the judgment as to how much scope she needs.
Whatever the decision, always lean to the side of more than less.

Before anchoring in a strange place consult the chart, and know the
bottom, depth, and fall of the tide, also its present height; this is
of especial importance in places where there is a big rise. In light
weather, for a short stay, six times the depth is sufficient; that is,
in six feet of water give her six fathoms of cable.

If it is blowing hard and a sea running, before letting go, if you are
using a hawser, range a good length of it on deck clear for running
out. Get a good turn round the bitts and after the hook has taken hold
slack away handsomely, but at the same time keep full control. Let her
take it out; don't give it to her. When the hawser has a lead that
enters the water well ahead, make fast, and watch how she rides to it.

You can tell by feeling the cable whether the anchor is biting or not.
If it continues to drag and drags rapidly it is probably foul; if it
drags slowly it is most likely bad bottom; your chart will tell you
what kind.

Never drop without first taking a range, either on shore or on a nearby
vessel, for not only will it tell you if you are dragging, but it is
the only sure way of locating an anchor if you lose it. The way to tell
if you are dragging at night or when you cannot get a range is to drop
the lead overside with a slack line; if she drags the line will trend
out ahead.

If your hook drags badly and you have sail on, get it up, and do the
act over again. If you cannot, why then heave in rapidly on the first
and when under foot let go your second. Do not, if you possibly can
help it, let go the second while the foul anchor is out ahead, for
if it should stick it will put you in the predicament of having an
unreliable hold at the end of your longest cable.

If the first anchor drags because the bottom is bad holding, then
shorten up, let go your second, and pay out on both. If she still
continues to drag get up the spare, and if you can, heave in on both
to half-hawse, and then let the spare go. If she goes on dragging you
have two hopes and one alternative. One hope is, that the weather will
let up; the other, that as she drags she will get into better holding
ground; the alternative I will attend to in another chapter.

Many accidents are the result of haste and carelessness, when letting
the hook go. A mate of mine once let the anchor drop without fitting
the pin in the stock; it came on to blow in the night and we dragged
down on another yacht. Dropping the hook while a vessel has headway
on is another cause of anchors being foul. Frequently in small yachts
carrying the hook under the bowsprit, the fluke will catch on the
bobstay; instead of hauling it up and clearing it, a lubber will let
the stock drop down and then lift the fluke up and let all go. What
is the consequence? the arm falls across the cable and you have a foul
anchor. Twice in my life I have had men anchor the boat on the bobstay.
This happened at night and through my not going forward and looking to
things myself. Instead of, like the unfortunate Wentworth, exclaiming:
"Put not your trust in princes," let me cry, "Put not your trust in
amateurs," especially coming to anchor at night. But the most frequent
cause of mishap is in giving either too little or too much scope.
Laziness stands impeached of the first, and over-caution of the second.

Before turning in, if the weather looks at all dubious, but not
threatening enough to warrant your going to the trouble of sending off
another anchor, you can secure yourself from a sudden attack by these
means. We will suppose you are riding to your heaviest bower. Down the
second bower under the fore-foot, being careful to see that it falls
clear, then take the end of your hawser from underneath the coil,
and take a round-turn round the mast, securing the end with two half
hitches over the standing part. See that it renders freely from the top
of the coil. Pass it through either the chock on the bowsprit or the
chock on the rail. If the yacht drags she will carry out the hawser
and fetch-up when the end is reached. If you are using chain see that
it is clear for running out. By employing your second anchor in this
way, you will prevent fouling hawse if the yacht swings with the tide
or wind.

  A is the right way; B the wrong way.
  C shows anchor backed with ballast.]

Backing an anchor is done in several ways, but as it is only done in
extreme cases you are generally obliged to do it the best way you
can, using such materials as are at hand. Take two or four pigs of
ballast, wrap them securely with a strong small line, and put on a
shawl-strap handle over the chain and let them slide down with a small
line attached to prevent their working right out to the anchor. A small
piece of chain is better than rope to use on a chain hawse. If you can
heave in you can lash the ballast to the chain, and then pay out again.

Backing is usually done at the last call, and as it is wet and
dangerous work on a small boat's head when she is pitching with a sea,
the job is a hurry one and is frequently bungled. By putting a line on
the ballast you can recover it if the lashing parts or frets through.

A trip-line is made fast to an anchor with a clove hitch round the
crown, and either buoyed or led on board. If led on board, it should be
stopped down to the heel of the shank with a rotten stop and belayed
with plenty of slack.

Now I am going to give you ten rules for anchoring, but be pleased to
remember that these rules are not fixed laws, and as such do not bind
you to do anything against what judgment, experience, or a present
difficulty may suggest.

1. Never drop an anchor until you have first examined it.

2. Never drop an anchor stock down.

3. Never drop an anchor from the bows while the boat has headway,
except for the purpose of preventing her going ashore or into something.

4. With the wind and sea ahead give any amount of scope.

5. In a tide-way give just sufficient to hold, no more, unless the
conditions of wind and sea oblige a long lead; then watch your hawse
when she shifts tides.

6. When getting underway in a strong wind, do not shorten too much
before everything is ready aloft; same when surrounded by other vessels.

7. Be sure when you make fast, that you make fast. Always weather-bit
your hawser before turning in. Don't make fast over an old set of
turns when you shorten hawse. Always keep your riding-bits clear of
everything but the hawser.

8. Always examine the gear before leaving the yacht or turning in. If
she is riding hard, feel if she is fast or dragging.

9. Keep your hawsers or chains leading free of the bowsprit rigging.
Look out for chafing and freshen the hawse frequently.

10. Never anchor on rocky bottom without a trip line.


      Length     |  Kedge  |1st Bower| 2d Bower|  Spare
   20 feet o. a. | 10 lbs. | 20 lbs. |  ----   | 30 lbs.
   25  "     "   | 10  "   | 25  "   |  ----   | 40  "
   30  "     "   | 15  "   | 30  "   |  ----   | 50  "
   35  "     "   | 15  "   | 40  "   | 30 lbs. | 60  "
   40  "     "   | 20  "   | 45  "   | 35  "   | 80  "

These weights should be (excepting kedge) increased 25 per cent. when
anchors are for use on a broad shoal model, and can be decreased if
model is very sharp and the hull light. There is no advantage to be had
by decreasing the weight of the spare in any case. Anchors are seldom
forged to weigh exactly the above weights, but the matter of a few
pounds either way will not effect the service.


   Size |  Average  | Proof | Average  | Suitable | Size of
        |   Weight  |  Test | Breaking | for Yacht| Anchor
        | Per Fathom|       |  Strain  |          |
  Inch  | In Pounds | Tons  |  Tons    |   Tons   | Pounds
        |           |       |          |          |
   3/16 |   3       |   1/2 |    7/8   |   1-1/2  |  20
   1/4  |   4-1/2   |   3/4 |  1-1/4   |   2      |  30
   5/16 |   6-1/2   | 1-1/2 |  2-1/2   |   4      |  50
   3/8  |   9       | 2     |  4       |   8      |  75
   7/16 |  12       | 3     |  5-1/2   |  18      | 100
   1/2  |  15       | 4     |  6-1/2   |  30      | 150

From Catalogue of A. S. Morss, Boston, Mass.


      Size in   | Size in |   Weight of   | Breaking| Number of feet
   Circumference| Diameter|  100 Fathoms  | Strength|   in 1 lb.
                |         | Manila in lbs.|  in lbs.|
    6 thd.      | 3/16 in.|       12      |   540   |  50 feet,
    9  "        |  1/4  " |       18      |   780   |  33  "    4 in.
   12  "        |  6/16 " |       24      | 1,000   |  25  "
   15  "        |  3/8  " |       30      | 1,280   |  20  "
    1-1/4 in.   |  7/16 " |       37      | 1,562   |  17  "    8  "
    1-1/2  "    |  1/2  " |       46      | 2,250   |  13  "
    1-3/4  "    |  9/16 " |       65      | 3,062   |   9  "    3  "
    2      "    |  5/8  " |       80      | 4,000   |   7  "    6  "
    2-1/4  "    |  3/4  " |       98      | 5,000   |   6  "
    2-1/2  "    | 12/16 " |      120      | 6,250   |   5  "
    2-3/4  "    |  7/8  " |      142      | 7,500   |   4  "    3  "
    3      "    |  1    " |      170      | 9,000   |   3  "    6  "

From Catalogue of A. S. Morss, Boston, Mass.


  "_Then let his vessel feel the strain
  When wars the gale along the main;
  Strong in his trust of shroud and stay
  The seaman holds his leeward way,
  Spreads the reef'd sail on buckling mast
  And proudly dares the stormy blast._"


When we speak of a vessel's rigging we mean everything that supports
the spars and is employed in setting and trimming the sails. Rigging
is divided into two classes--standing and running. The first is the
portion that remains stationary, and whose office is to hold and
strengthen the spars. The second is rove through blocks and moves; its
office is to hoist, lower and trim the sails.

Rigging has been much simplified of late years owing to the use of
better proportioned fittings and stronger materials. The use of wire
rope in place of hemp has reduced the size and weight of standing
rigging, and what is of more importance, given a stable factor.

In the old days when hemp was used, the shrouds and stays had to
be constantly watched, as they varied in length every time there
was a large change in the atmosphere. This was a frequent cause of
dismasting. A vessel before leaving port would have her rigging set up
in dry, cold weather; going to sea she would run into a warm region and
everything would slack up. As it is now, the expansion and contraction
of wire rigging is so small that a few turns of a screw will take it
up or give it back. The only danger from wire is in setting it up too
taut when at its full stretch, but this, in such length as go to make
the shrouds of a yacht, is little to be feared. But the funnel guys of
steam-yachts should be frequently looked to, as the expansion of the
iron is liable to pull out the deck eye-bolts.

I am not going to tell you how to rig a yacht, because you can learn
that better and quicker by doing as the Yankee did who wanted to learn
how to make clocks--took one apart and put it together again. Just
strip a yacht, then re-rig her, and you will be in a fair way to learn
all about it. What I am going to do, is to point out to you a few
things in regard to rigging that may aid you in taking better care of
what you have, and in making more secure and simple its use.

The one axiom of the business is this, and I want you to engrave it on
your memory, for the violation of its truth is the cause of nine out
of ten breakdowns: The weakest part of any shroud, stay or tackle is
its strongest part. If you take two pieces of chain capable of lifting
a ton, and join them with a piece of rope capable of lifting five
hundred pounds, your combination is only as strong as the rope, and
will only lift the smaller weight. This is why shrouds so frequently
give way; the wire rope is strong enough, the splice is firm, but the
rigging-screw is only capable of bearing half the strain of those
parts. Same with halliards; the tackle will lift a ton, the pin in the
block or shackle not five hundred pounds. All parts of any tackle must
be proportionately strong.

The most unreliable portion of a yacht's rigging is the ironwork. In
the first place, much of it is badly proportioned, and in the second
place it is too light. There is no sense in making ironwork so light
as is frequently done. The amount of weight saved, especially in those
parts attached to the hull, is of no importance. Another source of
weakness, especially in chain plates, is in making the straps too
short; not giving room for the fastenings. Chain plates should be
carried right down and be secured to the frame.

The kingpin of the whole structure erected above the deck of a yacht
is the bobstay. If that goes you are liable to lose everything, and
it does go frequently. The principal cause of its parting is the over
setting up of the headstays. Sometimes the bobstay itself is set up too
taut, at other times the jib stay is strained. One way or another the
spring of a spar is brought on it, and the vessel, getting into a head
sea, begins to pitch; this causes a back-lashing and away goes a bolt
or a plate.

Not long ago we were trying to insure a yacht that was to go South.
The underwriters refused the risk on the ground that the yacht would
get dismasted, and be obliged to put back or be lost altogether.
At the same time they willingly took a risk on two small topsail
schooners bound to the West Indies. We all sailed within four days. The
yacht went through all right, but both the schooners lost their fore
topmasts, bowsprits, jib booms and other headgear, and had to return to
New York for a refit. They ran into a high head sea, and the foremast,
being set up on the bowsprit, the bobstay parted under the strain and
away everything went.

I have seen a small racing boat with a bronze rod of 3/8 inch diameter
for a bobstay, and this secured to the stem with two one-inch screws.
You cannot make your bobstay too strong or fasten it too securely. It
was formerly a custom to fit two bobstays, a regular one and a smaller
one, called a preventer. This latter was set up slack of the heavier
one. For many reasons this was a poor practice, it being far better to
put the strength of the two in one. In another chapter I have told you
how to rig a tackle preventer for use when going to sea.

Bowsprit shrouds should be made heavy, and carried as far aft as
possible to get a spread. Care should be taken to set them up evenly.
Foot ropes under a bowsprit are unsightly, and are not needed unless
the spar is long. If your jib stay is carried through the spar and made
fast to the stem, it should render freely in the bee hole. Unless it
does it is liable to strain the spar. I nearly lost a mast once by the
jib stay sawing into the wood and sticking. It parted in a sea-way, and
the shock broke the bobstay shackle. Every cruising boat should have
two shrouds to a side. On pole-mast boats one of these should run to
the hounds and the other to the masthead. Don't set them up to bands;
eye-splice and put them over the spar. You never can trust the eye in
a band. The rigging screws should be just twice as heavy as what the
average man will tell you to use. The screw is the weak part. Cutting
the thread destroys the strength of the metal. The extra weight is
nothing to speak of; the extra strength is everything. Although they
are more trouble to care for I prefer lanyards.

Always keep your shrouds set up bar-taut; the old notion that a mast
should have play is a fallacy. The stiffer your spar the better it
will carry sail. In our modern boats a mast should be kept plumb. From
what I have seen all boats sail better with their masts plumb. Another
thing, don't cut your sheer-poles too short; they are so cut on half
the boats I have seen; the consequence is they are always working loose.

On many yachts the rope used in the running rigging is too small. It
may be plenty strong enough, but a man gets tired of picking up and
pulling on shoestrings. This is a frequent fault with main-sheets;
another is not having enough parts. A sheet tackle should be powerful
enough to give one man control of the sail at any time. Weak travelers
is another defect. This should be doubly strong, as it is frequently
used to tow or make fast to. Every boat should have a strong ringbolt
on each side in the quarters for boom lashings, etc.

There are plenty of good blocks and plenty of bad ones. The modern
metal blocks are good, but should be of a big passage, as the gear
when wet is apt to jam in them. This is a fault with all blocks having
small sheaves. The weak part of a block is either the pin or the

On small boats a single topping lift is all that is needed, but on
yawls and ketches, where the main boom is inboard and short, two lifts
are better. Boats with heavy spars should have a jig fitted to the
lift. Lazy jacks are useful on cruising boats, especially if you are
sailing short handed, but they are a nuisance when reefing. The ends
should be made fast in such a way as to allow of their being slacked
up, but not so as to permit of their getting adrift. I have got into
trouble several times through the lazy jacks getting adrift. The
ends blew across the peak halliards, and fouled them in such way as
to prevent the sail from coming down. If this happens at night when
reefing you are liable to be in a fix. I may as well say here that the
ends of all running gear should be made fast.

If you have a pin-rail this is easily done. Take out the pin and slip
the socket through the rope between the strands, shove it on the collar
of the projection and put the pin back. If your halliards are belayed
to cleats, marl them to the cleat. At night or in a blow the crew will
let go one halliard to pick up another, and away goes the end flying
out. If it is dark it can't be found, as more than likely it is wrapped
round a shroud or lift, or is flying out from aloft like a pennant.
I have had some anxious times hunting the ends of gear of a dark,
windy night. When sailing in the dark or in bad weather make the end
of your mainsheet fast; always keep a knot in it. Jib's sheet should
be endless, running right round the cockpit. Then you can always find
them, and the end won't wash overboard.

It is the custom now to put bridles or spans on gaffs and booms in
order to distribute the strain. They are good things if used in
moderation, but it is extremely foolish to put a rig of this kind on a
twenty-footer carried out in the lavish fashion of a cup defender. I
have seen little boats knocking about with spans on the boom that would
pretty nearly have held the Columbia's spar. Some of our designers have
an especial fad for loading down boats with all kinds of gear, and seem
to glory in bridling everything that offers the least excuse for such
fittings. The first thing that a good racing man has to do when he
gets one of these boats is to strip off about half the stuff and change
leads all round.

Complicated running rigging is a nuisance; it cannot be too simple so
long as it is effective. The less strings you have to pull the quicker
you can work. This is just as true on a cruiser as it is on a racer.
A lot of line is also a nuisance round the decks; a clear deck is a
sailor's blessing.

One of the things I have helped to simplify is the gear on spinnakers.
Long ago I pointed out that this sail could be used on small boats
without outhauls and lifts, and that without them the sail was easier
set and easier taken in. This method of handling that sail has since
been practiced on the majority of our racing craft. Half the spinnaker
poles are too heavy for their length, and the sails too big to be
effective in anything but extremely light weather. All gear belonging
to the pole should be snap-hooked, so that it can be attached or
detached at once.

Snap-hooks and sister-hooks are excellent contrivances, but beware of
them. They have a trick of giving out just at the wrong time, and are
to blame for many a lost spar. They should be extra large and strong
if they are to be subjected to heavy and continued strains.

All gear, especially the iron work, should be constantly examined, not
only when at anchor, but while under way. Many men never look at their
boat's gear from the time she is put overboard until she is hauled out.
Here is a case that fell under my notice: A boat was being stripped
for hauling out, when we noticed that her mast was shaky; on examining
the step it was found that the heel of the spar was just in it and no
more, allowing the mast to play. Taking her under the shears, we raised
the spar, and found lying in the step a cold chisel that prevented the
heel from dropping home. This boat had been sailed about all summer,
and the owner admitted that he noticed something was wrong with the
mast, but that he had never examined the step. Another time I was on a
cutter that carried away her mast-head. When we examined the break it
was found that the stick was completely rotted through. The damage was
caused by hollowing of the wood above the upper band, which allowed the
rain water to stand and soak into the grain.

If I have a boat in charge I make it a duty to go aloft at least once
a week when she is under way and take a careful survey of all the
ironwork, blocks and splices. I also examine the bowsprit rigging
thoroughly. The ironwork should be sounded with a hammer or heavy knife
blade, just as railroad men sound carwheels. Blocks should be looked
to and kept well oiled. Turnbuckles should also be kept oiled, and if
you are out in much rough water they should be covered with a false
parceling of painted canvas. If this is done they won't freeze, and
when you want to tauten or slack the rigging you will be able to do so
without using a lot of kerosene and hard twisting.

On cruising boats with outboard booms reef-pendants for the two lower
reefs are generally kept rove, but they are much of a nuisance. This
can be obviated in a measure by having them in two lengths, keeping one
part in the sail and the other in the locker when not in use. If the
sail is heavy a small tackle is handy. Such a tackle should be carried
on all boats; it saves a lot of hard labor, especially if you take
ground and have to haul off.



  _Borne o'er a latent reef the hull impends,
  And thundering on a marble crag descends;
  Her ponderous bulk the dire concussion feels,
  And o'er upheaving surges wounded reels--
  Again she plunges! hark! a second shock
  Bilges the splitting vessel on the rock._


This is a subject upon which I can pose as a master. If any man has
been ashore more times than I have, I should like to meet him and spend
an evening comparing notes. One of my favorite amusements is to sail
into places where a man of sense has no business to go; consequently
my boat is continually being hung up on rocks, shoals and bars. While
this is not particularly good for the boat, it has done me no harm, as
I have gathered a lot of knowledge and experience which, you willing, I
will spread before you.

Yachts, unlike merchant vessels, are seldom damaged by taking ground.
This is because, in proportion to their weight, they are extremely
strong fabrics. A merchant vessel when loaded has little reserve
buoyancy, and when she strikes, she hits hard; but a yacht is almost as
buoyant as an empty barrel, and unless she hits with a perpendicular
portion, does so very lightly.

Frequently when a yacht hits a rock it seems to those on board as if
the end of things had come; but when an examination is made it will be
found that little harm has been done.

I once struck a rock with a small sloop. It was blowing a strong breeze
and considerable sea running. When she struck, the blow was terrific;
it threw me over the wheel to land on my head in the fore end of the
cockpit, and knocked the rest off their pins. The centerboard was
driven clear up out of the case against the cabin roof, the sloop
making a jump over the stone and into deep water on the other side.

We all thought the boat must be badly damaged, but as she made no
water, we turned round and worked her home. When she was hauled out,
the only sign of the blow was a dent in the lead keel just deep and
wide enough to hold a finger.

Another time I was in a bulb-fin boat, racing, when she struck a rock.
She was close-hauled and going like a scared cat. It felt like banging
up against a stone wall, the shock sending us all flying forward. The
damage done amounted to a bruised bulb and a slightly bent fin; the
hull was, so far as we could ascertain by superficial inspection,

Metal-shod keels are undoubtedly a great protection, and a yacht that
strikes fairly on her iron or lead will seldom be damaged to such an
extent as to endanger her safety. I have known boats to be sunk by
striking rocks, but they hit either the side of the bow or the bilge
and stove in the plank. For this reason, if you find yourself going on
a rock, always take it stem-to. By this means I jumped a rock in Wood's
Hole that was six inches out of water, and landed all right on the
other side.

The most dangerous thing to do, yet the thing that is most natural
to do, is to put the helm up or down with the hopes of escaping;
consequently your craft is carried on, and strikes broadside. This not
only is liable to bilge her, but makes it far more difficult to get her
off. It is especially dangerous if you go on with a weather wind or

Always remember that wounds in a hull are least dangerous at the
ends, and most dangerous in the middle body. If a boat is pierced in
her head or tail you may be able to trim the leak out, or save her
from sinking by stranding and jacking the leaky end up, but if she is
pierced amidships you cannot get at the hole unless you haul completely
out. I remember seeing a sandbagger that had torn the plank away from
her stem saved from sinking by trimming, the crew raising her head by
piling all the bags aft.

Luckily for the navigator, the sea by constant washing, and nature by
a covering of seaweed and slime, prepares the majority of rocks for
his reception, so that if he strikes the object fairly with sufficient
way on, his craft will slide over. But sometimes he runs against a
ragged reef, and then there is trouble. The reefs and lone rocks along
our coast are generally worn smooth, and are not dangerous customers
like the coral formations of warmer climes. One of the worst things to
run on is a reef of small boulders, as you are liable to get one on
either side just under the bilge. These places are the remains of a
point or island, and are good places to fight shy of. The worst boats
to take ground are flat-bottomed craft like sharpies; when they go on
they generally make a perfect job of it. They are bad things to strand
on a sand-bar or flat, the bottom of the boat sucking like a leech to
a turtle's hindquarter. Unless you can get the tide to lift one of
this kind off, it is either jettison the ballast or dig out. A man who
knocks about a sandy land in a sharpie should always carry a shovel
with him.

The first rule of action upon stranding is to at once lower all sail.
There is but one exception to this; I will state it later. You cannot
drive a vessel off ground with her sails (you may back her off); at
least I never could. The reason of this is that a boat under sail
pressure drives down, and draws more water the harder you force her.
Again, if you drive her off, or over bottom, with the sails, you are
likely to damage the hull or break the rudder.

After taking off sail run out a kedge against the wind or current,
unless both are ahead; then take it out the way you came in. Give it
all the line you can; the straighter the pull the less likely that your
anchor will come home. As soon as it is down, heave taut, and keep the
vessel's stern to the sea, current or wind, whichever is most powerful.
This done, if on a rock, go below and see if she is making water. While
you are doing this let the other hands sound round the craft to find
how she lies.

If she is not leaking, get all your beef on the hawser and heave away.
Here is where a handy-billy or watch-tackle comes in. Sometimes you
can use the windlass, but this is not as good as a tackle, because the
hands have to stand forward to work it, and you want all the weight
aft. If she refuses to budge under the pull, go below, and if you have
inside weight shift it aft. If she still refuses to start, get out
everything weighty, and either lighter it or heave it over-side.

Sometimes you can start a boat off a rock by broadening off the
main-boom, and sending a man out on it to roll her. Before you do this
be sure and set up the topping lift, and weather preventer if one is
fitted. The principal thing is to keep a constant and firm strain on
the hawser.

If there is any roll on, get the hawser set up fiddle-string taut with
the tackle, then place all hands so as to surge it sideways every time
she lifts on the sea. If the boat is one with a deep false keel you
can gain a few inches off the draught by careening her. This is done
by taking an anchor off at right angles to her lay and setting up the
hawser by any of the mast-head tackles, either jib or peak halyards.
Never do this if there is any sea on, as it is liable to strain the
hull or break the false keel. I don't believe it is much good, and do
not recommend its practice except as a last call.

Another plan which I found to work well when a boat is stranded on a
shelving bank of either mud or sand is to overhaul the throat halyards,
and bend the gaff-block to a bight in the hawser, letting a tail of the
hawser drop down from the block. Then set up hard on the halyard, using
the windlass or watch-tackle. This done, let a man hang on the tail of
the hawser, throwing his weight up and down so as to surge it, the rest
taking in the slack. This makes the mast a lever to lift her, and if
there is water under the stern she will surely start.

In a boat with a deep sternpost and sloping keel you can sometimes do
better by swinging it on its heel, and heaving off bow first, getting
all your spare live weight out on the bowsprit to bring her by the
head; but it depends on where she is hardest fast, and how much weight
you have to trim with. If she is fast aft of midships this plan will
work, but if forward of that point it will not.

The most frequent strandings are when trying to enter the mouths of
creeks or rivers; places beset with bars and flats. If the wind and
tide are ahead you can easily get off, but if either is astern you are
liable to be in a fix. If you strike carrying the tide and wind with
you, down all sail instantly, lash the helm amidships, and get out the
anchor and long warp.

The minute a vessel strikes under these conditions she will swing
broadside-to, and drive up higher, at the same time the tide will pile
the sand or silt round her. If you can hold her stern to the tide, the
current will cut the sand away, and the swell will help you to pull her

Now comes the only exception to the rule of taking in sail: If you are
going into an inlet with a fair wind and head-tide, and take ground
on a soft bar, keep your sails full and hold the boat's nose to the
current. If you can keep her steady, which you can best do by getting
all your spare life weight forward, the current will cut a passage for
you. The most dangerous stranding is with a strong in-running tide and
a stern swell. A boat under these conditions is liable to be hove over
on her side and flooded. A small steamship was lost last winter in the
Bristol Channel by an accident of this kind; she struck on a shoal,
swung beam to the tide, and rolled completely over.

Several power boats have been wrecked in the same manner, as from the
narrowness of their beam they are very liable to roll over when caught
broadside-to by a current. Another thing that often damages launches
is leaving them where, when the tide falls, they are broadside on
a shelving bank. The water leaves them and they fall over; the tide
returns, and not having sufficient buoyancy to lift before it rises to
their coamings they are flooded and sunk.

Years ago, when I was a lad, a very fast and narrow steam launch was
left by her crew on a shelving bank close to where we were anchored.
When the tide dropped she fell over, and as her crew did not return we
tried to save her, but the bottom was too soft to allow working on, and
she filled at the flood. On the next ebb we bailed her out, and with a
little engineering and a lot of labor got her righted up.

We took two big joists and lashed them across the boat, but so poorly
fitted was she with cleats and other things to make fast to that we had
to bore holes in the deck to pass the lashing and secure them to the
frame. The ends of the joists stuck out about fifteen feet on the high
side. Under these ends we laid another timber, parallel to the boat's
length, in the mud and ballasted it with stones and iron. To this
timber we lashed two tackles, one from each joist. Then as the tide
made we hove slowly down on them, and she righted up.

If the bottom had been hard we could have parbuckled her, but it was
impossible to do it in the deep, soft mud. This boat had a high and
heavy boiler, which made the work harder, as it levered her down.

If you can float another boat alongside of a launch in this fix you can
lift her by parbuckling, or you can do it from a dock if the wall is
high and near enough. To do this, take a stout line, made fast, from
the near side over the deck and right under the keel; then lay your
floating boat alongside as close as possible, and bend this line to the
latter's throat halyards. Heave taut on it and belay.

If possible get two lines, one forward and one aft, having separate
tackles. As the tide makes keep heaving in the slack, letting your
floating boat draw in sideways to the launch. This strain will aid the
water in lifting, as the launch will have to rise with the floating
boat. If the launch is very heavy or of scant beam, like the steam
craft I mentioned, you had better use joists or spars to help the

I once took a launch off a rock by this same plan, when hours of
heaving on hawsers had failed to move her. Another plan is to lift a
boat by lashing empty barrels to the side by passing slings under the
keel. If the boat is neaped so that sufficient tide cannot be got to
lift her, you can fill and sink the barrels, bunghole up; then shorten
up the slings and pump the barrels out with a hand-pump. This barrel
trick is only performed when a boat is bilged and full of water.

Let me say here that all small power boats that cruise in strange
waters where the bottom is hard should carry either a screw or
hydraulic jack, and a good stout piece of square timber. If you get
aground in places where there is little or no rise of the tide you have
something to start in the wrecking business with. A jack and timber are
also useful if anything happens to the wheel and you want to get the
stern raised.

To show the danger of forcing a boat off a rock let me cite one
instance: A 50-foot sloop of the old flat-floored centerboard model
struck on a stone when going free with a moderate wind. The sailing
master kept his sails up, and with this pressure and a warp dragged her
over and off the rock bow first. She had no sooner gone clear than she
filled and sank.

When floated and docked it was found that she had a hole in her bilge
big enough for a dog to crawl through. The first blow had started a
butt; this caught, and in dragging over the plank was bent back and
ripped away from the frames. Had he taken in sail, and pulled her off
stern first, she would have floated long enough to have got into harbor.

Having considered accidental stranding, let us now consider voluntary
stranding--that is, the running of a vessel ashore to save the vessel
or the life of her crew. Let us suppose that you are caught on a lee
shore, and for some reason cannot claw off. You are bound to go ashore
anyhow, and in order to give the boat and people a chance decide to run
in and strand her.

If the shore under your lee is rock I can do nothing for you. Your only
chance is to pick out an opening or cleft and drive her in, and the
minute she strikes jump for hard land. Such places are usually to be
found on the rocky shores of our coast, but if the land is steep-to and
sheer-faced, there is little hope for the boat or her people.

There are two kinds of sandy shores on which you may have to strand
your vessel--the gradual slope and the steep slope. The former is by
far the more dangerous, as the broken water extends some distance from
the beach.

In running in breaking water--in fact, in running in all heavy
seas--the rule for safety is this: Let the wave-crest pass you, not
carry you. If you can hold the boat back, so that the wave-crest will
split at her stern and rush by on each side, the boat will travel in
safety. This is why it is dangerous in heavy water to carry sail when
running. Many men do it for fear of pooping, but there is far less
danger of pooping than there is tripping or being brought by-the-lee.
Fore-and-aft canvas, particularly sails laced to booms, are bad
things to run under; anything in the shape of a square sail is much
better. Hundreds of vessels have been lost by running under a press of
sail--probably ten times as many as have been destroyed by pooping.

Now if you are obliged to strand on a flat beach, keep your vessel's
stern to the swell and moving as slowly as possible. The best thing to
do is to tow a hawser astern, or a small sail. This will check her way,
and also prevent the sea swinging her stern round. Watch her closely
as the sea strikes under the stern, and check the desire to broach
with the helm. She can also be aided by having hands on a small jib or
staysail sheet, and backing this sail either on one side or the other,
as the threatened sheer requires. Get your weights out of the bow and
keep her trimmed a bit by the stern. The idea is to have her strike
bottom on her whole keel-length, and not on the forefoot.

Here is where the luck comes in. If she strikes with her heel first and
her head raised on a sea, you will probably land well up on the beach,
but if she strikes with her forefoot first and her stern up in the air
you will land--well, only good fortune can save you.

I have seen fishing boats beached in this way in heavy surf, the crews
dropping an anchor and checking the craft until the right moment, and
then slacking away smartly. In this way they rode the boat in on the
back of successive seas. With sharp-stern craft this can be done with
safety, but I would not care to try it with a square stern or long
after-overhang craft.

I would advise the young seaman to take a small skiff or dingey to a
beach where there is a small sea breaking and practice making-off and
landing through the surf. He had better dress in a bathing suit, and
try the game when the water is warm. In a day or two of this work you
will learn more than I could teach you in seventy volumes.

If the beach is steep-to, the sea breaking but a few rods from the
strand, you can stand in under good way, keeping her end-on until close
to. The instant you feel that she is going to strike put your helm over
and bring her almost broadside to the sea. The wave rising under her
weather bilge will throw her sideways on the beach, and each succeeding
sea will drive her higher up.

In running at any time in heavy water use oil, letting it drip from
either bow. With a good thick slick in your wake you will be less
likely to be washed by the crests.

But better than all these directions is the advice to keep off rocks,
shoals and shores. Don't go into places unknown to you unless you have
a good chart or your lead going; especially keep away from dangerous
places when the wind is brisk, the sea heavy or the tide strong. An
ounce of precaution in this matter is worth tons of cure.

Nine out of ten strandings or strikings are the result of carelessness
or recklessness. The only thing a man is justified in hitting is a
wreck or a lone rock; these things the lead will not announce, and they
are frequently uncharted. Old familiar "didn't know it was there,"
should more properly be "didn't know I was there." Rocks don't move,
but you would think they did to hear many yachters explaining how it
happened. I have hit a good many rocks in my day, but don't believe I
could prove an alibi except in one case, when the boat ran on a stone
that nobody had ever heard of before. We examined the stranger and
found it was a rock sure enough, but where it came from or how it got
there no man knew, but all hands stood ready to swear that they had
sailed over the exact spot many times and never touched anything.

I don't doubt but what there are thousands of uncharted rocks over
which and alongside of which vessels constantly pass but do not happen
to strike. Like the celebrated Daedalus Rock, they may lurk for years
in the course of commerce, until the unfortunate boat comes sailing
along that is destined to win immortality by striking and unmasking
the danger. But it is not worth while to worry over these vigias while
there are plenty of well-known dangers to keep the navigator busy. So
proceed fearlessly but cautiously, trusting in your lead and chart, and
hug and play with weather shores as much as you please, but give the
lee ones a wide berth.

Before entering an inlet, creek or river mouth, if you are not familiar
with it, lay-off or anchor outside. Send in the dingey with a lead or
pole, and sound for the deepest place on the bar; when this is found,
let the dingey lie there or on a line inside of it to guide you in. You
may lose a few minutes by so doing, but by the delay may save yourself
hours of hard labor and anxiety.

Never try to run inlets when a heavy swell is on; the open sea is far
more merciful than a bar at such times. It is especially dangerous to
attempt such places in small power boats.

In a second book now in preparation I shall talk to you upon sails,
ballast, sea-anchors, cruising, rough water, weather and other subjects
of interest to the young mariner. I will be pleased to have my readers
suggest themes the exposition of which would interest them, and if I am
competent to discuss the subject I will be only too glad to do so.

Technical and Practical

Technical books are tools. No man can excel in a trade unless he has
good tools; neither can a man expect to excel in a sport unless he has
at hand, ready for reference, a good collection of books relating to
its theory and practice.

     We have in this list, gathered for the first time, all the
     obtainable books on the subject of yachting and its kindred sports.

     The yachtsman will find here those books which are invaluable as
     guides to a higher knowledge of yachting, and which no yachtsman's
     library is complete without.

     Any book not here listed, if in print, we will obtain, no matter
     in what language or land it is printed.

     Send postal for complete catalogue.

                                                  _THE RUDDER PUB. CO._
                                        9 Murray St.   New York, U.S.A.

Books for the Yachtsman's Library


  Amateur Sailing. By Biddle                                       $1.50
  Amateur Sailor. By Alex. I. McLoed                                 .50
  Boat Sailer's Manual. By E. F. Qualtrough                         1.50
  Canoe Handling. By C. B. Vaux                                     1.00
  Corinthian Yachtsman                                              1.50
  Canvas Canoes--How to Build Them. By Field                         .50
  Canoe Cruising and Camping. By P. D. Frazer                       1.00
  Canoe and Camera. By Steele                                       1.00
  Canoe and Boat Building for Amateurs. By Stephens                 2.00
  Canoe and Camp Cookery. By Seneca                                 1.00
  Electrical Boats and Navigation. Illustrated                      2.50
  Elements of Navigation. By Henderson                              1.00
  Fore and Aft Seamanship                                            .50
  Handbook of Naval Gunnery. By Radford                             1.50
  How to Swim. By Capt. Dalton                                      1.00
  How to Build a Racer for $50                                      1.00
  How to Build a Skip Jack                                          1.00
  Illustrated Coast Pilot. By N. L. Stebbins            $1; by mail 1.25
  Ropes, their Knots and Splices                                     .50
  Log of Yachts                                                      .50
  Model Engines and Small Boats. By Hopkins                         1.25
  Model Yachts. By Grosvenor                                        2.00
  Manual of the Canvas Canoe. By Webb                               1.25
  Marine Engineers--How to Become One. By E. G. Constantine         2.50
  Navigation for Yachtsmen. By V. J. English, R.N.                  7.50
  Practical Boat Building. By Nelson                                1.00
  Practical Boat Building and Sailing. By Nelson, Kemp and Davies   3.00
  Practical Boat Sailing. By Davies                                 2.00
  Supplements to Small Yachts. By Stephens                          4.00
  Sails and Sailmaking                                              1.25
  Steam Yachts and Launches. By Kunhardt                            3.00
  Sailing Alone Around the World. By Capt. Joshua Slocum            2.00
  Small Yachts--Their Design and Construction. By C. R. Kunhardt   10.00
  Torpedoes and Torpedo Vessels. By Armstrong                       1.25
  The Pilot. How to do the work, a Text Book for Navigators         1.00
  The Rudder--Volumes 5, 7, 8, 9, 10                           each 3.50
  Yacht Etiquette. By Patterson                                     1.00
  Yachting Wrinkles. By A. J. Kenealy                               1.00
  Yacht Designing. By Biddle                                        1.00
  Yacht and Boat Sailing. By Dixon Kemp                            10.00
  Yacht Architecture, Designing and Building. By Dixon Kemp        16.80

_Any of the above sent postpaid in United States or Canada on receipt
of price_

  THE RUDDER PUB. CO.      9 Murray St., New York, U.S.A.

How to Build a Motor Launch

                            By C. D. Mower
                    Designing Editor of THE RUDDER

A simple and practical work in every detail, showing how to construct a
launch hull suitable for use with any description of motor.

     Each step of the work is clearly and thoroughly explained, both by
     text and drawings, so that a man who has never even seen a boat
     built will have no difficulty in understanding the process.

     The author, a self-taught boat builder, thoroughly comprehends
     what a novice does not know, and is, therefore, able to point out
     the hard places, and to show the amateur builder how to get over
     or around them.

     In the after part of the book are given the designs of several
     launches, from 18 to 50 feet in length.

     The whole is heavily illustrated, and is the most complete
     treatise on launch building yet published.

                                                  _THE RUDDER PUB. CO._
                                       9 Murray St.    New York, U.S.A.

     Bound in cloth, price $1
     Same size and style as "How to Build a Skipjack" and "How to Build
     a Racer for $50"

_On Marine Motors & Motor Launches_

                      A handy book for yachtsmen
                        By E. W. Roberts, M. E.

A reprint in a handy form of Mr. Robert's instructive and interesting
RUDDER articles. In it the author explains what a gasoline motor is,
and points out in understandable language the difference between the
types, and shows what is a good motor and what is a bad one.

     He gives valuable information to the buyer, and also explains
     how to run a motor, how to prevent breakdowns, and how to remedy

     To the novice, the chapter on _gasoline_ is alone worth the price
     of the book, as it explains the properties of that fluid, and the
     proper manner in which to handle it so as to prevent accidents.

     No motor man should be without a copy of this book; it will save
     him time, trouble and expense.

                                                  _THE RUDDER PUB. CO._
                                       9 Murray St.    New York, U.S.A.

Bound in cloth, price $1



Complete plans and directions for building a 19-ft. sloop, the material
for which will cost less than $100; and pictures of numerous boats that
have been built in all parts of the world from these plans. Bound in
blue cloth and gold, uniform with "How to Build a Racer for $50."


      _9 Murray Street, New York_



Simplest, safest and fastest boat that can be built. The working plans
are such that a boy can build from them. The plans were published in
1898, and since then some 500 boats have been built from them. The book
has numerous illustrations of boats in and after construction, and also
gives experience of builders in all parts of the world. Blue cloth and
gold, uniform with "How to Build a Skipjack."
                                                PRICE, POSTPAID, $1.00.

       THE RUDDER PUBLISHING COMPANY, 9 Murray Street, New York.

_The Rudder_

The policy of THE RUDDER is to give to yachtsmen a thoroughly practical
periodical, dealing with the sport of yachting in all its phases,
and especially to furnish them with the designs and plans of vessels
adapted to their wants in all localities.

     In each issue is a design of a sailing or power craft, and at
     least four times a year a complete set of working drawings is
     given, so that the unskilled can try a hand at building with a
     certainty of making a success of the attempt.

     In the last two years over 500 boats have been built from designs
     printed in the magazine, and in almost every case have given

     Outside of the strictly practical, the magazine has always a cargo
     of readable things in the way of cruises and tales, while its
     illustrations are noted for their novelty and beauty.

     The editor desires to increase the size of the magazine and to add
     to its features. In order to do this it is necessary that it be
     given the hearty support of all who are interested in the sport.
     The cost of a subscription, $2 a year rolled or $2.50 mailed flat,
     is as low as it is possible to make it and furnish a first-class
     publication, and he asks yachtsmen to subscribe, as in that way
     they can materially assist him in keeping the magazine up to its
     present standard of excellence.

                                                  _THE RUDDER PUB. CO._
                                       9 Murray St.    New York, U.S.A.

                          Vol. XI, The Rudder
                           FOR THE YEAR 1900

                            TO BE HAD FROM
         9 Murray St., New York      143 Strand, London, W. C.
                                 OR AT

Damrell & Upham, 283 Washington St., Boston, Mass.; Koelling &
Klappenbach, 100 Randolph St., Chicago, Ill.; Lowman & Hanford
Stationery and Printing Co., 616 Front St., Seattle, Wash.; Wm. Foster
Brown, 2323 St. Catherine St., Montreal, Canada; Levant & Chevalier, 50
Quai St. Jean Baptiste, Nice, France; Swain & Co., Munroe St., Sydney,
Australia; and all booksellers throughout the world.

It contains 460 pages, 24 full-page supplements, 500 other
illustrations, over 100 designs and plans. Bound in blue cloth; gold
top and lettering.

Price, postpaid, $3.50; 15 Shillings; 20 Francs

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Note:
Obvious typographical and punctuation errors were repaired.

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