Maritime History & Exploration

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Story of Rope, The (Pub. No. 5708)

Everybody knows what rope is, but everybody does not know how rope is make or of what kinds of fiber it is manufactured. And very few probably know the history or rope making, or how it developed from the simple thread to the great cable which now holds giant vessels to their wharves or aids to anchor them n ocean storms. Let us go back and try to trace the history of the rope. It is a long one, going out of sight in the far past.

16 pages

American Cat Boats (Pub. No. 5710)

by Edwin J. Schoettle

It was the work-boat that originally suggested the craft which became the models of our early types to be used for pleasure sailing. Boats throughout the world were as different in sizes and shapes as were the customs of the various people. It would be a great study to solve the why and the wherefore of the existence of all the curious-looking craft used for fishing and commerce. Those at the Fiji Islands, Australia, Bombay, and other eastern ports being the extreme opposite to the models used in England. Bermuda over eighty years ago had its own type, schooners, rigged with Marconi masts and jib-headed sails. The Arabian dhow, the most unusual double-hulled boat, was probably the model of some of the earliest American racing catamarans. The English had a score of distinctive types with picturesque titles—Pollywogs, Penzance Luggers, Galway Hookers and many others. Think of the Dutch boats with their curiously shaped fat hulls and heavy construction. The Mediterranean had its own, rigged with lateen sails of many colors. Those in American waters were all different, Boston boats being entirely distinct from those on Long Island Sound. The fishermen of Barnegat Bay developed catboats, sneak boxes, and garveys, and much could be written of the originality of design of these. Chesapeake Bay was known best for its Buckeye, a model found to be equally satisfactory, and in some cases much better than those there in use. It therefore stands to reason that the native boats in use in certain waters were not always the best for the purpose for which they were built and used. In searching for a type that seems from the earliest day to have been distinctly American, we find none that has the importance of the catboat.

24 pages, 6 plate(s)

Bugeye of the Chesapeake, The (Pub. No. 5711)

by Peter C. Chambliss

bug’-eye”, 1. bug’-ai”; 2. bug’-y”, n. A canoe made of several hewn planks, decked over and sharp rigged; the ordinary small sailing craft of the Chesapeake Bay, and its tributaries.

Such is the meagre description advanced in a standard dictionary of a type of craft, so utterly different from that sketchy word picture as to bring forth a lusty chorus of “It is to laugh!” from those familiar with the breed, a genus as distinctive of the Chesapeake as is the punt of the river Thames, or the junk of the China seas. From that dictionary definition, the world at large may gain mental picture of a diminutive, crudely made craft, a sort of skiff as inadequate for playing the roe of the workaday bugeye, as isthe description of her within its learned pages. Down on the broadreaches of the Chesapeake it would hardly be recognized as one of the staunch seaworthy ships, of upwards of 100 tons burden or more, that can carry their “rags" long after larger craft have reefed down or sought sheltering harbor. It fails woefully to represent the bugeye’s keen, graceful clipper bow; the ample but not too full-waisted midship section; the tapering sharp stern; the tall masts that rake sharply aft; the sharp-headed sails of the bugeye rig that were sharp-headed years and years before the Marconi rig became almost an obsession in yachting circles.

22 pages

Yachts of the Netherlands (Pub. No. 5712)

by Gerald T. White

There is a theory that the character of a people is reflected, to a great extent, in the sort of yachts they use. There is a sound basis for such a hypothesis, but none can deny that geographical surroundings are of more importance in the moulding of a typical yacht class for a given locality. Working on the first part of the theory, we discover many interesting verifications. We find the high-strung Frenchman and the Italian paying marked attention to the production of futuristic hydroplanes, hydrogliders, and similar craft designed to cover the greatest amount of distance in the shortest time. We find the English enthusiast going in quite contentedly for single-handed cruising. Does not this coincide with the Britisher’s worldwide reputation for making himself at home wherever he may be? In America we have every sort of craft: heavy cruisers, racing boats and everything in between. But then we are a cosmopolitan nation, made up of people from every land and clime. If we tackle the second theory we discover that yachting in France is not so much a coastal proposition as it is a consideration of craft for river work. The coast of France, barring the Mediterranean, is rather boisterous for pleasure boating. The Englishman naturally turns to a cruiser, because most of his work must be done in the open waters about the British Isles. In America we have every sort of waterway and our craft mUst be of every sort to take advantage of our yachting grounds. From this we may claim that both theories are sound. Racial characteristics and geographical considerations both determine the size and type of pleasure craft. In considering the yachts of Holland, we find further proof of our statements. The Hollander is a staid, stolid citizen and he turns to a husky long-lived boat for his water-borne commerce and his pleasure. The waterways of Holland are shallow, winding, and often narrow, but at the mouths of the canals and rivers there are wide bays, locally called “zees.” The Hollander’s yacht must have shoal draught in order to navigate the waterways. It must be strong to stand the battering of the only too frequent grounding. It must be seaworthy to withstand the short, sharp chop of the Zuider Zee and the other large, shoal expanses. It must be economical to build and maintain, for the Hollander has no spendthrift reputation to live up to.

20 pages, 5 plate(s)

Atlantic City Catboats, The (Pub. No. 5717)

by William Wood and Bennet C. McNulty

Atlantic City needs no introduction as thc capital city of New Jersey’s serrated, seductive and sandbar-guarded seacoast, endowed bountifully by its natural topography and enriched by mankind’s artifice to a degree that probably justifies some such sub-title as “America’s Playground.’ Salt water stretches between its teeming avenues and the mainland. Skippers sailing coastwise find their inland waterway in back of the Atlantic City bar. Today Atlantic City is one hour from Philadelphia and three hours from New York by steam train and the piercing of New Jersey’s pine woods by the railroad pioneers back in 1853 is the date from which Atlantic City’s history starts. Then the place was a desert waste. Now the annual number of visitors is estimated at about 10,000,000, making it probably the most visited seaside city in the world. Before the railroad laid its fingertip there, dangerous shoals kept craft of all kinds from coming near the sandbar that supports today’s seacoast capital. Each year the deceptive shallows took their toll of wrecks from the ocean’s floating population. Today the same topographical features, because of man’s handiwork, provide the landlubbers with their bathing beach and the seagoers with their channel from inland waterway to high seas. On the Yachtsman’s Map, Atlantic City, with its lighthouse 167 feet high, is a port situated well towards the southern end of an inland waterway some 80 miles long. It is an anchorage with a quarter-mile-wide channel leading to the open ocean, combining for the skipper a place to hang up his hawser while he strolls the boardwalk; and, when he wants to go for a little sail on the old Atlantic, a well-buoyed corridor from anchorage to ocean. The boats making up the Atlantic City Catboat Class came with the reorganization of the Atlantic City Yacht Club in 1913. The aim was to provide a one-design racing class for the younger members. The boats are therefore about fifteen years old and the fact that most of them are still in good condition testifies to the worth of their design and construction. In planning the class, the following considerations were regarded. First, the boats had to be inexpensive, easy to handle and reasonably non-capsizable, since they were for the younger members. This necessitated a small boat with a simple form of rig.     Secondly, the design and construction had to be sturdy, since they were to be sailed in Absecon Inlet, Great Bay, and even outside, in good weather. Thirdly, they must be dry and comfortable, since racing was not to be their sole purpose. They were to be used for afternoon sailing and fishing as well as racing. Finally, to fit the rather shallow inland waters of the locality, they had to be centreboard boats and of shallow draught. Universal opinion is that the problems could not have been better met.

11 pages

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