EXPLANATION OF SOME OF THE PRINCIPAL NAUTICAL TERMS
EMPLOYED IN THIS BOOK.
Fore. - Towards the bow.
Bow. - The forward end of boat, especially the
side of it.
Aft. - Towards the stern.
Quarters. - The after part of the side.
Beam. - The width of a boat.
Sheer. - The rise of a boat's ends at top above
a horizontal line.
Camber or Gamber. - A similar rise in a boat's
Starboard and Port. - The right and left sides
of a boat. A vessel with the wind on her right side is on
the starboard tack, and vice versa.
Stability or Stiffness. - The tendency of a
boat to resist being forced out of an upright position. A
beat deficient in this quality is said to be "crank," and
is very unsafe, especially for sailing.
Yard. - A spar placed across a mast to support
the "head" or upper edge of a sail.
Boom. - A spar to extend the "foot" or lower
Luff. - The foremost edge of the sail, nearest
to the wind (see "to Luff.")
Leech. - The after edge of a sail.
Peak. - The upper after corner of a sail.
Clew. - The lower after corner.
Throat. - The foremost upper corner.
Tack. - The foremost lower corner, also the
rope that secures this part.
Halliard. - The rope by which a sail is
Sheet. - A rope attached to the boom, or to the
clew, by which the sail is "trimmed" or regulated as to
Lifts or Topping-lifts. - Ropes from the
masthead to a boom, for raising it or preventing it from
Downhaul. - A rope for pulling a sail down.
Luff, to. - To turn a boat's head more towards
Bear away, to. - To turn from the wind.
Tack, to. - To turn a boat round towards the
wind, until it blows on the contrary side to before the
manoeuvre. Sometimes called "to stay" or "to go
Jibe, or Gybe, to. - The wind being aft, or
nearly so, and the sail on one side, to turn the boat so
that the wind comes on that side, when the sail has to
swing across the boat.
Bring-Up, to. - To stop and secure a boat,
generally by anchoring.
Way. - A boat's movement through the water, as
"head-way," "sternway," "lee-way." A boat in motion is
said "to have way;" if sufficient for steering, then
"steerage-way;" if considerable "strong way" or "good
way." She is also said to have "way on her," and
inversely to be "under-way," when in movement. So to "get
under-way" is to set the boat in motion.*
* Generally "getting under way" is used starting from
moorings or an anchor (woodcut teasing
rancorous pulling ' while if the boat is
hove-to or stationary, though free, to get in motion
is "to get way on her."
On a wind, by the wind. - A course, as near as
possible, towards the direction from which the wind
blows, also called "close-hauled."
Off the wind, down wind, or free. - A course
away from the wind.
Reaching or sailing along the wind. - Sailing
any course intermediate between the above two.
I add a list of these in hopes to stimulate the
zeal of inventors:
1. A thoroughly efficient means of either (a) steering
without rudder, or (b) entirely detaching the rudder, and
re-shipping it while afloat.
2. A lamp that will take up little room, will not blow
out, will show all round white, or red and green, and
burn candles, or something cleaner than oil.
3. A well cover that will take up less room than
hatches, and answer as well.
4. A compass small and compact enough for canoe
purposes, and yet to act efficiently in all weather, and
which can be used while battened down.
5. A chain or cord for centre-boards, that will work
in a xxx4-inch trunk, bear a weight of 20 lbs., not chafe
or rust, and which can be fastened to the centre-board
without adding to its thickness.
6. A good pump or other means of getting out the water
without opening the well.
7. A rust preventer which will suit all iron, from a
sail needle to a centre-board.
REMARKS ON RACING.
A canoe cannot be paddled as effectually as a
boat can be sculled, and for sailing, pure and simple, is
inferior to a good sized sailing boat, such as one man
can handle. Her superiority to these depends entirely
upon her power of utilizing both means of propulsion, and
upon her handiness in hitting and carrying about.
If, therefore, canoe racing is designed to bring out
the best qualities of canoes, it is obviously undesirable
to allow separate types ot the boats to be formed of
which one is only fit to paddle and the other only fit to
sail. These are both departures from the proper field of
canoeing and not particularly successful invasions of the
territory of the sculling boat on the one hand, and the
sailing boat on the other.
Rightly designed racing classes and races should
ensure that the canoe should win most prizes that is best
all round. To combine paddling and sailing in every race
would be hard upon men of small physical powers on the
one hand, and, on the other upon good paddlers whose
skill in sailing was small. I should therefore suggest
that there should be three kinds of races, about equal in
number - Paddling Races, Sailing Races, Paddling and
Sailing Races. In the first I would allow no canoe to
enter that could not sail round a course to windward and
to leeward, and in the second no canoe that could not be
paddled with an ordinary double paddle, say a mile in
twelve minutes in smooth water. These tests should be
performed to the satisfaction of judges appointed for the
purpose. This would rapidly put a stop to the
construction of racing machines of either type, at the
same time it would bring racing into accordance with the
actual conditions of canoeing, and secure that the canoe
a man would build for the races, would be just the best
possible canoe that he could have built if racing had not
Canoe chasing (i.e., hauling over obstacles) should
also be confined to "practical" canoes, either by
combining it with both paddling and sailing, or by
limiting it to boats which had passed both "tests."
No trouble would be given by these tests, as they
could be taken in the course of a race. The owner of a
new canoe would in his first paddling race receive a
"certificate" of having paddled a mile in the time
required, and in his first sailing race, if having sailed
fairly to and from the wind. Very few restrictions as to
dimensions, fittings, or ballast would be necessary, as
these would be kept in proper bounds by the requirements
of the races themselves, precisely as they are by the
practical requirements of cruising, and thus the greatest
possible liberty would be left to the exercise of
ingenuity and skill.
If any canoe club existing, or about to be formed,
would carry out these principles, it would at once sweep
into its net all the numerous canoeists who now say "I'll
not build a racing boat, she'd be no use for anything
For instance, on the Thames in summer you meet a canoe
with some kind of a sail every few miles, and yet in the
canoe races on the same river, half a dozen is a good
entry, whether for paddling or sailing. But the half
dozen entries do not consist of the canoes you meet on
the river, nor do you often meet on the river the canoes
which enter for these races.
Probably a single class would be found to answer
better than more, as it would enable the club to throw
its whole strength and resources into the encouragement
of one strong class, instead of frittering them away over
two or more weak ones. And all really "practical" canoes
could be brought into a single class without difficulty
under the "test" system, as opposed to that of
measurement, which cannot be made to express rightly the
handiness or unwieldiness of canoes. Some such rules as
the following might be suggested :
- Canoes entered for these races shall not exceed
17 feet in length on waterline, or be of less than 27
inches beam, nor than 9 inches depth from gunwale to
rabbet of keel at midships. The keel shall not be less
than 1 inch in depth. No canoe shall compete that
cannot in ordinary weather, in cruising trim, sail a
fair course to and from the wind, without aid of
paddle or current.
- Canoes entered for these races shall not exceed
17 feet in length on water line or be of more than 30
inches beam or than 12 inches depth. The keel shall
not exceed 4 inches, and if a centre-board be carried,
then 2 inches. Centre-boards shall not exceed half the
length of the boat in length (united if more than one)
nor 16 inches below the keel in depth when lowered,
nor if of metal, a quarter of an inch in thickness.
When hauled up they shall be entirely within the
canoe. No metal weights shall be below the garboards,
nor be permanently attached to the canoe. No canoe
shall compete that cannot be paddled, in cruising
trim, one statute mile in still water in 12
- When a race is ordered to be paddled or sailed in
cruising trim, all centre-boards, hatches, bulkheads
and floors must be on board and in their proper
places. A double bladed paddle must be carried, also
an anchor of suitable size for the canoe. All spars
and sails must be on board, and be of not greater
length than can be stowed within the canoe below deck.
Not more than 56 lbs. or less than 28 lbs ballast or
other weight may be carried, exclusive of
centre-boards. Life saving gear shall be carried by
each canoe. All races on open water shall be competed
in cruising trim.
It would be a good thing to have a "challenge" prize
on some such conditions as the following:
The prize to be assigned to the member who
wins most races in one canoe during the year, but that
not more paddling than sailing races nor more sailing
than paddling, may be counted in favor of any
competitor. Paddling-and-Sailing Races to count as
half a race each way. Ties to be decided by greatest
total number of races and if there be still a
tie, it shall be decided by a Puddling-and-Sailing
Every summer some few lives are lost at the
different weirs on the Thames, and there is a periodical
outcry in the papers that "something ought to be done."
Now most of the danger from the Thames weirs arises from
the fact that it is only occasional. During dry fine
weather most of the weirs present no danger at all, you
can paddle up close to them from above or below and, in
fact, do what you will with them. At other times, even
though no local rain may have fallen, a freshet from
above converts these harmless affairs into destructive
torrents. If only reasonable and careful people used the
river, the weirs would get no victims ; but as it is
impossible to forbid persons of any amount of folly or
uncapacity from going afloat, and (more's the pity)
taking ladies, children and aged persons with them, all
that can be done is to try to minimise the peril. The
present "Danger" boards are of little use, being always
there, they are unheeded. What is wanted is a red flag -
the universally recognised signal of danger - to be
hoisted on all such places when in an unsafe condition,
and then only. These would be attended to, which the
boards are not. The hoisting of them would not add
perceptibly to the labours of the men who at present
attend to the weirs.
At the same time the public can defend itself to a
great extent by observing a few simple precautions.
- Never on any account get into the same boat with a
fool, drunkard, or excitable person; avoid such as you
would avoid a mad dog.
- Never let there be any discussion in a boat as to
how she is to be managed. Let one command the boat,
remembering that an indifferent order promptly carried
out is worth all the clever plans in the world, if
argued over at the moment of action.
- Lastly, let there be no singing, skylarking, or
nonsense aboard when passing a difficult