THE JUDICIOUS yachtsman will
personally superintend the laying up of his craft. If he has that
inestimable blessing, a good skipper, he should not discharge him at
the close of his summer season. If he does he will bitterly regret it.
A yacht requires as much watchful care as a baby, and this is
especially true during the trying winter season. So wise yacht-owners
who have in their employ faithful captains should hold on to them like
grim death to a deceased army mule. Good men are not too plentiful
A few practical suggestions as to preparing the vessel for
the winter are here appended. In the first place, sails should be well
dried before being unbent, and then should be carefully stopped and
labeled, and the same remark applies also to the running gear. By all
means secure storage ashore for sails, gear, cabin fitments and
furniture, carpets, upholstery and bedding, otherwise you may have
cause to regret it in the spring. In most of the buildings devoted to
the storage of yacht gear proper platforms or stages are provided, so
that a free current of air may circulate, and thus prevent damp, mildew
and decay. The lower tier on the platform should consist of the warps
and running gear, on top of which the sails should be snugly coiled.
Above these the furniture, bedding and upholstery should go. All can be
covered over with an old light sail to protect them from dust. This can
be removed as often as necessary for airing purposes.
On the other side of the Atlantic judicious owners of
storage warehouses make their platforms rat-proof, following out the
same idea as the farmer does with his wheat stacks. Each support to the
stage is capped with a metal cone, which effectually stops the upward
progress of the sail-devouring vermin. Well conducted warehouses are
well ventilated, and the temperature is kept tolerably even by heat.
Of course, all articles of value, such as plate and
nautical instruments, should find repository in their owner's dwelling.
All light spars should be sent ashore and lashed up under
the beams of the warehouse. The same with the rowboats, but with
attention to the fact that they should be so supported as to have their
weight evenly distributed, and thus prevent them from being pulled out
Many expensive boats are hopelessly ruined by neglect of
this precaution. This is the proper method of supporting a rowboat so
that straining her is impossible. Six eyebolts should be screwed into
the under side of the beams of the warehouse at proper intervals to
take the weight of the boat amidships and at the third of her length
forward and aft. From these eyebolts ropes of sufficient length should
depend, to which, in the bight, a handspike is passed, on which, bottom
upward, the boat is hung.
A yacht laid up without the greatest care deteriorates in
value to an enormous extent. The first process after dismantling is to
clean the vessel thoroughly inside and out, just as carefully as if she
was about to be continued in commission. After getting her as bright as
a new pin, all the hardwood -- that which is varnished or gilded --
should be covered up with canvas
After the yacht has been thoroughly skinned, as far as her
internal arrangements are concerned, the last process preliminary to
paying her out of commission, is to give her decks a coat or two of
bright varnish -- shunning that mixture known in the trade as pure oil,
as deleterious to all decks.
It is cheaper in the long run to provide a yacht with
properly fitted winter hatches which entirely cover the hardwood deck
fittings and secure thorough ventilation, as then the regular skylights
can be left open.
In small craft the sailing master will be sufficient to
keep the boat in first class condition. On larger vessels, according to
size, he should have competent assistance.
Whether a yacht is moored alongside a quay or another
vessel, winter storms cause her to do a little rolling, which
invariably induces chafing. Unless a vessel is properly protected by
fenders, her planksheer and bulwarks are sure to be seriously injured,
and to repair this part of a ship is costly in the extreme; especially
in regard to the planksheer. Should the planksheer be "shoved up" by
contact with the dock or the ship to which she is moored alongside, the
damage done could only be properly repaired by the removal of both
bulwark and rail. To guard against severe injuries of this kind
unceasing vigilance is necessary. If you can induce your skipper to
live on board, all the better. In such a case your yacht will be kept
in as dainty condition as your wife's boudoir. Snow is very
penetrating. It will find its way even through rubber boots. A little
leak may at first have no significance. But the leak increases and rot
follows, fastenings are corroded and paintwork discolored.
Every vessel afloat suffers more or less from "sweating,"
caused by the difference between the temperature of the air outside and
inside the ship. To obviate this a fire should be kept going; not a
furious furnace that would involve a great expenditure of coal, but
simply some heating device that gives a moderate amount of warmth all
through the ship. Thus, when the owner returns to his yacht in the
spring, he will find her sweet and clean and will never regret the few
paltry dollars it has cost him to keep his floating summer home in
seagoing condition. The careful skipper will see that his extra help is
kept busy, so that not only a casual visitor must compliment her owner
on her spick and span condition, but a naval architect or a Lloyd's
surveyor can find no flaw or fault to peck at. For, down to her
deadwood and timbers, by the application of soap, hot water and plenty
of elbow-grease, she is made fit for repainting right down to her keel.
By conservative and preservative methods such as these a
yacht's life is prolonged, and she will always fetch her value in the
market, the noisome odor of bilge water being unknown.
The foregoing remarks are applicable to pleasure craft
that are kept afloat during the winter. It is needless to expatiate on
the benefit of hauling out yachts of any size or construction, whether
of wood, composite, iron, steel or Tobin bronze or aluminum. The
expense of hauling large boats out is considerable, for obvious
reasons, and thus it is that yacht owners do not care to incur the
cost. This objection does not apply to small craft, which should
invariably be landed for the winter and efficiently protected by
canvas, or other covering, from the destructive influence of snow and
rain. All that has been said above in relation to the storage of sails
and gear applies as much to a one-tonner as to the largest pleasure
When we go into the question of steam yachts, no better
advice can be given than that contained above, so far as hull and
equipment are concerned. It is different when the proper care of
machinery is considered. There it is where the services of a loyal and
skillful engineer come into full play. Unless sufficient attention is
paid to a vessel's boilers and engines during the critical time when
she reposes in dock, disastrous results, entailing vast expenditure,
are sure to follow. The complicated and ingenious mechanism which
propels the modern steam yacht requires devoted regard. Very expensive
when new, repairs during their second season, if in any way neglected
in the winter, call for the resources of the purse of a Croesus. In
matters of this kind the old adage which relates to a stitch in time
should be noted by the prudent yacht owner. Thus it is that an engineer
and a sufficient staff should be kept on the pay roll in the winter for
economic reasons alone. By this means extravagant bills for unnecessary
repairs will be avoided. The engineer will take pride in his work and
do justice to a liberal employer.
It is well known that engineers can only become acquainted
with the true capacity of machinery by long and careful study.
Statistics have proved that marine engines in the navy under the
direction of good men have been run with less coal, less oil and
greater working power year by year when the same man has had control of
the engine room. All of which means less strain on the owner's bank
Lincoln's famous aphorism about the unwisdom of swapping
horses when crossing a stream applies with great precision to skippers
and engineers. It takes time for the most masterly and adroit captain
to become acquainted with the peculiar idiosyncrasies of a vessel, for
it is true that each one has her own individuality, and it takes time
to comprehend her. In this they much resemble the fair sex. It is a
case of whip and spur on one hand, and saddle and bridle on the other.
Which is to wield the whip or wear the saddle is a question between
captain and ship. The struggle is sometimes a long one, but in the end
mind conquers matter.
The captain, as in the case of Gen. Paine and the Mayflower,
gets the hang of her, brings her into a state of submission,
and compels her to become a cup winner. The engineer in his own sphere
accomplishes similar results. His machinery runs with the regularity of
a chronometer. His owner's bills for coal and oil are confined within
reasonable limits. There are no breakdowns. His firemen implicitly obey
his orders, and all goes well in engine-room and stoke-hold.
If these few practical suggestions and hints prove of any
service to yachtsmen, captains and engineers, the writer will feel
happy. He has simply touched on the limits of a wide and fertile
subject that might be expatiated upon at a large expense of paper and