Cruising & Seamanship

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Basic Navigation for the Beginner (Pub. No. 5193)

by Elbert Robberson

"Navigation? Who needs it! I've just got a small boat, and I'm just going to splash around the bay. I'll be in sight of land the whole time." Then a squall makes up, or fog drops a curtain all around. Sure, you know where land is--but exactly which directions should you steer to get there? And how about those rocks along the shore? . . . .Anyone operating a boat, no matter what its size, needs to know some navigation--must be able to determine position and plto the course and time toa  desitnation. Fortunately, anyone can do this. With or without the help of a nautical almanac or a sextant, fog or no fog. Here--minus the trapping of astronomy, azimuths and hyperbolic functions--is all thenavigation you need to know.

20 pages

Make the Rabl Simplified Sextant (Pub. No. 5196)

With this easily constructed instrument you can learn the fundamentals of navigation

by Sam Rabl

When an article on shooting the sun and stars with a sextant appeared in the last edition of How to build 20 Boats, many of our readers became interested in the sextand and its use. The instrument has many uses other than navigation, and while the regular dextant is beyond the capabilities of the home workshop, the one described here will do most of the proefessional sextant's tricks. It is made from very ordinary materials, most of which can be found around the home.

12 pages

Cooking for Fun Afloat (Pub. No. 5444)

by Charles Baker, Jr.

"Before any salt-encrusted readers bound on deck and say that this subject has already been done in books and that cooking at sea is never any fun anyway, let me hasten to explain. Now it seems that my good friend Fritz (Cruise of the Diablesse) Fenger has a friend named Sandy Moffett who not only is a very right guy but mighty handy with a seagoing skillet. Now we’ve sailed some quarter million miles in ships, larger and smaller, a sizable slice of which in our own seagoing ketch Marmion, and have seen our share of stove-side police. No one knows better than ourselves that thankless lot of any Galley Slave. He rates every aid and comfort. His life is just one round of damns, dishes, and duckings. He scarcely gets the evening meal cleared up and snugs himself down for a snooze when the midnight watch barges off to drip slickers in his slumbering face and command hot coffee—or else. Hardly is this cross borne, and once more parallel with the keel, when the four o’clock watch stamps below like a brace of fiends to drip more icy slickers down his pants and growl things about hot soup. Barely can the poor Slave doze again before it is full day and the whole condemned ship’s company arises to a man and screams for ham, eggs, hot cakes, coffee—and the entire vicious parade marches on again. Combined with such minor addenda as scalds, burns, broken shins and toes, the whole business is a sort of marine mayhem without benefit either of clergy or court. But we somehow feel that all yacht cookery isn’t done crossing tide rips in a fifty-mile dusting. Even pals like Slim Baker and Sherry Fahnestock do a whole lot of victualing more or less peacefully at anchor—and it is especially true of you cruising folk who are heading south, where we are right this minute—among the Florida Keys. The practical side has been well done in books yes, but the neglected angle is just how to prepare a few really unusual and intriguing dishes out of easily found raw material. There are always important times when we must turn on a little originality with our show afloat. There we are all snugged down, harbor furl, and the new commodore and his wife boarding us for dinner—maybe the new fiancée with two tweaky parents who are expecting the worst and don’t admire seagoing sons in-law anyway. What we need right badly in such zero hours is how to find another one-dish-meal out of leftovers, scare up something by which to acquire merit and commendation. All the usual cookery books on land seem mostly gotten up by church social ladies with prune whip-tapioca complexes, or involve things not easily had at sea, or show the originality of a mail order catalog. So here's a hot grog to all fellow Galley Slaves, at least they know there's one friend out on that great big bunch of salt water who sympathizes with their wretched lot. So good chance!' A practical and funny collection by an experienced cruiser. Here's a couple of samples.

34 pages

Finding One's Way at Sea (Pub. No. 5509)

by Jack London

reprinted from Harper's Weekly (ca. 1920)

The "Snark" started on her long voyage without a navigator. We beat out through the Golden Gate on April 23, and headed for the Hawaiian Islands, twenty-one hundred sea miles away as the sea-gull flies. And the outcome was our justification. We arrived. And we arrived, you shall see . . . that is, without any trouble to amount to anything.

8 pages

How to Make a Sextant (Pub. No. 5572)

From everyday materials. Two designs by W.E. Partridge and Sam Rabl

From the Partridge Article: "Owing to the increase of offshore racing and cruising the practice of navigation has begun to interest numbers of yachtsmen, and the study of the art is becoming a popular form of amusement. But in order to thoroughly study the art, it is necessary to have certain tools, the chief of which being what is called a sextant or  quadrant, an instrument employed to measure angles. The whole science of navigation is based upon the measurement of angles. But unfortunately these instruments are, owing to delicacy of construction, extremely expensive, especially in the United States, where their manufacture is heavily taxed. This prevents the average young yachtsman from having one. Had he such an instrument he would soon become familiar with its use and find the employment of it giving added pleasure to his voyaging. It is impossible to make a cheap sextant that can be relied upon to give accurate service under all conditions, especially if the frame is of wood, as the expansion and contraction of the material will affect the reading of the arc to the extent of several minutes, if not degrees. And it is not to be expected that one built from these plans will successfully compete with a Kew certificate machine, but by making and using it, you will thoroughly learn what a sextant is  and how it is employed. " Includes full-size plate for vernier.

58 pages, 1 plate(s)

Barnegat Bay Sneakbox--Its Racing History, The (Pub. No. 5576)

by Orton G. Dale

Ordinarily one thinks of evolution or the development of a type as taking a long time, if not ages. However, in the case of the 20-foot Barnegat Racing Sneak Box many men are still living and sailing racing craft who saw its rise and decline. Following step by step the record of advance through the various stages, from the original gunning box to the final model as sailed at present, is one of the instructive studies of small sailboats. Sneak boxes were introduced on Barnegat Bay probably about ninety years ago. Their principal use was for gunning and fishing. They were called Sneak Boxes because, due to their slight projection above water and easy lines, they could be quietly rowed or pushed up to the game. By covering it with meadow grass or branches the box was easily made into a good portable screen or blind. Quoting from " Four Months in a Sneak Box " by Nathaniel H. Bishop, published in 1879, we have given the origin of the Sneak Box: "With the assistance of Mr. William Errickson of Barnegat and Dr. William P. Haywood of West Creek, Ocean County, New Jersey, I have been able to rescue from oblivion and bring to the light of day a correct history of the Barnegat sneak-box. Captain Hazelton Seaman of West Creek Village, New Jersey, a boat builder and an expert shooter of wild-fowl about the year 1836, conceived the idea of constructing for his own use a low-decked boat, or gunning punt, in which, when its deck was covered with sedge, he could secrete himself from the wild-fowl while gunning in Barnegat and Little Egg Harbor bays. Mr. Seaman named the result of his first effort the "Devil's Coffin" the bay-men gave her the sobriquet of "sneak-box" and this name she has retained to the present day." There is a print (dated about 1870) that shows old Bond's Hotel, formerly located on a bit of beach four miles south of Beach Haven, New Jersey. In the foreground there are two boats tied up to the shore. Both of these are types that existed about fifty years ago on Barnegat Bay. The more interesting one is the picture of a so-called "Barnegat Bay Gunning Box." The shallow waters required that they draw but little water. With the centreboard up boxes could be sailed in a few inches, and with board down they took less than 2 feet. In winter when used for gunning, with the bay partially frozen over, no boat surpasses them for efficiency and ease of handling. They are rowed in the open water stretches, and hauled up on the frozen sections with long sharp boat hooks. Two battens along the bottom of the hull serve as runners when travelling on the ice. These runners are often metal shod, so that the boats are most successfully used for travelling on the ice either under sail or by pushing with the pike poles. They were built in barns, backyards, and even in bedrooms by hundreds of fishermen and amateurs residing on the coast of New Jersey from Cape May to Sandy Hook. Few of the boat builders in the early days troubled themselves with building such small class boats. It is one of the interesting phases of boat developments that the early types, although built by men living 100 miles apart, were so similar in design. The length was usually 12 to 14 feet and beam 4 feet, 6 inches to an extreme of 5 feet. The under bows were full, and the deck close to the bow was flat. The greatest freeboard was about 7 inches; the overhang of the bow about 1 foot; the stern transoms flat and plumb. On the boats used around Barnegat Inlet the rudders were pintle hung, equipped with yokes and tiller lines. Sometimes instead of the yokes and lines a long tiller was used.

36 pages, 2 plate(s)

Hoke Method in Practice, The (Pub. No. 5877)

by Lieut. Commander H.G Hemingway, U.S.C.G.

A useful method of compass adjustment.

14 pages

How to Make a Race Starting Clock (Pub. No. 7721)

by Jack Ryan

The problem of providing a good readable starting clock is of major concern to regatta committees. Often enough a local racing group has to borrow a clock from some neighboring community, unaware of the fact that construction of such equipment is fairly simple and that it is a decided convenience to have one locally. While it is possible to build a satisfactory starting clock that is operated by a phonograph motor or other mechanical device, ranking officials in the two national inboard and outboard boating associations are uniform in their agreement that a simple, nianually operated clock is best. The reasons for this opinion, based on racing events conducted over a period of many years, are that a clock must stand much weather abuse which is not particularly helpful to a mechanical drive, and the “works” have a habit of going temperamental at the crucial moment.

1 page(s)

Building a Shadow Pelorus and Compensating Compass (Pub. No. 7772)

Compass compensating aboard a boat is performed by running reciprocal courses. With the compass on a book that was rotated 180 degrees on the table, you were, in effect, running reciprocal courses indoors. To run a reciprocal course on the water, you reverse your boat’s heading by 180 degrees so that if you were originally heading north, your reciprocal course will be south. Here's how to use a home-made Shadow Pelorus to help you do this accurately.

4 page(s)

Compensating the Compass at Home (Pub. No. 7788)

No one is perfect and that applies to compass readings as well as to the people who take them. Often, compass error is not so much the fault of the instrument as it is the “company” it keeps—tachometer, radio, and depth sounder, to say nothing of a screwdriver, pliers, and other ferrous metal objects carelessly placed nearby. These and other things can cause deviation errors because they cause the compass to stray from a true magnetic reading. A classic example of this type of error, or deviation, is the deer hunter who checked his hand compass without laying his rifle aside. At the end of the day, he discovered he had been traveling in a circle. Electrical wiring near a compass also can create problems, especially if it is a single wire with direct current flowing through it. Twisting single wire circuits around one another will cancel out these interfering magnetic fields and help avoid this type of compass error. Everyone knows that north is at the North Pole, geographically speaking. Navigators refer to this direction as true north. But there also is the magnetic North Pole. A compass in good working condition will indicate the magnetic North Pole, unless there are shipboard magnetic disturbances to cause it to deviate. Before you install the compass on your boat, you can check its operation indoors.

2 page(s)

Elements of Navigation for the Beginner (Pub. No. 7839)

by John Farr

Generally when the subject of navigation is broached to most small boat owners, they conjure a vision of complicated instruments, complicated tables and a picture of the navigator as a super-human mathematician to whom Einstein is a rank amateur. There need be no fear on the subject of higher education being necessary to understand how to get around on the sea and know at all times just where you are, when you consider the fact that very few of the captains in command of the world’s steamers today had any higher than a high school education. The most complicated problem in navigation uses mathematics no higher than trigonometry, and most of the problems can be worked with simple addition and subtraction. In fact, all the problems necessary for small boat navigation may be solved by the latter method.

4 page(s)

Anchoring Small Craft (Pub. No. 7841)

by William D. Jackson

You'll spend more time aboard your boat and enjoy anchoring wherever you wish with properly selected, low-cost ground tackle and the know-how of quick, safe anchoring.

If you are an average small-boat fan, your present boat is roomier, more comfortably equipped, and better looking than the one you might have owned five or ten years ago—all of which leads to your having more fun just being aboard and puts less emphasis on high-speed performance. You’ve probably been thinking about spending a night camping on your small boat and perhaps you’ve already taken a short cruise in the evening just to anchor and have dinner aboard, have an over-the-side swim, or do a little fishing. And, if you’re a skin diver or scuba fan, you know that you get most of your enjoyment from your boat after you’ve reached your destination and the boat is anchored. These are all reasons why you should give considerable thought to your method of anchoring and to your ground tackle, most of which wasn’t necessary back when a boat was just something to ride over the water. Although present-day anchors are more sophisticated and versatile than the concrete block on a rope that you used years ago, you can still outfit your runabout, small cruiser, or houseboat with ground tackle, depending somewhat on your selection of anchors and line and their intended use, for little money.

4 page(s)

Shooting Sun and Stars with a Sextant (Pub. No. 7920)

by Sam Rabl

Why get lost? Navigation is really easy to learn and will make you a real sailor.

Generally, when the subject of navigation is broached to most small boat owners, they conjure a vision of complicated instruments, complicated tables and a picture of the navigator as a super-human mathematician to whom Einstein is a rank amateur. There need be no fear on the subject of higher education being necessary to understand how to get around on the sea and know at all times just where you are, when you consider the fact that very few of the captains in command of the world’s steamers today had any higher than a high school education. The most complicated problem in navigation uses mathematics no higher than trigonometry, and most of the problems can be worked with simple addition and substraction. In fact, all the problems necessary for small boat navigation may be solved by the latter method.

4 page(s)

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