Land Boat, The


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At the time of the great French war a British frigate that was on blockade duty off the coast near Quieberon, stood too far in to reconnoitre, and being caught by a calm and heavy swell went on a reef and was totally wrecked. The officers and crew escaped to the shore and were made prisoners by the enemy’s coast guard. The French custom was to send all seamen taken as far inland as possible so they might not be retaken or escape to their fleets, and the officers and crew of this frigate were shipped far into the interior of the country. Away from the sea, a captive in an inland town the captain of the frigate cast about for some form of amusement, and struck upon the happy idea of building a landboat, upon which to sail the French highways. The boat was built, and though a heavy and clumsy contrivarice proved a success. Since then in many countries land yachts have been built, but they have been all makeshift craft, of misfit materials and cannot have been either very fast or good handlers. There was one built to sail on a railroad track, which, if the owner didn’t lie, made forty miles an hour. The one whose plan is here given was designed by Mr. Ashley and as will be readily seen is an adaptation of his iceboat to land locomotion.

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