By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Book of the Sailboat - How to rig, sail and handle small boats
Author: Verrill, A. Hyatt (Alpheus Hyatt)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "The Book of the Sailboat - How to rig, sail and handle small boats" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)

                              THE BOOK OF
                              THE SAILBOAT


                          By A. Hyatt Verrill

                      The Real Story of the Whaler

                      The Book of the Sailboat

                      The Book of the Motor Boat

                      Isles of Spice and Palm

                        D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
                      Publishers          New York



    1—Leg-o’-mutton sail. 2—Gunter sail. 3—Lateen sail. 4—Sprit
        sail. 5—Lug sail. 6—Boom-and-gaff sail. 7—Cat rig.
        8—Jib-and-mainsail rig. 9—Sloop rig. 10—Yawl rig
        (Polemast). 11—Schooner rig (Polemast).


                              THE BOOK OF
                              THE SAILBOAT

                         _HOW TO RIG, SAIL AND
                          HANDLE SMALL BOATS_

                            A. HYATT VERRILL

                  “ISLES OF SPICE AND PALM,” “THE REAL
                          STORY OF THE WHALER”



                        D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
                        NEW YORK          LONDON


                          COPYRIGHT, 1916, BY
                        D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

                Printed in the United States of America



    CHAPTER                                                    PAGE

         I. A SHORT HISTORY OF BOATS                              1
            The first boat. Rafts and canoes. Catamarans.
            Early forms of boats. Coracles and goofahs. The
            evolution of the sailboat. Types of modern boats.
            Schooners, sloops, ketches, catboats, round- and
            flat-bottomed boats.

        II. WHAT BOAT TO USE                                     10
            Speed, stability and seaworthiness. Boats for
            various uses. Whale-boats, surf-boats, life-boats,
            fishing boats, oyster-boats, pilot-boats,
            spongers, skiffs, dories, skip-jacks, etc.

       III. PARTS OF BOATS                                       19
            Various parts of a boat’s hull. Masts and spars.
            Blocks and tackle. Anchors and cables. Deck
            fittings. Cleats, chocks. Rudders, tillers,
            wheels, etc. Keels and centerboards. Leeboards.
            Ropes and standing rigging. What each is for.

        IV. VARIOUS RIGS                                         39
            Square-rigged vessels. Ships, barks, barkentines,
            brigs, brigantines, topsail-schooners, schooners.
            Ketch and yawl rigs. Sloop rigs. Catboats. Types
            of fore and aft sails. Lateen, lug, gunter, sprit,
            leg-o’-mutton and other sails. What rig to use.

         V. HOW TO SAIL A SMALL BOAT                             59
            First steps in learning to sail. Handling and
            sailing small boats. Getting under way. Sailing on
            the wind, tacking. Coming about. Sailing before
            the wind. Wearing ship. Jibing. Luffing. Reefing.
            Coming to a landing. Coming to anchor.

        VI. THE CARE OF BOATS                                    87
            Equipment. Anchors and safety appliances.
            Moorings. Sea anchors. Stowing sail. Care of boats
            and sails. Caulking, painting, etc.

       VII. MARLINSPIKE SEAMANSHIP                              102
            Ropes and their parts. Simple and useful knots.
            Splices. Bends and hitches. Ornamental knots.

      VIII. SIMPLE NAVIGATION                                   125
            Rules of the road at sea. Lights, beacons and
            signals. Buoys and lighthouses. Channels. Use of
            compass. Charts and their use. Dead reckoning.
            Logs. Sounding. Landmarks. Bearings. Currents and
            tides. Fogs. Stars. Winds and waves. Storms.
            Sailing in heavy weather. What to do in case of

        IX. BUILDING SMALL BOATS                                164
            The simplest boat to build. How to build a
            round-bottomed boat. Building from patterns.

         X. WHAT NOT TO DO                                      180

            NAUTICAL TERMS AND THEIR MEANINGS                   187


                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

        Fore-and-aft sails and rigs               _Frontispiece_
        Primitive boats                                        2
        Types of small boats adapted to special uses          12
        Types of bows and sterns                              22
        Keels, centerboards, leeboards and rudders            27
        Boat fittings and parts of boats                      30
        Running rigging of fore-and-aft rig                   34
        Standing rigging, masts, etc.                         36
        Various rigs                                          41
        Parts of rails, spars, etc., of fore-and-aft rig      43
        Ketch rig. Cat yawl rig                               45
        Sails of square-rigged vessels                        48
        Hull, spars and rigging of a ship                     52
        Effect of wind on boats of various forms              63
        Sailing                                               71
        Reefing a sail                                        84
        Caulking tools                                        93
        Anchors                                               96
        Useful knots and splices                             105
        Ornamental knots                                     116
        Ropework                                             121
        Rules of the road and buoys                          129
        Harbor chart showing lights, buoys, channels,
          soundings, bearings, bottom, etc.                  136
        Use of compass in boat                               140
        Compasses                                            143
        Effect of waves on stability                         151
        Building a flat-bottomed boat                        171


                              THE BOOK OF
                              THE SAILBOAT

                               CHAPTER I

                        A SHORT HISTORY OF BOATS

No one knows who first invented boats. Probably they were used by
primitive man long before he discovered how to use bows and arrows or
had even learned to chip stones into simple tools and weapons. But those
early boats were not boats as we know them today, for it has taken
untold centuries for mankind to improve and develop boats to their
present state of perfection. It was a natural and easy matter for a
savage to straddle a floating log and, thus supported, cross some pond
or stream, and when some member of the tribe discovered that two logs
lashed together were more comfortable and less likely to roll over and
dump their passengers into the water than a single log, he no doubt felt
as if he had made a marvelous invention and was probably looked upon as
a prehistoric Fulton by his fellowmen.

Later on some man found that a hollowed log was more buoyant and stable
than an ordinary tree trunk and from this crude beginning rude dugout
canoes were developed. Even today many races have never progressed
beyond the hollowed-log state of boat-building and dugouts, forty or
fifty feet in length and capable of carrying great weights, are in daily
use in many lands. Some of these are very crude, heavy craft, while
others are beautifully made, are light in weight and are very speedy and

[Illustration: PRIMITIVE BOATS]

    1—Dugout made from a log. 2—Birch bark canoe. 3—Eskimo kyak
        made of skins. 4—Catamaran. 5—Turkish goofah. 6—East
        Indian balsa. 7—Malay proa.

Quite a different type of savage craft were the canoes of bark or skins.
These may have been evolved from dugouts but it is more likely that
accident or chance led to their discovery. A piece of floating bark
bearing some wild animal or bird may have pointed the way toward the
graceful birchbark canoes of the American Indians, while a stiff piece
of dried hide may have given the first hint of a kyak to the Eskimos.

However, it is useless to speculate upon the incidents that led our
primitive and savage ancestors along the path to the shipyard for such
matters are shrouded in the impenetrable mists of the dim and distant
past. We know, however, that nearly every race possessed boats of one
kind or another as long ago as there was any history and we know that
the boats used thousands of years ago varied as greatly in construction,
form, materials and other details as boats of today.

Strangely enough, many of the most primitive forms of boats are still in
daily use. I have already mentioned dugouts, but birchbark canoes and
kyaks are also used at the present time as widely as ever. It is evident
that some of these prehistoric craft had been developed to the utmost
point of perfection before the advent of civilization for many of them
have never been improved upon. With all our knowledge we have never
found any boat so well adapted to its purpose as the red man’s canoe,
and while we now make them of canvas instead of bark, we follow the same
models as those used by the Indians centuries ago.

In certain parts of Great Britain the people still use the queer craft
called _coracles_ which Cæsar found the Britons using when his Roman
legions invaded Albion, and although these curious boats, that look like
the shell of a turtle or half of a walnut shell and are made of plaited
willow, are among the most ancient forms of boats, yet the Welsh find
them superior to modern boats in many ways. Somewhat similar are the
_goofahs_ of the Orient, circular, basket-like craft made of willow
wands and covered with pitch which are used upon the Tigris and
Euphrates and have not changed in the least since Bible days.

In the South Seas and other places the natives still use _catamarans_
and _proas_ which are really nothing but two logs fastened together, and
yet the most efficient and safest of life rafts used by our greatest
steamships are merely modifications of these same catamarans.

The purpose of any boat is to float and support its occupants while
traveling across the water, and while it seems a far cry from the
coracle or the dugout to a palatial steamship or a stately, four-masted,
sailing ship, yet the principle of each is identical and each serves the
purpose for which it was designed equally well; it is merely a matter of
improvement, and many of the terms and names of parts which were used by
the earliest sailors are still retained on our greatest liners and
largest sailing vessels.

_Starboard_ and _larboard_, for example, are merely corruptions or
_steerboard_ and _leeboard_, terms applied to the two sides of the ships
of the Vikings and referring to the great steering oar on the right-hand
side of the vessel and the board dropped over the opposite side to
prevent the craft from making _leeway_ or sliding sideways through the
water. The _bowsprit_ was originally a small spritsail spread to the
vessel’s bow; the _stern_ was once the _steering_; the name _forecastle_
was given to the sailors’ quarters when the deckhouses were literally
_castles_ in form, and we still speak of _cockpits_ though we seldom
stop to remember that the term was originally bestowed because this open
portion of a boat resembled the circular areas wherein cockfights were

The enormous steel frames which support the great plates of a
steamship’s sides are still as much _ribs_ to the sailor as the flimsy
bits of wood bent into place by the naked savage building his frail
canoe, and scores of the ropes, sails, rigging and other portions of a
ship’s fabric retain their ancient names in a similar manner. The seaman
is the most conservative of beings and adheres to every time-honored
custom, belief and habit and when the last sailor and the last wooden
ship have disappeared many of the terms and ways that were dear to the
heart of Jack Tar will still live on and be perpetuated for all time.

It is partly owing to this unwillingness on the part of the sailor to
adopt anything new or unusual which has led to the survival of distinct
forms of boats, for the seaman and boatman of every country believed the
craft of his own waters to be superior to those of any other place. In
rig, sail and other details each race of maritime people has preserved
the traditions of their ancestors and even in neighboring localities we
find boats which in form of hull, sails and rigging are absolutely
distinct. Many of these are used only in one locality, one harbor or on
one small island, but many others have been carried hither and thither
and one can almost trace the history of a country or the wanderings of
its people by the types of boats used.

Of course, the first boats were propelled by hand, either by pushing
them along with poles or by rough paddles, but even naked savages soon
learned that they could let the wind work for them and raised mats,
skins or even bushes to catch the breeze and waft them across the water.
But it was many, many centuries before man learned that he could do away
with oars entirely and could sail in any direction, regardless of the
way the wind blew.

Even in the time of Columbus the ships could scarcely make headway
against the wind and were more or less at the mercy of every passing
breeze, but once sailors discovered the secret of sailing to windward
the advance and improvement of ships and rigging was very rapid. The
great, cumbersome, square sails of the earlier ships were divided into
many pieces so as to be more readily handled and trimmed; triangular
sails took the place of the picturesque spritsails on the vessels’ bows;
hulls were built lower and deeper and while the number of masts varied
they were reduced until two- and three-masted, square-rigged vessels,
known as _brigs_ and _ships_, were the standard types of ocean-going

Among smaller vessels there were sloops, luggers, ketches and other
types of fore-and-aft-rigged craft, and as these sails had many
advantages over the square sails and their awkward yards they replaced
the latter in some cases and thus _barks_, _brigs_ and _brigantines_
came into use.

Then some brilliant sailor genius did away with the square sails
altogether and a new type of vessel came into existence which was called
a “schooner.” But conservative, croaking Jack still pinned his faith to
yards and square sails and for many years schooners carried lofty
topsails of the same form as the upper sails of square-rigged ships.

Today the fore-and-aft-rigged vessels are more numerous than all other
rigs combined and the square-riggers, stately and beautiful as they
were—the handsomest vessels ever built by man—have been almost driven
from the seas. With the outbreak of the European War and the demand for
ocean-going cargo-carriers the old square-riggers have once more come to
the fore, and in ports and harbors where a crossyard mast had not been
seen for many years, barks, ships and square-rigged vessels now line the
docks and are an everyday sight. But they are only temporary and every
boy and man who loves the sea and its ships should take advantage of
this opportunity to view a passing type of vessels and should learn all
about them, their rigging and their sails, for to them we owe much of
our commerce and prosperity, our independence and our progress.

Although the cheaper, more easily handled and more simple schooners
forced the square-rigged ships into the background, and while these in
turn have been largely superseded by steam for deep-water voyages, yet
the small boat has held its own throughout the centuries. In form, rig
and other details the small boats of today vary as widely as ever, for
small boats are designed and used for specific purposes and no one can
say which is the _best_ boat or the _handiest_ rig.

Steam and motor boats have taken the place of sailboats for business
purposes in many places, but as long as men love the sea, as long as
they enjoy the sting of the salt spray and the thrill of a plunging bow,
as long as our eyes brighten and our pulses quicken as we grasp tiller
and sheet and lee rails are awash, so long will the small boat hold its
own. We may conquer distance by steam, we may annihilate time by
paper-like hulls loaded with roaring motors of gigantic power, we may
travel in floating palaces called yachts, but nothing will ever be made
by man to take the place of the small boat for the out-and-out pleasure
and perfect enjoyment it gives the true boat-lover.

Although there is an endless variety of hulls and rigs among small boats
they may all be divided into a few general classes. In form of hull most
boats may be grouped under two broad types: round-bottomed and
flat-bottomed boats, but there _are_ intermediate forms and there are
also some kinds of boats which are a sort of hybrid or combination of

In rig we have the schooner, ketch, yawl, sloop and cat and while these
cover the matter in a general way there is a wonderful variety in the
sails, rigging and other details, and many boats which possess great
advantages cannot be properly classed in any of these groups.

The best boat to use and the best rig to adopt depend largely upon the
purpose of the boat and its rig, the place where it is to be used, the
owner’s ability as a sailor, the weather likely to be encountered, the
character of the neighboring shores and waters and various other

In order to select intelligently the best boat for your use it is
necessary to consider the various types of hull and rig, their
advantages and disadvantages and the purposes for which they are
intended, and then, knowing these things, select the one which you think
best adapted to your own requirements.


                               CHAPTER II

                            WHAT BOAT TO USE

Through countless centuries since man first made and used boats, an
almost infinite variety of craft has been developed. In every land where
boats of any sort are used the inhabitants have gradually evolved boats
adapted to their special needs, the conditions of their seas or water
courses and the work in which the boats are to be used.

In a great many countries the types of boats in use today have not
changed or altered for hundreds of years, but in many other places
forms, construction and other details of the boats have been changed,
ideas from other lands or races have been adopted and we now find a
great many different kinds of boats used for the same purpose. Moreover,
with the migration of man from one place to another, boats of one nation
have been introduced to the people of other lands and sometimes, in one
locality, we may find boats from widely separated parts of the world
being used daily side by side.

Of course these remarks apply mainly to boats used for commercial or
business purposes for wherever boats are used for pleasure one may find
an infinite variety of craft whose models have been culled from every
corner of the maritime world.

In every case, however, there are certain definite reasons for one type
of boat being more generally used than another, and every boat-builder
and user, since boats were first invented, has aimed to combine certain
qualities in the construction of boats.

The three most important matters to be considered in any boat are
seaworthiness, stability and speed. Which of these is of the greatest
importance depends very largely upon the local conditions, the purposes
for which the boat is to be used and the ideas of its builder or owner.

In some places speed is the prime consideration, in other places
seaworthiness is the most important factor, while in still other
localities the ability to carry heavy loads and not sink or upset is of
more value than either speed or the power to resist winds and waves

Thus the men who depend upon piloting vessels to an anchorage and whose
earnings are large or small according to whether or not they reach the
incoming vessels first, must have fast boats and seaworthiness may be a
secondary consideration. Again the toilers of the sea who spend days
upon the stormiest oceans fishing, lobstering or in similar pursuits
must have boats which are safe in any weather and speed is of little
importance, while those who use boats for transporting heavy cargoes or
many passengers from place to place in fairly smooth waters, find
stability of greater value than either speed or seaworthiness.

Many times, however, in fact, as a general rule, the most seaworthy
boats are the most stable, while usually both stability and
seaworthiness must be sacrificed to a certain degree in order to obtain
great speed. But there are exceptions to all rules and many boats have
become world-famous because they combine all these three qualifications
to a remarkable degree.


    1—Whaleboat. 2—Lifeboat. 3—Dory. 4—Sharpie. 5—Skipjack.
        6—Block Island boat.

The _whaleboats_ used by the Yankee whalemen for chasing and capturing
whales, are splendid examples of this. These boats are light, strong,
stable, seaworthy and very fast and in these respects are probably the
most perfect type of small craft ever designed. They are thirty feet in
length and six feet wide, barely two feet in depth amidships and yet are
capable of breasting the heaviest waves of midocean, withstanding the
most terrific gales and weathering the most severe storms of any seas.
Pulled by five oars they attain the speed of a motor boat; they are
light enough to be pulled upon a beach or easily hoisted to a ship’s
davits. They sail rapidly, are easily handled and hold together when
towed at express-train speed by a harpooned whale.

Moreover, their construction is so simple that even when smashed or
“stove” by a whale they can be repaired easily by a carpenter and best
of all they are very cheap, a new whaleboat costing complete only one
hundred and twenty-five dollars. In these boats shipwrecked whalers have
made some marvelous voyages and several instances are on record of men
navigating the stormiest parts of the ocean for six thousand miles in
these boats in perfect safety.

Somewhat similar to the whaleboats in shape are the _surfboats_ used on
the coasts of many sea-girt localities, notably on the Atlantic seaboard
of our Middle States, and while not as speedy, light or staunch as the
whaleboats, they ride the roaring surf and towering waves as buoyantly
as seabirds and are ideal boats for use where there are heavy seas.

_Lifeboats_, such as those used on steamships and by the coast guard,
are really modified whaleboats and surfboats, combining the good points
of both and with slight alterations in proportions and construction to
enable them to carry large loads with safety.

They are not as easily handled or as speedy as the whaleboats, but they
are far more roomy; they are almost non-capsizable, are unsinkable and
are built both of metal and of wood. The are rather heavy, however, and

For one who wishes a perfectly safe, roomy, strong boat capable of
withstanding almost any weather and with good sailing qualities it is
hard to find anything better than a standard lifeboat.

At Block Island, off the tip of Long Island, there is a peculiar sort of
boat used by the native fishermen, which is known as the _Block Island
boat_. In some ways this craft resembles a whaleboat and in some ways it
reminds one of a surfboat, while in many of its characters it is much
like a lifeboat and yet it is totally different from all. They are
wonderfully staunch and seaworthy, they have great carrying capacity and
sail very well. Formerly a great many were used as small cruising
yachts, but of late years they have almost disappeared.

Somewhat similar to the whaleboats are the big _seine boats_ used by the
New England fishermen for pulling the great, heavy seines when catching
mackerel, herring, menhaden, etc. They are very stable boats with
immense carrying capacity, are easily handled and are seaworthy, but
have no advantages over the whaleboats except in point of size. They do
not sail as well nor are they are as seaworthy as the whaleboats.

All of the above are round-bottomed boats of the double-ended type in
which both bow and stern are sharp. One would therefore assume that this
style was the most seaworthy, especially as the spongers of the
Mediterranean, the pilot boats of many islands and the typical
fishing-boats of the European countries are also double-ended. Such,
however, is not necessarily the case for the fishermen, pilots and other
inhabitants of other countries use round-bottomed boats with broad
sterns and some even use flat-bottomed boats and brave as heavy weather,
as hard storms and as tumultuous seas as their fellows in the
round-bottomed, double-ended craft.

Probably no men in the world ply their trade in rougher seas and in
stormier weather than the Gloucester fishermen who fish for halibut and
cod on the banks of Newfoundland and on George’s Banks. The boats used
by these hardy fishermen are known as _dories_ and are flat-bottomed,
high-sided, odd-looking craft which one would never imagine were
seaworthy, yet in them the Gloucester fishermen ride out terrific storms
and mountainous waves; they haul halibut weighing hundreds of pounds
over the boats’ sides without capsizing, and they sail or row them
safely through winter storms in midocean when laden with fish until the
gunwales are almost level with the water. Dories used by the fishermen
are not beautiful nor graceful boats, but they are wonderfully well
adapted to their use, and many builders have adopted so-called dory
models for pleasure craft, both for motor boats and sailboats. As a
rule, however, there is little resemblance between these “improved”
dories and those of the banks, and the stability and other qualities of
the real dories are usually lost in altering the lines for the sake of

Still another type of flat-bottomed boat which is used all along the
Atlantic coast is the _sharpie_. The sharpie is merely a modified skiff
equipped with a centerboard, but when properly handled these boats will
stand a great deal of rough weather and knocking about and, moreover,
they sail remarkably well. One usually thinks of sharpies as small boats
but they are often forty or fifty feet in length and are sometimes built
as large as small schooners and of twenty to fifty tons capacity. The
great objection to sharpies and other flat-bottomed boats is that they
“pound” or slap the water when in a heavy sea or among choppy waves, and
to overcome this a type of boat known as a _skipjack_ was evolved.
Skipjacks are a sort of connecting link between true flat-bottomed and
round-bottomed boats, for the after part of the bottom is flat while the
forward portion is V-shaped and thus they cut through the seas instead
of pounding on them while at the same time they slip over the surface of
the water rather than through it. Many of the fastest racing boats and
the fastest motor speed boats are nothing more nor less than modified
skipjacks, and for all-around use, especially in shallow waters, there
are few better boats where roominess and sea-going qualities are not

Just as the men whose living depends upon their boats have agreed upon
the craft best suited to their needs, so the man or boy who is selecting
a sailboat for pleasure should consider all the types and should choose
that which best fulfills all of his requirements.

If you want a roomy boat or a boat on which to live or sleep you should
choose a round-bottomed craft, for only in these can you obtain much
depth or “head room” unless a very high cabin is built above the deck
which always makes a boat top-heavy and unseaworthy. If the waters in
which you are to use your boat are stormy, if heavy seas are common, or
if you expect to make long trips out to sea or from place to place,
select a boat which is noted for its seaworthy qualities, such as a
_whaleboat_, _seine boat_, _lifeboat_ or _Block Island model_.

If you are obliged to run ashore or to pull your boat upon a rocky or
sandy beach select a flat-bottomed craft which can be hauled out readily
without injury; while, if you want a boat for general utility, to use in
bays and harbors and in sheltered waters and yet capable of standing any
reasonable seas and ordinary storms, select a fairly deep, beamy,
round-bottomed hull such as the _Cape Cod_ or _Block Island catboat_, or
a similar model.

If your boat is merely an open boat for day sailing and short trips
almost any type will serve, such as a _dory_, a _sharpie_, a _skipjack_
or a round-bottomed or _yawl_ boat. As a rule, however, you should avoid
the true “open” boat for sailing, for in a boat without any deck it only
takes a slight puff of wind, an instant’s carelessness or a small sea to
bring the rail under water and swamp the boat.

Even a very narrow deck is far better than none at all and if the deck
has a good high “combing” or raised inner edge, the safety will be
increased a hundredfold.

Very few boats will capsize if decently handled and not equipped with
too much sail unless “tripped” by getting water over the side; but once
the rail of an open boat _is_ under water the boat will upset very
quickly, for each pound of water taken in stays on the lowest side of
the boat and has a tendency to carry the craft over still further.

A great deal depends upon the construction of the boat itself and still
more depends upon the rig or sails to be used, and before selecting or
using any boat you should be thoroughly familiar with the various parts
of a boat, its construction, its fittings and its rig and should know
what each and every part is for, as well as how to use, repair and care
for it.


                              CHAPTER III

                             PARTS OF BOATS

Nearly everyone knows that the body of the boat is called the hull, but
a great many people, even those who live by the sea or who are
accustomed to the use of boats, know very little about the various parts
of the hull or the proper names for the different portions of it.

The principal parts of a small boat’s hull are: the _bow_, the _stern_,
the _deck_ (if not an open boat); the _keel_, the _thwarts_, the
_bilge_, the _bottom_, the _topsides_ and the _gunwales_. Each of these
is made up of various pieces or parts, and to portions of each different
names are given. The _bow_ is the forward end of the boat; the _stern_
is the rear end; the _deck_ is the portion on top or the part which
covers the open portion; the _keel_ is the very bottom piece which
extends from bow to stern; the _thwarts_ are the seats; the _bilge_ is
the bottom close to the keel on either side; the _bottom_ proper is the
portion between the keel and the sides of the boat; the _topsides_ are
the sides above the curve of the bottom; the _gunwales_ are the upper
edges of the topsides.

The extreme forward edge of the bow is known as the _cutwater_; the
extreme end of the stern is known as the _counter_ or _transom_; the
curve from bow to stern, horizontally, is called the _sheer_; the sides
above the water are known as _freeboard_; the inner edge of the decks
when provided with a perpendicular edge is the _combing_; the open space
within the edge of the decks is known as the _cockpit_; the extreme
forward portion of the boat is called the _peak_; the central part of
the craft is the _waist_; the forward part of the hull near the stem and
below the water line is the _entrance_; the after part, on the sides
beneath the water is the _run_. In every boat, no matter how large or
small she may be, these parts are always the same.

The various parts used in building a boat are very numerous in some
craft and are few in others, depending upon the size and model of the
boat, but in every case similar parts have the same names and are used
for the same purposes.

The upright piece, to which the sides are attached at the bow is the
_stem_ and when this is made in two parts, as is often the case on large
boats, the outer piece is known as the _false stem_. This stem is
attached to the keel by a _knee_ and when a second piece is attached to
the keel to thicken and strengthen it, the piece is called the
_keelson_. At the stern the upright timber is called the _sternpost_ and
to this the transom, the broad flat piece at the end of the stern, is
fastened. From the stem to the transom extends the _planking_, the plank
next to the keel on each side being called the _garboard strake_ and the
ones at the top of the sides being known as _top strakes_, _sheer
strakes_ or _upper strakes_. From keel to the tops of the sides curved
or bent pieces are fastened which are known as _ribs_ and these are
attached to the keel-piece and the decks by _knees_. Sometimes an inner
lining is placed on top of the ribs to make the inside of the boat
smooth and this is known as the _ceiling_ while the pieces that extend
across from side to side and which support the decks are called _deck
timbers_. These are the principal parts found in every boat of
round-bottomed construction, but in flat-bottomed boats there are no
real ribs, no bilge nor garboard strakes, no keel and no real sternpost,
owing to the form and method of construction.

In a flat-bottomed boat the bottom runs across from side to side without
any bilge; the entire sides are practically freeboard; straight braces
or timbers replace ribs; the keel is replaced by a false keel or
_rubbing strake_ and, except in large sized boats, the transom is held
in position by the sides and bottom and no stern post is required.

In form and design the various parts of boats vary as much, or even
more, than the boats themselves and there is an almost endless variety
of bows, sterns, counters, etc., not to mention the forms of rudders,
the variations in sheer, and other proportions of form, lines, run,
freeboard, etc.

Even in one type of boat there may be a great many forms of bows or
sterns in use, many designed merely to add to the appearance of the
craft, others to add speed, others to make the boat drier, others to
adapt it better to sailing or rowing, as the case may be; and still
others to afford better facilities for using certain types of rig, gear
or fishing-tackle.

The forms of bows and sterns are so numerous that to name or describe
them all would require a volume, but they may all be grouped under a
comparatively limited number of types, the others being merely
modifications or combinations of these.


    1—Straight bow. 2—Round bow. 3—Clipper bow. 4—Dory bow.
        5—Whaleboat bow. 6—Canoe bow. 7—Spoon bow. 8—Square
        stern. 9—Overhanging stern. 10—Whaleboat stern. 11—Dory
        stern. 12—Round stern. 13—Sharp or “pinkey” stern.

The commonest and most important forms of bows are as follows:

_Straight bows_, in which the stem is perpendicular to the keel; _round
bows_, in which the stem is curved or rounded from keel to deck;
_clipper bows_, in which the stem is concave or hollowed in outline;
_raking_ or _dory bows_ in which the stem is set at an angle to the
keel; _whaleboat bows_ which are rounded or curved and are also at an
angle; _canoe bows_ which are like the round bows but more convex, and
_spoon bows_ which have no true stem but sweep in a gradual curve from
the bottom of the boat to the deck.

Among the more typical sterns we find: _Square_ or _straight sterns_, in
which the sternpost is perpendicular and the counter is broad and flat;
_overhanging sterns_, in which the counter is carried out beyond the
sternpost and overhangs the water; _dory sterns_, in which the sternpost
is at an angle and has a V-shaped counter; _whaleboat sterns_ which are
sharp and shaped like the bow; _round sterns_, in which the sides are
carried around in a curve or half-circle with no transom; and _sharp
sterns_ or _pinkey sterns_ which are sharp like the stern of a
whaleboat, but instead of being curved are merely angular or

Each of these forms of bows and sterns possesses qualities which adapt
it to one purpose more than another and in selecting a boat you should
bear this in mind. Straight or round bows throw a larger bow wave than
the whaleboat or clipper types and have a tendency to bury the bows in
heavy seas; whaleboat or dory bows cut through the waves, but give great
buoyancy or lifting power to the craft, thus preventing it from burying
the forward part in the water; while spoon bows pound and slap in heavy
seas and are principally of value for racing boats or for use in calm

Even the sterns have an important effect upon a boat’s abilities and
seaworthiness. A square stern will drag a great deal of water behind it
when traveling rapidly and with a following sea is liable to take in
water, or to be “pooped,” as the sailors would say. Round sterns with an
overhang are also bad in a seaway and often make a boat slow in coming
about or turning; transom sterns with an overhang are better, while the
sharp-pointed pinkey or whaleboat sterns prevent a following sea from
entering the boat and leave a clean wake, but owing to the fact that
there is no overhang and that the entire height of the boat is brought
broadside to the water when turning, they are not so quick in
maneuvering as a stern with a good overhang. Perhaps the best all-around
stern is one with a good overhang, a sharp run and a small counter: in
other words, a sort of combination of the common overhand stern and the
whaleboat type.

In the planking, boats vary a great deal, and there are many different
methods of making the sides and bottom. Even boats of the same form, for
the same uses and with the same style of bow and stern may be made in
very different ways. One method is to place the planks so that the edges
join and there is a uniform, smooth surface, with all the planks running
from bow to stern. This is known as _smooth-skin_ or _carvel planking_.
Another style is to let the boards overlap slightly; this is known as
_clinker construction_ or _lap-streak_ planking. Other boats are planked
with very narrow strips fastened one above the other, edge to edge,
while still others are covered with two or more layers of thin boards
placed diagonally from keel to gunwales and known as _diagonal
planking_. For light racing boats the latter type is admirable for it is
strong, light, tight and stiff, but it is difficult to repair, it is
expensive and for ordinary use has no advantages. Clinker-built boats
are excellent when new, but a broken or injured plank is difficult to
replace, leaks are hard to stop and it has no advantages over the carvel
planking which is the commonest of all forms of boat-building.

Still another matter to be considered when selecting a boat is whether
you should use a keel or a centerboard craft. Every boat, in order to
sail well, must have a portion which projects below the bottom and which
will prevent the craft from sliding sideways or making “leeway” on the
water when the wind is from the side or when sailing against the wind.
This projection may be a _keel_, which is an immovable portion of the
boat itself; it may be a _centerboard_ which is a board which can be
raised or lowered at will from the center of the boat, or it may be a
_leeboard_ which is merely hung over the side opposite the wind and is
shifted as the boat tacks or goes about.

Leeboards are clumsy makeshifts and while they are used on large vessels
in some countries, as in Holland and Scandinavia, they are a great
nuisance and very unsatisfactory on anything but canoes and rowboats
which are sailed occasionally and on which either keels or centerboards
would be inconvenient.

No one has yet decided definitely whether or not keels or centerboards
are the better, although the matter has been discussed, tried and
thrashed out for years. As a matter of fact each has its advantages and
disadvantages, each is adapted to certain types of boats and to certain
conditions and each has its adherents who have no faith in the other

Personally, I think the keel boat the better for deep water use where
there is a likelihood of heavy weather and yet many of the Gloucester
fishing-smacks and many yachts which have won ocean races are of the
centerboard type. For shallow waters or where there are reefs, sandbars,
shoals or mud-flats keel boats are a nuisance and centerboards are
practically a necessity. Where boats are to be hauled on beaches
centerboard boats are really the only kind to use, for keel boats will
not stand upright and cut deeply into the sand. Flat-bottomed boats are
nearly always of the centerboard type; whaleboats have centerboards, and
yet catboats and other round-bottomed boats are made in both types.

Keel boats are roomier than those with centerboards for there is no
space occupied by the centerboard and its case; they are less liable to
capsize, and if made with the same proportions as centerboard boats they
are as dry, seaworthy and handy. As a rule, however, the keel craft are
much narrower and deeper than those equipped with centerboards and many
of them are almost like a plank set on edge. These are stable enough,
but they are wet, uncomfortable and hard to handle.

The advantages of the centerboard are that when sailing before the wind
or when rowing the board may be lifted and much less resistance to the
water will then result and consequently more speed may be gained. When
in shallow water the centerboard may be raised or lowered according to
the depth of the water, and if a sandbar or reef is struck little injury
will result, as the board is free to move up when it strikes an
obstruction, whereas a keel boat under the same conditions might be
badly injured.

The objections to a centerboard are the difficulties in keeping the case
and trunk of the board from leaking, the space it occupies, the
necessity of raising or lowering it according to varying conditions and
the slight, very slight, chance of losing the board and thus becoming


    1—Section of a keel boat. 2—Section of a centerboard boat.
        3—Section of a fin keel boat. 4—Portion of a keel boat’s
        hull. 5—Boat with centerboard. 6—Boat with leeboard.
        7-9—Forms of rudders for keel boats. 8-10—Forms of
        rudders for centerboard boats.

Centerboards are not confined to small boats as many think, but large
coasting vessels and even three-masted schooners are often built with
them, which proves that they have many great advantages. Some boats are
built in a sort of combination keel and centerboard method, in which a
moderate keel is provided and a centerboard is used as well, while
within comparatively recent years the _fin-keel_ type of boat has been
evolved. In these the hull is proportioned like that of a centerboard
boat but the keel is merely a large fin or sheet of metal carrying a
mass of lead or iron at its lower edge. All things being equal, the best
boat for ordinary use is the centerboard type and for small boats, or
the amateur’s use, they are far superior to keel boats of any sort.

Most small boats are steered by means of a rudder and tiller, the rudder
being a wooden or metal affair submerged at the stern and the tiller
consisting of a handle at the rudder’s upper end. Some rudders are hung
or fastened to the counter and can be easily taken off or “unshipped,”
while others are under the counter and are fastened to the sternpost
with the upper end coming up through the boat or the deck. There are
various forms of rudders: some long and extending out for a considerable
distance in the rear of the boat, and others high and narrow, but the
purpose of all is the same and the rudder is always designed to present
an area sufficient to swing the boat around readily or to steer it
without using too great force. Large boats are usually steered by gears
connecting the rudder to a wheel; as the handling of a tiller connected
directly to the rudder of a large vessel would be a very difficult task

As, in order to turn a boat to the right, the tiller must be moved to
the left, the terms used by sailors in steering boats are often
confusing to landsmen. For example, if a sailor wants a boat turned to
the left, or to _port_, as it’s called, he will say, “Starboard the
helm,” or, in other words, push the tiller to the _starboard_ or
right-hand side, and vice versa. It is not so bad when steering with a
tiller, but when steering with a wheel the beginner is very apt to do
the wrong thing and turn the wheel _to the right_ when he wants to go
_to the right_ and _to the left_, or _port_, when he wants to go to that
direction, and to simplify matters many boats are now arranged so that
the wheel is turned in the direction one really wants to go.

This makes it very easy when steering for oneself, but if someone is
directing the course and sings out the orders in true sailor fashion the
steersman has to remember and _port_ his helm when he is told to
_starboard_ it and thus the confusion is just as bad as ever. For this
reason the beginner should use a tiller if possible; for that matter,
there is no advantage in a wheel in boats less than thirty or forty feet
in length.


    1—Eyebolt. 2—Block. 3—Hook block. 4—Ring block. 5—Sister or
        fiddle block. 6—Snatch block. 7—Cheek block. 8,
        9—Fairleaders. 10—Whip purchase. 11—Whip and runner.
        12—Long tackle. 13—Gun tackle. 14—Luff tackle. 15—Watch
        tackle. 16—Cleats. 17—Chocks. 18—Bitts. 19—Turnbuckles.
        20—Travelers. 21—Dead eyes. 22—Section of boat to show
        parts (round bottom). 23—Section of boat to show parts
        (flat bottom). 24—External parts of boat. 25—Parts of
        boat (top view). 26—Carvel planking. 27—Clinker
        planking. 28—Strip planking. 29—Flat bottom planking.
        30—V-bottom planking. 31—Diagonal planking.

On every sailboat there are a certain number of appliances which are
unfamiliar to landsmen but which you should become accustomed to before
attempting to handle a boat. There are _blocks_, _tackle_, _chocks_,
_fairleaders_, _cleats_, _turnbuckles_, _eyebolts_ and _travelers_ among
the deck fittings. Each of these has its use and one should be perfectly
familiar with them. _Blocks_ are wooden or metal objects containing
rollers or wheels known as _sheaves_ through which ropes are run to
enable them to be hauled tight without great friction. _Cheek-blocks_
are half blocks which bolt or attach to a mast, spar, or other object.
_Sister-blocks_ have two sheaves, one above the other, in a single
shell. _Tail-blocks_ are blocks with a rope or hook at one end by which
they may be hung to spars, etc. _Snatch-blocks_ are blocks arranged so
that one side may be opened to allow a rope to be passed over the sheave
without running it through and there are _patent-blocks_ which will hold
a rope securely in any position by means of a grip.

Blocks and ropes together are known as _tackles_ and the blocks used may
be single, double, triple or fourfold, according to the number of
sheaves they contain. A _luff-tackle_ has a single and a double block
with one end of the rope fast to the single block and the hauling end
leading from the double block.

A _gun-tackle_ consists of two single blocks with one end of the rope
fast to the upper block and the hauling part passing down from the upper

A _watch-tackle_ is a tackle used to haul the rope which is rove through
another tackle and a _whip-purchase_ has a single block only.

The purpose of the tackle is to increase one’s power and the more
sheaves there are and the more times the rope is passed through the
blocks the more the power obtained; but as in every case where power is
increased, speed is lost and to hoist a sail with a tackle with several
sheaves requires more time than to do the same work with a single-sheave
block. For this reason the simplest tackle which will enable you to
perform the work without undue exertion is the one you should use.

_Fairleaders_ are sheaves or rollers which are screwed or bolted to the
decks or other parts of the boat and through which ropes are run in
order that the ropes may be carried around curves or at right angles.
_Chocks_ are metal or wooden appliances in the form of notches and are
used where ropes pass over the edge of a boat to hold them in one
position. _Cleats_ are devices for holding a rope without tying it and
are very useful and numerous on boats. They are either of metal or wood
and by winding the rope over them it may be held securely and yet can be
thrown off at a moment’s notice. _Turnbuckles_ are metal arrangements
for tightening ropes, wires or chains and have hooks or eyes at the ends
with screw-threads which may be drawn together or separated by turning
the central portion of the turnbuckle. On small boats they are seldom
used, but on large and medium-sized craft they are very necessary.
_Eyebolts_ are eyes bolted or screwed in position and to them
turnbuckles, ropes, blocks or other objects are fastened, while
_travelers_ are metal rods over which blocks, rings or things slide or
“travel.” _Travelers_ are usually placed at the stern of single-sailed
boats for the tackle of the sheet, the rope which controls the sail, to
slide on, and they are also used on masts for the sail to slide up and
down upon when it is raised or lowered, as well as in many other places.

A great many people who have used boats or have traveled on them speak
of a vessel’s _rigging_ without knowing what the rigging really is. In
the same way they speak of the “ropes” of a ship and while both terms
may be correct in a way, yet to a sailor the terms would mean nothing
definite. _Rigging_ comprises all the ropes, sails, stays, halyards and
in fact, everything above the decks which has anything to do with the
sail plan or _rig_ of a boat, but to sailors there are two definite
types of rigging, even in the smallest craft. These are the standing
rigging and the running rigging. The latter comprises only the various
ropes, lines, etc., which move when the vessel is in use, while the
_standing rigging_ consists of all the permanent ropes, stays and other
things which remain stationary. To enumerate the various individual
parts of the standing and running rigging of a large vessel would
require a great deal of space and would be of little value to the person
who is interested only in small boats, but there are certain portions of
the rigging which occur on every boat and which every boatman should
know by heart.

As a matter of fact, there are very few “ropes” so-called, even on a
full-rigged ship, for what appear as ropes to a landsman are known by
specific names to sailors. Even on a small boat there are few ropes
which are spoken of as such and nothing so loudly proclaims the
landlubber as to speak of a _stay_, _halyard_ or _sheet_ as a “rope.”

The _halyards_ are the ropes which hoist the sails and they vary in
number and name according to the type of sails used. As a rule there are
two to each sail and known as the _throat halyards_ and _peak halyards_.
(This refers only to fore-and-aft sails, see Chapter IV). The _throat
halyard_ being the one which hoists the edge of the sail nearest the
mast, while the _peak halyard_ raises the outer edge of the sail. Where
sails have no gaff or piece of wood at the upper edge only one halyard
is used.


    A—Jib halyard. B—Downhaul. C—Throat halyard. D—Peak halyard.
        E—Topping lift. F—Main sheet. G—Jib sheet.

The _sheet_ is the line which is attached to the outer extremity of the
sail and is controlled by the man sailing the boat and its purpose is to
hold the sail in any desired position and to enable the sailor to pull
the sail in or to let it out, according to the direction of the wind and
the course sailed.

_Downhauls_ are ropes used in pulling down sails and are just the
opposite of halyards and on small boats they are seldom necessary.
_Topping lifts_ are ropes which lead from the masthead to the end of
boom to support the latter when the sail is lowered and they are usually
so arranged that they may be hauled up or let down to raise or lower or
_top_ the boom. _Lazy jacks_ are light lines extending from the mast
head, or near it, to the boom and are used to prevent the sail from
falling or bagging loose when lowered. They are seldom used on very
small boats. _Brails_ are ropes extending to the after edge of the sail
by means of which the sail may be gathered close to the mast ready for


    1—Polemast. 2—Mast with topmast. 3—Mast with topmast and
        topgallant mast. 4—Bowsprit with jib boom. 5—Pole
        bowsprit. 6—Foremast. 7—Mainmast. 8—Mizzen mast.
        9—Jigger or spanker mast.

    A—Forestay. B—Backstays. C—Shrouds or side stays. D—Topmast
        stay. E—Fore topmast stay. F—Jib stay. F′—Foretopgallant
        stay. G—Flying jib stay. H—Fore royal stay. I—Mast or
        lower mast. J—Trestle or cross trees. K—Top mast.
        L—Topgallant mast. M—Topmast cap. N—Topmast trestle or
        cross trees. O—Lowermast cap. P—Royal mast. Q—Futtock
        shrouds. R—Ratlines. S—Spreader.

    BT—Bowsprit. JB—Jib boom. FJB—Flying jib boom. BS—Bobstays.
        DS—Martingale or dolphin striker. MBR—Martingale back
        ropes. JBS—Jib boom martingale stays. FJBS—Flying jib
        boom martingale stays.

All these are parts of the _running rigging_ while the _standing
rigging_, in its simplest form, consists of _stays_ which are ropes or
wires stretched from the top of the mast to the hull to keep the mast in
position, or which extend from the top of the mast to the bowsprit and
from the bowsprit to the stem to keep the bowsprit in its proper place.
The stays from the mast to the bowsprit are known as _forestays_ and
upon them small sails are run up or down which are known as _jibs_,
_forestaysails_, etc. (Chapter IV). Many boats which do not have
bowsprits or jibs nevertheless have forestays running from the top of
the mast to the bow, to keep the mast in one position, while many boats
with bowsprits have stays running from the end of the bowsprit to the
sides of the boat, their purpose being to keep the bowsprit from bending

On large vessels the stays are very numerous and there are _backstays_
to keep the masts from bending forward, stays between the masts and many
other kinds of stays, but most of these are never necessary on small
boats. If the boat has a _topmast_, however, there are always
_topmast-stays_ and usually _backstays_, the former being spread apart,
where the topmast and lowermast join, by means of a wooden or metal
crosspiece known as a _spreader_. So also on boats with a long bowsprit,
or where a second piece known as a _jib boom_, extends beyond the
bowsprit, there are stays known as _bobstays_ which are spread down
toward the water by means of a metal or iron piece known as the _dolphin
striker_ or _martingale boom_.

In mentioning these various parts of the rigging I have used the terms
“masts,” “bowsprit,” etc., and while I suppose that nearly every reader
will know what a _mast_ and a _bowsprit_ is, yet it may be well to add a
few words about them and their names. The _masts_, of course, are the
sticks which carry the sails and rigging, and if there are more than one
used, the forward mast is _always_ the _foremast_. The one back of this
is the _mainmast_; the third from the bow is the _mizzen_, while in
four-masted vessels there is the _spanker mast_ or _jigger mast_. Where
the front mast is very high and there is another very small mast at the
stern the latter is also known as the _jigger_ or _mizzen_ and the
forward mast becomes the _mainmast_. Masts may be made in one or more
sections according to the rig of the vessel. If the mast is all in one
piece it is known as a _polemast_ and if another piece is placed above
it this is known as the _topmast_, while in square-rigged vessels there
are still other pieces known as _topgallant masts_, _royal masts_, etc.

The _bowsprit_ is the stick which projects forward from the bow of a
vessel and it may be either a _pole bowsprit_ in one piece, or it may
have a second piece attached to it and known as a _jib boom_, while on
very large vessels there may be still a third part known as the _flying
jib boom_. In addition to all these there are the various sticks or
timbers which help spread the sails and which are known as _spars_, but
as these vary in number and name according to the rig and sails used it
is best to consider them in connection with the sails themselves.


                               CHAPTER IV

                              VARIOUS RIGS

Probably the first sail ever placed upon a boat was merely a piece of
hide or skin, lashed to a sapling and kept spread open by a rough stick
lashed across it. Through all the countless centuries this first form of
sail has been retained and while the skin has been replaced by cloth and
the rough saplings have given place to well-finished poles or spars, the
spritsail, as it is called, still remains one of the simplest, handiest
and most widely used of sails.

The true spritsail is a square, or nearly square, piece of canvas laced
by one edge to the mast and kept stretched flat by means of a pole known
as a _sprit_ which extends from the lower part of the mast diagonally
across the sail to the upper, outer corner.

Sometimes the sail is attached to hoops or rings which run up and down
the mast and a halyard is used in hoisting the sail but, in order to
spread the sail well, the sprit must be pulled out by hand and cannot be
arranged to rise or fall with the sail. The ordinary method of securing
the sprit is to place the tip in a small loop, or eye of rope made at
the corner of the sail and then heave the sprit out until the sail is
taut by means of a rope known as a _lanyard_ which is attached to the
mast and is passed through a hole or a notch in the lower end of the

Another very simple sail, which is really a modification of the
spritsail, is the _leg-o’-mutton_. This differs mainly from the
spritsail in form, for instead of being rectangular it is three-cornered
and the sprit, instead of extending from the mast to the upper, outer
corner of the sail, extends almost horizontally across it. Leg-o’-mutton
sails, like the spritsails, are often arranged to be raised or lowered
by a halyard and owing to the position of the sprit it is not necessary
to remove it when lowering a leg-o’-mutton sail.

Some spritsails have two sprits, but this is a nuisance and for most
purposes the leg-o’-mutton is the far better sail of the two. In the
first place it stays flatter and thus enables one to sail closer to the
wind; it does not have the tendency to “kick up” and wrap itself about
the mast, like the spritsail, when sailing before the wind, and finally
it is not so liable to capsize a boat in a heavy wind as the greatest
area is low, whereas in the spritsail the upper portion presents the
largest surface to the wind.

[Illustration: VARIOUS RIGS]

    1—Felucca. 2—Lugger. 3—Nonpareil. 4—Dandy. 5—Bermuda boat.
        6—French gunter. 7—Batten sail. 8—Settee sail.

Somewhat similar to the leg-o’-mutton sail in form is the _gunter sail_
or _sliding gunter_, which is a great favorite in many parts of Europe
but which has never been widely introduced in America, although it has a
great many advantages over other sails for small boats. The gunter sail
is a very easy one to raise or lower, for there is no sprit to remove
and it is very easy to reef. In the gunter sail the mast is made in two
sections with the upper portion sliding by travellers over the lower
portion, and to this movable part the single halyard is attached. In
order to reef sail it is only necessary to lower the sliding mast a
trifle, tie the reef points to the boom and again hoist the sail taut.

Another form of rig, which is seen everywhere in Oriental waters, and is
the prime favorite with all Latin races, is the _lateen_. Like the
leg-o’-mutton and the gunter rigs the lateen is triangular, but unlike
the two former it is longer than high, or in other words, is placed
horizontally, instead of perpendicularly. The lateen is a particularly
good sail for small boats as the greatest area is low and why it has not
been more generally adopted is something of a mystery. As used in the
West Indies the lateen is rigged on a single, short mast which points or
“rakes” slightly towards the bow of the boat. It has two yards and is
raised and lowered by one halyard. It is kept taut and flat by a crotch,
or ring, passed around the mast and fastened to the lower yard. Properly
made the lateen will set very flat and smooth, it is easily and quickly
raised or lowered, readily reefed and is the most graceful and
picturesque of all rigs.

Somewhat like the lateen, but with the forward end cut off, is the
_lugsail_ which is the sail most often used by the fishermen of northern
Europe and the British Isles. Personally I could never see any advantage
which this sail possesses over the common and much more simple spritsail
or the ordinary boom-and-gaff sail and on large boats it is heavy,
clumsy and far less to be recommended than several other forms.

The common _boom-and-gaff_ sail is the one so familiar to everyone who
lives on or near the water or who has ever seen sailing boats or
vessels, for it is more widely used than any other form and is the basis
of all fore-and-aft rigs in most localities.


The true fore-and-aft sail or boom-and-gaff sail is really an adaptation
of the older lugsail and is a vast improvement over it. It is attached
to the mast by means of rings or travelers and has two spars; the one at
the top known as the _gaff_ and the one at the bottom known as the
_boom_. There are two halyards used, known as the peak halyard and
throat halyard; the latter being used to hoist the sail and the former
to spread it tight and flat. This rig is noted for its ability to sail
close to the wind; it is easy to handle and in case of a sudden storm or
squall the peak may be dropped and the area of the sail thus reduced
without stopping to reef. For very small boats it has the disadvantage
of requiring rather heavy spars and mast and a multiplicity of ropes,
blocks, etc., and hence for this purpose the sprit, leg-o’-mutton,
gunter or lateen rigs are preferable.

Aside from the shape or type of sails there are various rigs which are
well recognized as standards and which are combinations of several
sails. Thus the rig known as the _cat rig_ is a single fore-and-aft sail
near the bow of the boat. The _jib-and-mainsail_ rig has a boom-and-gaff
sail and a small triangular sail known as a _jib_, which is set on a
stay running from the masthead to the bow, or to the end of the
bowsprit. The _sloop_ rig is like the jib-and-mainsail rig but in
addition has a small sail known as a _topsail_ between the gaff and the
topmast; it may also have two or three other small triangular sails on
the forestays. When there are two of these the lowest is known as the
_fore staysail_, the next is the _jib_ and the third is the _flying
jib_. _Schooners_ are two-, three-, four-, five-, six- or even
seven-masted vessels with the masts fore-and-aft rigged and with jibs
like a sloop and with staysails between the various topmasts. In
schooners the various fore-and-aft sails are all of nearly the same size
with the sail on the rear mast the largest.

[Illustration: 1—KETCH RIG. 2—CAT YAWL RIG]

Two other rigs which have two masts and carry fore-and-aft sails are the
_ketch_ and the _yawl_. The ketch has a foremast rigged like that of a
sloop, or schooner, with a much smaller boom-and-gaff sail on a mast
near the stern, while the _yawl_ is practically the same with a still
smaller rear sail. If the rear mast or mizzen is placed _in front of the
sternpost_ the rig is the _ketch_ whereas if placed _behind the
sternpost_ it is a _yawl_ rig. There are also _cat yawls_ which have no
jibs and some ketches and yawls carry lugsails on both masts, or have a
boom and gaff mainsail and a lugsail mizzen or even a sprit, lateen,
leg-o’-mutton, gunter or other type of mizzen sail. Yawls and ketches
are at times rigged with leg-o’-mutton, lug, gunter or lateen sails on
both masts, but when thus rigged the crafts are not, properly speaking,
either yawls or ketches. If lugsails are used the rig is really a
_lugger_; if both masts carry leg-o’-mutton or gunter sails the rig is
known as the _nonpareil_; if the mizzen is a leg-o’-mutton sail the boat
is _dandy-rigged_ and if both main and mizzen sails are of the lateen
type the boat becomes a _felucca_, which is one of the favorite
Mediterranean rigs and is familiar to every reader of sea tales as the
typical rig of the Eastern corsairs.

All of the sails mentioned on these various rigs are those known as
_working sails_, but in addition there are numerous light sails used
when there is little wind or when racing, such as _spinnakers_, _jib
topsails_, _balloon jibs_, etc., but which are of little interest in
connection with small boats or boats for the amateur sailor.
Nevertheless some knowledge of such matters never comes amiss and it is
well to know the names and uses of these racing sails.

_Spinnakers_ are immense triangular sails used when running before the
wind and which are spread out from the side of the boat by means of a
spar known as a spinnaker boom. _Balloon jibs_ are huge, jib-like sails
of very light cotton or silk used in place of the smaller head sails
when running on, or before, the wind, while _jib topsails_ are
triangular sails run up on the stay which extends from the topmast to
the bowsprit.

Nowadays fore-and-aft-rigged vessels form the bulk of all sailing craft,
many of which are of immense size and capable of carrying many hundreds
of tons of cargo. The use of fore-and-aft sails on any but small boats
is comparatively recent, however, and formerly all large craft were what
are known as _square-riggers_. Although far more beautiful and stately
than the schooners the square-rigged vessels gradually gave way to the
more economical and handy fore-and-aft rigs and a few years ago one
seldom saw a square-rigged vessel, save in out-of-the-way places. With
the tremendous demand for ocean-going vessels, brought about by the
European War, the square-riggers once more came into their own and today
one may see ships, barks and brigs everywhere in the important ports of
the world.

Although small boats are seldom square-rigged yet everyone who is fond
of the sea and of boats should know something of square-rigged craft and
should be familiar with the various rigs and their sails and should know
the proper names and terms to use in speaking of them. To the landsman,
and to many sailors as well, the rigging of a square-rigged vessel
appears most complicated and confusing, but in reality it is very

A great many people call every large vessel a “ship” and many more who
can distinguish a sloop from a schooner, and a schooner from a yawl,
fail to note the differences between the various square-rigs and call
all square-rigged vessels “ships.” As a matter of fact “ships” are only
one type of square-rigged craft and it is just as erroneous to call a
bark a “ship” as to call a sloop a “schooner.”


    1—Topsail schooner. 2—Brigantine. 3—Brig (main course in
        dotted lines). 4—Barkentine (with double topsails).
        5—Bark (with double topsails). 6—Ship (with double
        topsails, fore and main skysails (mizzen course in
        dotted lines)). Staysails are omitted in Figs. 3, 4, 5,

Oddly enough one may trace the transition from the original
square-riggers to the modern fore-and-aft schooners by the various rigs,
for the old square sails died hard and even after the many advantages of
fore-and-aft sails were proven sailors still held tenaciously to certain
square sails and thus many types of square-rigged vessels are
combinations of the two forms and are really connecting links between
true square-riggers and fore-and-aft rigs.

This is the case with the so-called “topsail schooners” which are almost
a thing of the past in most countries but are still used in
Newfoundland, the Canadian provinces and in parts of Europe. The topsail
schooner is essentially a two-masted, fore-and-aft schooner, but the
foretopmast is equipped with yards bearing square sails, the lower sail
being known as the _foretopsail_ and the upper one as the
_foretopgallantsail_. Another step backward and we find the foremast
equipped entirely with square sails, the fore-and-aft sail on the
foremast missing and a fourth square sail above the foretopgallantsail.
This rig is known as the _brigantine_, while in the rig known as a
_brig_ both masts carry square sails and in addition the mainmast is
furnished with a fore-and-aft sail known as the _spanker_. In every
square-rigged vessel there are a definite number of square sails on each
mast and these always have the same name, although some vessels do not
carry all of them. Thus, the lowest sail is the _course_, the next is
the _topsail_, the next the _topgallantsail_, the next the _royal_ and
the highest of all is the _skysail_.

Formerly each of these sails was in one large piece, but in order to
make it easier to handle them _double topsails_ and _double
topgallantsails_ were invented and are now in general use. Thus one may
see square-rigged vessels with _seven_ instead of _five_ square sails on
each mast, but the names remain the same, the second and third sails
above the deck becoming _lower_ and _upper topsails_, and the two above
these being _lower_ and _upper topgallantsails_. Many other vessels
carry double topsails and single topgallantsails, but one can always
recognize these _double_ sails as they are much narrower than the full
sails. Comparatively few vessels carry skysails, many do not even carry
royals and still others carry more on one mast than on another.

Just as brigantines form a sort of connecting link between brigs and
two-masted schooners so _barkentines_ and _barks_ are connecting links
between three-masted schooners and real ships. The barkentine has the
forward mast square-rigged with the main and mizzen masts fore-and-aft
rigged, while the _bark_ has the fore and mainmast square-rigged and
only the mizzen fore-and-aft rigged. Finally there is the true _ship_ or
“full rigged ship,” as it is often called, in which all three masts are
square-rigged with a small fore-and-aft spanker on the last, or mizzen,

In former years barks and ships never had more than three masts, but
with the advent of steel hulls, and donkey engines to hoist and trim
sails, four-, five- and even six-masted barks and ships came into use.
It is sometimes difficult to tell whether these vessels are barks or
ships, but if there is _more than one mast fore-and-aft rigged_ they are
properly _barkentines_, if _only one_ mast is _without square sails_ the
vessel is a bark and if square sails are on all masts it is a
ship;—regardless of how many masts there are. Just as fore-and-aft
rigged vessels carry light sails to supplement the ordinary working
sails, so square-rigged vessels often spread additional canvas when the
winds are light or when greater speed is desired. Between the various
masts _staysails_, shaped like jibs, are extended, while at times small
sails known as _studding sails_ or _stunsails_ are set at the outer ends
of the square sails. These light sails take the names of the masts or
yards from which they are set and thus there are _main_ and _mizzen
topmast_ and _topgallant staysails_; _fore_, _main_ and _mizzen
topgallant_ and _royal studding sails_, etc.

These great steel and iron square-riggers often have each of their masts
in one piece or _polemasts_, but the older and typical square-rigged
vessels had their masts made up of several pieces, each of which carried
a sail, and the names of each section corresponded to the sail which it
carried. Thus the lowest section was the _mast_ proper, the piece above
was the _topmast_, the next was the _topgallant mast_, the next the
_royal mast_ and the slenderest, uppermost part was the _skysail pole_.

Each of these masts had its own stays and shrouds and between the masts
triangular, jib-like sails known as _staysails_ were set. These were
named after the masts to which the _upper ends_ were attached and thus
the staysail which extended downward from the top of the _topgallant_
mast was a _topgallant staysail_, etc.


    1—Jib boom. 2—Bowsprit. 3—Dolphin-striker or martingale.
        4—Cathead. 5—Capstan. 6—Cable. 7—Stem or Cutwater.
        8—Hawse-pipe or hawse-hole. 9—Starboard bow.
        10—Starboard beam. 11—Water line. 12—Starboard
        quarter. 13—Rudder. 14—Rudder post. 15—Counter.
        16—Deck house or cuddy. 17—Fore royalmast. 18—Main
        royalmast. 19—Mizzen royalmast. 20—Fore royalyard.
        21—Main royalyard. 22—Mizzen royalyard. 23—Fore
        topgallantmast. 24—Main topgallantmast. 25—Mizzen
        topgallantmast. 26—Fore topgallantyard. 27—Main
        topgallantyard. 28—Mizzen topgallantyard. 29—Fore
        topmast. 30—Main topmast. 31—Mizzen topmast. 32—Fore
        topsailyard. 33—Main topsailyard. 34—Mizzen
        topsailyard. 35—Foretop. 36—Maintop. 37—Mizzentop.
        38—Foreyard. 39—Mainyard. 40—Mizzen, or Cross-jack,
        yard. 41—Foremast. 42—Mainmast. 43—Mizzenmast.
        44—Foregaff, or fore-spencer-gaff. 45—Trysail-gaff, or
        Main-spencer-gaff. 46—Spanker-gaff. 47—Spanker-boom.
        48—Bulwark, or rail. 49—Starboard ports. 50—Starboard
        scupper-holes. 51—Starboard chain-plates.

    A, A, A—Fore, main and mizzen royal-stays.
        B—Flying-jib-stay. C, C, C—Fore, main and mizzen
        topgallant-stays. D—Jib-stay. E, E, E—Fore, main and
        mizzen topmast-stays. F, F, F—Fore, main and
        mizzen-stays. G, G—Fore and main-tacks. H, H, H—Fore,
        main and mizzen royal-lifts. I, I, I—Fore, main and
        mizzen topgallant-lifts. J, J, J—Fore, main and mizzen
        topsail-lifts. K, K, K—Fore, main and mizzen, or
        cross-jack, lifts. L, L, L—Fore, main and mizzen
        royal-braces. M, M, M—Fore, main and mizzen
        topgallant-braces. N, N, N—Fore, main and mizzen
        topsail-braces. O, O, O—Fore, main and mizzen, or
        cross-jack, braces. P, P, P—Fore, main and mizzen
        starboard shrouds. Q, Q, Q—Fore, main and mizzen
        backstays. R, R, R—Peak halyards. S, S, S—Trysail and
        spanker vangs. T, T—Fore and main sheets. U—Spanker
        topping-lift. V—Spanker sheet. W—Flying martingale.
        W′—Martingale stay. X—Bobstays. Y—Chafing gear.

        NOTE—Modern vessels carry double-topsails and often
        double topgallantsails also, in which case the words
        “upper” or “lower” are prefixed to the sails, spars and
        rigging of these sails. Skysails also are carried at
        times. These are small sails set on the skysail poles
        above the royal masts and their rigging takes the prefix
        “skysail.” Spencers and trysails are often omitted and
        are obsolete, as are studding sails.

It will thus be seen that in order to know the names of all the sails on
a square-rigged vessel it is only necessary to learn the names of the
five parts of each mast, for every sail has the same name with the
addition of fore, main, or mizzen as the case may be. The same is true
of the yards, the stays, the halyards and every other part of a ship’s
rigging and so the seemingly complicated maze becomes very simple, for
all you have to do is to learn the names of the various parts on one
mast and prefix _fore_, _main_ or _mizzen_ to them for those on the
other masts.

Just as the little catboat has its stays, halyards and sheet, so the
huge, towering ship has its stays and shrouds, sheets and halyards and
the use of each is exactly the same as on the catboat with its single
sail. The stays or shrouds always hold the masts in position and
strengthen them. There are _backstays_, _forestays_ and _bobstays_ on
every vessel, and each is designated by the proper prefix of _fore_,
_main_ or _mizzen_, _top_, _topgallant_, _royal_, etc.

The halyards are to hoist the sails and they take their names from the
sails to which they are attached. The sheets are used to haul the sails
flat and tight and they extend from the corners of the sails to the tips
of the yards, but in addition there are many parts of the rigging which
have no counterpart on fore-and-aft-rigged vessels. For example, the
_braces_ are used to swing or set the yards in various positions, the
_clewlines_ are used to gather up the sails ready for furling and there
are _buntlines_, _garnet-lines_ and many other _lines_ which are only
used on square-riggers and are of little interest, unless you expect to
use a square rig or are interested in all things pertaining to sailing

It may sound foolish to speak of using a square rig, but one can have a
lot of fun and can learn a great deal about ships and sailing by fitting
up a small boat as a brig, bark, or ship. I once had a twenty-foot
sharpie rigged as a miniature full-rigged ship. Of course there is no
practical advantage in this, for the square rigs require a great deal of
care, they do not sail as well as fore-and-aft rigs when tacking to
windward, and they should never be used, save as a means of recreation
and for sailing on smooth waters, on a small boat.

As to which is the best fore-and-aft rig to use on small boats there is
a great diversity of opinion, for every boat sailor has his own ideas
and his own favorite rig and what may prove very satisfactory to one
person may not be at all satisfactory to another.

The best method to follow in determining your rig is to weigh the
advantages and disadvantages of each, adopt the one you think best
suited to your special requirements and your boat and if this doesn’t
fulfill expectations try another. No two boats, even of the same model,
sail just alike and often one rig will give far better results on one
type of boat than on another while the character of the waters sailed,
the prevalent winds, the size of the boat, its form, the purpose for
which it is used and many other factors must be considered when deciding
upon a rig.

If you are a beginner and your boat is small and open, a leg-o’-mutton
or gunter sail will probably be as good as any, whereas if your boat is
very stable or heavy, or if you sail where there are light winds, a lug,
sprit or boom-and-gaff sail will be better.

It is a great mistake to place too much sail on a boat for nothing is
gained by it and the dangers of sailing are vastly increased. Too much
sail on a boat will invariably and inevitably result in one of three
things. If the boat is not wonderfully stable she will capsize, or will
lean over until she swamps; if so heavy or stable that she still stands
up, the wind will rip the sail or tear out the masts and if neither of
these casualties occur she will simply “drag” sail and will handle
badly. Every boat will sail to the very best advantage with a definite
amount of sail and the amount will vary according to the breeze. Hence
it is no economy to carry on with all sail in a heavy wind, for if the
sail used is adapted to the boat for light winds it stands to reason it
will be far too much in heavy weather.

Flat-bottomed boats are usually very safe if properly handled and not
provided with too much sail, but owing to their shape they capsize very
quickly once they are tipped a trifle too far. For this reason
leg-o’-mutton or gunter sails should be selected for this type of boat,
partly because they offer a small area to the wind near their tops and
because they have the quality of “spilling” the wind when at an angle
and thus preventing the boat from being tipped dangerously. A
flat-bottomed boat may be sailed in perfect safety with these sails when
lug or boom-and-gaff sails of the same area would be extremely

Another matter to remember is that a greater amount of sail may be
safely carried as two or more sails than would be possible in a single
sail, but for boats less than twenty feet over all a multiplicity of
sails is a nuisance. The question of just how much sail should be
carried is a very difficult one to answer, for boats vary in their
stability and a great deal depends upon how they are handled and the
skill of the sailor. For ordinary open boats used for pleasure where a
single sail is carried, the sail area should not greatly exceed one and
one-half times the number of square feet obtained by multiplying the
boat’s length by its extreme breadth. Thus a boat twenty feet long by
five feet wide could safely carry one hundred and fifty square feet of
canvas, but for safety this should be as low as possible. A sail fifteen
feet high and seven feet wide might upset the boat before it would drive
it along and yet a sail ten feet high and twelve feet wide might serve
to sail the boat very well and without any danger of capsizing. At any
rate, until you are thoroughly familiar with handling your boat and with
the rudiments of sailing under all conditions, you should confine
yourself to a small amount of sail and should make haste slowly.

In addition to the fore-and-aft sails described there are many which are
combinations, adaptations or improvements and which are known by
different names. Among these are the _French gunter_ in which the upper
portion of the mast not only slides on the lower part but may be lowered
like a gaff as well; the leg-o’-mutton with a boom at the lower edge in
place of the sprit; the various _battened_ sails which are really
lugsails fitted with light wooden strips, or battens, across them to
keep the sails flatter and to make reefing easier; the old-fashioned
lugsails which have no spar or boom at the lower edge; the _settee_
sails which have a boom and a much curved and very long upper yard like
a _lateen_, and finally the _Bermuda_ sails which are different from

The Bermudians consider a boat’s ability to carry sail in heavy weather
and to sail close to the wind of the greatest importance and their boats
and sails are designed primarily for these objects. The true Bermuda
sail is like a leg-o’-mutton with a curved lower edge and with the top
point cut off and attached to a short piece of wood or _club_ to which
the halyard is fastened. In place of a boom there is a sprit-like pole
which is provided with a small tackle on the mast end and the sail is
set very flat by hauling out on this tackle, very much as in the
leg-o’-mutton sail. The greatest peculiarity of the Bermuda rig is that
the mast is set very far forward and leans or _rakes_ sharply backward
and a good-sized jib is carried. It is a splendid rig for windward work,
but is a bad rig before the wind and for amateur use is not to be

For boats over twenty-five feet long nothing is handier or better than
the yawl rig. In the first place it is just as easy to sail as a sloop
or jib-and-mainsail rig, for the tiny mizzen practically takes care of
itself. When coming to a mooring or to anchor the mainsail may be
lowered and the boat handled under jib and mizzen and by hauling the
mizzen close in and lowering the other sails the boat will lie right in
the wind’s eye when at moorings or riding out a gale. If in a narrow
channel a yawl may actually be _backed_ out by swinging the mizzen
across the boat and lowering the other sails and when tacking or coming
about in a seaway or where there is a strong current the mizzen helps
wonderfully and the boat’s head may be quickly brought about by hauling
the mizzen to windward. In case of a sudden squall or a heavy wind the
boat may be sailed safely under jib and mizzen and, best of all, when
one is obliged to reef, it is not necessary to anchor or toss about
helplessly and drift down the wind, for the mainsail may be lowered and
reefed in comfort while holding on the course under jib and mizzen.

Nevertheless the beginner should never attempt to learn to sail or
handle a boat with a yawl, schooner, sloop or even a jib-and-mainsail
rig. Commence with a single, simple sail, such as a sprit, a
leg-o’-mutton, a gunter, a lug, a lateen or a gaff-and-boom sail and
when you have become thoroughly accustomed to this, when you know how to
sail and handle your simple boat and sail under all conditions, then and
not until then, you may try your hand at craft with more sails and


                               CHAPTER V

                        HOW TO SAIL A SMALL BOAT

The first thing you should learn to do if you expect to use a boat, is
to learn to swim. A sailboat, properly rigged, well built and
intelligently handled, is as safe as a rowboat or a launch and is far
safer than any canoe ever built, but under the best of conditions and
even with experienced sailors, accidents will at times happen and then
the fellow who can swim stands a far better chance than the chap who

Excellent swimmers are drowned it is true, but that’s in spite of their
knowledge, not because of it. Even if you are never upset, never have an
accident and are never called upon to save yourself or others, yet the
knowledge of how to swim will be mighty valuable. In the first place it
will give you and your companions greater confidence, and confidence and
self-reliance are big assets when sailing a boat, especially under
trying conditions.

But because you _can_ swim it doesn’t follow that you should take to the
water whenever an accident occurs. A good sailor always sticks to his
ship and you should _never_ forsake your boat, no matter what condition
she’s in, until compelled to desert her by her actually sinking under
you. A water-logged or capsized boat will float for hours or days and
will support several persons and when clinging to an upset or wrecked
boat you stand a much better chance of being seen and rescued than when

Many a man has been drowned by leaving his upset boat and attempting to
swim ashore when, by clinging to the craft, he would have been saved.
This was the case with two friends of the author. There were three in
the boat, all splendid swimmers, and they were capsized in a sudden
squall several miles from shore. The occupants easily clambered upon the
overturned hull and gave little heed to their predicament, as they knew
that several boats and steamers were due to pass the spot where they
were shipwrecked within a few hours.

About half-a-mile distant a schooner, which was used as a temporary
lightship, was anchored and finally one of the men suggested swimming to
it. Feeling confident that he would have no difficulty in reaching the
schooner he plunged overboard and swam rapidly away. Presently he turned
and called to the others to follow and one of his companions did so,
while the other wisely remained on the bottom of the boat.

When about halfway to the schooner the foremost of the two swimmers
threw up his hands and went down and a few moments later the other sank,
but the sensible one of the trio, who stuck to the boat, was sighted and
rescued by a passing craft an hour or two later and was none the worse
for his experience.

No matter how well you can swim always remember that any solid object is
far safer than the water and _don’t_ resort to swimming unless actually
compelled to do so. _Always_ bear in mind that it takes but a very
little to support a person in the water—an old pail or bucket held
perpendicularly and bottomside up, an open umbrella, an oar, a thwart, a
spar, a grating or even a high hat or a derby will serve to keep a human
being afloat for a long time.

Almost as important as the ability to swim is the ability to keep one’s
head and not get rattled under any and all conditions. The sailor should
be able to move and act rapidly, surely and intelligently; he should
possess decisiveness and judgment and should know just what to do and
how to do it on the spur of the moment. When things go wrong is just the
time for you to go right and many a trivial accident has become a
tragedy through people losing their heads, tangling ropes or gear,
jumping about heedlessly and forgetting just what to do under the

In boat sailing of all things make haste slowly and NEVER TAKE CHANCES.
You can’t be overcautious in a boat and it is far wiser to run for
shelter or to shorten sail too soon or in a moderate wind than to wait
too long or to carry too much sail in a hard blow. Wherever sailboats
are used for pleasure one may see foolhardy men and boys sailing under
full canvas in reefing weather and trying to show off but to the man who
knows, such actions do not speak of skill or ability but merely of
ignorance and bravado. Don’t mind if such reckless fools laugh at your
caution and think you are timid; the chances are that you’ll be sailing
about safely long after they are food for the fishes.

Before attempting to learn to sail it is well to know something of the
principles of sailing and just why a boat under sail does certain
things. Many landsmen cannot understand how a boat can sail _against_
the wind or how it can sail with the wind abeam or blowing from the side
without tipping over, but it’s really a very simple matter and if you
understand why and how these things are accomplished you’ll be able to
handle your boat far better than if you merely learn to do certain
things without understanding the reasons for them.

Whenever the wind blows against a boat’s sails it has two distinct
effects; one tending to push the boat sideways and ahead, the other to
push it over or upset it. The former tendency is desirable and must be
encouraged whereas the latter must be overcome or resisted.

The resistance which a boat offers to the upsetting or “heeling” force
is termed _stability_ and the amount of stability which a boat possesses
depends upon its model, its proportions, its weight and many other
factors. Many boats have enough stability to overcome the tendency to
upset without any artificial aid, but as a rule sufficient stability can
only be obtained by adding some weight or _ballast_ at the bottom of the
boat. This may take the form of lead or iron on the keel, a weighted
centerboard, or lead, sandbags or other weights in the bottom of the

When a boat is heeled over by the wind the sails act like a lever, with
the fulcrum at the water line, while the hull below the water line
represents the weight to be pried up. Of course you know that the longer
the lever, beyond the fulcrum, as compared to the short end on the other
side of the fulcrum, the greater is the power obtained.


        Shaded portions indicate leverage of hull against sail.
        Outlined rectangles show relative stability areas.

Thus the farther a boat tips over the less force can the wind on the
sails exert, for with every inch that the boat heels the length of the
lever decreases, as will be seen by the accompanying diagram. For this
reason a boat tips much more easily when upright than after it has
heeled over a bit and for the same reason a shallow or flat-bottomed
boat tips more readily than a deep hull.

It would be perfectly feasible to build a boat so deep that it would not
tip at all, and likewise a boat could be built so heavy, or with so much
ballast, that the leverage of the sails would be unable to heel it in
the least. But neither of these schemes would be practical. If the boat
was built too deep it would offer so much resistance to the water that
the sails could not drive it forward and if built too heavy or if it
carried too much ballast, it would be slow, clumsy and the sails and
masts might be carried away before the boat moved.

Moreover it is not desirable to prevent a boat from tipping to a certain
extent. Many boats sail at their best while heeled at a sharp angle and
the tendency to tip also serves as a sort of safety valve by spilling
the wind from the sails and warning the sailor that too much sail is
being carried and thus serving a very useful purpose. Hence, in order to
make boats safely stable without making them heavy, slow or clumsy,
various forms of hulls and various methods of ballasting are adopted.

For example, if a boat is made very broad and shallow the result, when
tipped, will be almost the same as if the hull was made very deep and
narrow but the resistance to the water will be overcome. As the hull is
tipped up by the leverage of the masts the upper side acts as a weight
which must be lifted, and exerts just as great a counter-leverage as if
the weight was under water. But instead of presenting a large surface
with its attendant friction to the water the area of the boat’s surface
is reduced the more it is tipped.

Such broad, flat hulls are very stiff, up to a certain point, and boats
built in this manner are usually very fast when heeling far over, but
when they are tipped a single inch beyond a _certain_ point the weight
of the raised side acts _with_ the lever and flops the boat over in an
instant. When a hull thus shaped is provided with a centerboard or a
weighted keel it becomes far more stable. Many of the fastest racing
boats are of this type, a form designed to sail the very best when
heeled far over with half the bottom out of water. To add to the
stability under such conditions the bows and sterns are cut away for a
long distance so that when sailing on a level keel the surface in
contact with the water is very small, while the further they tip to one
side or the other the greater the length is increased.

But in every case, whether stability is obtained by great breadth or
_beam_, by extreme depth from deck to keel, by ballast inside or
outside, by fin-keel or otherwise, you should remember that the _further
under water the ballast is placed the less will be required_. Always
bear in mind that ballast or weight on the downward or _lee_ side aids
the boat in tipping, whereas the same weight, on the upper side,
prevents it and that the weight placed on the high side will exert many
times the force of the same weight in the center of the boat.

Often by sitting far out on the upper or _weather_ edge of a boat, she
may be sailed in safety through winds that would capsize her if you sat
inside the cockpit. If a plank or board was extended out from the
weather side and you perched upon that the boat would be still harder to
upset and it is by such methods that the natives of the South Seas sail
their catamarans and proas at terrific speed and with huge sails out of
all proportion to the hulls. Sometimes one may see a “flying proa”
tearing along in a perfect gale with half a dozen persons hanging on to
the slender _outrigger_ extending from the weather side, and by their
weight alone preventing the queer craft from turning turtle.

All the above remarks refer to stability, but there is another factor
which must be considered and which is known as _lateral resistance_, or
in other words, the resistance offered to the water when moving
sideways. A boat might be very stable and yet it might be worthless if
it did not possess lateral resistance, for in that case it would merely
slide sideways instead of going ahead and a properly designed boat must
combine both stability and lateral resistance to the highest possible

When sailing in any direction, save directly before the wind, there is a
strong sideways pressure against the sails and unless the boat is
provided with some means of overcoming this she will slip sideways or
diagonally or will make “leeway,” as a sailor would say. Deep, narrow
boats have great lateral resistance but their resistance to the water
when moving forward is also great and hence the lateral resistance is
usually obtained by means of deep, narrow keels, centerboard or
leeboards. The knife-like keel offers little resistance to the water
when moving forward but great resistance when moving sideways, while the
centerboard may be pulled up entirely when moving forward with a wind
from the rear, thus still further reducing the friction against the

If the boat possesses stability and lateral resistance and is properly
rigged the wind blowing against the sails will have a tendency to force
the stern of the craft away from the wind and the bow towards it. To
overcome this the rudder must be turned until the pressure of the water
against it has enough force to balance the action of the wind on the

A properly rigged boat, if left to herself with rudder loose and sails
set, will swing up into the wind of her own accord; in a few moments she
will fall off, sail a short distance and again come into the wind and
lose headway and will repeat this operation over and over again without
danger of upsetting.

If, on the other hand, her sails are not adapted to her, if she is badly
designed or improperly rigged, she will sail faster and faster, will
fall more and more away from the wind and finally the sail will flop
over to the other side and the boat will be upset or mast, sails and
rigging will be carried away. Such a boat is a perfect deathtrap and
should be avoided by all means.

Always try a new boat or a new rig to see how it will act if the helm is
left when sails are set. If the boat comes up in the wind quickly of her
own accord you may be sure she will come about readily when required and
that she will take care of herself if at any time you are compelled to
leave the tiller for a few moments. But don’t condemn the boat if she
falls off and sails away as I have described. As a rule this fault lies
in the rig rather than in the boat itself and often a slight alteration
in the shape or size of the sails or even the position of the mast will
make all the difference between a safe and a dangerous boat.

If the sails are too far forward a boat may have a tendency to fall off
and take a hard _lee helm_, whereas if too far aft the boat may have
such a hard _weather helm_ that it is impossible to prevent her from
swinging up into the wind. Then again, the mast and sail may be in the
right position and the sail may have its greatest area too far forward
or too far aft, or the rudder may be too small. Try various adjustments
before deciding the craft is hopeless and strive to have your boat so
arranged that when sailing close-hauled a slight pressure must be
exerted on the tiller to prevent her from coming into the wind or
_luffing_, while just the instant this pressure is released she will
swing up in the wind’s eye with the sail fluttering and will hang there
indefinitely, merely falling off, coming up again and remaining
practically stationary in one place.

To a great many people it appears remarkable that a boat can sail
against the wind, but it is a very simple matter indeed and depends upon
the same principles which make a kite fly, an aeroplane rise or a
windmill turn. In every case the result is brought about by the pressure
of the wind upon a curved or angular surface and while the boat and
windmill depend upon the wind to move them and the aeroplane produces
the wind by moving rapidly through still air, yet the results in each
case are identical and the object, unable to move away from the wind
moves against it or at right angles to it.

Whenever a moving mass of matter, such as air or water, strikes a curved
surface two effects result, the first being to force the object aside,
the other to force it ahead by what is known as “reaction.” If a solid
object, such as a bullet, strikes a slanting surface it glances off and
frequently it loses very little of its force in doing so. The wind, when
striking a curved surface, glances off and exerts its force at an angle.

The pressure of this glancing blow and the force exerted by the wind
against the surrounding air as it slides off the sail, has a tendency to
force the sail, or other surface, ahead. The direction in which the
object is forced and the power required to move it depend upon the curve
or angle which is presented to the wind.

The broader the angle at which the wind strikes, the less loss of force
there is and the greater the power which the wind exerts upon the sail.
Thus, when the wind is directly _against_ the sail, very little power is
wasted and the whole force drives the boat ahead as none of the wind can
glance off. If the boat is brought around until the wind blows from one
side and the sail is pulled in until it is at an angle, the wind exerts
a combined sideways and forward pressure and the boat sails at right
angles to the wind; whereas if the sail is drawn still closer towards
the center of the boat and the craft is headed nearer to the wind, the
wind skips off the sail producing but little forward or sideways
pressure but forcing the boat almost _against_ the direction from which
the wind blows. But if the boat is headed _too_ close to the wind and
the sail hauled in _too_ near the center of the boat no headway will be
made for the wind will then slip off the sail without exerting enough
force to move the boat forward. If you will _always_ bear these facts in
mind you will find it far easier to learn to sail and you will also
understand why you should _always_ let your sail out as far as possible
without letting it flutter or “spill” the wind.

[Illustration: SAILING]

    1—Before the wind or running free. 2—With wind on the
        quarter. 3—Beam wind or reaching. 4—Head wind or close
        hauled. 5—Tacking or beating to windward. 6—Going about
        with boat carrying a jib. 7—Making a long and short leg.
        8—How a wind acts on a boat close hauled. 9—Jibing.
        10—Wearing ship. 11—Tacking off the wind to avoid beam

Having thoroughly mastered these simple principles of why a boat sails
you can safely start to learn how to handle your boat. If possible, have
an experienced sailor go with you when learning; you will find his
advice worth more than all the printed directions in the world, but even
alone you’ll have no trouble in learning to sail if you take plenty of
time, master one thing thoroughly before trying another and use common
sense and judgment. Before leaving shore or the anchorage be sure that
everything is in the boat and in the proper place. There should be oars
and oarlocks, a bailer, an anchor and plenty of line and all ropes
should be neatly coiled where they are free to run out without becoming
kinked, caught or tangled.

Make it a point _always_ to keep the sheet clear and _never tie it or
make it fast when sailing_. More accidents to sailboats have resulted
from a tangled or fast sheet than from any other one cause.

When hoisting sail the sheet should be left slack enough to allow the
sail to swing freely from side to side, but it should not be entirely
free or the sail may swing out at right angles and strike some
neighboring boat or obstruction, or it may even wrap itself about the
mast and cause no end of trouble.

It is best to commence sailing “on the wind” or with the wind from one
side or partly over the stern, for this is the easiest and safest kind
of sailing. In this position most boats sail their best and obtain their
greatest speed. If the wind is directly from one side the sail should be
eased off until the forward edge commences to flutter, but if the wind
is over the quarter the sail must be trimmed in order to be at as nearly
a right angle to the wind as possible, as shown in the diagrams.

If, when sailing with a beam or quarter wind, you wish to turn about you
should always haul in your sheet, push the tiller to leeward—away from
the wind—and bring the boat up into the wind until the sail swings to
the other side, when you may gradually ease-off the sheet until sailing
as before.

If you attempt to turn about without doing this the sail will swing
violently across from one side to the other, or in sailors’ parlance,
will _jibe_ and while an experienced hand will jibe a boat with perfect
safety an amateur is very likely to capsize or to carry away masts and

It may seem at first as if sailing right before the wind would be the
easiest thing to accomplish, but this is a great mistake. To sail before
the wind, save in very light airs and with a small sail, requires a
great deal of care and not a little skill.

A great many boats have a tendency to _yaw_ or to swing wildly from side
to side when thus sailing and when this is the case the sail is very
likely to jibe with serious results. Even if this does not happen the
sail may bag out and make the boat steer hard or the boom may “kick up”
and become almost unmanageable. If allowed to swing out too far the boat
may refuse to obey its helm and will swing around to the wind,
regardless of your efforts to keep it on its course, while if kept in
too closely the wind may catch it on the wrong side and jibe it

In a heavy sea there is the added danger of the boom catching in a wave
and “tripping” and either upsetting the boat or jibing as a result. If
your boat yaws, if the boom kicks up badly, or if there is much of a
wind, don’t try to sail before the wind but sail partly side to it and
go about every little while and thus zigzag towards your destination as
shown in the sketch. If, while sailing before the wind or with a beam
wind, you should desire to alter your course and bring the sail over the
opposite side, _don’t_ turn _away_ from the wind and jibe the sail, but
haul in the sheet, turn into the wind and swing about in a circle until
the sail is on the opposite side and you are headed in the desired
direction. This manner of turning about when sailing _free_ or before
the wind, is called _wearing ship_ and to perform the evolution neatly
and in a sailor-like manner will require some practice, for the sail
must be hauled in and the helm put over at the same time and in perfect

If the helm is put down too quickly the sail will flap and thrash and
the boat may not come about, whereas if the sail is hauled in too
rapidly and the helm is not thrown over promptly the boat may be tipped
dangerously. Sometimes, however, it becomes necessary to jibe, while at
other times a sudden shift of wind or some other cause may make a boat
jibe despite every effort to prevent it.

When it becomes necessary to jibe, or if it is seen that it cannot be
avoided, haul in the sheet just as rapidly as possible and just as soon
as the boom passes the center of the boat pay out the sheet smoothly and
quickly so that there will be no sudden jerk or pull as the wind swings
the sail over. If there is much wind blowing it is a wise plan to lower
the peak of the sail before jibing and when sailing before the wind
dropping the peak will often make the boat sail better.

In sailing before the wind it is very important to have the boat
ballasted or “trimmed” correctly. If there is too much weight near the
bow the boat will invariably yaw and may bury her nose and swamp
herself. On the other hand, if there is too much weight near the stern
she may steer badly, but this is never as bad nor as dangerous as having
her _down by the head_. If the boom has a tendency to jibe, to swing
badly or to kick up, it often helps a great deal to bring down the side
over which the boom swings, by placing passengers, cargo or ballast on
that side. If you are using a centerboard boat the board should be
hauled up when before the wind and many boats will sail better with a
beam or quarter wind when the board is half up, but the only way to
determine when the board should be partly up, fully up, or down is to
experiment. Some boats come about more quickly with the board up; others
refuse to come round unless it is down, and some sail better with the
board down, even when dead before the wind. When tacking or sailing on
the wind the board should _always_ be down, however.

As a rule a boat should be trimmed so that the stern is a little deeper
than the bow and while the effect of a badly trimmed boat is more
evident when sailing before the wind, yet in sailing on the wind a
little fault in the proper distribution of weight may make a vast
difference in the behavior of the boat.

When you have become thoroughly accustomed to handling your boat on the
wind you may try tacking or sailing to windward or against the wind. As
I have already explained no boat will sail _directly against_ the wind,
but by sailing as close to it as possible in one direction, then turning
and sailing as close as you can in the opposite direction and repeating
the operation at intervals progress may be made directly towards the

This is known as “tacking” or “beating” and while it requires
considerable skill and practice to beat to windward to the best
advantage yet it is not difficult to learn to tack and one can only
become proficient by practice and by becoming thoroughly familiar with
the boat.

Some boats will sail far closer to the wind than others and every boat
has a certain point at which she will sail to windward to the best
advantage. The nearer the boat is headed into the wind the closer or
“flatter” the sail must be “trimmed” or hauled in and there is _always_
a point at which the vessel loses headway and falls off the wind. For
this reason it is a waste of time to try to sail too close to the wind
and the objective point will be reached far quicker by heading off more
and obtaining greater speed and making frequent tacks, than by
attempting to head nearer the direction you desire to go and then losing
almost as much as you gain by the boat’s sliding to leeward.

The idea is to keep your boat pointed as near the wind as she will sail
well and the sails should be trimmed in until quite flat each time you
tack. Then, as the boat swings over on the other tack, the sail should
be eased off a bit to obtain headway and the boat should be again headed
towards the wind until the edge of the sail begins to flutter and
wrinkle. This shows you are sailing as close to the wind as advisable
and to sailors it is known as sailing _full and by_. Every few moments
the boat may be brought a trifle closer to the wind and then eased off
so that the sail is always filled and yet the edge, by its fluttering,
shows the helmsman that the sheet is trimmed properly.

Some boats have a remarkable power of “eating into” the wind in this way
and although headed quite a bit off the wind will progress almost
directly into the wind’s eye. If the wind is quite stiff a great deal
may also be gained by _luffing up_ from time to time, or in other words
bringing the boat directly into the wind, allowing her to shoot ahead
for a short distance and before she loses headway bringing her off until
she catches the wind again.

A great deal of the skill in tacking depends upon one’s ability to judge
just when to come about on the other tack. Very few boats will sail
equally well on both tacks and as soon as you find on which tack your
boat sails best you can make your longest tacks or “lays” on that tack
and make shorter tacks when sailing with the wind on the other bow.

To make too many short tacks is a mistake for each time you go about you
lose a trifle of what you have gained, but to make tacks which are too
long is also a mistake, for you travel a great deal further than is
necessary in this way. As a rule a _long and a short leg_ is the best
method to follow. This consists of making long tacks, or lays, close to
the wind and then going about and making shorter and quicker reaches in
the other direction a little farther off the wind. All of these
maneuvers are illustrated in the diagrams and by studying these you will
readily see just how the boat may be sailed directly to windward.

When ready to go about on a new tack the boat should always be eased off
a little, the sails loosened lightly and as soon as the speed increases
the rudder should be thrown hard over, the _tiller being pushed away
from the wind_. As the boat wheels about the sheet should be hauled in
briskly until it begins to fill on the opposite side. Then ease it off
gradually until good headway is made and trim in and head up to the wind
as before.

When tacking with other persons in the boat you should always signal
before going about or tacking by crying, “_Ready about_” and as the boat
is brought into the wind, call, “_Hard-a-lee_” and at these words your
passengers should duck their heads as the boom swings over or should
shift their seats to the other side of the boat if she heels over very

Some boats have a tendency to remain hanging in the wind when brought
about or else come into the wind and fall off on the same tack again.
This is known as _missing stays_ and when it occurs you should swing the
boat’s head around by an oar over the stern or hold the boom or sail far
over to windward until the bow swings around. If the boat has a
centerboard she may often be brought about quickly by raising the board
as you swing her into the wind and then dropping it again as the sail
fills away on the other tack.

If the boat carries a jib she will seldom miss stays if the jib is
hauled flat as you go about and is kept sheeted to windward until the
other sails fill away on the other tack. Then the windward sheet of the
jib should be eased off and the leeward sheet should be trimmed in as
shown in the illustration.

Usually a well built boat, if properly trimmed and rigged, will seldom
miss stays except in heavy seas or in a very light wind or a strong
current and often a boat under reefed sails will come about more easily
and will sail to windward far better than under full canvas.

Remember that a boat’s sheets can be trimmed flatter in light winds and
smooth waters than in rough seas and strong winds and that even a
comparatively small sea will cause the sail to swing and spill the wind
and thus lose headway.

Don’t forget that when a boat, sailing close-hauled is to be turned so
as to sail off the wind the sheets must be eased off as she swings about
and in the same way a boat sailing free must have her sheets hauled in
as you bring her up into the wind.

The foregoing directions apply to boats with one sail only and it is
best to learn to sail with such a craft and then you will find it much
easier to learn to handle a boat with headsails or jibs.

Many small boats have the jib sheet attached to a sliding block or ring
which can move from side to side on a traveler and when thus arranged
the jib requires little or no attention when tacking.

As a rule, however, the jib has two sheets, one on either side, which
lead aft and in tacking these require attention. As the boat is turned
into the wind the lee sheet is let go, the jib flutters and the instant
the mainsail begins to fill on the other tack the jib sheet should be
trimmed flat as before, and then, as the boat pays off on the new tack
the sheets may be trimmed to obtain the best results.

One advantage of a jib is that in case the boat misses stays, or fails
to come about readily, her head may be brought around by keeping the lee
jib sheet trimmed until the boat swings around and if the main boom is
held far towards the lee side at the same time the boat will be almost
certain to pay off.

If for any reason she refuses and commences to move backwards don’t
forget that the tiller _must be turned in the same direction as that in
which you wish the head of the boat to go_, or in other words, in
exactly the opposite direction to that in which you would turn it if
moving ahead.

If a boat misses stays in heavy wind or squalls, ease off the main
sheet, lower the peak a little and trim the jib to the windward. Then if
the boat does not gather headway but heels, lower the mainsail at once.
When sailing on the wind with a jib and mainsail, trim the lee jib sheet
to get the full benefit of the sail and if running before the wind
either lower the jib or “wing it out” on the opposite side to the
mainsail by means of a light sprit, a boat-hook or an oar, so it will
catch the wind.

When you are thoroughly familiar with sailing before the wind, on the
wind and against the wind in light breezes and smooth water, you should
practice coming to a mooring or a landing. The ability to make a good
landing marks a good sailor and nothing looks worse or bespeaks poorer
seamanship than to make a clumsy landing.

Never attempt to make a landing or a mooring until you have learned just
how far your boat will luff or “shoot” ahead when brought into the wind.
By trying a number of times you can soon determine this and a mighty
good plan is to practice luffing up to a stake or a float in the water.

When approaching a mooring or landing try to approach it from the
leeward side; sail as nearly into the wind as possible and when you are
near enough so that you think the boat will shoot to the mooring by her
own momentum, bring her right into the wind’s eye and ease off the sheet
so that the sail flutters and then steer the boat as close to the
mooring as you can.

_Never_ attempt to shoot the boat to the windward side of a mooring or
landing if it can be avoided, but come up with the mooring or landing
_on your windward side_.

If conditions are such that you cannot approach the mooring or landing
from the lee side and you are _compelled_ to run for it before the wind
or with a beam wind, there are two methods which may be followed. One is
to lower sail and let the boat run to the mooring under bare poles and
the other is to ease off the sheet until the sail offers no surface to
the wind. When coming _before_ the wind the former method is the only
right one and in order not to approach too rapidly it is a good plan to
drop most of the sail long before the landing is reached and leave just
the upper portion raised so as to catch the wind and carry the boat
along very slowly. Then, when close to the mooring, drop this and drift
slowly to the spot where you are to make fast.

If you are using a boat with a jib that sail should be lowered as you
approach your moorings and you should come to the place under mainsail
alone, as a jib as always in the way when going forward to make fast,
and, moreover, it will frequently catch a puff of wind and force the
head of the boat off at just the wrong instant.

If you are coming up to a dock or wharf don’t run to it head-on if it
can be avoided, but run slanting towards it or alongside, for in that
case if your boat has too much headway it will merely strike the dock a
glancing blow and do little, if any, damage, whereas the same blow
head-on might start a plank or timber or cause other serious damage.

These remarks apply to fairly good sized sailboats and if you are
sailing in a very small open boat it is often easier to take in sail and
row to a mooring than to sail to it.

When getting away from a mooring or dock some skill and practice are
required, especially if in waters where there are numerous other boats.
If you are on the lee side of a dock it is very easy to hoist sail, trim
the sheets flat, shove off the bow and start away; but if on the
windward side and you hoist sail the wind will force your craft against
the dock and make getting under way very difficult. At such times the
best plan is to row or pole your boat out from the dock before hoisting
sail and then get under way in open water.

If at a mooring or an anchorage the boat’s head may be swung off the
wind by hauling in the anchor from the _lee_ side or by holding the sail
far over to windward, but in every case you should look about, decide on
your course and make a mental note of the position of neighboring craft
before getting away from your moorings.

When coming to an anchorage have the anchor ready to drop and the anchor
line coiled so it will run out readily. When you reach the spot
selected, luff up, allow the boat to lose her headway and then drop your
anchor by _casting_ it _ahead_ of the boat.

If you cast your anchor out while the boat is still moving ahead your
boat will overrun it and it may not get a good hold on the bottom, to
say nothing of the danger of getting the line entangled with the flukes.
If coming to an anchorage _before_ the wind, drop the sails, and wait
until the boat loses headway and if _on the wind_ either lower sails or
let the sheet flow.

_Never_, under any circumstances, allow the sheet to run out entirely
for there is never any necessity of allowing the sail to swing out
beyond right angles to the boat. If it swings farther it becomes a
source of danger.

_Never_ walk along the lee side of the boat when the sheet is loose and
the sail is swinging, but move on the windward side and avoid any danger
of being knocked overboard by the swinging boom and flapping sail.

When you have learned to sail in all directions in smooth weather and
have learned how to get under way and how to come to moorings you should
put in some time learning how to reef quickly.

Reefing consists in shortening sail by tying a portion of it to the mast
or spar and small ropes known as _reef points_ are sewed into the sail
for this purpose. Some boats have sails with only one set of reef
points; others have two, and others have three or more, but when a sail
is reefed the reefs should be taken one at a time beginning with the one
nearest the mast or spar.

At the end of the row of _reef points_ near the free edge of the sail
there is a hole or eyelet known as a _cringle_ and as this is on the
_leech_ of the sail it is called the _leech cringle_. A similar cringle
is on the opposite edge or _luff_ of the sail. This applies to
boom-and-gaff, lug or other sails with a boom or spar at the lower edge.
Through these cringles lines known as _earrings_ are passed and these
may be left in the cringles permanently or they may be taken out when
not in use, as you prefer.

[Illustration: REEFING A SAIL]

    A—Sail before reefing. B—Sail after reefing.

To reef the sail bring the boat into the wind, trim the sheet in until
the boom cannot swing beyond the sides of the boat, lower the sail about
halfway and then lash the first luff cringle to the boom with the
earring, tying it in a reefing knot which can be readily cast off. Then
pass the luff earring through its cringle, pass it through the hole in
the boom made for that purpose and haul the sail out as taut as possible
and make the earring fast.

Then beginning at the luff cringle, roll the sail neatly to the first
reef points and tie each reef point in turn around the bottom of the
sail where it is fastened to the boom or, if there is no space to pass
the points between sail and boom, tie them around the boom, being very
careful to use square or reef knots when doing so.

When all the points are tied hoist away the sail and you are ready to
proceed. If a second reef is required repeat the operation with the
second row of points and cringles. Then, when the wind lulls, one reef
after another can be shaken out by untying the reef points, casting off
the leech earring and then casting off the luff earring and hoisting the
sail until taut.

Don’t wait too long before reefing. If the boat heels badly on the wind,
if it labors, if it takes a hard helm or if the wind is puffy, squally
or strong, reef at once. It’s far easier to shake out your reefs if the
wind falls than it is to take in a reef when the wind is blowing hard
and a heavy sea is running.

Finally, when you come to your moorings, to your landing-place or to an
anchorage, never leave your boat with the sails loose, slovenly and
unfurled. In the first place it looks badly and stamps you as a poor
sailor; in the second place it soon ruins the sail and finally, if a
hard wind comes up, the sail is liable to become loose, to catch the
wind and either tear the sail to pieces or capsize the boat.

Make it an invariable rule to do things in a regular routine every time
you come to a mooring or leave it. As soon as you are fast to your
mooring lower the sails, trim the boom amidships, roll the sail neatly
and tie it to the boom by short pieces of line or by one long rope
wrapped around and around it. _Don’t_ commence furling the sail at the
outer end of the boom, but place the first line or “stop” close to the
mast and keep pulling out the excess slack as you work outwards along
the boom and you will soon find it a very simple, easy thing to furl
your sails very neatly.

When all is snugly furled, hoist away until the sail is lifted slightly
and either place a _crotch_ under it, lower it and draw the sheet taut,
or else fasten a rope from the boom to both sides of the boat so the
sail cannot swing as the boat sways and rolls to the waves.

It is a good plan to have a sail cover of waterproof cloth or heavy
canvas with which to cover the furled sail and by using this your sails
will always be protected from rain and mildew and will remain strong,
white and in good shape.

Finally, see that everything about the boat is in its place, that all
lines and ropes are neatly coiled and that nothing is left to swing,
rattle or work loose; that the centerboard, if the boat has one, is
pulled up in its case and secured; that the tiller is lashed amidships,
or is slipped out of the rudder head and that everything is snug and


                               CHAPTER VI

                           THE CARE OF BOATS

Every boat, no matter how small, requires a certain amount of care and
attention and this is a matter which is all too often neglected.

The larger the boat the more care it will require, while boats in salt
water need far more attention than those in fresh water.

If a boat is pulled up on shore, or is placed in a boathouse when not in
use, it will require less care than a craft kept in the water at an
anchorage or moorings, but even when thus hauled out there are a certain
number of things which must be attended to.

Boats in the water are subject to the action of the water, the
depredations of marine animals, the growth of marine plants and to the
dangers from storms. Unless these are guarded against and overcome a
boat will soon be worthless. In fresh water the effect of the water upon
wood and metal is far less injurious than in salt water and the troubles
from animal life and water plants are almost negligible. When in salt
water these things are among the most important matters to be guarded
against and constant care and watchfulness are necessary if a boat is to
be kept in good condition.

Salt water corrodes and rusts iron very rapidly and hence boats with
plain iron fastenings and fittings should be avoided for salt water use.
Copper or brass fastenings and brass or bronze fittings are far better,
but these are expensive. Galvanized iron is therefore adopted very
generally for salt water use on boats.

Even when a boat is well painted and the iron parts are thus protected,
the salt water will corrode and destroy the iron work and just as soon
as the paint becomes old, thin, worn or chipped off, the parts go to
pieces very rapidly. For this reason boats should always be kept well
painted and varnished at all times, and whenever a bit of paint is
rubbed or knocked off, it should immediately be touched up with fresh

In salt water, too, marine animals and seaweeds attach themselves to
every submerged portion of a boat’s hull and grow very rapidly.

Not only do these growths hinder a boat from sailing well and rapidly,
but they also destroy the paint and injure the wood beneath it. This
paves the way for the water to soak into the planks and timbers and rot
them and corrode the metal fastenings which hold the various parts of
the boat together.

Still more injurious are the shipworms or _teredos_. These are marine
animals which are not really worms at all, but are a species of mollusc
related to the common clam. They do not _eat_ the wood, as many people
think, but merely bore into it to form their homes or burrows, and
wherever they go they line their holes with a thin coating of lime or

The shipworms are very small when they first enter the wood and as they
increase in size they bore larger and larger holes until they riddle the
wood with burrows and completely destroy it. No signs, however, save a
few tiny holes, may be visible externally. So rapidly do they work if
unchecked that large ships have been sunk by them in less than a year
and there are several records of such catastrophes occurring.

Teredos seldom attack wood which is far below the surface but work
mostly at or near the water line. For that reason small boats of shallow
draft are often more seriously and rapidly injured by these pests than
larger and deeper boats.

Moreover the shipworms seek spots which are out of sight for their
depredations and unless the boat-owner is very careful he may overlook
very serious injuries by the teredos without dreaming that they exist.
The cracks between keels and sternposts, between keels and garboard
planks and the interior or centerboard trunks and cases are favorite
spots for teredos to bore and quite often the timbers in such situations
are completely destroyed and the boat is rendered worthless before one
realizes that teredos have attacked the boat at all.

But even without marine growths and teredos the planks and timbers of a
boat may become rotten and useless through the action of the water. This
is particularly the case where a boat rests upon a muddy bottom at low
tide, for the mud contains gases and chemicals which destroy the paint
and this allows the water to penetrate and rot the wood.

To guard against these three principal dangers every boat should be
hauled out at frequent intervals, the bottom should be scrubbed, scraped
and cleaned, and should then be allowed to dry thoroughly, after which
it should be freshly painted with some reliable and good anti-fouling
bottom paint such as the various copper paints. Large boats are usually
sheathed or covered with copper plates below the water line in order to
protect the wood, but small boats depend upon a coating of copper paint.

Whenever a boat is hauled out to be scraped and painted it should be
examined carefully for rot or worms and the various planks, the keel,
stem, sternpost, centerboard, centerboard trunk and case and in fact,
all the woodwork below water should be tested for teredos or rot by
probing with the tip of a knife blade. If the wood is sound the blade
will not penetrate readily, whereas if the wood has been injured by
worms or is rotten the blade will enter very easily. When this occurs a
thorough investigation should be made to determine the extent of the

If the spot is small it may be dug out by a chisel or gouge and the
cavity may be filled with white lead or marine glue and painted over,
whereas if there is a large area damaged a new plank or a new piece of
timber must be fitted. In any case every hole, crack or crevice should
be carefully plugged with white lead or marine glue before painting, for
if this is not done rot and worms will be almost certain to find the
unprotected spots and will commence to destroy the wood.

If there is a stream or body of fresh water near at hand a great deal of
time and trouble may be avoided by running your boat into fresh water
and allowing her to remain there for a day or two at a time. Marine
growths and teredos cannot live in fresh water and any which have become
attached to the boat will die and drop off when the craft is left for a
short time in fresh water. To be efficacious the water must be really
fresh and _not_ brackish, for many marine plants and animals _will_ live
and thrive in brackish water.

When boats are first placed in the water they are dry and often leak
badly, but as the wood swells with the action of the water the seams
tighten up and often a boat which leaks like a sieve when first launched
will be perfectly tight after a few days’ immersion. For this reason you
should not be discouraged if your boat leaks when you first put her in
the water, but if she still leaks after two or three days you may be
sure there is something wrong which should be attended to at once. By
bailing out the water and wiping the inside dry with a sponge you can
usually find the leak, and if it is small it may be stopped by pushing
caulking cotton into the seam or crack with a thin knife blade or a
putty knife. Very often a small leak may be caused by a nail hole and
this may be stopped completely by driving in a tiny wooden plug.

If there is difficulty in locating the leak from inside the boat, if the
leak is large or if there are several, the boat should be hauled out on
shore and partly filled with water. Then, by watching the outside of the
hull, you can easily find where the water runs out. The spots should
then be marked, the water drawn out by means of the boat plug (a wooden
plug driven into a hole through the planks near the keel), and the seams
where the leaks occur should be cleaned free of all putty, paint and old
caulking and should be recaulked.

It is an easy matter to caulk a seam if a little care is used, the only
implements and tools required being a small caulking iron, some caulking
cotton and a hammer. Unravel a strand of the cotton, roll it between
your palms until it forms a strand a trifle larger than the width of the
crack to be caulked and then press the end into the seam with a corner
of the caulking iron or a knife blade. Catch the strand of cotton
lightly into the seam in this way all along the seam and then with the
caulking iron and hammer drive the cotton well into the opening. It is
impossible to describe just how to use the iron, but it is a knack soon
acquired and is accomplished by a sort of rocking motion with the iron
as the tool is struck lightly with the hammer.

Drive the cotton well below the surface of the wood but _don’t_ try to
force in too much and _don’t_ drive it in so hard that it spreads or
starts the plank. When the seams are well filled with cotton press white
lead or marine glue over the caulking and paint thoroughly. _Never_ use
putty on a boat, especially below the water line, for it will crumble
and fall out very soon and is no better than nothing at all. Use pure,
thick white lead and linseed oil or the best marine glue. The white lead
may be pressed in with a putty knife but marine glue must be run in by
means of a hot iron; full directions accompany the glue when purchased.

[Illustration: CAULKING TOOLS]

    1—Caulking mallet. 2, 3, 4, 5—Caulking irons. 6—Caulking

Before launching your boat in the spring all the seams should be cleaned
free of old paint and lead, and if any of the old caulking is loose or
hanging out it should be removed and replaced with new and all seams,
rough spots and nail head holes should then be filled with white lead or
marine glue before painting.

_Don’t_ drive the caulking too tightly into the seams when the boat is
dry and _don’t_ fill the seams flush with the glue or lead. Leave a
little hollow along every seam as otherwise, when the boat swells in the
water, the caulking and filling will be forced out and will either flake
off or will present rough, irregular surfaces to the water and will thus
take a great deal from the speed of the boat.

It is a good plan to pour a quantity of water into the boat a few days
before launching as this will swell the planks and if any leaks exist
you can find them before placing the boat overboard.

Before painting any part of the boat, all the old, loose, dry or rough
paint should be scraped and sandpapered smooth and if it is in very bad
shape it should be burned off by a torch, or removed by some good paint-
and varnish-remover until the smooth surface of the wood is exposed.

Use only the very best paint and varnish for the boat, for cheap, poor
paints and varnishes are worse than nothing on a boat, and the very best
is the cheapest in the end. Use very little turpentine and still less
dryer in the paint, for while paint mixed with oil alone may dry slowly,
it will last far longer than paint with a great deal of turpentine or
dryer. Haste makes waste in everything connected with a boat.

Aside from the care of the hull there are the masts, sails and rigging
to be looked after. The masts and spars should be scraped and
sandpapered, varnished with two coats of the best spar-varnish and
allowed to dry thoroughly.

Standing rigging should be overhauled. Any frayed or worn parts should
be renewed, the metal parts should be cleaned free of rust or corrosion
and painted and new running rigging should be rove through the blocks if
the old ropes are frayed, rotten, worn or weak. The blocks should all be
looked over; broken ones should be replaced and sheaves should be oiled
and turned until they move easily on their bearings.

The sails should be spread out; all torn or frayed spots mended and if
reef points, earrings or other ropes on the sails are ravelled, frayed
or worn, they should be replaced.

If the sails are mildewed, dirty or discolored, they should be scrubbed
with good soap and water and bleached in the sun. Finally all stays and
other rigging should be tightened up.

The boat’s equipment should also be overhauled and put in first-class
shape. A good time to attend to this is while the paint and varnish are

Every boat, no matter how small, should _always_ have an anchor on board
with enough anchor line to allow you to anchor in fairly deep
water—usually from fifty to one hundred feet of line according to the
size of the boat and the depth of the waters where you sail. If the boat
is small and a long anchor line is in the way the anchor may be attached
to a comparatively short line and another line may be coiled and tied
neatly and stored away where it can readily be reached if needed.

There are many kinds of anchors, but the commonest form is the ordinary
two-fluke pattern with a sliding “stock.” When not in use the
cross-piece, or stock, is folded along the shank and thus occupies
little space and when it is to be used the stock is held in position at
right angles to the shank by a metal key. It is a good plan to seize the
stock in position with a bit of line as well as by means of the key for
the latter often works loose and allows the anchor to drag. There are
also several good designs of folding anchors and for very small boats
grapnels may be used if desired.

There is no use in carrying an anchor unless it is large enough to hold
the boat in a reasonable wind and sea and for small boats the anchors
should weigh at least two pounds for every foot of the boat’s water line
length. Every boat over twenty-five feet in length should have at least
two anchors, and one of these should be at least one-and-one-half times
as heavy as the other. In addition to these real anchors there should be
a _sea-anchor_ or _drogue_ in the boat if you ever expect to sail in any
but the smoothest waters and lightest winds.

[Illustration: ANCHORS]

    1—Common anchor. 2—Grapnel. 3—Drogue or sea-anchor. 4—Keg
        mooring buoy. 5—Iron mooring buoy. 6—Spar mooring buoy.
        7—Mushroom anchor.

A drogue or sea-anchor consists of an iron ring or a strong wooden hoop
from one to two feet in diameter which is often hinged or jointed so it
may be folded up, and to this a conical canvas bag is sewn. If the
drogue is to be used on a fairly large boat it should be strengthened by
ropes, as shown in the illustration, and in any case the ring or hoop
should be provided with a four-rope “bridle” as illustrated (_A_). To
the small end a light line (_B_) should be fastened to “trip” the drogue
when you wish to draw it in, and a cork float (_C_) is attached at the
end of a line three or four feet in length (_D_) to prevent the
sea-anchor from sinking or “diving.” Some people prefer a drogue with
the lower or smaller end left open, but the form shown will serve for
all-around purposes as well as any.

The drogue is used when “riding-out” a gale or “lying-to” in a storm or
heavy sea and its purpose is to hold the boat’s bow to the wind and
waves and also to prevent the boat from drifting too rapidly to leeward.
It should be attached to a stout line twenty-five to forty feet in
length and passed over the bows and if there is no sea-anchor at hand a
bucket, a couple of oars lashed crosswise, thwarts, spare sails,
cushions, or, in fact, anything which will float and will offer a
considerable resistance to the water, may be used in place of a drogue.

Not only will a drogue hold a boat’s head on to wind and sea but it will
also form a “smooth” for the boat and will often prevent the waves from
breaking over the bow.

When riding to a drogue a close-reefed sail, or the upper part of the
sail may be set to keep the boat steady if necessary, but most boats
will ride very well to a drogue without any sail whatever.

Be sure that your boat has oars, oarlocks, a boat-hook, a compass and a
lantern on board, for these simple things may save your life and they
will come in useful scores of times. If you go on long cruises or sail
any distance from shore you should also have a keg of fresh water in the
boat at all times, for one never knows when an accident may happen and
the boat may be kept out to sea for many hours at a time and if such an
event _does_ occur you will give heartfelt thanks for your foresight in
providing drinking-water.

Finally there is the ballast. If the boat carries inside ballast it may
be in the form of iron or lead bars, cobble stones or sandbags and these
should be looked over, cleaned and put in good shape. If the sandbags
leak, mend them with strong thread and give them a good coat of paint;
if stones are used wash them in fresh water and let them dry before
placing in the boat, and if iron bars are used, chip off the rust and
give them a coat of asphaltum varnish, or some good metal paint.

When pulling up the boat for the winter or placing her “out of
commission” _always_ drain all the water out of the hull. All weeds,
shells and marine growths should be removed from the bottom and the
planks should be scrubbed off and the keel blocked up so that it rests
on a firm support at several points, as otherwise it may bend or buckle
from the boat’s weight.

The inside ballast should be taken out and placed aside; the running
rigging should be taken down, coiled and hung in a safe dry spot; all
the equipment should be taken from the boat and stored away and the
sails should be soaked in fresh water, dried thoroughly, rolled up and
stored in a dry loft or similar place.

A little care and trouble taken in such matters will save a vast amount
of time, trouble and expense when ready to put the boat in the water,
for dampness, dirt and rust will play havoc with the woodwork, ropes,
sails and other parts of the boat if left alone over winter, while
marine growths and old paint are far easier to remove from the bottom
when wet and fresh than after they have dried and hardened during the
months in which the boat is hauled out.

If you use a mooring this should be taken up in the fall and stored over
winter, for ice will often carry away a mooring buoy and chain which
will resist the most severe storms. If the stone, anchor or other object
used as a mooring is too heavy to be taken up the mooring buoy should be
taken from the chain and a cheap wooden spar or pole should be
substituted. This will resist the action of ice and winter storms better
than the keg or can buoy, and if it is lost it doesn’t amount to much
and the chain can usually be picked up again by a grapnel.

In order that you may be able to locate your mooring, if the buoy is
sunk or carried away, you should make a note of cross bearings (see
Chapter VII) so that you will know the exact spot where the mooring is

There are many forms of moorings for small boats, among them large
stones, heavy pieces of iron or metal, such as old furnace-pots, old
car-wheels, old railroad-rails and discarded machinery, while large
anchors, and especially “mushroom” anchors, are widely used.

It doesn’t make the least difference what is used for a mooring as long
as it is heavy enough to hold the boat securely, but it must be borne in
mind that an object under water weighs far less than when out of water
and hence you should always use an object which you are sure is large
and heavy enough to hold your boat in any wind or weather. A mooring
should weigh at least three times as much as an anchor and six or eight
times as much is none too heavy.

From the mooring a heavy iron chain should lead to a buoy and the chain
should be long enough to allow for the rise and fall of tide and yet
have some slack at all times.

Galvanized chain should be used and the buoy at its upper end should be
large and buoyant enough to support the entire weight of the chain.

There are metal buoys, made for the purpose; a strong keg, such as a
beer keg, makes a good buoy; a spar buoy or a cork float may be used. If
a keg is used it should be provided with brass or galvanized hoops and
should be kept well painted and spars, metal buoys or cork floats should
also be taken up, dried and painted at frequent intervals to prevent
them from becoming overgrown with marine plants, waterlogged or
destroyed by teredos.

The buoy is intended to support the chain and to make the location of
the mooring plain. You are _not_ supposed to make your boat fast to it.
For fastening the boat a ring should be provided on the chain below the
buoy and the buoy left floating or it may be placed on the deck or
inside the boat when the mooring is in use. Have your mooring buoy
painted in bright colors so as to be easily visible and see that it is
always kept in such good shape that it floats high and plain above the
water. It’s a very easy matter to miss a buoy in a fog, at night, or
even with a sea running, and the higher it floats and the more brilliant
the colors, the more readily you can “pick it up.”

When you come to the mooring you may catch the buoy by hand or by a
boat-hook. To make this easier a large loop of rope or a ring should be
provided on the buoy and the buoy left floating or it may be and you use
a boat-hook, be very careful not to punch a hole in the buoy as you
reach for it with the hook.

While getting your boat ready for the water, while sailing her, and, in
fact, whenever you are handling or working about boats, you will find it
necessary to tie many knots.

Everyone can tie some sort of a knot, but comparatively few can tie
really good knots and as they are very important and useful, you should
learn how to tie all the common, and some of the fancy, knots and should
know how to splice. There is a good portion of the year when you cannot
use your boat and during this season you can employ a great deal of your
time to good advantage in studying the next chapter and following the
directions for making knots, ties and splices.


                              CHAPTER VII

                         MARLINSPIKE SEAMANSHIP

To sailors the ability to tie knots, make splices and do other ropework
is known as marlinspike seamanship. The name “marlinspike” refers to a
metal instrument used in making knots and splices and this tool, or a
somewhat similar but smaller implement known as a _fid_, is the only
article except the ropes which is required in making any knot, tie or

There is a vast difference between tying a _knot_ and tying a _good
knot_, and while the one is an abomination, the other is a thing to
admire. To be a good knot a knot must combine a number of important
points. It must be of such a character that it can be quickly and easily
tied; it must hold securely without danger of slipping or loosening; it
must be free from the danger of “jamming”; it must be easy to untie or
cast off, and it must be perfectly adapted to the particular purpose for
which it is used.

The advent of wire rigging and steamships marked the decline of
marlinspike seamanship and today a great many so-called sailors are
woefully ignorant of any but the simplest knots and ropework. On the old
square-riggers and in the days when sailing vessels were supreme upon
the seas, the sailors prided themselves upon their knowledge of knots
and splices. Today one may now and then find an old deep-water tar who
can tie every knot and make every splice ever used aboard ship, but each
year these men are becoming fewer and marlinspike seamanship, unless
kept alive by those who sail boats for pleasure, will soon be a thing of
the past.

Before commencing to tie knots or to make splices one should learn about
the various kinds of rope and the names of the rope’s parts.

Ordinary rope is known as _three-stranded_ and is made of three pieces,
or strands, twisted together. These run from _left to right_ in a spiral
and each of these several strands is made up of smaller pieces known as
_yarns_, which are twisted together from right to left or _left-handed_.
Other ropes are made of four strands, while _bolt-rope_ has a central
strand around which the other strands are _laid_ or twisted. Some ropes
are laid up _left-handed_ with each strand composed of yarns twisted
_right-handed_, but when made in this way the rope becomes a _cable_ or
a _cable-laid_ rope.

The ropes ordinarily used are the three-stranded, right-hand kinds and
they may be made of cotton, jute, Manilla or hemp, the Manilla being the
best and most widely used.

Small ropes are usually termed _lines_ by sailors, and one never hears a
seaman speak of “string.” Instead he says “twine,” “line,” “yarn,” or
“marline.” _Twine_ is small right-handed line. _Spun-yarn_, or yarn, is
loosely laid, left-handed hemp, tarred and rubbed down. _Marline_ is
line made of two finely dressed hemp yarns laid left-handed and usually

Whenever a rope is used for tying a knot or making a splice certain
terms are employed to designate the various parts and as these names are
used in the directions for making knots you should become familiar with

The principal portion or longest part of the rope is called the
_standing part_; the portion bent or curved is the _bight_, and the
shorter portion used in making the knot or splice is the _end_. Fig. 1.

There are various types of knots, some employed for everyday useful
purposes and some for purely ornamental uses. As the former are the
easiest to make and are most important, it is a wise plan to learn how
to tie them before attempting to master the more difficult ornamental


Before commencing to work with a rope the loose strands at the ends
should be _whipped_ to prevent the rope from unraveling. To _whip_ the
rope take a piece of soft, strong twine, lay it on the rope an inch or
two from the end, pass the twine several times around the rope, keeping
the ends of the twine under the first few turns to hold it in position,
and then make a large loop with the free end of the twine. Bring this
back to the rope, continue winding it for a few turns around the rope
and the end of the twine and finally finish by drawing the loop snug by
pulling on the free end as shown in Fig. 2. This is the true sailor
fashion of whipping a rope’s end, but for mere temporary purposes when
practising ropework, twine wrapped a few times around the rope and tied
will be sufficient.

_Cuckold’s necks_ are loops or rings of rope such as are illustrated in
Fig. 3. They are very easily made by bringing the end of a rope around
in a circular bight and then seizing the bight to the standing part by
means of twine or yarn. As soon as the two parts are thus bound together
or seized the _cuckold’s neck_ becomes a _clinch_ which is often very
useful about a boat, while the loop or cuckold’s neck itself is the
foundation of many useful knots.

Of all true knots perhaps the simplest is the _overhand knot_ (Fig. 4).
To make this knot merely pass the end of the rope over the standing part
and through the bight or cuckold’s neck thus formed (Fig. 4 A). When
drawn tight the knot appears as in Fig. 4 B and is often used in making
splices, grommets and fancy knots.

Another useful and very simple knot is the _figure eight_ which is shown
commenced in Fig. 5 A and completed in Fig. 5 B, but the most useful and
important of all is the _square knot_ or _reef knot_ shown in Fig. 6.
This is the knot used to tie reef points, to furl sails, to fasten two
lines together and for many other purposes, and it is doubtless the best
all-around knot known. It has the advantages of being easy to tie and
untie, of holding fast under tremendous strain and of never becoming

To tie a reef knot take one end of the rope in each hand, pass the
_left_ over and under the _right_ and then pass the _right over and
under the left_. If you will always remember this formula, _left over_,
_right over_, you will never make a mistake and tie a granny (Fig. 7).
To make a granny knot stamps you as a landlubber, for the granny is a
useless, troublesome knot which can never be depended upon and which is
unfit for any purpose. It will not hold a strain, it is liable to slip
and it soon becomes jammed and hard to untie.

If when tying a reef knot, the bight of one end is used instead of the
end itself, a _slippery reefer_ is made and this is far better for tying
reef points than the true square knot as it may be cast off by merely
pulling on the free end of the loop (Fig. 8).

When fastening a boat or any other object where it may be necessary to
cast off quickly, a _lark’s head_ is a good fastening to use (Fig. 9).
To make this knot pass the bight of a rope through the ring or other
object to which you are making fast and then slip a piece of wood, a
marlinspike, or some other object through the sides of the bight and
under or behind the standing part as shown in Fig. 9 at A. The end of
the rope is then laid over and under the standing part and back over
itself. This knot may be instantly unfastened by merely pulling out the
bit of wood or _toggle_ (_A_).

Another knot, which is easy to cast off and is very useful in many
places, is the _slippery-hitch_ (Fig. 10). To make this knot run the end
of the rope through the ring or eye, then back over the standing part
and pull the loop or bight back through the cuckold’s neck thus formed.
To untie merely pull on the free end.

A better knot for fastening a boat or other object quickly and securely
is that shown in Fig. 11. This is made of two half-hitches and is widely
used by sailors and is the easiest of all reliable and secure knots to
tie. It is made by passing the end of a rope around a post or other
object, then carrying the end over and around the standing part between
itself and the post and then under and around the standing part between
its own loop and the one first made. It is easier to learn this knot by
studying the diagram than by a description, and as soon as you get the
“hang” of it you can tie it in an instant in the darkest night. It will
hold forever without working loose and even on a smooth stick or spar it
will stand a great strain without slipping along.

A better knot for fastening to such an object as a smooth stick, where
there is a longitudinal strain or to another rope, is the _clove hitch_
(Fig. 12). To make this, pass the end of the rope around the stick or
other object, then over itself, then over and around the spar and pass
the end under itself and between the rope and spar as shown in the

If you have occasion to fasten a rope to a hook for hoisting anything
you should use the _blackwall hitch_ (Fig. 13), which is very secure and
easily made. To make this hitch form a loop or cuckold’s neck with the
end of the rope underneath and then pass it over the hook so that the
standing part bears against the end and jams it fast.

Still another strong knot for attaching a rope to a hook is shown in
Fig. 14. This is called a _catspaw_ and is made as follows: Lay the
bight of the rope over the end and standing part; then, with a bight in
each hand take three twists _away from you_; then bring the two bights
side by side and hook them over the hook as shown.

For towing a spar, mast or a piece of timber, or for fastening to a log,
the best knot to use is the _timber hitch_ (Fig. 15). This is made by
passing the end of the rope around the object, then around the standing
part and then twisting it three times under and over its own part. If
you wish to have this still more secure, a half-hitch may be taken with
the line a foot or two farther along the spar (Fig. 15 A).

It often happens that one needs to fasten two very heavy or stiff ropes
or hawsers together and this may be impossible with any ordinary knots.
In such cases there is nothing better than the _carrick bend_ (Fig. 16).
To make this bend, form a bight by laying the end of the hawser on top
of and across the standing part. Then take the end of the other hawser
and pass it through this bight, first down and then up over the cross
and then down through the bight again, so that it comes out on the
opposite side from the other end thus bringing _one end on top_ and the
_other below_ as illustrated. If the lines are very heavy or stiff the
ends may be seized to the standing parts by twine or marline.

Heavy hawsers can seldom be handled like small ropes and there are
several bends or knots which are especially designed for these large
ropes. Among them are the _anchor bends_ shown in Fig. 16 A and the
_fisherman’s bend_ (Fig. 16 B), both of which are so simple that an
explanation is not necessary as they can readily be mastered by looking
at the diagrams.

But of all knots perhaps the most perfect is the _bowline_ (Fig. 17).
This is preëminently _the_ sailor’s knot and every person who uses or
owns boats should learn to tie a bowline quickly and readily for it is
the strongest, most secure and best of all useful knots and can be used
for a thousand and one different purposes.

It is very simple and by following the various stages as illustrated you
will have no difficulty in learning to tie it. In A the rope is shown
with the bight or cuckold’s neck formed with the end over the standing
part. Pass A back through the bight, under, then over, then under again,
as shown in B; then over and down through the bight, as shown at C and
D. Then draw tight as at E.

While for most purposes knots serve every purpose for fastening two
ropes together or for attaching a rope to some other object, yet a tied
rope is never as strong as a whole rope and moreover where two ropes are
thus fastened together, the knot will not pass through blocks, eyes or
other openings which will admit the rope itself. For this reason it is
often necessary to join two ropes so that there is scarcely any increase
in the size of the ropes. This is accomplished by making what is known
as a _splice_.

A splice, if well made, is as strong as the rest of the rope; it will
run through a block or eye readily and moreover it is not difficult to
make. There are various kinds of splices, known as _short splices_, _eye
splices_, _cut splices_, _long splices_, etc., and everyone who has
occasion to use ropes should be able to make any or all of these.

The simplest splice, and the one you should learn first, is the _short
splice_ (Fig. 18). To make this untwist or _unlay_ the ends of the two
ropes to be joined for a few inches and wrap a few turns of twine or
yarn around them to prevent the strands from untwisting any farther, as
shown at A, A. The end of each strand should also be whipped or seized
to prevent unravelling, but after you are adept at splicing you can omit
these seizings as you will be able to splice just as well, but while
learning you will find them quite necessary.

You will also find it far easier to learn how to splice if you wax or
grease the strands and this applies to ropes which are used when
practising simple or fancy knots also.

When you have the ropes ready, place them end to end, as shown in B, B,
and with a marlinspike, a pointed stick, or some smooth, round, sharp
tool open the strand 1 C and through this push the strand A of the other
rope. Next open strand 2 and pass the next strand of the other rope
through the opening and treat the third strand in the same way. Now open
the strands of the second, or right-hand, rope below the seizings and
push the strands of the first, or left-hand, rope through the apertures.
The two ropes will now appear as in D, D. Next untwist each strand, cut
off about one-half of the yarns, twist the strands tightly and seize
with twine. Each of the reduced strands must now be poked under the
whole strands of the opposite rope in the same manner as you passed the
whole strands before cutting them down. After drawing each strand tight,
pass them once more under the whole strands and finally trim them off
close to the rope.

If a really fine, neat splice is desired, you may trim off a few of the
yarns in each strand every time they are passed under the others, thus
gradually tapering the ends and in this way forming a splice which is
scarcely distinguishable from the rest of the rope.

An _eye splice_ (Fig. 19), is made in the same manner as the short
splice but instead of splicing the two ends of separate ropes together
the end of the rope is unlaid and then bent around in a loop and the
ends are spliced into the strands of the standing part as shown in the

A _cut splice_ (Fig. 20), is made in a very similar manner but instead
of bending the rope around in a bight two ropes are spliced together
overlapping, or a short rope may be spliced into another rope at both
its ends.

Where a very strong splice the same diameter as the rope is required a
_long splice_ must be used (Fig. 21). This is the most difficult of all
splices to make and it is even harder to describe than to make, but when
well spliced it will pass through a block or eye as readily as a plain
rope and the splice cannot be distinguished from the rope itself.

To make a long splice unlay the strands of the ropes about four times as
much as for a short splice, or from four to five feet, and unlay one
strand in each rope for half as much again. Place the center strands
together, as at A, so that the long strands appear as at B and C and the
spiral groove, left where they were unlaid, will look like D, E. Take
off the two middle strands F, G, and lay them into the grooves D, E,
until they meet B, C, and be sure to keep them tightly twisted while
doing this. Then take the strands H, J, cut off half the yarns in each,
make an overhand knot in them and stick the ends in as in making a short
splice. Do the same with strands B, C, and F, G, dividing, knotting and
sticking in the ends. Finally stretch the rope, pound and roll it until
smooth and trim off any loose bits and ends of yarn close to the rope.

While making any splice or knot where the strands are unlaid and are
again laid up, be sure to keep the strands tightly twisted by turning
them _from right to left_. Then when they are laid in place they will
hold their position snugly by their tendency to untwist. If you examine
a rope carefully you will discover that the various strands are _not_
merely twisted together, but that two of them are twisted and that the
third is then laid into the groove between the other two. In laying up a
rope after making a knot or splice this should be borne in mind.

Sometimes a ring of rope is required and this can be quickly and easily
obtained by making a _grommet_ (Fig. 22). To make a grommet unlay and
cut a long strand from a common rope, bend it around in a circle of the
desired size, lay one end over the other and with the long end follow
the grooves or _lay_ of the strand until it comes back to where it
started, thus forming a ring of two strands. Continue laying the free
end into the groove between the two strands until the ring is completed
with three strands all around and then finish by dividing the yarns of
the two ends where they meet, making overhand knots in them and then
passing them underneath the nearest strands, as when making a splice,
and finally trim off all loose, projecting yarns.

These grommets make very good quoits and they may also be used as
handles to chests and boxes, rings for masts of small boats and for many
other purposes.

After the common useful knots and splices have been thoroughly mastered
it is well to learn how to make a few ornamental knots and ropework.
Many of these are really useful about a boat while others add greatly to
the neat, yachty appearance of ropes, rigging, etc.

At first sight most ornamental knots appear very complicated and
difficult, but they are really no harder to tie than a bowline or a reef
knot, once you know how.

In tying fancy knots you will find cotton rope or very fine hemp better
than Manilla, but after you are really skillful you will find no trouble
in forming any knot in any old rope that is handy.

The two most important of fancy knots and those which are the foundation
of many others are the _crown_, (Figs. 23, 24) and the _wall_, (Figs.
25, 26). The _Matthew Walker_, (Fig. 32) and the _Turk’s head_, (Fig.
33) are also very beautiful and useful knots and by the use of these
four and their various combinations an endless number of fancy knots may
be devised. Many of these combinations of two or more knots have become
so generally used that they have received specific names and are now
recognized as regular knots. Such are the _wall and crown_, _double wall
and crown_, etc.

In addition to true ornamental knots there are various other forms of
fancy ropework, such as _worming_, _parcelling_, _serving_, _sennett
work_, _thumming_, etc., while _four-stranded and crown-braids_ are used
in making ornamental lanyards, hand lines, rope fenders, etc.

[Illustration: ORNAMENTAL KNOTS]

The simplest of ornamental knots is the _crown_ and it is well to
commence with this. Unlay the strands of the rope for a few inches.
Seize or whip the ends of the rope as when making a short splice. Now
while holding the rope in your left hand, fold one strand over and away
from you as in A, Fig. 23; then fold B over A and while holding these in
place with your thumb and finger pass C over B and through the bight of
A, as shown in the cut. Now pull the ends tight and work the bights up
snugly and your knot will be the _single crown_, but as this is a poor
knot to stay tied and is not very ornamental, it should be finished by
tucking the free ends under and over the strands of the rope as shown in
Fig. 24, meanwhile tapering them down as described in the directions for
making an eye splice.

This results in a very neat and ship shape finish for a rope’s end and
as it will never work loose like a seizing and can be tied in a very few
moments, it can be recommended as the handiest and best of all methods
for finishing the ends of ropes to prevent unravelling.

As simple as the crown and far more attractive, is the _wall knot_,
Figs. 25, 26. In making this knot unlay and whip the rope as for the
crown and make a bight in the strand C by bringing the end down and
across the standing part. Then bring strand A over C and around the
standing part, and finally bring B over A and up through the bight of C.
Draw all the ends tight and snug and the _single wall_ will be finished.
As in the case with the _crown knot_, this is mainly of value as a basis
for other knots, or for ending rope by tucking in the ends as shown in
Fig. 26.

By “doubling” the wall or crown, the knots are made far more ornamental.
This is done by _following the lay_ of the single knot, or in other
words, after the single wall or crown is made the strands are carried
around side by side of themselves. To make a _double wall knot_ make the
single knot and then, before drawing it tight, bring the strand A up
through its own bight beside the end of C. Then bring B up through its
own bight beside A and carry C up through its own bight beside B. When
drawn tight it will be very neat. The ends may be trimmed off or tucked
through the strands of the standing part as preferred. (Fig. 26.)

A still more ornamental knot may be formed by _crowning_ a wall knot.
This is done by first making a plain wall knot and then bringing A up
over the top, laying B across A and bringing C over B and through the
bight of A, or in other words, tying a crown knot on top of a wall knot,
(Fig. 27).

This is the foundation for one of the most beautiful of rope-end knots
which is known as the _double wall and crown_ or _manrope knot_. (Fig.
28.) To make this, tie the single wall, crown it and leave the strands
slack. Then pass the ends under and up through the bights of the single
wall knot and then push the ends alongside of the strands which form the
single crown knot, passing them through the bights in the crown and down
through the walling.

If you have learned the single wall and single crown, you will find this
very simple, for it consists in merely following the lay of the strands
of the single wall and crown. When well done and worked up tight and
snug with the ends trimmed off closely it makes a highly ornamental
knot, (Fig. 28), and if the ends are tucked into the standing part, as
directed for tying the single crown, there should be no sign of a
beginning or ending to this knot, the finished result appearing like an
ornamental knob of rope.

This is a useful as well as an ornamental knot and is handy in many
places on a boat. It is often used in finishing the ends of rope
railings, the ends of manropes (hence its name) for the ends of yoke
lines for steering small boats, to form _stoppers_ or _toggles_ to
bucket-handles, slings, etc., and in fact, wherever a large ornamental
end to a rope is required or where a knot is desired to prevent a rope
from slipping through any aperture.

Its use for such purposes is shown in Figs. 29, 30 and 31 which
represent topsail halyard toggles, formed by turning an eye splice in a
short length of rope with a double wall and crown at the end. Such
toggles are useful for many purposes other than for topsail halyards.
They may be used as stops for furling sails, for slings around gaffs or
booms, for attaching blocks when hoisting and in many other places which
will suggest themselves to the user of a small boat.

Another very beautiful end knot, and the most difficult of all to make
is the _Matthew Walker_ or _stopper knot_ (Fig. 32). To tie this knot
pass one strand around the standing part and through its own bight, then
pass B underneath and through the bight of A and through its own bight
as well. Then pass C underneath, around and through the bights of A, B
and its own bight. The knot will not appear as at Fig. 32 A, but by
carefully hauling the ends around and working the bights up tight—a
little at a time, the knot will assume the shape shown in Fig. 32 B.
This is a splendid knot for the ends of ropes to prevent them from
slipping through holes, as it is hard, close and presents an almost flat
shoulder on its lower side. It is because of its adaption to such
purposes that the name “stopper knot” has been given to it.

All of the preceding are end knots, but a knot of a very different sort,
which is widely used for ornamenting ropes, is the _Turk’s head_ (Fig.
33). Turk’s heads are used in decorating lower standing rigging, for
rings or shoulders on shrouds or ropes, to secure other rigging in
position, to ornament yoke lines, for forming sliding collars on knife
lanyards and for collars around stanchions, spars, oars, etc., and when
placed around a rope close beneath a manrope or Matthew Walker knot it
gives a very beautiful and elaborate finish to a rope.

Although so handsome and apparently intricate, the Turk’s head is a very
simple and easy knot to make and while you may have some difficulty in
mastering it at the first a little practice and perseverance will enable
you to become proficient and you will be able to tie this beautiful knot
at any time and in any position.

To learn to make this knot obtain a smooth, round stick and some closely
twisted, or braided, small line. Pass two turns with the line around the
rod, as at A, Fig. 33, pass the upper bight down through the lower bight
and reeve the upper end down through it, as at B, Fig. 33. Then pass the
bight up again and pass the end over the lower bight and up between it
and the upper bight. Dip the upper bight again through the lower bight
and pass the end over what is now the upper bight and between it and the
lower one, as at C, Fig. 33. Continue to work around in this manner to
the right until the other end is met when the other part should be
followed around until a plait of two or more lays is complete as shown
in the cut.

[Illustration: ROPEWORK]

The various bights should then be drawn snugly until there is no slack
and the completed knot fits tightly about the rod. A variation of this
knot may be formed by making the first part as directed and then by
slipping the knot to the end of the rod work one side tighter than the
other until the plaits form a complete cap (Fig. 33 D). This makes a
fine finish for the ends of stanchions, poles, flagstaffs, etc., and it
may be kept in position by a few tacks or small nails driven through the
inner strands into the woodwork.

Ropes that are to be used as handlines, stanchions, manropes, lifelines,
shrouds or, in fact, for any purpose where appearances count, are
usually _wormed_, _served_ and _parcelled_. _Worming_ consists of
twisting a small line or filler into the grooves and making the rope
smooth and ready for parcelling or serving. _Parcelling_ is done by
wrapping the wormed line with a narrow strip of canvas (Fig. 34 B), and
finally the whole is _served_ by being wrapped tightly with marline or
spun yarn (Fig. 34 C).

Although all this may be done by hand the serving is usually
accomplished by means of a tool known as a serving mallet (Fig. 34 D).
This instrument enables one to work much more evenly and tightly than is
possible by hand serving, but whether a mallet is used or you depend
upon hand serving, the rope to be treated must be stretched tightly
between two uprights or the result will never be satisfactory. Sometimes
a rope is served without either worming or parcelling and for ordinary
purposes the parcelling is not necessary; although the results obtained
by performing all these operations are very much more satisfactory.

A variation in serving is made by means of _half-hitch_ work as shown in
Fig. 35. This is very ornamental when well done and is very simple and
easy to accomplish. To make this covering, take a half-hitch with the
small line about the rope, then another below it, draw snug, take
another half-hitch and continue in this way until the rope or other
object, is covered and the half-hitches form a spiral row of knots
running around the covered object. Bottles, jugs, ropes, stanchions,
fenders and many other articles may be covered with this half-hitch work
and as you become expert you will be able to cover objects with several
alternating rows of half-hitches.

_Four-strand braiding_ is also highly ornamental and is very simple. To
do this (Fig. 36), merely cross the opposite strands of small lines as
illustrated in A, B, Fig. 36 B, first crossing A to the left of B, then
crossing C and D above A and B and continue in this way until the braid
is the desired length.

Still more decorative is a _crown braid_, which is made by forming one
crown knot over another.

A _wall braid_ may be made by forming a series of single wall knots in
the same way and either the crown or wall braiding may be done with any
number of strands or lines desired; the more strands used the finer and
more ornamental will be the braid produced.

Sometimes the _monkey chain_, Fig. 38, is used for ornamental work, but
it is more useful as a means of shortening rope in such a manner that it
may be quickly lengthened out for use. To make the _monkey chain_ draw a
loop of the rope through its own bight as at A, B, Fig. 38; draw another
loop through this (C, Fig. 38), another through this (D, Fig. 38), and
continue in this way until the rope is shortened as much as desired,
when the end may then be passed through the last bight as shown at E,
Fig. 38. If left in this way the chain will never come loose and yet the
rope may be lengthened instantly by slipping out the end and pulling
upon it whereupon the entire chain will ravel.

Once having mastered these various knots and splices you will find
little difficulty in selecting and tying the best knot for any purpose
which may arise, but no description of knots would be complete without a
few hints on slinging barrels, casks or other objects.

Three of the best and simplest slings are shown in Figs. 39, 40 and 41.
The first, Fig. 39, shows a handy and useful sling for bags or bales and
consists of a strap or length of rope with the two ends spliced together
and slipnoosed around the object as shown. A large grommet also makes a
good sling of this type. Fig. 40 shows how to sling a cask or barrel in
an upright position when it contains water or other contents, while in
Fig. 41, a sling for hoisting barrels, boxes or other articles is
illustrated. In this case the rope may be used with an eye splice at one
end as shown, or it may be merely tied with a bowline or other good
knot. Sometimes a sling is used which has an eye splice at each end and
if you have one or two slings readymade with finished ends, or with eye
splices turned in them, you will find they are very useful and will save
a lot of time and trouble, for they can be used for many purposes other
than as slings.


                              CHAPTER VIII

                           SIMPLE NAVIGATION

Among the first things that the amateur sailor should learn are the
rules of the road at sea, for there are just as strict and definite
rules for boats traversing maritime highways as are in force for
vehicles using highways on the land.

But whereas traffic rules ashore vary in different countries, and even
in the various states and cities, the rules of the road on the water are
alike throughout all the world, and if you learn the rules in force in
American waters, the knowledge will serve just as well in the waters of
any other country.

The first and principal rule is to _turn to the right when meeting
another boat_. At times this may be impossible and hence signals and
rules have been arranged which provide for turning to the left when
necessary, but sailing boats _always_ have the right of way over
steamers and power boats. It does not follow, because this is the case,
however, that a man in a small sailboat should compel a larger vessel to
give way to him and endanger the other ship for it may be impossible for
the larger craft to turn out, owing to the narrow channel or some
similar reason, and hence you should know what the various lights and
signals mean and should be prepared for any unusual condition which may

In order that sailors may know in which direction a vessel is proceeding
at night, as well as the character of the vessel, all vessels carry what
are known as _side lights_, the one on the right or starboard side being
green, while that on the port or left side is red. If you remember that
the _port_ light is _red_ like _port wine_, you will never become
confused as to which color is port and which starboard. These lights are
only used when vessels are sailing or under way and when at anchor or at
moorings, a white light or _riding-light_ is placed in the rigging.

Steamers and power boats carry a white light near the stern and another
white light forward. The rear white light is visible from all directions
and is high up, while the forward white light is visible only from one
side around a half-circle to the other side of the bow, while the side
lights can only be seen from ahead or from either side.

By these lights you can always determine the direction in which a vessel
is moving and can thus keep clear. If she is approaching bow-on, you
will see _both_ the side lights and you can be sure she is a power boat
or steamer if you see the two white lights. If the two white lights are
not in exact line, you will know that she is turning and the direction
she is heading is easily determined, for if the _low bow light_ is to
the _right_ of the high stern light she is turning to your _right_,
while if it appears at the _left_ of the higher stern light she is
heading to your _left_. If only one side light is seen you may be sure
the vessel is moving at right angles, or at nearly right angles to your
course, and if she is a power-propelled vessel you can easily tell the
angle at which she is moving by the position of the white lights. If a
steamer or power boat is ahead of you and moving in the same direction,
you can see only the high white stern light and the instant she turns
you will know it by the other lights becoming visible.

Steamers and power boats also have signals which are given by the
whistles to show which way they wish to proceed and the steamer which
signals first dictates the direction. One blast means the vessel is
turning to her _starboard_ or _right_ hand and _two blasts_ signifies
she is going to her _left_ or _port_, and while such signals should be
answered by other power or steam boats, sailing craft are not supposed
to reply. Unless there is some unusual reason for not following the
ordinary rules of the road, a steamer or power boat will never signal to
a sailboat and hence, if a steamer is approaching or overtaking you, and
whistles, you should look about and be sure she is not signalling some
other steamer for _all_ power and steam vessels are supposed to keep
clear of sailing craft. Naturally they expect the sailing boats’
helmsmen to know the rules of the road and, therefore, if you think
their signals are intended for you and change your course the steamer
may not know why you are doing such an unexpected thing and a collision
may result. If you adhere strictly to the rules of the road there is no
reason why you should _ever_ have an accident through your own fault,
but if a power boat or steamer is approaching and does not show signs of
giving way to your right of way you should blow a horn, halloo, shout or
do something to attract attention and if necessary go about and get out
of the way as soon as possible.

During thick weather, in fogs, mists, snow and heavy rain, sailing
vessels signal the direction in which they are moving by means of blasts
on a foghorn. If they are on the _starboard_ tack, that is, with the
wind on the right or starboard side, _one_ blast is blown at intervals
of about a minute, if on the _port_ tack, _two_ blasts are blown at
intervals, while if running _before_ the wind _three_ blasts are
sounded. As you can always tell the direction of the wind by your own
sails, you can easily determine the direction in which the other boats
are headed by their signals and can thus avoid them.

Always remember that a sailing vessel on the _starboard tack has the
right of way over a vessel on the port tack_, and that a vessel sailing
_close hauled or against the wind has the right of way over a vessel
running free or on the wind_ regardless of their size, the direction in
which they are moving or anything else.

In order to make the primary rules of the road easier to remember they
have been made into verse and some of these simple verses, if memorized,
will prove a great help.


    1—Meeting head-on, turn to starboard. 2—Crossing, boat to
        starboard has right of way. 3—Crossing, boat to
        starboard has right of way. 4—Passing. 5—Meeting, Green
        to green, hold course. 6—Meeting at angle, boat to
        starboard has right of way. 7—Meeting at angle, boat to
        starboard has right of way. 8—Boat on wind has right of
        way over boat sailing free. 9—Boat on starboard tack has
        right of way. 10—Red spar buoy, pass on starboard when
        entering harbor, on port when leaving harbors. 11—Black
        spar buoy. Leave on port when entering and on starboard
        when leaving harbors. 12—Horizontal red and black buoy.
        Danger, keep clear. 13—White and black striped buoy.
        Midchannel, keep close to it. 14—Anchorage buoy.
        15—Nun buoy. 16—Can buoy. 17—Gas buoy. 18—Bell buoy.
        19—Whistling buoy. 20—Perch and ball. 21-22—Beacons.
        23—Lighthouse. 24—Lightship. 25—Light beacon. 26—Keg
        beacon. 27—Channel mark. 28—Range marks.

When meeting a vessel head-on you are supposed to turn to the right as
the following verse shows:

                   When two lights you see ahead
                   Port your helm and show your red,

or in other words, put your tiller to port and turn your boat to the

If, on the other hand, a vessel is passing side-to you will see but one
light and the following verse tells you that

                     Green to green, or red to red
                     Perfect safety—go ahead,

or, in other words, if you see a _green_ light on your _green_ or
_starboard_ side or a _red_ or _port_ light on your _red_ or _port_
side, the other boat is parallel to you and your course should be kept.

The greatest danger is in approaching another vessel at right angles,
but in this case remember that the _boat that has the other on the
starboard or right-hand side must keep clear of the other_, or, as the
verse says:

                 If to your starboard red appear
                 ’Tis your duty to keep clear,
                 Act as judgment says is proper,
                 Port or starboard, back or stop her.
                 But when on your port is seen
                 A vessel with a light of green
                 There’s not much for you to do
                 The green light must keep clear of you

But more important perhaps than all is the universal rule that _all_
boats must keep a _good lookout_, and the following verse indicates

                    Both in safety and in doubt
                    Always keep a good lookout
                    Should there not be room to turn
                    Shift your helm and pass astern.

The last line is most important. _Never_ under _any_ circumstances
attempt to _cross the bows_ of another moving vessel. If you do and
accident occurs it will be your own fault. A boat crossing another’s
bows _always does so at her own risk_. No matter how you are heading, no
matter how much of a hurry you may be in, no matter how much trouble it
may involve, if you are approaching another boat of any kind so that
your course will cross hers, remember the last verse and _shift your
helm and pass astern_.

Another very important matter for all boat sailors to learn is the
meaning of the various buoys, beacons, lights and other guide-boards of
the sea. In small boats these are often of little importance for one may
sail hither and thither without paying much attention to channels, but
even in the smallest of sailboats there is a danger of running on reefs,
rocks or shoals if one does not know what the guiding marks mean.

In nearly every port, harbor, or other navigable body of water, except
in the open ocean, there are buoys. To the landsman these appear as so
many red, black or parti-colored sticks or metal cylinders, but to the
sailor every one has a definite meaning and he knows that if he proceeds
according to the route marked by the buoys he is perfectly safe.

There are two general classes of buoys, known as _channel buoys_ and
_danger buoys_. The first are used to mark lanes or channels for boats
and are always black or red in color. _All_ the red buoys are placed on
one side of the channel and _all_ the black buoys on the other side and
every boat, when coming in from sea or _moving towards the land should
keep the red buoys on her right or starboard side_ and all the _black
buoys on her port or left hand_. When going _out_ of the harbor or _away
from land, the red buoys are passed on the left and the black ones on
the right_.

In other words, in _leaving_ a harbor all the _red buoys_ should be
passed on the _red light side of your boat_. Moreover, all the channel
buoys are numbered, the black buoys bearing odd numbers, while the red
ones are marked with even numbers, so that even if the colors are
indistinct you can tell whether they are to be passed on right or left.
But all channel buoys are not alike for there are _spar buoys_, _can
buoys_ and _nun buoys_, each of which serves a definite purpose and
means a certain thing.

_Can buoys_ are cylindrical, like giant tin cans, and are painted black
and marked with odd numbers, while _nun buoys_ are tapered on the top,
are painted red and bear even numbers.

_Spar buoys_ are merely huge, wooden poles painted red or black and
bearing odd numbers on the black ones and even numbers on those which
are red.

In some places the _can_ and _nun buoys_ are used to mark the main ship
channels and the spar buoys are used to show smaller or less important
channels, while in other places only one kind is used or _can_ or _nun_
buoys may be placed among the spar buoys to mark turning points or to
aid mariners in locating their position in the channel. All the buoys’
numbers commence at the one farthest out, which is number 1, for buoys
are of more importance to vessels entering a harbor than to those going
out to sea.

Danger buoys differ from channel buoys in color and are not numbered and
they may be either of the spar, can or nun type. A buoy painted _red and
black in horizontal stripes_ running round the buoy indicates that there
is some small reef, rock or other obstruction close to it and that
vessels must keep clear, _but can pass on either side_. A buoy painted
with _vertical stripes of black and white_ means exactly the opposite
and shows that in order to avoid danger vessels must _pass as closely to
the buoy as possible_ and that there are shoals or obstructions on one
or both sides of the buoy a short distance away. This _striped buoy_
also is used to mark the _center of a channel_ and is known as a
_midchannel buoy_.

_Bell buoys_ and _whistling buoys_ are also used to mark danger spots
and turning-points in channels. Whistling buoys are metal buoys fitted
with whistles which are blown by air forced up by the motion of the
waves and are sometimes called _grunters_ as the sound is more like a
grunt than a whistle. _Bell buoys_ are provided with a bell which is
rung by the swaying of the buoy. In many places they are located well
out to sea to indicate the beginning of a channel; in other spots they
are placed on reefs, rocks or other obstructions as warnings, and in
still other places they serve to show where a channel turns sharply or
where another channel branches off.

Still another sort of buoy is the _gas buoy_. These serve as miniature
lighthouses or lightships and are furnished with lamps which burn
compressed acetylene or other gas. They are usually placed on outlying
reefs or rocks or in spots where it would not pay to keep a regular

In many places, where ordinary buoys cannot be used, a large sphere is
set up on the end of a pole and painted red or black, according to the
side on which it should be passed. This is known to seamen as a _perch
and ball_. Often a square, boxlike affair or a cone made of iron or
wooden slats is used in the same manner.

In still other localities the government does not think it worth while
to establish regular buoys and local fishermen or others use channel
marks in the form of kegs set on posts or rods in place of danger buoys
and cedar trees fastened on tall posts to indicate the channels.

In many parts of the country _beacons_ are used which are tripods or
platforms of wood or iron on which lanterns are suspended. Sometimes the
beacons are built of stone or concrete.

On navigable rivers and inland waters and in some places on the coasts
_range marks_ are used. These are square or diamond-shaped frames of
boards painted white with a square or circle of black in the center and
set on posts. They are placed so that when two come directly in line the
boatman knows he is in the center of the channel. At night lanterns are
often hung upon them.

Sometimes one sees a large spar buoy painted _white_ and with a _little
black anchor_ painted upon it. This shows the anchorage for large
vessels and indicates that vessels cannot anchor further than the buoy
without obstructing a channel or endangering cables, submarine works or
other things.

Just as buoys tell the sailor which way to steer in harbors or when
close to shore so _lightships_ and _lighthouses_ show mariners how to
sail along the coasts. Lightships are vessels carrying lights at their
mastheads and are anchored out at sea on shoals or off harbors to show
where the channels begin.

Lighthouses are usually built on shore close to the sea, but they are
often built on stone, masonry or slender steel supports quite a distance
from the land. Each lighthouse has a different light, many are painted
in stripes or other distinctive patterns and lightships are numbered and
named to enable sailors to identify them easily.


Some lighthouses throw a steady red light, others a steady white light,
others flashes of white, others flashes of red, others alternate flashes
of red and white, and in many places they are arranged so that a white
light is visible from vessels in the channels or in safe waters, while a
red sector causes a red light to be thrown over the shallow or dangerous
waters. Moreover, the flashing lights have various intervals between
flashes and thus, by knowing the colors of the various lights and the
duration of their flashes, a sailor can determine just where he is by
the lighthouses he sights.

All of these safeguards of the sea would be of little value to mariners,
however, if it were not for charts, for no man could remember _all_ the
various buoys, beacons, range marks, lightships and lighthouses of the
coasts and the various harbors.

To enable the seaman to know just what every one of these means, and to
help him find his way in places where he has never been, charts are
furnished by the government. These are maps which show all the buoys,
lights, signals and other guides and also indicate the depth of the
water, the kind of bottom, the points of the compass, the prominent
landmarks, the rise and fall of tides and the outlines of the shores.

With the aid of a chart a sailor can safely find his way into any harbor
or along any coast, and even if it is some remote place where there are
no lights or buoys, or if the weather is too thick to enable him to see
the buoys or lights, the charts will tell him where he is by the
character of the bottom and the depth of the water.

It may seem queer to think of a sailor navigating a vessel by the bottom
of the sea, but it is a method very widely used and of great importance.

In nearly every place the bottom varies more or less and the waters
shoal in a certain way and by finding the kind of bottom there is and
the depth of the water the seaman identifies the locality he is in.
Thus, if the bottom is white sand and the depth is five fathoms, he
looks upon the chart and finds the spot where a similar depth and bottom
is indicated. Perhaps there are several such spots and the sailor is not
sure which one he is on. In that case, he looks in the direction he is
sailing and finds that on the chart the water shoals very gradually and
that blue mud exists just beyond the spot where he _thinks_ he should
be. If his next sounding shows blue mud and only a little less depth
than before he knows he is right, whereas if it shows deeper water and
gravel, or much shallower water and sand, he knows he is off his course
and by comparing his soundings with the chart he can tell just where he

To determine the depth of water, a sounding line is used with a heavy
lead weight at the end and with the fathoms marked upon the line and
every time the lead is dropped to the bottom a tiny sample of the bottom
is brought up sticking to a little tallow which fills a recess in the
end of the lead.

Nowadays there are many improved forms of sounding lines and leads, some
of which have very cleverly arranged appliances for bringing up samples
of the bottom, but the old-fashioned line and lead is still widely used.

Still other important items which are indicated on the chart are
bearings or landfalls. Often some prominent cliff, hill, mountain or
other object is visible long before the shores themselves or any lights
can be seen, and by bringing certain such marks in line, or by obtaining
the direction which they bear to the ship and then referring to the
charts, the sailor can tell just what part of the shore he is
approaching and how he should steer to enter a harbor or channel.

But charts, bearings or landmarks would be almost useless without that
most important of all mariners’ guides, the compass.

Everyone who uses a boat should know how to use a compass and every
boat, save the very smallest open boats, should invariably have a
compass on board. Even if you never expect to sail far from shore you
may some day be caught in a thick fog or blown off to sea for several
miles and a compass may save your life and the lives of others. But
unless you know how to use a compass this useful instrument will be of
little aid. It may seem strange to speak of learning to use a compass
for everyone knows that a compass points toward the north, but when an
ordinary compass is used on a boat the conditions are very different
from using a compass on land. In the first place it is not enough to
know the cardinal points of north, south, east and west, for while such
general directions may serve on the land, a very slight variation of the
course may result in running on a reef or in missing a harbor, when
sailing. For this reason you should become thoroughly familiar with
_all_ the points of a compass and should be able to _box the compass_ or
repeat all the thirty-two points from north around the circle to north
and back again without looking at the compass. Then you should learn the
quarter points and should be able to tell at a glance whether the boat
is heading north-one-quarter-east or is a quarter of a point off her
course in any direction, for a quarter-point error in sailing may make a
vast difference at the end of a few hours’ run.

There are two general types of compasses in use: one known as the
_pocket compass_ or _movable-needle compass_, the other as the
_mariner’s compass or floating-card compass_. The former is generally
used on land and has a fixed card with the various points marked upon it
and a movable needle which points to the north, while the mariner’s
compass has a card with the points which revolves and there is a notch
or _lubber’s mark_ on one side of the case which should be so placed
that when facing north the north mark on the card is exactly in line
with the lubber’s mark.

[Illustration: USE OF COMPASS IN BOAT]

    A—Mariner’s compass. B-C—Pocket compass.

In a boat the floating-card or mariner’s compass is almost a necessity,
for with it the boat’s bow may be headed in the direction or course
desired, whereas with a pocket compass the dial remains stationary and
the needle moves about and as a result some mental calculation is
necessary in order to steer a course correctly.

This will be better understood by studying the accompanying
illustration. In this you will see that at A a boat with a mariner’s
compass is headed _northeast_, and that if the course is to be altered
to any given point of the compass it is merely necessary to turn until
the desired mark is in line with the lubber’s mark.

In the diagram B, however, the boat is apparently headed north although
the same course is being steered as in A. This is because the compass
used is a fixed-card compass with a movable needle and the needle moves
as the boat’s course is changed, while the card remains stationary, and
although the boat is really headed _northeast_ the needle points to the
_northwest_. In other words, when using such a compass it is necessary
to read it backwards and if you wish to steer _northeast_ swing the boat
until the needle points _northwest_, and so on, for every direction.
This, of course, is very confusing and it can be avoided only by
shifting the position of the compass so as to bring the needle directly
over “north” each time the boat’s course is altered as shown at C. By
doing this the boat’s bow will correspond to the direction being
steered, as indicated on the compass card, but it is often very
inconvenient, if not impossible, to move a compass constantly while
bobbing about in a sea or tacking, although on land it is no trouble to
turn the compass until the needle and “north” are in line and then
proceed in the desired direction.

Moreover, a pivoted needle is often very erratic and swings wildly when
in a boat and for these reasons a floating-dial compass should always be
used. Many pocket compasses are made with moving dials, or cards, and
these will serve very well for small boats, but they are not to be
compared to the true boat compasses for steadiness, accuracy and

Sometimes one may find oneself without a compass and may wish to obtain
a general idea of direction and in such a case it is of great value to
know that an ordinary watch or clock may be made to serve as a compass.

To use a watch as a compass, place it horizontally, with the hour hand
pointing directly towards the sun, or until the shadow of the hour hand
falls directly beneath the hand itself. When this position is attained
south will be exactly halfway between the point of the hour hand and the
figure 12; counting from left to right, or southward, if _before_ noon
and from right to left if _after_ noon.

This will prove very accurate for our latitudes during most of the year
and the method will be clearly understood by referring to the
illustrations in which the watch is shown with the hour hand pointing
towards the sun at six A. M. when the figure 9 indicates south, while in
the afternoon, with the hour hand pointing at the sun at four o’clock,
the figure 2 indicates south.

This method of determining direction is only useful on sunny or bright
days, however, and one often needs to know the points of the compass at
night, when the watch would be useless.

In any spot north of the equator the North Star, or Pole Star, serves as
a guide, while south of the equator the Southern Cross indicates the
true south. But the Southern Cross becomes visible long before the
equator is reached, in about twenty degrees north latitude, and hence
there is a wide area in which both of these stellar guides serve the

[Illustration: COMPASSES]

    1—Pocket compass. 2—Mariner’s compass. 3—Points of compass.
        4—How to use a watch as a compass. 5—How to find the
        North Star.

It is a very easy matter to locate the North Star by finding the
constellation known as the Great Dipper or the Great Bear. Then by
following in a straight line from the two outer stars of the Dipper, the
upper one of which would form the lip of the Dipper, or the breast of
the Bear, the North Star will be the first bright star in range of these
two stars in the constellation and which are known as _the Pointers_.

As the Great Dipper revolves around the North Star the latter may be
either above or below the Dipper, but by carrying your imaginary line
through the pointers, from the foot or bottom of the constellation and
beyond the top, the star may always be located if the night is clear and
even if the Pole Star is _not_ visible the Dipper itself will serve as a
guide to enable you to steer a fairly straight course.

Captains of large vessels, sailing out of sight of land, determine their
positions and steer their course by taking observations by means of
instruments called _sextants_ and by _chronometers_.

The chronometer is merely an extremely accurate clock which is set by
standard time with Greenwich, and by comparing the actual time with this
at noon, the mariner can work out the distance east or west of
Greenwich, or in other words, obtain his _longitude_.

By means of the sextant he determines the exact moment at which the sun
crosses the meridian, or the exact noon hour at his locality and he also
learns the angle or _declination_ of the sun above the horizon. By means
of tables he is thus enabled to work out his _latitude_, or his distance
north or south of the equator, and then by marking the spot on his chart
where the longitude and latitude cross, he indicates the exact position
of his ship.

It is an easy matter to learn to “shoot the sun” and to compute latitude
and longitude. Every amateur sailor will do well to acquire this
knowledge, even if it never becomes necessary to use it.

For all ordinary purposes, however, _dead reckoning_ will serve and many
sailors, and not a few captains of large vessels find dead reckoning
sufficiently accurate for their needs if near land or only sailing for
comparatively short distances out at sea.

Dead reckoning consists of computing a vessel’s position by the distance
sailed from one time to another; the drift or leeway made and the
directions in which the boat has sailed.

To find the distance sailed it is necessary to multiply the number of
hours by the speed per hour. To determine this an instrument called a
_log_ is used. In former days the log was in reality a log, and
consisted of a drag of wood attached to a marked line on a reel. The log
was thrown over the vessel’s stern and as the line ran out it was timed
by a _sandglass_ and the number of _knots_ on the line which ran out
while the sand fell through the glass gave the speed of the ship. Today
instruments known as _patent logs_ are used which are like small
propellers attached to a line connected with a clocklike arrangement,
and as the log whirls around by being dragged through the water the
hands on the dials indicate the speed of the vessel.

But while the log has been changed to a metal whirler and the line and
sandglass have given place to an accurate and complicated mechanism of
wheels and cogs, yet the name _log_ is still retained and sailors always
speak of knots instead of miles.

By marking off the number of knots sailed in the proper direction the
sailor might easily tell where he was, provided there were no currents
or tides and the vessel moved at a uniform speed and made no leeway. As
a matter of fact the ocean is full of currents, streams and tides and
moreover a vessel, when sailing, or steaming for that matter, is carried
to one side or the other and forwards and backwards by these as well as
by the wind.

Besides a sailing vessel moves more slowly or faster according to the
strength of the wind and is often obliged to tack or to alter its course
to suit the winds.

All of these matters must be considered in working out a position by
dead reckoning and the course of a sailing vessel when thus _pricked
out_ on a chart often looks like the track made by a drunken man, as it
zigzags hither and thither, swings about, and varies widely from one
side or the other of its true course.

In order to come anywhere near accuracy by means of dead reckoning a
mariner must be thoroughly familiar with the tides and currents through
which he is sailing. He must be able to judge the strength of the wind;
he must know just what his vessel will do under varying conditions; he
must be able to guess very closely the leeway she makes, and he must
bear in mind all the changes of course, all the tacks and all the
shifting of sails which have been made. Only by such knowledge and by
long practice can a sailor determine where he is by dead reckoning and
even then he can only locate his position approximately. It seems
remarkable that any man can come anywhere near the truth by such means
but many sea captains have become so expert that they can figure out
their position by dead reckoning and come within a very few miles of the
right result every time.

Very few amateur sailors will ever need to go into the details of dead
reckoning, but it is often convenient to be able to determine roughly
where you are and you should strive to become so accustomed to your
boat’s speed under various conditions that you can guess very closely
how far and how fast she has sailed. You should also study the charts of
your vicinity and learn all about the tides and currents and should be
able to judge of the leeway you are making, as well as to form an
accurate idea of the weight of the wind or the speed at which it is
blowing. All these things are a part of knowing how to sail and handling
a boat and they will come in mighty handy sooner or later.

Many a race has been won by a man or boy knowing the currents and tides
and taking advantage of them. If you are out in a fog or in darkness
your knowledge of winds, currents and other conditions will enable you
to steer a true course and reach port, whereas, if ignorant of these
simple matters, you might be compelled to drift about for hours until
you could see your surroundings.

Until you have tried you can have no idea of how much you can learn
about such matters or what a keen sense of location and direction you
can develop. The fishermen on the coast of Maine and other parts of New
England know the currents, winds and tides of their waters so well that
thick fogs or the darkest nights have no terrors for them. I have seen a
Maine fisherman sail his schooner straight for the rocky, reef-fringed
coast through the thickest fog and drive into a narrow harbor entrance
as surely as if he was following a well marked lane of buoys. Yet
nothing could be seen and the roar of surf was deafening and to make a
mistake of a hundred feet in his course meant certain death and the loss
of the vessel.

These men don’t know _how_ they know where they are or _how_ they are
able to find their way blindly on these dangerous coasts when nothing
can be seen. They will tell you it’s “by the lay of the land,” although
the land cannot be seen, or they may say they “smell where they are,”
but as a matter of fact it is owing to their intimate knowledge of
conditions and surroundings which has become such a part of their daily
life that they are perfectly unconscious of it.

Of course the amateur sailor can scarcely hope to become as expert as
these old shellbacks who have spent their lives knocking about in boats,
but you can readily learn the bearings of certain places, the location
of certain tide-rips and the direction and flow of certain currents in
the waters where you sail and these will all help to guide you when
sailing in darkness or in fog.

Fog is perhaps the greatest danger that menaces sailors along the
coasts, for a thick fog not only hides all objects and surroundings, but
when something _is_ seen it is often so distorted, so spectral or so
unusual in appearance that it is hard to recognize the most familiar
landmarks. Moreover it is next to impossible to judge of distance in a
fog and an object, seen dimly through the mist and apparently far away,
may be close at hand or again something which looms seemingly near may
really be far away. Sound also is distorted by fogs and even old hands
are often woefully deceived as to the direction and distance of sounds
heard through fog.

Sometimes, too, a fog may settle low and high objects may be visible
above it, or again it may lift and hide all objects above a certain
height and yet leave things close to the water within plain sight.

In most places the approach of fogs may be readily seen, but quite
frequently a fog will come on very suddenly or a light mist may suddenly
shut in as a dense fog, while in some places fogs almost always occur at
certain seasons or at certain hours and can be expected at such times.

If a fog is seen approaching, or a light mist commences to thicken up,
always try to make port before it becomes dense. If you have a compass
make a note of the direction you must steer, look about for vessels that
may be in your course and note the direction of the wind, the waves and
the courses other craft are sailing, if any can be seen.

If you have no compass note the direction of the waves and wind as
compared with the course you wish to take, pick out some prominent
landmark or beacon for which you can steer and when the fog shuts in
guide your course by the waves and _not by the wind_, for a wind often
shifts about when the fog arrives.

If you have no compass and are in any doubt as to how you are heading,
drop your sails and anchor at once, or if you can reach a buoy, moor to
that until the fog lifts.

There is nothing much more perilous than sailing about blindly in a fog,
for you are liable to sail in a circle, or far off your course, and when
the fog lifts, if you haven’t run aground or into another vessel, you
may find yourself out of sight of land or many miles from your

Always have a foghorn when sailing in localities where fogs occur and if
for any reason you have no horn, shout halloo or beat on a bucket or a
tin pan at intervals to warn other vessels of your presence.

Sometimes, if you climb to the masthead, you may be able to see above
the fog or through it, for fogs are often thin a few feet above the
water, and if you find this is the case your companion may be able to
stay aloft and direct you, or you may be able to locate some landmark
and to discover in which direction to proceed. If you see that the water
is visible for quite a distance about and yet the fog is thick, you may
be able to see a long way by leaning over the boat’s side and peering
ahead close to the surface of the sea, while if there are whistling or
bell buoys in the vicinity these may serve to guide you.

Always proceed slowly and cautiously in a fog, for a reef or a vessel is
likely to loom up close aboard at any moment and you must be ever alert
and have your boat under perfect control ready for any emergency. If
there is someone with you, have him stand in the bow and report anything
which he sees and _above all sound fog signals of some sort at intervals
of not more than a minute_ and if you hear another vessel’s signals veer
off and be sure you understand whether she is on the port or the
starboard tack or is running before the wind.


Sailing in heavy weather or in large seas is very different from sailing
in smooth water and no one should attempt sailing a boat in strong winds
or heavy seas unless thoroughly expert in handling a boat, or unless
compelled to do so by necessity.

More accidents happen when running in a seaway than under any other
conditions, for a boat which may be perfectly safe and stable in an
ordinary sea, may capsize quickly if not handled with the utmost care
and skill in large waves.

The effect of waves upon a boat’s stability is seldom realized even by
fairly competent sailors. This may be better understood by the
accompanying diagram which represents a boat in waves as viewed in
section and supposedly sailing with a beam wind in a sea running
broadside on, A. If she is heeled to an angle of fifteen degrees, as
shown, she would be perfectly safe, provided the surface of the water
remained constant, but if a wave came from the leeward, or right, as
indicated by the dotted line B, the angle would be suddenly increased to
thirty degrees in relation to the waves’ surface. Under normal
conditions she might recover herself and swing back to fifteen degrees,
or until her mast assumed the position shown by the vertical line, but
long before she could so recover herself among the waves she probably
would be swamped.

Moreover, in a sea a boat always rolls and if she is sailing at an
angle, or heel, of fifteen degrees and rolls an additional fifteen
degrees she is liable to capsize, and if her extreme roll occurs in
unison with such a position as indicated in the diagram C, she would
inevitably upset.

Even if neither of these occurrences took place there is the danger of a
sea underrunning her and leaving the lee side unsupported, as indicated
by the line D, and the wind, which has force enough to heel her fifteen
degrees when properly immersed in water, would then force her to the
capsizing angle as shown.

Aside from these dangers of the seas there is the added peril of a
sudden gust or squall and if such a sudden increase of wind strikes the
sails when the hull is at its extreme leeward roll she will be certain
to blow over. In this connection it should always be borne in mind that
a wind which will only heel a boat to fifteen degrees when it blows
steadily, may heel her to the upsetting point if applied suddenly. In
other words, it is not so much the actual force of the wind which must
be guarded against as the suddenness of its application.

Many amateur sailors seem to think that when sailing among waves danger
may be guarded against by sitting on the upper, or windward, side of the
boat or by shifting ballast to the windward side. This is a very grave
mistake, for, as the boat rolls to windward when the waves run under her
keel, the weight on the windward side may cause her to roll far enough
to be swamped or it may prevent her from recovering quickly and the next
wave may strike her bottom and turn her completely over. In addition
there is the danger that she may swing her sail to windward, be caught
aback and upset in a flash.

For these reasons _always_ keep ballast, whether passengers or real
ballast, as near the center of the boat and as near the bottom as
possible when sailing among waves and decrease the canvas until she
cannot heel at a dangerous angle. A boat may be sailed among waves many
times and not upset merely because the conditions described do not
happen to occur conjointly and yet the very next time she may capsize
under apparently identical conditions. Hence, you should always use the
greatest care when among waves and should invariably shorten sail until
you are sure you are safe.

Always try to avoid sailing with a beam sea, especially if the wind is
also from the side, for this is the most dangerous of all conditions. A
heavy sea may cause the boat to roll over, the sail may swing and spill
the wind and allow her to be caught aback with her weather roll and to
avoid a breaking sea which may swamp her, it will be necessary to swing
her about for eight points, or at right angles, which cannot be done in
a seaway in time to avoid swamping.

_Never_ try to luff a boat up to a sea when in this position, but ease
the sheet, swing her off and let the sea run diagonally under her keel.
Remember that in waves a deep keel or a centerboard may prevent a great
deal of the roll and even if running free keep your centerboard down,
unless you find it causes her to steer badly.

If in order to reach your destination, it is necessary to run across a
heavy sea with a beam wind you can avoid the danger of doing so by
_quartering_ or zigzagging—first heading up into the wind for a time and
then turning and running with the wind on the quarter as shown by the

When running up the wind in this way you should luff right up into any
heavy sea as it approaches, so as to take it bow-on, and the instant it
has passed put the helm up, let the sails fill well and gather good
headway to meet the next sea. Finally, when ready to go about choose a
time when riding on the top of a long, easy sea; swing her about
quickly, ease off the sheets and use great care not to let the boat
swing beam-on to the seas.

In puffs or squalls, and as you rise towards the crests of the waves,
when running in seas, the boat should be luffed up and sheets eased
before she is heeled rail-under, for if you wait too long she will
answer her helm sluggishly and may capsize before she will luff to meet
the sudden gust. _Don’t_ let her lose headway but as soon as the squall
has passed or the craft has righted bear off again until the next puff
comes along.

Almost as dangerous as sailing in a beam sea is running before wind and
sea or “scudding” among waves, and many a good craft and many a valuable
life has been sacrificed to carelessness or ignorance when scudding in a

The two greatest perils are _getting brought by the lee_ and
_broaching-to_. The former occurs when the boat’s bow falls off to
leeward by her stern being thrown to windward as a wave runs under her,
while the latter is brought about by the head swinging into the wind and
her stern off, thus causing her sail to “spill” with the result that she
loses headway, swings broadside to the waves and upsets. Only the
quickest and most expert handling can save a boat under these conditions
and frequently she will refuse to come about or to answer her helm as
she is raced along on the crest of a wave. If it is absolutely necessary
to run before a sea, reduce sail, top the boom up well by the
topping-lift or the peak halyards and stand ready to haul in the sheet
and to swing her into the wind or to ease her off instantly.

Keep the centerboard up, or halfway up is better, and devote every
energy, every attention and every sense to handling your boat and pay
heed to nothing else.

Even then there are many dangers to be guarded against. If sail is too
greatly reduced your boat may lag between seas and a following wave may
run over her stern and poop her; if there is a trifle too much sail or
even if the sail is of the right area, she may scud off a wave and bury
her bow in a preceding sea and be swamped, or her boom may catch in a
sea as she yaws and thus capsize her.

If she shows signs of running too fast a drag, such as an oar, a thwart,
a floorboard or even a cushion may be attached to a fairly long line
over the stern and this will not only hold the boat back, but it will
keep her steadier and will serve to prevent seas from breaking as well.

Oil thrown or dropped over the stern will also aid greatly in preventing
a following sea from breaking over a boat’s stern. Oil should always be
on hand. It doesn’t make much difference what kind of oil is used, but
the heavier it is the better and only a very little is necessary; a wad
of oil-soaked rag or cotton waste, or even oil squeezed from a sponge
will often produce really marvelous results.

But the best and safest method is to avoid running before wind and sea
by heading into the wind and running fairly free and then wearing ship
and sailing with a quartering wind and thus zigzagging over the course
to be covered.

When sailing to windward against a sea there is comparatively little
danger, if the boat is luffed up to meet the seas and is not allowed to
lose headway. Then when ready to go about, if tacking, wait for an
opportunity when there is a long, smooth-topped sea and swing the boat
on the other tack quickly and stand ready to bring her about with an oar
if she misses stays, for if she does this serious results may follow and
she may be caught without headway, swung about and upset before you can
get her under way again.

It is far less dangerous to handle a boat in a gale than in a seaway,
but of course if the gale continues for any length of time the seas will
rise. It is often far safer to ride out a gale than to attempt sailing
in it, for few boats will fail to weather even a hard and prolonged gale
and heavy seas if properly handled. If you have a sea-anchor or drogue
aboard cast this over, lower or snug down sails, keep low down in the
boat and if you have oil aboard allow it to drip over the bows. Under
such conditions the drogue will break the force of the seas and keep the
craft head to the wind and seas and the oil will prevent the crests from
breaking over the boat. While she may rise and fall and pitch about
tremendously there will be little real danger.

If the wind is blowing in a different direction from the seas or across
them, lower and stow the sails, but if the wind is in the same direction
as the seas a bit of canvas will often keep her steady and make her ride
more easily. With a boom-and-gaff sail the sail may be lowered until a
very small portion remains and the rest of the sail should then be
secured about the boom and the sheets trimmed flat. Sometimes a small
triangular sail, such as a spare jib, may be set aft above the furled
sail, while with a yawl or ketch rig the mizzen may be set and trimmed

Above all things do _not_ allow anyone to move about, to stand on the
deck or to sit upon the gunwales of a boat in a heavy sea or in a
squall, but keep all the weight as low and as stationary as possible.
Always make everything snug and fasten all loose ropes and lines when
riding out a gale or a squall, for trailing ropes, flapping sails and
swinging lines are liable to cause trouble, aside from the fact that
they will become tangled and will not run freely when wanted.

As a rule it will not be necessary to ride out a gale in a small boat
for severe storms seldom come so quickly that sails cannot be reefed and
shelter reached before the wind and seas rise until dangerous. Thunder
storms and squalls, however, are often so sudden and unexpected that the
amateur sailor has no time to run for a harbor and sometimes, when off a
lee shore, it is dangerous to heave a boat to in order to reef. Under
such circumstances great care and skill are required to weather the
sudden blow in safety, especially when off a lee shore and everyone who
handles a sailboat should be prepared for such events.

Have the sheet ready to let go instantly and drop the peak of the sail,
if a boom-and-gaff rig, and if the boat carries a jib drop that.

If the squalls are light they may be seen approaching by watching the
surface of the water, while if heavy or if they come when there is quite
a sea running, the approach of the gusts will be indicated by white,
scudding crests to the waves. Don’t try to bear away or ease off the
sheets to avoid these squalls but luff up slightly to meet them,
allowing the luff of the sail to tremble but keeping the after part of
the sail filled and by doing this and bearing off between squalls to
gather headway a boat may be safely sailed through very heavy and
frequent puffs.

If close to shore, however, or among reefs where there is little space
for maneuvering, it is often impossible to luff into the squalls without
danger of running aground and in such situations it will be necessary to
ease off the sheet and flow the sail until the luff trembles, but _under
no circumstances_ should you turn and _run before_ the wind when it’s
squally. As soon as your sail is before the wind you cannot prevent the
full force of the puffs from hitting it without swinging broadside to
the squall and if this is done there is a very great chance of upsetting
the boat.

If on a lee shore you should of course luff up, for you must use every
endeavor to “_claw-off_” the land. If you always remember the following
simple rule you will seldom have trouble in weathering reasonable
squalls. _Off a lee shore or where there is ample sea room, luff up to
squalls. If off a weather shore or with obstructions to windward ease
off for squalls._

Finally, if you lower sails in a squall, be sure to spill the sail
before lowering away, as otherwise it may catch a puff of wind, balloon
out and capsize the boat. If you wish to reef in squalls either anchor
or throw out a drogue to keep head-on to the puffs.

If the squalls are very heavy and there is plenty of space to leeward
lower the sails, throw out a drogue or anchor or scud before the wind
under bare poles until the squalls decrease sufficiently to permit you
to reef.

In handling boats an ounce of prevention is worth many tons of cure, and
if you keep your weather eye open, as sailors say, there will seldom be
occasion for you to face difficulties unprepared. Changes of wind or
weather are almost invariably presaged by certain signs or symptoms
which may readily be noticed and understood and everyone who sails a
boat should learn to recognize the signs which indicate certain

Of course if one has a barometer the approaching weather conditions may
be determined very easily, but even without this instrument a person who
is weatherwise may usually foretell the approach of good or bad weather
or of rain or wind many hours in advance.

Among the commonest and most noticeable indications are the following,
and only in very rare instances will these signs fail:

      Unusual twinkling of stars,
        Double horns to the moon,
        Halos around stars or      Increasing wind, or rain with
        moon, “Wind dogs”            a liability of wind.

      Wind shifting from west to   Increase of wind from the
        east                         other direction.

      Rosy sky at sunset           Fine weather.

      Sickly, greenish-colored
        sunset                     Wind and rain.

      Dark red or crimson sunset   Rain.

      Bright-yellow sky at sunset  Wind.

      Pale-yellow, or saffron,
        sunset                     Rain.

      Mixed red and yellow sunset  Rain and squally weather.

      Remarkably clear atmosphere
        with distant objects
        standing above the water   Wind, usually from the
        and seemingly in air         northwest, and often rain.

      Heavy dews                   Fine weather.

      Fogs                         Change in weather and little

      Misty clouds on hills,
        remaining stationary,
        increasing or descending   Rain and wind.

      Misty clouds on hills,
        rising or dispersing       Fairer weather.

      Red morning sky              Bad weather and wind.

      Gray morning sky             Fine weather.

      High dawn (dawn seen above a
        bank of clouds)            Wind.

      Low dawn (daylight breaking
        close to the horizon)      Fair.

      Soft, delicate clouds        Fair and light winds.

      Hard-edged, oily clouds      Wind.

      Dark, gloomy sky             Windy.

      Light, bright sky            Fine weather.

      Small, inky clouds           Rain.

      Light “scud,” or small
        clouds moving across
        heavier clouds             Wind and rain.

      Light, scudding clouds by
        themselves                 Wind and dry weather.

      High, upper clouds scudding
        past moon or stars in a
        different direction from
        the lower cloud-masses     Change of wind.

      After fine weather a change
        is indicated by light
        streaks, wisps, or mottled
        patches of distant clouds
        which increase and join. A
        haze which becomes murky
        and clouds the sky also
        indicates a change to bad

      Light, delicate colors, with
        soft-edged clouds          Fine weather.

      Brilliant, or gaudy, colors
        and sharp, hard-edged
        clouds                     Rain and wind.

      A mackerel sky (small,
        separate, white clouds
        covering the sky)          Wet weather.

      “Mares’ tails” (long, wispy,
        curved, isolated clouds
        against a blue sky)        Wind.

      Rainbow early in the morning Bad weather.

      Rainbows in afternoon        Fair.

Many of these weather indications have become so widely known and
universally recognized by seamen that they have been put into doggerel
verse to make them more easily remembered and every boat sailor should
learn these, for nine times out of ten they will prove true.

             If wind shifts against the sun,
             Trust it not, for back ’twill run.

                       *    *    *

             Mackerels’ scales and Mares’ tails,
             Cautious sailors shorten sails.

                       *    *    *

             A mackerel sky
             Seldom passes over dry.

                       *    *    *

             Rainbow in the morning, sailors take warning.
             Rainbow at night, sailor’s delight.

                       *    *    *

             Sun rising low and clear,
             Bad weather do not fear.
             Sunrise hidden, light on high,
             Reef your sails for wind is nigh.

                       *    *    *

             When the sun sinks bathed in gold,
             Strong winds surely are foretold,
             But if red the sun should set,
             Then the morrow will be wet,
             While if pink shows in the West,
             Weather will be of the best.

                       *    *    *

             If a ring surrounds the moon,
             Wind and rain are coming soon.
             Twinkling stars that brightly glow
             Show that there will be a blow.

                       *    *    *

             Sunrise red, bad weather ahead,
             Sunrise gray, a pleasant day.

                       *    *    *

             When the sea’s against the wind,
             Then your topsail halliards mind.

There are many more of these known to mariners, but the above are the
most important and familiar and while the signs may fail at times yet it
must be borne in mind that even the government experts, with their
highly perfected and delicate instruments, are often at fault in their
forecasts of the weather. With all our knowledge and scientific
research, we really know very little about atmospheric conditions and
changes and many an old sailor or fisherman can foretell fair or foul
weather, wind or rain, almost as accurately as the trained observers of
the Weather Bureau.


                               CHAPTER IX

                          BUILDING SMALL BOATS

Very few men or boys are capable of planning, drafting, laying down and
building a round-bottomed boat. Even if you are expert enough to do
this, the finished product will not compare to a boat built by a
professional and it will cost far more, especially if time and
satisfaction count for anything, than a readymade craft or one built to

There are many reliable firms which furnish patterns for all sorts of
boats, from canoes and skiffs to schooner yachts and big power-cruisers.
By means of these patterns and the directions which accompany them, any
person who has patience and is handy with woodworking tools can build a
boat. It is only necessary to mark off the patterns on the proper
lumber, work the planks and timbers to shape and put them together
according to directions, but even then you’ll find some difficulties to
be overcome.

These same firms also sell “knock-down” boats which have all the planks,
timbers and other parts sawed and formed, and by purchasing these it is
a very simple matter to build a boat. Full directions accompany these
knock-down boats and even the nails, screws, rivets and other fastenings
and all the hardware and fittings are furnished if desired.

If you really _must_ build a boat, the best plan is to look over the
catalogs of these firms, select the model and size that suits you and
then purchase the patterns or the ready-cut materials. You will no doubt
obtain a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction by thus constructing
your own boat, but your first attempts will not approach the boats built
by men who have spent years at boat-building and have learned every
little “kink” and trick of their trade.

In most places the cost of a readymade boat will be very little, if any,
more than the one built at home by an amateur, but the fun of making it,
the experience gained and the knowledge of using tools which you will
acquire may make it worth while.

As a rule, however, it is not advisable to attempt to build a large, or
even a medium-sized, boat and your first efforts at least should be
confined to boats less than twenty feet in length. Even in craft of such
small dimensions you will find there is plenty of hard, heavy work to be
done. Planks and timbers must be steamed and bent; tough, hard oak must
be cut, planed, chiselled and worked accurately and neatly. Many of the
processes used in boat-building are different from those employed in any
other form of carpentry and as a result a previous knowledge of
woodworking may be of little value when constructing a boat.

But there are many boats which any handy man or boy can build easily and
cheaply and which will prove safe, seaworthy and excellent sailing
craft. These are the flat-bottomed boats, known as skiffs or sharpies,
for a sharpie is really nothing more than a large skiff provided with a
centerboard and with dimensions and lines designed to adapt it to

Before commencing to build any sort of a boat, however, you should have
the proper tools with which to work, for without good tools it is
impossible for a person to build even a simple flat-bottomed boat.

The tools required for building a boat are neither numerous nor
expensive, but only tools of high grade should be purchased for a cheap
or poor tool is an abomination and is almost as bad as none at all.

Of course, many people will have most of the required tools on hand, but
for the benefit of those who do not the entire list is given as follows:
A large ripsaw; a coarse crosscut saw; a fine crosscut or panel saw; a
compass saw; a tenon saw; a hack saw.

The ripsaw should have about six teeth to the inch. The compass saw
should be rather fine, about eight teeth to the inch. A miter saw and
miter box will prove very useful in addition to the above.

Keep the saws bright and clean and when using them in gummy, pitchy or
fibrous wood rub them with hard soap or chalk to prevent them from
binding, but _do not_ use oil as it will only make matters worse.
_Never_ stand a saw up so the blade bends and under no circumstances
should you twist or bend the saw when sawing in order to pry or split
off the wood. A saw which is out of true, bent or sprung will bind and
catch and will _not_ saw straight.

You will also require several planes, such as a jack plane; a smoothing
plane; a block plane; a rabbit plane. These may be of wood or iron as
preferred and in addition you will find a bull-nosed plane, for planing
in corners; a pair of matching planes and some beading or moulding
planes very useful.

There should be several mortising chisels of 1 inch, 3/4 inch, 1/2 inch
and 1/4 inch sizes, and also two or three gouges varying from 1-1/2 to
3/4 inch in size.

A good drawknife is almost essential, and a spoke-shave will prove very

A ratchet bitstock, or brace, is necessary and you should provide a good
assortment of bits and augers to go with it. The best bits to use are
those of twist-drill pattern, for these will not split the wood like
ordinary gimlet-bits, and if you bore against a knot, a nail, a screw or
any other metal object you can bore through it without injuring the bit.
The bits should range in size from 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch in diameter, and
the augers, which should be of the ship-auger pattern, should range from
1/2 to 1 inch in diameter.

A breast, or hand, drill with assorted twist-drills will be useful and
you should have several gimlets; at least two brad-awls; a countersink;
a reamer, and a bit-brace screwdriver.

Extension bits, which can be adjusted to various sizes, are exceedingly
useful and convenient, but are not absolutely necessary.

A medium-sized mallet; a claw-hammer; a small hammer; two screwdrivers;
a spirit level; a steel square; cutting pliers; compasses; a bevel
gauge; a carpenter’s gauge; a yardstick; a folding two-foot rule; an oil
stone; wood rasps; flat or bastard files; a saw file; a carpenter’s
pencil; some iron carpenter’s clamps; an old flatiron; a bench vise and
a caulking-iron complete the list of tools.

In addition to all these you will need some benches or horses, a good
workbench, screws, rivets, nails, etc.

Copper or galvanized iron nails and brass or galvanized iron screws
should be used exclusively. Round “wire” nails will serve very well.
Boat nails rivetted over burrs, clout-nails which are clinched, or plain
copper nails will serve equally well, according to the purpose for which
they are to be used. Where a nail is used to hold two pieces of wood
together and does _not_ pass entirely through, wire nails can be used to
advantage, but if the nail goes entirely through both pieces, which is
necessary to insure great strength, or where two thin pieces of wood are
fastened together, rivets and burrs or clout-nails should be used.

Screws are to be avoided, for they require rather large holes, they
often work loose and after getting them part way in they are liable to
twist off or the slots may become so scarred that you cannot turn them
out or in.

Next comes the question of material. If you purchase patterns or
ready-cut material, the wood to be used will be determined by the
directions furnished; but if you expect to plan and build a boat by
yourself you will have to select and buy the lumber which is best
adapted to your boat and which can be most readily obtained.

For planking, white cedar, white pine, mahogany, yellow pine, basswood
or cypress may be used. For frames, knees, stems and sternposts,
transoms and ribs there is nothing better than good, clear white oak.

For making a flat-bottomed boat or sharpie, clear white pine or cypress
is the best material for the planks; cypress or white cedar should be
used for the bottom, and all the timbers, frames, transom and stem
should be of oak.

The size and thickness of the various pieces of lumber will vary
according to the dimensions of your boat, but for boats up to twenty
feet in length, 3/4 inch planking, 1 inch bottom boards and ribs,
gunwales, deck timbers, etc., of oak 1 inch square will be strong
enough. The transom should be of 1 inch oak, the deadwood may be of
1-1/2 or 2 inch oak or two 1 inch pieces bolted together; the keel
should be of 1-1/2 inch oak, and the centerboard should be of 1 inch oak
or yellow pine.

These are the extremes and the dimensions of timbers, ribs, centerboard
and such parts may be reduced for smaller boats. Side planks 5/8 or even
1/2 inch thick will be very strong if more numerous ribs are used, and
for small skiffs the bottom can be made of 3/4 inch stuff and the ribs
may be reduced to 1/2 inch square.

It is a mistake, however, to make a boat too light, if it is to be used
for sailing, for a reasonably heavy boat will have more headway, will
handle better and will be more stable and seaworthy than a very light

Before commencing your boat you should determine the exact dimensions.
Until you are familiar with the principles of boat designing and have
learned to figure out displacements, load-water lines, centers of
efforts and resistance and many other technical details your best plan
is to find some other boat that suits your ideas and copy her

Once you have determined on the measurements you should mark them full,
or at least half, size on a smooth, flat floor or some similar surface,
as you will find it far more convenient to get out the various parts
from such large plans than to work from small scale drawings.

As soon as you have these rough outlines and measurements ready you must
make forms or molds. These may be sawed from planks or may be formed by
nailing several pieces together, but in either case they must conform
perfectly to the shape of the boat you have planned and both sides must
be absolutely alike, for a very slight variation may ruin the sailing
qualities of the boat.

These forms represent the section of the boat at amidships, near the bow
and half-way between stern and amidships and their shape can easily be
determined from your plans.


    1-2—Boat fastenings. 3, 4, 5—Molds. 6—Transom. 7—Stem.
        8—Stem and throat knee. 9—Stern fastened to keel.
        10—Transom fastened to keel. 11—Lining up sides.
        12—Molds in position. 13—Ribs. 14—Mast thwart.
        15—Section showing construction. 16—Centerboard.
        17—Rudder and post.

The transom or sternpiece should then be gotten out and the next work is
to make the stem.

This will require care and time, for the sides must be cut away by
chisel and plane until they will just receive the ends of the side
planks neatly, and the angle of these depressions, or rabbits, must be
determined by the angle at which the sides meet at the bow on the plan
you have drawn.

When the stem, transom and molds are ready, take the piece to be used as
a keel, cut the slit for the centerboard in it, and fasten the deadwood
or “skeg” in place by means of bolts, screws and nails driven in from
the upper side of the keel. Place the keel on the horses, with blocks
beneath it to hold it at the proper curve, tacking them lightly to both
keel and horses.

Fasten the keel in place by clamps and by tacking it lightly and secure
the stem in position by means of a block or a knee. Fasten the transom
at the opposite, or stern, end and set your molds at the points where
they belong with the lower edges flush with the bottom of the keel.

Line up the center of the stem, molds and transom by a line stretched
along them, arrange all the molds and the transom so they are parallel
and exactly at right angles to the keel and secure them rigidly by means
of light strips, or battens, tacked along their tops and brace them very
securely by pieces running to the benches and keel.

Then take one of the side planks, clamp one end fast to the stem, so it
fits snugly in the rabbit, and bend it slowly around the various molds
to the transom and clamp it to each mold and to the transom. If you have
someone to help you while doing this it will be far easier, for while
one person holds or bends the board the other can secure it by the

Here, too, you will find why it was necessary to fasten stem, molds and
transom firmly, for the entire strain of the bending plank will come
against them, and unless they are absolutely rigid the stem will swing
to one side and throw the boat out of true. To prevent this it is a good
plan to fasten braces from the top of the stem to the sides of the
building where you are working, so that the stem cannot by any
possibility be moved. When the plank is in position take a thin,
straight strip, or batten, of wood, lay it along the upper edge of the
plank—tacking it in position at the stem, at each mold and at the
transom and mark along this to give the sheer curve at the top of the
plank. Remove the batten and use it in the same way at the bottom of the

Then take off the side plank, saw carefully along the marks made by the
batten, cut the other plank exactly like it and replace it, securing it
first by clamps, and then by boat nails driven through it into stem and
transom and tack it lightly to each mold. In driving the nails be sure
to drill holes through the plank first, as otherwise it may be split.

When both planks are in place, lay a straight stick across from side to
side and plane down the upper edges of the planks until the stick rests
squarely upon the edges of both planks, instead of on one corner of
each, as it will do at first. When both sides are bevelled place the
various frame or rib pieces on the insides of the planks, spacing them
about 1 foot apart, measuring along the curve of the sides, and being
sure to keep them parallel and leaving a space of 1-1/2 inches between
their lower ends and the bottom edges of the planks. Secure them by
means of rivets and burrs, with the burrs on the inside, or by means of
clout-nails clinched over on the inside and use the old flatiron, held
against the head of each nail or rivet as you burr or clinch them with
the hammer.

Saw each rib off at the top, just even with the planks, and then fit a
good stout piece of oak or _throat knee_ between the planks and stem at
the bow and fit two other knees at the corners of the planks where they
join the transom.

At the spot where the mast is to be stepped secure a strong, oak
crosspiece, or thwart, with the mast hole cut in it, across from one
plank to the other by nailing, or bolting, pieces across the ribs just
the thickness of the mast thwart _below_ the upper edges of the planks.
Bolt or screw the mast thwarts to these and then secure a block, with a
hole in it, to the keel directly under the mast hole in the thwart.

If the boat is to be open you can place another thwart across the stern,
but if it is to be decked, or partly decked, the other thwarts can be
put in just as well later on. The next step is to make the centerboard
and its case and place the latter in position.

The centerboard case is made by securing two pieces, known as
_trunk-logs_, to the keel, using white lead and strips of canton flannel
or thin felt under them and drawing them tight to the keel by means of
long screws run up from below. Of course, it will be necessary to curve
the lower edges of these pieces to fit the keel snugly before putting
them in place.

Then rivet the ends of these to the upright posts at the ends, which
should also be set in white lead and screwed to the keel, and then build
up the case by other boards to a height well above the water line. The
board itself may be made either of several pieces of wood or a single
piece. In the former case the strips should be dowelled together and a
transverse strip should be placed at each end to prevent the pieces from
separating, while if one piece is used, end pieces should be fastened on
to prevent the plank from warping or splitting. The board should be
pivotted by running a brass bolt through the two sides of the case and
the board with a piece of pipe, an old rowlock socket, or some similar
“bushing” in the board to prevent the hole in the wood from wearing.

The board should be hung so it can be raised and lowered easily. In
order to do this, the pivot should be near the lower front corner, and
the upper rear end of the board must be rounded or slanted off so it
will swing up into the case.

The top of the case may be left open or a piece of board may be fitted
over it with a hole for the rope or chain which is used to control the
board to pass through. Be careful to adjust this chain, or rope, so the
board cannot drop too far as it should not fall beyond the

The next step is to place light, diagonal braces across from side to
side and from molds to side planks, tacking them lightly in position,
and then remove the braces and clamps from the keel. Lift the boat from
the benches, turn it upside down and plane off the lower edges of the
planks until square as you did the upper edges.

Then fit a piece of oak along the lower edge of each side plank, cutting
little notches in it to fit around the end of each rib. Rivet these to
the sides, plane off the bevel to bring these pieces true with the edges
of the planks and you are ready to put on the bottom planking.

The bottom may be run either lengthwise, or crosswise, on a
flat-bottomed boat, but if run lengthwise cross timbers are required,
which are a nuisance, and the crosswise planking does just as well and
is far easier to make.

Place a piece of the bottom planking across the bow, covering the stem
and extending a short distance on either side of the side planks. Smear
the lower end of the stem, the keel and the side planks with thick white
lead and nail the piece securely into the stem, the keel and the two oak
pieces along the sides and to the side planks also. In driving these
nails be sure and set them at an angle to correspond with the slope of
the sides, or else they will split out and cause your boat to leak.

Fit another cross plank behind this with plenty of white lead between
the edges and secure it in place. Continue in this way until the slot
for the centerboard is reached. Here the planks must be run from each
side of the slots to the side planks, and where the deadwood, or skeg,
is fastened the same method must be followed.

When the bottom is fully planked saw off the projecting ends close to
the sides, being careful to keep the same angle and not to scar or cut
the side planks, and then, with the block plane, smooth the ends evenly
with the side planks.

When this is done fit a false keel, or rubbing-strake, along the center
of the bottom with a slot cut in it to correspond with the centerboard
slot and taper it at the rear to fit the lower surface of the deadwood.
Smear the under surface of this, as well as the bottom where it rests,
with thick copper paint and nail firmly in place. And _don’t_ forget to
paint _all_ the inside portions and joints of the centerboard case, as
well as the board itself and the inside edges and slot in the keel, with
copper paint before putting them together.

You can now turn your boat over, knock out the molds and finish with the
decking or other interior arrangements, but before taking out the molds
you should put the deck beams in place, if a deck is to be used, or
should place thwarts across from side to side, if the boat is to be left

For a small, simple boat the deck beams may be run straight across from
side to side and the cockpit may be made rectangular, with the forward
end pointed or V-shaped. The deck may be made by nailing narrow strips
along the timbers and following the curve of the sides, or wider planks
may be nailed lengthwise and trimmed off to make a smooth, even edge
with the sides, after which a covering board should be nailed over the
joint and a strip of half-round molding should then be run along to
protect the edges from being injured, as well as to give a good finish
to the boat.

The edges of the cockpit should be finished by oak combing nailed to the
deck and timbers, and a quarter-round molding should then be run around
the outside where the combing and the decks join.

If the deck is carefully made and laid in white lead, it will be tight,
but if desired it may be covered with canvas laid in paint and with the
edges folded down over the sides, trimmed closely and concealed by the

The rudder should be made of either wood or metal. For a small boat,
brass or galvanized iron is the best. It should be hung _under_ the
stern by means of a post run up through the keel and after deck. To
prevent water from entering, a piece of brass tube, or pipe, threaded at
both ends, is run through the hole, and set up closely by means of
“waste-nuts,” after which the ends of the pipe should be filed off
smoothly and slightly rivetted or burred over to prevent the nuts from
coming loose.

If you succeed in building a sharpie, as directed, you can attempt a
V-bottomed, or skipjack, boat or a dory, for the principles involved are
the same in all, but space will not permit a full description of how to
construct these. You can obtain a far better idea of how they are built
by examining a boat and studying its various parts than by reading many
pages of text.

Finally let me warn you not to attempt to build any boat, not even a
small, flat-bottomed skiff, unless you possess patience and perseverance
and are willing to take plenty of time and painstaking care. No boat
that is worth building can be made by slap-bang, careless, slack
methods. Boat-building is something which cannot be hurried, for the
finished result depends very largely upon little things and attention to
details. To watch a boat-builder, one would think that he did his work
by guess and took little care, but in reality he does everything in a
certain order and a certain way. His apparent carelessness is really
expertness, for he has done exactly the same thing so many times that it
becomes second nature and is almost involuntary.

If there is a boat-builder in your vicinity visit his shop, watch him by
the hour, note the way he handles his tools and the order in which he
shapes the parts and puts them together and your time will be well
spent. It’s the best possible way to learn the details of boat-building.


                               CHAPTER X

                             WHAT NOT TO DO

In learning to sail a boat or when handling a boat after you have
learned to sail, there are certain things you _should_ do and many other
things you _should not_ do and of these the latter are perhaps the most

In the first place _don’t_ try to learn to sail by using several
different boats. Every boat has its peculiarities. If you use one boat
on one day and another the next you will be confused and will be unable
to make rapid progress, for one craft will sail to best advantage with
the sails trimmed in one way and the very next boat you use may require
very different treatment. One boat will sail closer to the wind than
another, one will luff more quickly than another and one will come about
readily every time, while the next may miss stays under the same
conditions. Still other boats require special arrangements of ballast, a
certain amount of centerboard or a definite trim in order to behave well
and you must learn every whim and caprice of your craft to become expert
in handling her.

_Don’t_ try to learn to sail in a large boat or one with many sails or
complicated rigging. Begin with a small craft with a single sail of the
simplest pattern. When you are thoroughly familiar with this you can
attempt handling larger boats with head-sails.

_Don’t_ take your first lessons in a strong wind, in rough weather, or
when there are signs of thunder storms, squalls or fogs. Select the very
best weather for you’ll have plenty to attend to without looking after
the elements.

Above all, _don’t be afraid to be afraid_. Many a man is considered
brave merely because he doesn’t know enough to be afraid, but real
bravery consists in realizing danger, being afraid of it and yet facing
it calmly, deliberately and with intelligence.

_Don’t_ be afraid of the opinions of others, if you think you should
shorten sail reef at once, even if everyone else is carrying full sail
and people laugh at your caution.

_Don’t_ be afraid to fear squalls, fogs, gales or heavy seas for they
are all treacherous and the more you fear them the more likely you’ll be
to safeguard yourself, your passengers and your boat.

_Don’t_ be afraid to refuse to go sailing if you think a squall, storm,
or fog is coming up, or if you think the weather too bad. It’s better to
be scoffed at and called a coward than to be shipwrecked or drowned. A
live coward’s better than a dead bravado any day.

_Don’t_ be afraid to assert your authority. The captain of any craft is
supreme aboard his boat and there should be no questioning of his orders
or decisions.

_Don’t_ take anyone with you who is nervous, cranky, hysterical,
overbearing, grouchy or a “know it all.” Such people spoil all the
pleasure of a sail, they are a nuisance and in times of danger they
often become a real menace to others. If they know more than you do, or
think they do, they should be handling their own boats, not going as
passengers in yours.

_Don’t_ take anyone with you as a passenger until you are competent to
handle your craft under any and all conditions. You have no right to
imperil the lives of others.

_Don’t_ take out a party unless there are life-preservers enough for
all. Accidents happen to the best of sailors.

_Don’t_ try to sail or handle a boat until you know how to swim.

_Don’t_ set out on a sail without oars, compass, water, anchor and at
least one life-preserver on board.

_Don’t_ jump, run, wrestle or skylark in a sailboat.

_Don’t_ allow anyone to sit upon a rope or line which may be used at any

_Don’t_ permit passengers to sit or stand on the bow or bowsprit unless
for the express purpose of keeping a lookout.

_Don’t_ tie or make the mainsheet fast. Hold it in your hand with a
single turn about a cleat, so it can be released instantly.

_Don’t_ try to show off by carrying all sail in a blow or in squalls.
Reef before it’s too late. It’s easier to shake out a reef than to put
one in.

_Don’t_ sail across or close to the wake of steamers to “get” their
waves. It may result in the boat capsizing and only shows you are a
landlubber and a fool.

_Don’t_ start out in the face of a storm, gale or squall. Wait until you
are sure of what is going to happen and then reef close if you must go
forth in a blow.

_Don’t_ forget that you cannot judge the force of the wind or the size
of waves from the shore.

_Don’t_ brag about “liking to sail in storms.” Real sailors cannot have
weather too fair.

_Don’t_ sail in fogs unless you have a compass and are sure of your

_Don’t_ try to sail too close to reefs, to other vessels or any other
obstructions; something may fail at the last moment and a collision or
wreck may result.

_Don’t_ forget that when sailing close to land sudden puffs or squalls
are more frequent than in open water.

_Don’t_ forget that another vessel, a rock, or the shore cuts off the
wind and may cause you to lose headway and then when beyond the object
the wind will strike you suddenly and perhaps with dangerous force.

_Don’t_ fail to keep everything shipshape and orderly about the boat. A
snarled or kinked line is a menace to life and limb.

_Don’t_ sail with water in the boat. Water is so much shifting ballast
and is dangerous, besides being unpleasant and unnecessary. Bail the
water out and keep it out.

_Don’t_ try to save a few cents by using old, rotten, or frayed ropes.
New rope is cheaper than human lives.

_Don’t_ use a leaky boat. If a boat leaks a little in smooth water it
may leak fast enough to sink when in a seaway.

_Don’t_ sail at night without lights. You are endangering yourself and
other sailors as well.

_Don’t_ assume that the “other fellow” knows how to sail and is familiar
“with the rules of the road.” He may be more ignorant than yourself.

_Don’t_ wait too long before turning aside for another boat. Shift your
helm to show your intentions.

_Don’t_ try to sail too close to the wind. You’ll reach your destination
more quickly by sailing a few points off and thus traveling faster.

_Don’t_ run dead before the wind if it can be avoided, especially in a

_Don’t_ sit on the lee side when sailing on the wind.

_Don’t_ climb up on the masts or into the rigging unless it is
necessary. A man’s weight at the top of a mast may cause the boat to

_Don’t_ lash or tie the helm under any circumstances.

_Don’t_ leave a lowered sail unfurled. It ruins the sail and is

_Don’t_ try to run to a mooring or a landing before the wind when under
sail. Lower the sail and run in under bare poles or row in.

_Don’t_ fail to take the advice and suggestions of more experienced

_Don’t_ take others sailing until you are thoroughly familiar with the
boat and know how to handle it under all conditions.

_Don’t_ anchor or moor a boat where she will rest on a hard, rocky or
uneven bottom at low water.

_Don’t_ overload your boat.

_Don’t_ sail in strange waters without a chart or a pilot.

_Don’t_ lose your head or get “rattled.” Keep cool and use your brains
and common sense.

_Don’t_ fail to keep your gaze to windward. Seas and wind puffs come
from that side.

_Don’t_ neglect the boat or allow your attention to be distracted by
your companions.

_Don’t_ attempt to tack or go about with a large wave rolling on your
weather bow. Wait for a smooth, or when on the summit of a long, easy

_Don’t_ jibe if it can be helped. It’s just as easy and far safer to
wear ship.

_Don’t_ luff a boat sufficiently to stop her headway. Keep steerage-way
at all times.

_Don’t_ try to cross another boat’s bows if she is under way.

_Don’t_ get frightened if the boat upsets. Crawl up on the bottom over
the weather side. A capsized boat will support a number of people in
perfect safety.

_Don’t_ take to the water if there is any floating object to cling to.
Even an oar will support a person.

_Don’t_ let go of the helm and run about.

_Don’t_ let sails, ropes or garments trail in the water.

_Don’t_ forget that a loaded or heavy boat has more momentum or headway
than a light or empty boat.

_Don’t_ trust a squall which you cannot see through.

_Don’t_ use a brand new rope for any part of the running rigging.
Stretch it and work it through tackles or over a beam before reeving it
through the blocks of your boat.

_Don’t_ sail in a beam wind and sea if it can possibly be avoided.

_Don’t_ forget that if you are obliged to ride out a gale that oars,
cushions, thwarts and spare canvas lashed together and attached to a
line over the bow will hold the craft to the wind and seas and will also
form a “smooth” for the boat.

_Don’t_ under any circumstances allow liquor aboard your boat. If your
friends _must_ drink spirits let them stay ashore to indulge themselves.
They have no place in a boat.



  =Aback.= A sail is said to be aback when its forward side is acted
    upon by the wind.

  =Abaft.= A position toward the stern from any stated point.

  =Abeam.= At right angles to the line of the keel.

  =About.= To go from one tack to the other.

  =Adrift.= Broken loose or uncontrolled.

  =Aft.= Towards the stern.

  =A-lee.= To the side of the craft opposite the wind. To the
    leeward side.

  =All in the wind.= When the sails have the wind edge-on and shake.

  =Amidships.= In the middle. In line with the keel.

  =Athwartships.= Across the boat. At right angles to the keel.

  =Avast.= An order to stop or discontinue anything.

  =A-weather.= The side towards the wind; to the windward side.

  =Backstays.= Stays or shrouds leading aft to support a mast or

  =Bear up.= To turn from the wind.

  =Belay.= To secure a rope about a cleat or pin.

  =Bend.= To make fast. A kind of knot.

  =Berth.= An anchorage or mooring. A slip or place where a boat
    rests at a dock. A sleeping place.

  =Bight.= A curve, noose or slack portion of rope.

  =Bitts.= Upright pieces of timber or metal to which ropes or
    cables are fastened.

  =Blocks.= Contrivances with sheaves or rollers through which ropes
    are passed to make them move readily.

  =Block and block.= When two blocks of a tackle are brought as
    close together as possible.

  =Block and tackle.= Blocks with the ropes rove through them.

  =Board.= The distance made on a tack.

  =Bobstay.= A stay from the cutwater to the bowsprit-end.

  =Bolt rope.= The rope sewn around the edges of sails.

  =Boom.= A spar at the bottom or foot of a sail. A spar extended
    from a vessel’s side to which small boats are fastened. A raft
    of logs in a river fastened together to hold other logs in

  =Bowline.= A line used on square sails to extend the forward edge
    of the sail when running close to the wind. To Sail on a Bowline
    is to sail close to the wind.

  =Bowse.= To haul upon.

  =Bowsprit.= A spar extending forward from the bow.

  =Brails.= Ropes for drawing up a sail to the mast in order to furl

  =Bring to.= To come to an anchor or mooring.

  =Bull’s eye.= A piece of wood with a hole in the center through
    which a rope may be passed.

  =By the head.= To be deeper in the water at the bow than at the

  =By the wind.= As near the wind as the boat will sail without the
    sails shaking; also called Full and By.

  =Cable.= A line or chain by which a vessel is anchored or moored.
    A left-handed-laid rope.

  =Capsize.= To upset. To loosen a knot.

  =Carry away.= To break or tear loose.

  =Cast off.= To untie; to free.

  =Casting.= To pay a vessel off on the desired tack.

  =Cat’s paw.= A light puff or current of wind seen on the surface
    of the water. A kind of knot or bend.

  =Chock a block.= See Block and Block. Also used to denote fully

  =Cleat.= A metal or wooden object to which ropes are fastened.

  =Clew.= The after corner of a fore-and-aft sail. The two lower
    corners of a square sail.

  =Close hauled.= Sailing as nearly as possible into the wind.

  =Cockpit.= The open after part of a boat.

  =Course.= The direction in which a boat is to proceed. The lower
    sails on square-rigged vessels.

  =Crank or cranky.= Not stable. Unable to carry sail well. To tip
    easily. Unsteady.

  =Cringle.= A thimble or eye worked in a sail and through which a
    rope may be passed.

  =Crotch.= A support of crossed pieces of wood, or metal, in which
    the boom rests when the sail is furled.

  =Cutwater.= The extreme forward edge of the bow.

  =Davits.= Curved iron or wooden objects to which boats are

  =Downhaul.= Rope used to haul down sails.

  =Dowse.= To lower rapidly. Also to extinguish.

  =Draught or draft.= The amount of water in which a boat is
    immersed when afloat.

  =Earrings.= Lines passed through cringles.

  =Ease off.= To slacken.

  =Ensign.= The national flag of any country.

  =Entrance.= The lower part of a vessel’s stem.

  =Fag end.= The end that is frayed.

  =Fall off.= To move away from the wind.

  =Fathom.= Six feet.

  =Fid.= A sharp, tapered tool used in splicing rope.

  =Fill away.= To have the wind fill the after surfaces of the sails
    and the vessel proceed on her course.

  =Fore reach.= To pass to windward of another vessel when close

  =Foul.= Anything entangled. To come into contact.

  =Furl.= To stow a sail.

  =Gaff.= The spar that supports the top of a fore-and-aft sail. A
    pole with a sharp hook on the end.

  =Gangway.= The place where people come aboard. An opening in a
    vessel’s side. Room to pass.

  =Garboard strakes.= The planks next to the keel on a boat’s

  =Gasket.= A lashing of rope or a strip of canvas used to secure
    sails, etc.

  =Go about.= To tack. To alter the course so the sail fills on the
    other side.

  =Grapnel.= A four-pronged anchor.

  =Griping.= Carrying a hard weather helm.

  =Grommet.= A ring of rope. A metal ring used in place of an eyelet
    in a sail.

  =Ground tackle.= The anchor, cable and fittings.

  =Halyards or Halliards.= Ropes used to hoist sails.

  =Handsomely.= Carefully, smartly.

  =Handy billy.= A small tackle used in hauling on a rope.

  =Hanks.= Metal rings for attaching sails to stays so they will
    slide easily.

  =Heave to.= To stop a vessel’s movement by so arranging sails that
    she will lie head to the wind and almost stationary.

  =Heeling.= Tipping to one side.

  =Hitch.= A kind of knot.

  =In irons.= When headway is lost and the boat will not answer her

  =Jammed.= Any rope or other object caught so it will not move or
    cannot be readily freed.

  =Jib.= A triangular sail set between the mast and bowsprit.

  =Jibe or Gybe.= To let the mainsail swing from one side to the
    other when running free.

  =Jury mast.= A temporary mast to replace a mast which has been
    carried away.

  =Jury rig.= Sails set on jury masts.

  =Kedge.= A small anchor.

  =Leech.= The after edge of a fore-and-aft sail. The ends of a
    square sail.

  =Lee helm.= When a tiller or helm must be held to leeward to
    prevent the boat from falling off the wind.

  =Leeward.= The direction toward which the wind is blowing. Away
    from the wind.

  =Leg.= The distance sailed on a tack in one direction.

  =Log.= An instrument used to measure a boat’s speed or the
    distance travelled. A record of the ship’s travel and what has
    been done each day. A book in which the log is kept.

  =Long leg.= The longest course sailed when tacking.

  =Luff.= To bring the boat’s head to the wind. The forward edge of
    a fore-and-aft sail.

  =Lying to.= Heading close into the wind under reduced sail so as
    to remain practically stationary.

  =Missing stays.= Failure to come about when tacking.

  =Moor.= To secure by anchors or cables.

  =Moorings.= A spot where a vessel is kept when at anchor.

  =Mouse.= To secure by means of spun yarn or line to prevent its
    becoming detached. A seizing about a hook.

  =Off and on.= Approaching on one tack and bearing off on the other
    especially when approaching or near land.

  =Offing.= Out to sea. Sea room.

  =Overhaul.= To slack up a rope and haul it through blocks. To
    straighten out a line and arrange it. To examine and make right.
    To overtake.

  =Painter.= The line by which a boat is made fast and which is
    attached to the bow.

  =Part.= To break or pull apart.

  =Pay.= To coat with pitch or tar. To let out rope or cable.

  =Pay off.= To recede from the wind. To bring a boat’s head around
    to catch the wind.

  =Pendant.= A short piece of rope.

  =Pennant.= A narrow flag or streamer.

  =Pooped.= To be struck by a sea which comes over the stern.

  =Port.= Left hand. Also sometimes called Larboard.

  =Preventer sheet.= A sheet used to relieve unusual strain.

  =Preventer stay.= A temporary or movable stay set up to relieve a
    strain on the rigging under certain conditions.

  =Quarter.= Part between beam and stern.

  =Rake.= The lean or cant of a mast or other object from the

  =Reaching.= Sailing with wind abeam.

  =Reef.= To reduce the area of a sail. A line or group of sunken

  =Reeve.= To run a rope through anything.

  =Rooting.= Burying by the head.

  =Run.= The submerged after-part of the hull.

  =Scud.= To run before a wind. A kind of cloud.

  =Seize.= To make fast or bind.

  =Selvage.= A strap made of yarns loosely bound together.

  =Sheave.= The wheel within a block or any wheel over which a rope

  =Sheer.= To vary from a direct course. The curve from bow to stern

  =Sheet.= A rope attached to a sail and by which the sail is held
    and worked. On a square sail, ropes which spread the sails.

  =Snorter or snotter.= A rope strap into which the heel of a sprit
    is slipped.

  =Soldier’s wind.= A beam wind.

  =Spill.= To throw the wind out of a sail.

  =Splice.= A method of joining two objects together so the joint is
    no larger than the rest of the object.

  =Spring.= To crack or bend a spar. A rope made fast to a cable, to
    some spot ashore, to a buoy or mooring, or to another vessel and
    then led aft in order to swing a vessel’s stern in any desired
    direction. To start a plank. To start a leak.

  =Sprit.= A light spar used to extend a sail.

  =Squatting.= Settling down by the stern.

  =Starboard.= The right-hand side.

  =Stay.= A rope or wire used as a support to a spar.

  =Sternboard.= To move backward stern first.

  =Tack.= To proceed against the wind by zigzags. The forward corner
    of a fore-and-aft sail.

  =Tackle.= Any arrangement of ropes and blocks.

  =Taut.= Tight.

  =Truck.= The top of a mast.

  =Unbend.= To cast off; to unfasten.

  =Veer.= To turn. To pay out cable.

  =Wake.= The track left by a vessel in the water.

  =Watch.= A division of the crew. The length of time a man is on

  =Wear.= To turn a boat’s head into the wind and then around until
    she has the wind on the opposite side.

  =Weather helm.= When a tiller or helm must be kept to windward to
    prevent a boat from flying into the wind.

  =Weathering.= Surviving anything, such as a gale or storm. Getting
    to windward of anything.

  =Weigh.= To hoist or lift, especially to lift the anchor.

  =Wind’s eye.= The exact direction from which the wind blows.

  =Yaw.= To swerve wildly or violently from a true course despite
    the action of the rudder.


                          Transcriber’s note:

All figure references in the text have been regularized.

Table of Contents, ‘Latteen’ changed to ‘Lateen,’ “sails. Lateen, lug,

Page 29, full stop changed to comma after ‘say,’ “he will say,

Page 44, semicolon inserted after ‘topmast,’ “the topmast; it may also”

Page 46, ‘leg-o’mutton’ changed to ‘leg-o’-mutton,’ “is a leg-o’-mutton

Page 48, closing parenthesis added after ‘lines),’ “course in dotted

Page 52, ‘Waterline’ changed to ‘Water line,’ “11—Water line.
12—Starboard quarter.”

Page 53, ‘it’ changed to ‘is,’ “have to do is to learn”

Page 70, ‘SAILING’ diagrams 12, depicting approaches to moorings, and
13, depicting approaches to and departures from docks, are absent from
original caption.

Page 92, ‘water-line’ changed to ‘water line,’ “especially below the
water line”

Page 112, ‘show’ changed to ‘shown,’ “as shown in the illustration”

Page 118, ‘whch’ changed to ‘which,’ “the strands which form the”

Page 133, comma struck after ‘small,’ “is some small reef”

Page 147, full stop inserted after ‘blowing,’ “which it is blowing. All

Page 152, second ‘and’ struck, “underrunning her and leaving”

Page 167, ‘diamter’ changed to ‘diameter,’ “from 1/2 to 1 inch in

Page 169, ‘certerboard’ changed to ‘centerboard,’ “and the centerboard
should be”

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Book of the Sailboat - How to rig, sail and handle small boats" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.