Dress. -

The dress worn afloat will naturally depend on the locality, and the nature of the work to be expected. On the Thames, etc., an ordinary boating jacket, "sweater," and scarf, with flannel trousers or knickerbockers and a cap or straw hat, according to wind and weather will be the most appropriate, and is perhaps the most comfortable dress possible.
Knickerbockers are better than trousers, both on board and for wading; they should be double-seated and made without buckles, an elastic cord half-way round being used at the knee instead.

At sea, this dress would be conspicuous, because unusual, and ordinary yachting costume is more appropriate. If the canoeist is a "seaman" it is rather an advantage that his dress should declare the fact. Suppose, for example, one is asking for any information from local pilots or fishermen, if they take one for a "landsman" they will probably attempt to translate their remarks into "shore" language, at the total sacrifice of intelligibility. Again, in a harbour, if you have to cross the decks of any vessel to reach your craft, your appearance will excite surprise if in landsman's attire; while, as a sailor, no one thinks anything of it.

The "landsman's" dress leads to one's receiving all sorts of unnecessary offers of assistance; one is warned and cautioned! against this and that till one is almost frightened; and one is regarded by extortionate "boatmen" as a prey specially delivered into their teeth. At the same time I would not have a canoeist rig himself out like the owner of a 290 tonner, "Est modus in rebus."

In some places neither rowing nor yachting dress is as suitable as a Norfolk jacket and knickerbockers of soft but strong flannel or home-spun. In any case a flannel shirt should be worn, and warm socks.

A duplicate working suit, with the exception perhaps of the coat, should be carried, also a shore suit carefully packed by itself in a bag or large handkerchief. If made of blue cloth or serge, it may be made to act two parts, when topped by a yachting cap it 'has a sufficiently nautical appearance, while under an ordinary hat it does for going "inland." There are some patent waterproof collars, which last a long time, and can be washed with soap and water; one of these will last a cruise, if only required for going ashore. In addition to these should be carried a change of shirt, socks, etc., necktie, handkerchiefs, and a brush, comb, scissors, etc. These with soap and a sponge, a towel or two, nail and tooth brushes, and a little looking-glass, will complete the list of "toilet requisites." It is generally best to get shaved on shore, but shaving tackle may be carried, and now and then may be very useful. A nightshirt should be carried for sleeping on shore. This, with the clothes, dressing things, etc., should be in a light waterproof bag, which stows with the bedding in the great after-locker-bag, and thus is doubly protected from damp. For going ashore only the smaller bag need be taken out of the boat. A small but good clothes brush should on no account be omitted, for the cleaning and tidying of clothes, etc. Of course everything should be aired and shaken every day in dry weather, or may be hung over the boom for an hour or so when at anchor.


Flags. -
It adds greatly to appearance to have flags of correct size and description, nothing looks so lubberly as to see a canoe sailing about with a jack or an ensign at her masthead, as if she was signalling for a pilot. If a member of a canoe club, or any yacht or sailing club, one should carry a burgee, and observe the custom of always flying the burgee of the club at whose station one is lying (of course if a member of it). Burgees for a canoe are lightest and smartest of silk, but bunting will do. The size should be very carefully judged; about 12 inches is the general length for a canoe. An ensign should be on board, to be set at the mizen when at anchor, and at the peak if carried underway, which should be done on Sundays, etc., and at regattas. In foreign waters the ensign should be carried at the peak all the time, to show one's nationality. For this purpose a rather small ensign, say 20 inches "fly," may be used stitched to the sail, or fastened by two little elastic loops. * The ordinary size would be 30 inches, more or less, and would look very grand in silk.


* It is necessary to remind non-nautical readers that the British flag is NOT the jack, but the red ensign. The blue and white ensigns are only carried by H.M. Fleet, and by registered yachts belonging to clubs, having permission under Admiralty warrant to use these colours. The same applies to the red ensign if any device be put upon it. Thus, the only ensign a canoe has any business to carry is the red ensign without device. It is easy for anyone who can paint at all to make his own burgees. The designs must be painted on silk with ordinary artists' colours, using "Roberson's medium," and no oil or turpentine besides. They will take some time to dry, but when dry will not crack or alter, and the unpleasant "blur" round the edges which occurs with oil will be entirely avoided. Flags thus made will cost next to nothing to make, but would cost 8s. or 9s. each to buy.

For racing, of course, you will have your colours, on a square flag of regulation size, carried at the mainmast-head.

Flag-halliards are out of the question, except perhaps on regatta days, so each flag should have a little staff to which it is fitted with rings, so as not to get "wound up." Try to get the flags down at the right hour, if lying at anchor any public place. At the same time, too much fussing with flags looks childish and unbusinesslike.


Neatness. -

The greatest possible neatness and cleanliness should be observed in a canoe, without which there is no chance of comfort in so small a craft. Water should not be spared either on deck or below, every corner being frequently washed& out, and no mess being allowed to accumulate in the bilges, limbers, etc. The boat will last much longer if this is well seen to. I find it is possible to keep much cleaner in a canoe than small yachts, probably because all things are lighter and smaller, and so there is less "detrition." Probably also the absence of ballast has something to do with it. It seems even if small canoes were cleaner than big ones.

The principal causes of "mess" appear to be crumbs and fragments; mud, etc., from the feet; hair and "flue" from rugs etc., dust blown from shore, and so on. The first of these must be kept in check by using a cloth to catch the crumbs, and carefully picking up any bits that escape this. Extreme care as to not getting on board with muddy feet will do much to diminish dirt. The boots or shoes worn ashore should be taken off on coming aboard, and stowed in a separate bag.

If necessary to get on board through mud, the best plan is to take off one's shoes and socks, and so reach the boat, and to wash off the mud from one's feet before putting them below. For the rest, plenty of washing and cleaning out all holes and corners with a knife point will keep the craft sweet and wholesome. From the first the formation of corners and recesses likely to act as dirt-traps should be avoided.


Work on Rigging. -
No trouble should be spared on hull or gear to make everything look thoroughly neat and shipshape. No ends flying about, no fishermen's hitches in the rigging, but neat coils, and neat splices, properly tapered and served. Anyone can learn the few absolutely necessary bends, hitches, splices, etc., in a few hours. The most important are "reef-knot" "sheet-bend," "figure of eight," "bowline," "clove-hitch," "timber-hitch," "eye-splice," "grommet," "to strop a block," "to put on a seizing," to "whip an end." At all events, do not start to without knowing some one good way to make fast a rope. One is continually required to make fast one thing or another, one's own safety, or that of the boat, or possibly that of other people or other craft, may depend on its being efficiently done. For instance, I have had a line thrown me from the shore by a couple of boating men, who kindly volunteered to tow me up a rapid, and a knot joining two pieces of the rope has "drawn" below the rush of water. If it had done so a little later the boat must inevitably have been smashed, and her occupant very possibly drowned, while a non-swimmer would have been exterminated to a certainty.


Double Canoes. -
Any canoe of 15 feet or more in length may easily be so fitted as to be used occasionally for two persons, by removing the hatches, steering gear, etc. The aftermost occupant of the boat will then sit in the locker end of the well, and the other further forward, having a temporary back-board fixed about 18 inches forward of midships. Temporary steering gear may also be fitted, by attaching a loop of cord to each rudder line, to take the feet of one or other of the crew, or in a more elaborate manner. A regular "two-man canoe" has these same arrangements in a permanent fashion, with a length of 17 or 18 feet. The advantage of these canoes is chiefly increased paddling speed, and great convenience for portage, as the crew can carry the craft without assistance.

They are not very sociable craft, as the passengers are in the worst possible relative position for conversation, which indeed is almost impossible unless the canoe is large enough for the foremost "hand" to turn round when he wishes to "hail the afterguard." Sleeping on board, unless in a very large canoe, would be impossible, and sailing, except with fair winds, is poor work, it being difficult to canvass the boat properly while allowing 6 feet between 'the sails for the crew. Canoes noes for three and for four paddlers have been built, but are little used.

The two-man canoe is generally called a "double canoe," but this name more properly applies to those craft which are composed of two hulls, attached to each other by a framework.

The French "perissoire" is of this type, and is navigated by one man seated on a chair above the centre of the framework. A better plan is to have a well and seat for one man in each hull. Canoes thus fitted will carry sail to any extent, and extraordinary speed in running and reaching has been attained by them. For general work cruising, turning to windward, etc., all such contrivances are out of place.


Canoe-boats. -

The excellence of canoes in a seaway, as compared with small boats, has led many to build "Canoe boats," that is craft of 17 to 22 feet with the deck, ends, and general style of a canoe. They are, however, always of greater proportionate beam than a canoe, xxxxxraft, do not perform such wonders as the analogy of a real canoe would lead one to expect. It remains to be seen what would be the success of an enlarged model of a canoe, proportioned, rigged and handled in canoe fashion. Such a craft might be 21 feet by 4 feet 3 inches, with it depth at 2 feet inside, and if it her crew could be got to work together as unanimously as the two hands of a single canoeist, she would probably carry everything before her before in the small boat racing classes.

A lead keel of 5 cwt. or so might take the place of the inside ballast used in racing canoes, and this, with a couple of heavy centre-boards would make her very stiff, but it would be the stability of a canoe, and not that of either a yacht or a sailing gig. She would require great smartness in handling, but not more than is shown in the sailing of some fishing luggers, and other craft in which the sails are large in proportion to the displacement and beam. Perhaps, however, with a canoe, as with toy sailing boats, her proportions, etc., will not answer if the scale is enlarged beyond a certain limit.


Expense of Canoeing. -
A good canoe should be built for £15 to £25 according to dimensions,, materials, design, locality and builder. A perfectly sound second-hand one should cost from half to two-thirds of this sum. The materials for sails, tent, etc., will come to about £3, and the work to them, if one gets that done instead of doing it, about the same amount. The further outfit will depend on the things required but it is bad economy to go without really useful articles or to use any thing short of the best quality. The housing of a canoe will cost from a shilling to half-a-crown a week.

If taken home for the winter, something off this will be saved ; besides which one can then do varnishing, repairs, alterations, etc., one's self at leisure.


Danger of Canoeing. -
This has been partly treated of under the subject of "upsets" and of coasting. If a man can swim, and uses reasonable caution, not venturing on exploits beyond his skill, canoeing is as free from danger as any other out-door exercise.

The loss of an experienced canoeist by drowning or other accident afloat is almost an unheard of thing. The melancholy accidents of which one hears, almost always happen to men of little skill in canoeing, who have ventured into places, or played tricks of which their ignorance prevented the danger from being perceived before-hand, or properly dealt with when it arose. The fact that anyone, without previous experience, can paddle pretty fairly, leads many to attempt canoeing who have no skill of watermanship, and a few of these are unhappily lost before that skill can come to them. To all such beginners I would say, remain in safe waters or within reach of help till you have gained skill in handling your craft, and in the mean time lose no opportunity of learning all you can from older hands. Also, if a non-swimmer, learn to swim at once; a very little swimming is enough for regaining and righting the canoe; and if physically incapable of swimming, through accident or deformity, have a life-belt on whenever alone on deep water.

Never bathe from a canoe at sea without lowering the mainsail, and so arranging the mizen, centre-boards, etc., that she cannot sail away from you. I have had a canoe sail away a hundred yards in almost a calm, under the influence of some imperceptible "chill" of air, through the mizen sheet getting adrift when hove-to under both sails, and might have had trouble to catch her had she gone on; while as for land, a swim of two miles and no clothes at the end of it is a poor prospect. Of course if subject to cramp, never bathe alone at sea at all, nor indeed unless you can swim long and easily.

Do not think every upset you hear of or see is an "accident." Dozens of upsets take place which would not if the canoeists did not choose. In experimenting, and often in racing, canoeists to whom a capsize is no danger, and in summer if suitably dressed not even an inconvenience, deliberately chance an upset in testing stability, or in carrying on to weather a mark, or to overhaul an opponent. These are no more "accidents" than is a header off a bathing place.


Loneliness. -

Some people find fault with canoeing as a solitary and unsociable way of travelling. Now in the first case, if two or more canoes are together there us no loneliness or w ant of good company. At the same time men are not so much kept together as the crew of one yacht or boat, and so are less I likely to bet tired of each other's society, and are free to separate at will. A cruise of several canoes in company has been described as "a continual regatta and picnic."

But even if alone in the canoe there is seldom any oppressive sense of loneliness. Plenty to do in t lie the management and care of the boat prevents thus feeling. Besides it often brings rest to the mind wearied by the pressure of business or of society to be quite alone, without any thought, for the moment, about other people at all.

And then there is not so very much solitude after all what with meeting old friends and making new acquaintances; the water-folk of all kinds, gentle and simple; the people who ask questions, often, alas, so unintentionally comical, about the little craft and her fittings, sometimes out of mere curiosity and often with an idea of following her example; all these give interest and variety to a single handed cruise; and, failing these, a man must be poor company who is not good enough company for himself.


Conclusion. -
I have heard canoeing called "a waste of time," but it is difficult to see in what sense this is more applicable to canoeing than to other amusements. It does not lead to any kind of frivolity, vice, or intemperance, but is rather opposed to all these. It encourages strength and activity, both of mind and body; and, especially when practised alone, deserves to share with angling the title of the "contemplative man's recreation."

The canoeist, brought to face the beauties and the terrors of nature in silence and alone, is, I say, more likely to turn his mind to grave and worthy thoughts concerning these things, and the Ruler of them, than he who is hurried along in the distractions of a crowd in trains, coaches, and hotels. Moreover, good work has been done by canoeists with canoes, both in geographical, scientific, and missionary service. The canoe fleet has also contributed largely to the defence of our country in the Royal Naval Volunteers, of the patriotic services of which force it is impossible to speak too highly. Canoeing, while open to those of moderate means as well as to the wealthy, has never been vulgarized, and the flags of our canoe clubs are deservedly regarded as a passport to "society afloat."

Such, feebly indicated, is the worth and the honour of "this our craft" of canoeing, and I pray all those who may use this little book as a guide to their first attempts, not only to maintain and be worthy of, but by all means in their power to promote this good name and repute of it, "Spartam nactus es, hanc exorna", and so take my leave of them, commending them to good fortune and fair weather.



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