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BOAT SAILING

IN

FAIR WEATHER AND FOUL

BY

CAPTAIN
A. J. KENEALY





CHAPTER VIII

OVERHAULING THE YACHT

 

NO MATTER how small a craft the yachtsman owns she will, after a winter's lay-up, require a good deal of attention before she is fit for the water; and there is no reason why a keen yachtsman who owns a tidy little craft should not fit her out himself in his spare time. In fact, I am acquainted with many boat-owners who find nearly as much delight in getting their own vessels into proper fettle for the season's sport as they do in navigating them. There is much to be said in favor of this enterprise. The principal argument is that a man overhauling the hull of the boat which belongs to him will not be at all likely to "scamp" the work. On the contrary, it is to his interest to do the job thoroughly while he is about it, for he is improving his own property; whereas if lie employs a mechanic to do it by piece work, or by the day, the task may be performed in a manner more or less perfunctory, or at any rate without the attention to minor details which the actual proprietor would be expected to bring to the task.

I would not counsel a man to attempt repairs which call for the skilled shipwright or boatbuilder. The result would in all probability be a lamentable failure, and in the end a mechanic would have to be called in. But the work of cleaning, painting and varnishing a hull intrinsically sound may be accomplished by the man or boy of average intelligence and industry.

 

What is true about a hull is still more so of her rig. When I first went to sea on a deep-water voyage, as soon as the ship was out of soundings the crew's first duty was to undo the work of the professional rigger, stay the masts anew by shrouds and backstays, and replace the hurried botch-work of knots and splices by seamanlike and shipshape work.

 

Anything in the shape of a boat may be made watertight, no matter how leaky she may be, if treated with careful ingenuity. I would be the last man to suggest patching and puttying up a ramshackle craft whose frames and planking are rotten. Supposing, however, that the hull is fairly sound, but through exposure to the hot sun her planks are cracked in sundry places, and that in fact she leaks like a sieve, there is no reason why she should be condemned. There is a lot of good fun to be got out of a craft of this kind, if the proper repairs are made. If put in the hands of a professional boatbuilder the cost would be very high, even if he could be induced to undertake the work. Here, then, is where a handy man or boy has a capital opportunity to try his hand as a craftsman. I repaired an old 18-foot boat in my younger days, when money was scarce and I had the alternative of giving up my pet diversion of sailing or making the ancient bucket tight.

This is how I went about it.

The craft in question was hauled out on the shore above high-water mark. She had been abandoned by her rightful owner, who had moved inland and left her to the tender mercies of the sun in summer and the snow in winter. For sixteen months she lay on the beach neglected. Every day I cast covetous eyes on her. I will make a clean breast of it now in my old age and confess that I had contemplated stealing her. That sin was, however, spared me, as I found her owner's address and wrote, asking if he would sell her. He replied that he would give her to me and welcome, and thus made me the happiest youth in the land.

The boat was originally a first-class little lapstreaker of good model, built of teak throughout and copper-fastened; but there were many cracks in her planks and most of her fastenings were loose, and in a general way she might he described as "nail sick" all over. With the help of a couple of chums I placed her on chocks and shored her up on an even keel, supporting her well, so that she should not suffer from any unequal strain when I filled her later on with water. She was very dirty inside, and I remember it took me the greater part of a day to thoroughly clean her with soap, hot water and a scrubbing brush. Then I put the plug in and started to fill her up with water. Although I had plenty of help from the village boys, who were never so joyous as when pottering about a boat, it took a long time to fill her, for the water poured out of her like the streams from a shower-bath. But her dry and thirsty planks soon began to swell a little and the leaks to diminish. I kept her as full of water as possible for two or three days, marking with chalk every leak that appeared. I may remark that the chocks on which her keel was raised were high enough for me to crawl completely under her bottom and get at every part of her. Her hull, which originally had been varnished to show the grain of the natural wood, was pretty well checkered with chalk-marks by the time I had finished. Then I let the water drain out of her, and waited until she was dried thoroughly by wind and sun.

Meanwhile I bought a lot of copper nails of the requisite length and rooves to match, with the use of which I had become thoroughly familiar from watching the men in the boat-shop hard by.

Then I began operations, aided by an apprentice from the boat-builder's establishment whom I induced, by the proffer of pocket money, to turn out of his bed at dawn and lend me a hand till the clang of the bell summoned him to his daily toil. We replaced all the rivets that had worked very loose with new one of a larger size, and drove an additional nail between every two originally driven. The old nails, which were only a little slack, I hardened with a few taps of the hammer from the inside, while Toby, the aforementioned apprentice, "held on" against the heads of the nails with another hammer on the outside. This was slow and tedious work, but it paid in the long run, for it made the boat almost as good as new, her frames, as I have already mentioned, being in capital condition.

My next operation was to borrow a pitch-kettle from the boat shop and to put in it a pound of pitch and a gallon of North Carolina tar. Kindling a fire under it I let it boil until the pitch had melted, stirring it constantly. This mixture I applied boiling hot to the inside of the boat with a paintbrush, filling every crevice and ledge up to the level of the underside of the thwarts. It was astonishing what a quantity of this composition the planks absorbed. I put only half a ladleful of the tar into my paint-pot at a time, so that it should not stand long enough to cool, replenishing every few minutes from the boiling kettle. Tar when at the boiling point is comparatively thin, and has superior penetrative qualities, so it can be worked with the point of the brush into every crevice, no matter how minute. When it hardens it forms a watertight seam which possesses, from the nature of its ingredients, a certain amount of elasticity.

There were a number of sun-cracks in the planking, which I filled with fish glue, run in hot from the outside. This composition dries very hard and does not crack. My next task was to sandpaper the outside, smoothing the very rough places with pumice-stone after wetting them well. I ached all over by the time this process was completed but I got her as smooth as glass. Then I gave her outside a couple of good coats of raw linseed oil applied on a hot day. As a finish, not caring to waste money on varnish, I gave her a final coat of boiled linseed oil, in which a generous lump of rosin had been melted. This is the mixture used from time immemorial by the Dutch on the bottoms and topsides of their galliots, and it wears well and looks well, resisting the action of both fresh and salt water. I may say that this method of making my boat watertight was economical and successful. The example may be followed with similar results by anybody who owns a leaky lapstreak craft.

Another method, as practiced on a St. Lawrence skiff that was badly checked and rotten in places, is thus described by a veteran boatman who made the successful experiment :

"The boat was of lapstreak construction, and many of the seams had opened. I went entirely over the boat, first dosing the seams as much as possible by drawing together with clout-nails. Next, where there were cracks through the 3/16-inch planking, I cleaned the painted surface, and where the paint had blistered I removed all of it by scraping. When the surface was in proper condition I cut a strip of eight-ounce duck of a length and width to cover the crack (generally 3/4 inch was wide enough) and smeared one side, by means of a stick, with liquid glue. The canvas was applied to the crack and pressed down, and the glue stick drawn over the raveled ends from the center outward, to make them adhere closely to the boat. Then the canvas and surrounding wood were brushed over with enamel paint. The painting must be done before the glue sets, as otherwise the canvas is apt to warp. Open cracks 1/8 inch wide were covered in this manner, and also cracks at the butts of the strakes. After all of the cracks were treated I gave the boat two good coats of paint over all, and the result was a comparatively smooth surface, and one that was absolutely watertight."

 

The veteran very truly adds that an old boat repaired in this way will not stand any rough usage, and the patches are not proof against being dragged over rocks, or even a sand beach; but by a little labor a boat that is practically worthless may be so made serviceable for an indefinite time.

By either of the methods mentioned above a lapstreak boat may be made tight as a bottle. A carvel-built craft that is, one with the planks flush, edge and edge, and the seams between caulked and payed may generally be made tight by recaulking her with threads of cotton prepared for that purpose and sold by ship-chandlers, driving the cotton well home with iron and mallet, and afterward puttying up the seams. Care should be taken, however, not to put the cotton in too tight, or drive it right through the seam. Serious damage has often been done to a boat in the way of increasing her leakiness by too hard caulking. Or the boat's hull may be completely covered with light duck nailed on with copper tacks, and afterward well painted. This, however, is rather difficult for a greenhorn to accomplish so as to make a neat fit of it; but I have seen several boats repaired and renovated in this manner by young men gifted with ingenuity, and a great deal of patience. I may say that the result, if the work is well done, is worth the pains thereon expended.

Rowboats, sailboats, and launches propelled by any kind of power may have their hulls treated after one of these fashions, with quite satisfactory results.

If the owner does not think he is sufficiently handy to undertake the stopping of leaks be can, at any rate, paint and varnish his craft. To paint a boat outside or inside a perfectly smooth surface is necessary, and to obtain this all rough spots should be smoothed with pumice-stone and sandpaper. Enamel paint should be used above the waterline, and the bottom may be painted with any one of the excellent compositions now in the market, which prevent grass and barnacles from flourishing too luxuriantly on the underbodies of boats.

The interior of the boat, after being thoroughly washed and scrubbed, should also have a coat or even two coats of enamel paint, as this composition is lasting and wears three times as long as the ordinary preparation of white lead, oil, turpentine, and pigment. One thing, however, is worth remembering. Never use washing soda or boiling water to dean wood covered with enamel paint. Rub it with a sponge or flannel cloth dipped in lukewarm water and a little soap. For protecting and beautifying natural wood above deck or below, use a good brand of spar varnish. This will resist the damp, salt air of the ocean, or the more penetrating moisture of freshwater lakes and rivers, far better than the higher grade of varnish used for the indoor decoration of dwelling houses, which, when it gets damp, acquires a plum-like bloom on its surface by no means beautiful.

Mr. W. Baden Powell, than whom there is no better authority, says very truly, that there is no more dangerous time in their lives for the spars of canoes than when stowed away in a boathouse roof for the damp winter's rest. Bamboo spars are more liable to suffer than pine, or solid spruce, but each and all are in danger of splitting or kinking, especially so in the case of built spars, if glued up, instead of screw built. With such convenient lengths as are found in canoe spars, there is no excuse for leaving them in damp boathouses, as they can be stacked in a room corner, on end, and the sails and rigging in drawers or boxes. In this way each item of rigging can be overhauled, mended, improved, and set in order for the coming year, just as convenient spare time offers.

About the middle of March in these latitudes we generally are blessed with ideal sailing breezes, a trifle blustering and boisterous, perhaps, when the merry music of the stiff nor'wester pipes through the rigging, but nevertheless vastly enjoyable to the ardent amateur, who grasps the tiller of his stanch shippie and fearlessly luffs up to the strident puffs, knowing that he has a stout hull beneath him, and that sails and gear are of trusty strength.

It is all very well for the steam yachtsmen and suchlike marine Sybarites to wait for the hot days of July to arrive before ordering their floating palaces to go into commission, but he who depends upon sails can ill afford to allow all the glorious winds of the fresh and fragrant springtime to blow themselves to waste in such reckless, feckless fashion. There may be a chilly sting or bite in the spray that breaks on the weather bow in a silver shower and smites the helmsman mercilessly in the face, but there is invigorating ozone in wind and water, and a glow of triumph after a successful battle with breeze and billow.

It is prudent, too, to fit out early and lay up late, for life, alas ! is brief, and it behooves us, my boating brethren, to enjoy as many brave sailing days as possible ere we make our final voyage across the Styx, with grim Charon, the ferryman, taking his perennial trick at the tiller, while his pets, the frogs, plash and play and croak in his muddy wake.

If the yacht is a small one -- a knockabout or a 30-footer -- and she has wintered afloat, the first thing is to haul her out and prepare to clean her hull of barnacles and grass, of which a goodly crop is sure to have grown on her below the waterline. Start in with scrubbing brushes, sand and canvas and use plenty of elbow grease until she is thoroughly cleaned and all rough places smoothed with pumice stone. Use plenty of fresh water, with a flannel cloth as a final application to her hull. Then leave her until she is thoroughly dry. Carefully examine her seams for leaks, caulking where necessary.

When your boat is out of water open her wide to the fresh air. Rig up a windsail, and let the healthful breezes circulate through her interior. If she has hatches or skylights, lift them off; if portholes, unscrew them and give the wind a chance to blow all close impurities away. Rig the pump and relieve her of all malodorous bilge water, the most nauseating and offensive evil that is met with by mariners. Take up the cabin flooring. If the ballast consists of pig iron, rout it out, clean off the rust, and before replacing give it a good coat of coal tar, applied hot. Clean the limbers and flush them with plenty of water, using a bristly broom to remove the dirt. Splash the water about lavishly, and then pump it out dry. If there happens to he a cooking stove below, as there generally is in a vessel of any size, light a roaring fire and do your best to kill all fungoid germs or spores that may have gathered in damp places during the winter. Examine the ceiling for leaks.

Should, through imprudent oversight, any bedding, matting, carpet, or clothing, have been left in the boat since last season, take them out and have them cleansed and dried. If mold and mildew have attacked them, destroy without compunction, and resolve to take better care next time.

After thoroughly cleansing the craft inside from the eyes of her to right aft with soap and hot water, you can paint her cabin, if you deem she needs it, using enamel paint if you are willing to go to a little extra expense, or, at any rate, if not, using a generous quantity of spar varnish with the oil and dryers you mix your white lead with. This dries good and hard and is easily cleansed with warm water, soap and a sponge, and is far more durable and satisfactory than paint mixed in the ordinary manner. Two coats should be given.

The next process is to clean the deck of the coat of varnish with which it was doubtless covered when the yacht was prepared for the winter. To accomplish this in the most efficacious manner, procure from a ship chandler a sufficient quantity of one of the many preparations of caustic soda, with which the market is well equipped. Dissolve it in an iron bucket in hot water., mixing it strong enough to act as a powerful detergent. These preparations vary in power, so it will be well to experiment on a section of the deck with a sample and then add more soda or more water as required.

After sundown apply plentifully to the deck with a mop, rubbing the mixture well into the planks. Next morning before sunrise arm yourself with a good hard deck-scrubber, and set to work in earnest, using plenty of hot water and scrubbing the deck planks (fore and aft, mind you, always, and never athwartship) until every particle of the old varnish and every speck and stain is removed. If the detergent is allowed to remain on the deck while the sun is shining, it is bound to eat into the planks and burn them.

The next operation is the painting of the boat inside and out. There are many excellent compositions for coating the bull below the waterline, but if you do not care to experiment with them, use the recipe given in the chapter on "Useful Hints and Recipes." Choose a clear, dry day and apply the paint. For above the waterline use pure white lead of the best quality reduced to the proper consistency with equal parts of raw and boiled linseed oil and copal varnish. Add a dash of dryers and a few drops of blue paint, strain and apply.

Personally, I prefer to varnish the deck of a small craft, though I am quite willing to acknowledge the superior beauty of a spotless deck white as a hound's tooth. The friends of a yachtsman often wear boots with ugly nails in them, both on soles and heels, and these are apt to play havoc with the spick and span appearance of a deck innocent of varnish. After cleaning the decks thoroughly let them dry well. Wait for a sunny morning and a northwesterly wind, when the air is comparatively free from moisture. Get your can of spar varnish out, and after sweeping the decks and dusting them thoroughly with a feather-duster, apply with a regular varnish brush of convenient size. It is advisable to pour out the varnish into a shallow jar, a marmalade pot for instance, in small quantities as required, as varnish loses its virtue rapidly by exposure to sun and air. It is expedient, therefore, that the varnish can, or bottle, should never be left uncorked. The varnishing process should not be undertaken until the last thing, after the boat has been cleaned and painted inside and out, spars and blocks scraped and polished, standing rigging set up, running rigging rove and sails bent. Two thin coats of varnish will be ample for the decks and spars, as well as all the hardwood fittings and trimmings of the yacht inside and out.

Should the varnish be too thick to flow freely from the brush, don't thin it with oil or spirits of turpentine unless you wish to dim its luster and deprive it of much of its preservative quality. Simply place the varnish can in a bucket of hot water, and let it remain there until it gets warm, when you will experience no difficulty in applying it to advantage. Another hint worth taking is never to buy cheap and inferior varnish. The best is none too good.

These suggestions may appear superfluous to a professional yachtsman, who, if he happens to read this yarn, might feel tempted to observe: "Why, every darned chump knows that!" As a matter of fact, amateurs as a rule are not familiar with these little "wrinkles," which are in many cases tricks of the trade. This yarn is spun for amateurs only, and not for the edification or instruction of veteran professionals. About half a century ago, when I first became a boat owner, I should have been delighted to get the fruits of a practical man's ripe experience

Fashionable craft with spoon bows and long overhangs forward have abolished the long bowsprits and simplified the head gear. The short bowsprit is secured with a steel bobstay extending from the stem to the cranse iron on the bowsprit, the bobstay being set up taut with a turnbuckle of galvanized iron. The bowsprit shrouds are of steel wire also set up by turnbuckles.

The pole mast has also done away with all the topmast gear, the mast being secured by a forestay which sets up to the stem head and by one or sometimes two shrouds on each side set up by turnbuckles. The days of deadeyes and lanyards and of reefing bowsprits are departed. A sailor to be quite down-to-date should combine with his nautical knowledge some of the art of the blacksmith. Strength and lightness and handiness are the watchwords of today, and with modern methods the gear of a small craft is so simple that it takes little time to rig her.

I suppose I may take it for granted that all the running rigging was neatly coiled up and labeled and stored ashore when you went out of commission last fall. I know many smart young yachtsmen who while away many a long winter evening with pleasure and profit overhauling sheets and halyards, stropping blocks, varnishing them, splicing, serving and generally repairing all of the running gear that needs attention, making manropes, scraping and polishing the gangway ladder, the tiller, etc., and in other ways preparing for their summer's amusement. The study of navigation, the rule of the road at sea, the coast pilot, the learning of marlinespike seamanship and a rudimentary knowledge of the use of the palm and needle, so that if a sail should need some simple repairs they may be made without loss of time and without seeking aid from a sailmaker -- all these the amateur will find useful. It is astonishing how much one can learn in one winter if he devotes only an hour a night to the acquirement of nautical lore.

But supposing that his running gear has not been touched since it was unrove, it will take only a short time to get it in tip-top order, and the work may be done in the evening when it is too dark to potter about the yacht.

While you are about it you may as well make a thorough job of this fitting out. Shin up the mast and make a tail block fast to the masthead as high as possible, reeving a gantline through it so that you may sit in a boatswain's chair or in a bowline while you survey the stick. If the collars of the shrouds or forestay show any sign of chafe, they must come down and be served over again with spun yam or covered with canvas sewn on with a palm and needle, using plenty of lead colored paint in the process to prevent rust. Examine the masthead carefully for weak parts, which generally are to be found in the wake of the rigging. If rot and signs of serious strains are met with, it is evident that a new mast is needed. Longitudinal cracks may be disregarded unless they are glaringly apparent, but transverse cracks should be viewed with suspicion.

 

A NEW DRESS
 

If, after close inspection, you conclude that the mast is good enough to stand, you may as well begin to scrape it, engaging your chum to lower you down by your gantline. After scraping, use sandpaper until it is polished smooth. Then give it a couple of coats of spar varnish. If the boat has a bowsprit, treat it in the same way. If she carries a topmast, scrape and varnish it and the boom, gaff, spinnaker-boom, boathook and the oars of your dinghy as well as all blocks ashore, wherever convenient.

Next set up your rigging good and taut, taking care to stay the mast perfectly plumb-no rake aft or forward. If you carry a topmast, send it up and stay it in the usual way. Get your boom in position by means of the gooseneck and the crotch; reeve your topping-lift and hook it on to its place at the end of the boom. Get the gaff in place, hook on the throat and peak halyards, and there you are all ready to bend sails.

It is imperative that your vessel, whether she be a cruiser pure and simple or a racer, should have a well, cut suit of sails. If it is your intention to treat her to the luxury of a brand new suit, I hope that you placed your order with a responsible sailmaker weeks ago. The winter is the correct time to have your sails made, when the knights of the palm and needle are not so apt to be rushed.

Yacht owners have the habit of procrastinating where sails are concerned, and postpone their orders for new canvas to the very last moment. This causes such a hurry in the loft that large orders are apt to receive the first and best attention of the sailmaker, while the owner of a moderate-sized vessel has to wait the foreman's convenience; whereas, if an order is placed before, say, Christmas, one of the firm is as likely as not to give the matter his personal attention, measure your craft himself, and let the cut and the sit of the sails have the benefit of his own supervision. It is also a fact that the sailmaking firms make it a point to keep their best men at work all the year round, while the mere ordinary workmen are "laid off" when the season closes. The consequence is that the yachtsman who orders his sails in good time has the advantage of the most skillful craftsmen in the market, and he is likely, too, to have better prices quoted him than in the rush of the season, when all hands are hard at it. Therefore, my advice is to take early action and win the best results at the most favorable figure.

It was always my custom, before unbending my yacht's sails preparatory to going out of commission, to summon my sailmaker aboard and take him for a short trip, pointing out what I considered to be the defects in the muslin and listening to his suggestions for their remedy. He would make notes in his memorandum-book and inscribe certain hieroglyphic marks on the sails themselves. When the canvas was unbent he would send for it, make the repairs and alterations at his leisure and store the sails for me until the spring, when I would find them in perfect condition for setting. All this was done for moderate compensation, considering the excellence of the workmanship.

The importance of a well-cut and well-sitting suit of sails cannot be overestimated. No matter how well the naval architect may have executed his work in the design of a vessel's hull, if the sailmaker has failed in his task, success in racing is an impossibility. You might just as well expect a fast homing pigeon to attain his normal speed with a crippled wing as a yacht to win a cup hampered by sails of poor material and faulty construction.

If low-grade material is used, despite the best efforts of the scientific sailmaker, the sails are sure to be unsatisfactory. The climate on the Atlantic coast is peculiarly trying even to the finest grades of cotton duck, which is assuredly the best fabric known that can be used for the purpose of the sailmaker. The hot and arid westerly winds dry out the sails so that they become soft and open, causing them to stretch abnormally and to get full of what are technically termed "hard places." The wind shifts to the eastward, a damp, moist quarter, and the result is a severe shrinking, which, in conjunction with the previous violent stretching, is enough to play havoc with the best and closest woven material, no matter how scientifically designed and constructed. You can imagine how a suit of sails of cheap and common duck, botched by some ordinary tentmaker, would be likely to behave under such circumstances.

My advice is to order your sails of a reputable firm of experience, have them made of the best material, and take care that they are bent by a man of judgment and skill and not by some habitué of a hay-mow or a pig drover fresh from the farm. I have known a suit of sails that cost several hundred dollars irretrievably ruined by being overstretched in the first instance by a sailing master ignorant of the first principles of his calling.

A well-known sailmaker, who has made sails for some of the crack racing yachts of America, gives the following admirable instructions for setting the sails of a 40-foot single-sticker:

Cast off the tyers from the mainsail; hook on the peak halyards; see that the gaff goes up between the topping-lifts as you hoist up on the throat and peak halyards; hoist up on the throat until the luff-rope is straight; if the sail has a slide on the boom, haul out on it till the canvas is just straight and smooth on the foot; too hard a pull will throw a heavy strain on the diagonal, from the end of the boom to the jaws of the gaff, giving a bad after leech when the peak is swayed up; next sway up the luff pretty taut; it is not necessary to top the boom up to too great an angle out of the crotch; man the peak halyards and hoist on them until the after leech is so lifted that it spreads and stretches every square inch of the after angle of the sail; as soon as the peak begins to lift the outer end of the boom, the mainsheet should be made fast (unless the boom extends so far over the taffrail that it would bring an undue leverage on the boom and spring it to breaking); now sweat up the peak halyards until the stretch is entirely taken out of the halyard canvas; if the peak is hoisted beyond its proper angle, it puts an undue strain on the diagonal, from the end of the gaff to the center of effort of the sail, the consequence being a nasty gutter just inside the leech, which gives rise to the groundless complaint that there is a tight cloth inside the after leech. It should be remembered that the trouble lies in stretching the head and foot of the sail too taut, and oversetting the peak.

 

These instructions are so clear as to be intelligible to the merest tyro, and should be followed out on all occasions. A good mainsail costs a large sum, and there is no reason why it should be ruined by neglect of proper precautions.

In setting a thimble-headed topsail hoist away on the halyards, then bowse the tack down with a purchase, then sheet it out to the gaff end so that there shall be an exact and even strain on both foot and leech.

The proper angle of the jib-sheet depends entirely on the position its clew occupies in relation to the stay. It should always hold the foot of the sail a little more than it does the after leech so as to allow the proper flow, which is so effective as well as so beautiful.

If you determine that the craft's old suit is good enough for another year, overhaul it for holes. Perhaps the sails have been stowed away where rats or mice have had free access to them. If so, they will need repairs. If they were rolled up damp, or stored in a damp place, they will probably be badly mildewed. The unsightly stains of mildew can be partially removed by scrubbing the sail on both sides with fresh water and soap, and afterward rubbing whiting over it and leaving it to dry and bleach in the sun.

If the sails are discolored, they may be improved by laying them on a plot of clean sand, scrubbing them on both sides with seawater and saltwater soap, and afterward sprinkling them with saltwater in which whiting is dissolved until it looks like milk. Let them bleach in the sun until one side is quite dry, and then turn them over

To prevent mildew from spoiling the sails, keep them dry and well ventilated. If a sail is furled when damp, the inner folds will mildew. Always roll up a wet sail loosely, and shake it out and dry it the first chance you get; in any case open it out and give it air, even if rain continues to fall. Remember that new sails will mildew very quickly because of the "dressing" in the duck, which sets up a fungoid growth or fermentation. For these reasons don't depend too much on your watertight sail-covers, but give your canvas frequent air and sun baths if you wish your "white wings" to remain things of beauty.

The same attention to the sails to avoid milder should be given to the hull to prevent dry rot, which is quite as frequently caused by the lack of ventilation as by the use of unseasoned timber in the construction of a vessel.

The principal labor of fitting out has been described, but the cabin is yet to be fixed up for occupation, and stores taken aboard for the opening cruise. It 5 well to have a list prepared of the actual necessities in the way of supplies that must not be left ashore when you get under way. Here are a few things that cannot be dispensed with:

Anchor and chain, small kedge anchor, towrope, life-buoy, sidelights, anchor light, oil and wicks, bell, foghorn, compass with binnacle, hand lead, chart of waters you intend to navigate, dinghy, either on board or towing astern, properly fitted with oars, boathook, rowlocks and plug, all secured by lashings.

A good supply of fresh water should be taken along, and a stock of provisions suitable to the tastes of the skipper and his guests. An awning for the cockpit may prove a great comfort both in hot and rainy weather, when becalmed or at anchor.

 

I recommend that a storm trysail, a storm jib and a drogue, or sea anchor, form part of the yacht's equipment, and that they be stowed away in some place convenient for instant use. Perhaps they may never be needed, but it is often the unforeseen that happens, and in this world of uncertainty it is best to be always ready for an emergency.

Thus prepared the yachtsman may safely venture for a cruise, selecting those waters with which he is most familiar or most anxious to explore. He will find April an ideal month for yachting, and if he puts in his time to the best advantage he will have his craft "tuned up" to racing pitch, his amateur crew so admirably drilled and disciplined, and his sails and gear in such capital shape that, if there is really any speed in the craft at all, prizes should be the inevitable reward of his skill and his enterprise.

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1.0 07/30/00

Edited by Craig O'Donnell.
Etext & images ©2000 Craig O'Donnell, all the usual whining applies.

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