Thomas Fleming Day.

Rudder online

. (page 37 of 50)
Online LibraryThomas Fleming DayRudder → online text (page 37 of 50)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

those capricious latitudes, allowed the light sails to be
carried into the darkness.

Sailing like a witch in the freshening breeze, Lurline
reeled off a shade under twenty miles in the second dog
watch, and 10.6, 10.8, 11.3 and 11.6 were successively
run up on the log as the hours of the first watch slipped
away. The night was balmy soft, the breeze a stream
of warm milk, and in the air was discernible that faint,
indefinable odor of something which heralds the presence



A Pa\»mota Mi&aloncirx W^Ho Endeav-ored to Hold
a Revival on I^xirline

of land to nostrils grown sensitive from inhaling for
weeks the untainted atmosphere of the open sea. The
heavens, save for a few hurriedly marching squads of the
ever-shifting cumulus, were clear and unobscured, and
the easy-running swells were as gentle as the night itself.
The yacht continued to reel off the miles like a liner
during the early hours of the middle watch, but toward
morning the appearance of several menacing turrets of
cloud up to windward was the signal for a hurried taking
in of the light sails and an easing off of the sheets. For
a while it appeared that all of the three rapidly advancing
squalls were going to pass astern of us, and so, in fact,
two of them did; the third one took an unexpected
Southerly spin at the last moment and came charging
after us like a mad bull. There was just time to hastily
furl the jib^ and station men at the fore and mainsail



halyards before it broke, and the timely letting go of the
latter as the yacht hove down before the terrific force
of the wind undoubtedly saved some canvas if nothing
more.

The mainsail was checked halfway in its run and the
very considerable portion of it that fell overside went
hopping and skipping along over the water like a great
wounded bird as we smoked away before the squall.
For ten minutes, perhaps, we 'ran thus, half smothered
in air and water; then the rain began falling, the wind
fell lighter, and shortly the squall had spent itself. Five
minutes later the main boom had been hauled inboard,
the sail hoisted, and Lurline was gliding off down to
Southward no whit the worse for her rough raking. The
main topmast staysail was put on when the morning
watch was called, and dawn found her doing a comfort-
able nine knots an hour with the situsltion well in hand.

As the sun rose the somewhat vague land smell which
we had noted during the night increased to a delicate but
unmistakable odor of flowers, a perfume which we later
learned is due to the presence in the air of the blown
pollen of the cassi, a low bushlike plant which carpets all
the islands of the Marquesas and blooms perennially. So
pungent and far-reaching is this odor that it has become
a common saying among trading captains that you can
smell the Marquesas farther than you can see them, a
statement which is literally true anywhere to the leeward
of the group.

Shortly after eight the shattered peaks of the island
of Uahuka were sighted dead ahead, and at nine the
course was changed to S. W. J4 W. After an hour or
so the dim outline of Nukahiva began taking shape in the
dissolving mist, and when the scarped and buttressed
summit of Cape Martens came edging out from behind
the abrupt heads to Northward, we had something definite
'to go by, and promptly trimmed in sheets and headed
up to clear a forbidding point of black bassalt which our
Directions told us jutted out into the sea to cut off the
surges from the inner loop of Taio-haie bay.

Along the rugged coast we slipped, now close into
a sinister, dirk-like point which reached out to divide
and scatter the onrushing ^eas, and again standing across
the opening of a bay or inlet which receded to a snowy
beach backed by a lucent lagoon that ended in a dark
chasm packed full of unfathomable verdure. Beyond the
•furrowed brow of Cape Martens a narrow bay, well pro-
tected and smooth as a mirror, ran inland beyond eye-
scope, piercing the island like sliver of silver. From
where it disappeared in dense mass of palm and pandanus
a high-walled valley wound back among the serried, ribs
of the mountains, to apparently end abruptly against a
lofty cliff, the sheer side of the backbone range of the
island.

Here and there up the valley patches of dancing light
shining through the somber green told of a swiftly-run-
ning stream, and down the face of the great cliff, literally
leaping from the clouds to the earth in a single bound,
was a waterfall. Bottle-green it must have been where
it began its dizzy plunge away up in the heart of the
murky mass of nimbus which veiled its source, but white,
snow-white, it gleamed where it appeared under the dark
cloud line and fell in a brocade of shimmering satin into
the misty depths below. We did not learn about it until
the next day; but this fall was Typee Fall, the stream
was Typee River, and the valley was Typee Valley,
the scene of that most idyllic of all South Sea idylls,
Herman Melville's "Typee."



Digitized by



Google



THE RUDDER



28s



XHe Inevitable Und, Sooner or Later, of all So\itH-Sea Trading ScKooners



We never attained to nearer than five miles to the
great fall during our stay in the Marquesas, and ac-
curate figures regarding its height were not obtainable.
Findlay's Directory gives it at 2,165 ^^^t, which is prob-
ably an exaggeration; but the fact remains that it is
one of the highest falls in the world, and without a rival
on any island whatsoever.

At four in -the afternoon we doubled the gaunt black
point toward which we had been steering for some time,
to suddenly find the panorama of the beautiful bay of
Taio-haie unfolding before us. Pursuant to instructions
in the Directory we ran up the "J^^k" to the fore and
stood off across the entrance waiting for the pilot, with-
out whom, so we read, there was a heavy penalty for
entering. Then we went about and ran back past the
little island at the end of the point, all without awaken-
ing a sign of life along the drowsy shore where nestled
the village. After repeating this maneuver twice more
the Commodore finally ordered the sheets slacked oflf
and gave the man at the wheel his bearing for the first
leg of the run in.

"Perhaps the pilot has overslept on his siesta to-day,"
he remarked dryly, "and if that's the case our anchor
gun may wake him up."

We went in neatly and expeditiously. "Keep the
Eastern outer bluff on the starboard," read the Direc-
tions, "rounding the island off it within a cable's length.
All the Eastern shores of the bay are steep too and free
from danger, and the wind will always lead oflf." And
that was about all there was to it. We let go the anciior
a few minutes after five, a quarter mile oflf the rickety
wharf, in seven fathoms, our time from Honolulu being
seventeen days.

The firing of our little signal cannon might have been
the setting oflf of a mine under the whole village, so
electric was its effect. Dark figures sprang up from
nowhere and darted hither and thither and yon, and fol-
lowing the appearance of a corpulent figure in pajamas at
the door of what seemed to be the official residence, the



tri-color of France went jerking up to its flagpole. Down
the front street shortly came a ponderous figure in brass
helmet and white uniform, followed by a trailing sword
and a half-dozen natives carrying oars on their shoulders.
Two others, also white-clad and sun-helmeted, joined the
procession as it passed by what appeared to be a trading
store, and the three proceeded together to the wharf and
put oflf in a whaleboat.

Driven- by the erratic but powerful strokes of the big
natives, the boat was quickly alongside, and the official-
looking gentleman came puffing up the ladder hastily
lowered to assist him. He was Brigadier Bouillard, he
announced between gasps in broken English, and the
other gentlemen following him over the rail were, re-
spectively, Mr. Cramer, a German trader, and Mr. Mc-
Grath, an American trader — also, as we learned later, an
ex-Mormon missionary.

"By the way, where's your pilot. Monsieur le Capi-
taine," asked the Commodore, after the large official had
examined our papers and admitted the yacht to prac-
tique. "Hasn't he overslept this afternoon"?

"Zee pilate! he ees no" — And at this point, with
wild rollings of the eyes and fierce tuggings of the mous-
taches, the Brigadier relapsed into French so voluble
and excited as to prove quite unintelligible to our un-
trained ears.

"The Brigadier," explained the blonde Cramer in his
exact Teutonic English, as the excited Frenchman paused
for breath, "is trying to say, in eflfect, that the last pilot
but one was killed and eaten by relatives of a trader's
crew that was dro^vned when the schooner was piled up
on the beach through the pilot's carelessness, and that a
similar fate overtook his successor,, apparently for no
other reason than that the office had become an unpopular
one with the natives. Since then," he added, "the govern-
ment has been unable to find anyone willing to accept the
position under any inducements."

So our anchor gun did not wake up the sleeping pilot
of Taoi-haie after all. (To be Continued.)



S. Y. Mermaid, Owned by J. Pierpont Morgan. Jr., N. Y. Y, C



Digitized by



Google



286



THE RUDDER



ICE YACHTING



H. Percy AsKley




URELY the Pilgrim fathers
who pushed their dugouts
over the frozen surface of
the lakes and rivers with
the aid of a squaresail
and a favoring wind
would drop dead with
surprise to see the modern
up-to-date racing ice-
yacht speeding 'at the rate
of 140 miles an hour, but
such is the record made
by my old friend Capt.
Lashe Price, of Long
Branch, N. J., who made
this speed in the lateen
ice-yacht Clarel. ** Never
again/' he remarked, ** I
promise you that I will
not travel at that rate of speed, if I know it, I felt the
sensation of being^ hurled through the air at this terrific
speed for four days afterward, and it was just as near
riding on a bolt of lightning as I ever expect to get. I
had Charley Blair with me, and I never knew how I kept
Clarel headed straight for the mark. The stop notches
gave me the mile in 25 seconds flat/' Clarel is a small
craft, with a sail area of 200 squre feet, owned by Walter
Content, of the Shrewsbury Ice Yacht Club at Pleasure
Bay, Long Branch, N. J.; but I am willing to wager a



fur coat that if Capt. Lashe was hard-pressed to win a
race to-day he would keep the boat going no matter what
the speed was, as he is a veteran of much experience and
talent in the racing ice-yacht game.

There are not any very startling changes in construc-
tion within the past two years. The latest is placing the
cockpit one-third forward of the runner post in the
space of the backbone between the steering post and the
runner plank, and running a sprocket chain between
runner post and steering tiller in cockpit, which is fully
explained later on..

As a result of a sporting agreement made last winter
between James O'Brien, of Orange Lake and Shrews-
bury Clubs, owner of Jack Frost, 350 sq. feet, and
Henry H. Monroe of Long Branch, owner of Princeton,
350 sq. feet, these gentlemen have deposited $1,200,
to be sailed for on a series of match races between the
two ice-yachts of 350 square feet; each series to be three
heats; course 15 miles and time limit 40 minutes; the
first three races to be sailed at Shallow Point Course,
Pleasure Bay, N. J., and the second and third series to
take place at Orange Lake, near Newburgh, N. Y. Own-
ers deposit $100 on each race, or $1,200 on the series.
The winning boat of each race receives $200 and the
boat winning the greatest total number 6f races receives
$250 additional from the loser. Capt. Asher Wardwell will
handle Princeton and Charley Blair will be at the tiller
of Jack Frost. Weights on the runner planks will be
allowed.



I






-^ryfthl




Some of tHe Kalamazoo Ice-YacHt Club Fleet Pedro Storm fling. Dreadna\»gHt and Zero



Digitized by



Google



THE RUDDER



287



I can safely say that I consider Wolverine, with 776
square feet of canvas, of the Kalamazoo Ice- Yacht Club
of Michigan, under the masterly handling of Commodore
D. C. Olin, the fastest first-class 'boat in the world. The
only competitor in Ihe first class she has to-day is Com-
modore Archibald Rogers' Jack Frost, carrying 754
square feet of canvas, of the Kalamazoo Ice- Yacht Club
pennant, which stands to ice-yachtsmen in the relative
position as America's Cup does to their brother sports-
men of the sea. The Kalamazoo Ice-Yacht Club mem-
bers look with longing eyes at this trophy of the world's
supremacy of the frozen surface, and I would not be
surprised if they made a try to bring it to the middle
West with the big Wolverine. The race must be sailed
on the Hudson River course above the Poughkeepsie
Bridge, and the time limit is i hour and 20 minutes,
without time allowance. It certainly would be a grand
race.

Another cup that should be raced for is the Van
Nostrum Challenge Cup, put up years ago by the Orange
Lake Ice-Yacht Club, and won by the North Shrewsbury
Club, owing to a break-down of the Orange Lake boat.
Dragon. It is up to the Orange Lake Yacht Club to send
a couple of speedy boats to Red Bank and make a try
for it.

The sportsmen in the middle West do not seem to
have the heart any more to come to Gull Lake at Kala-
mazoo, Michigan, to race, as for several years, from all
quarters, they have been badly beaten by Wolverine and
Joker of the Kalamazoo Ice-Yacht Club.

Most of the leading clubs are using weights strapped
on the runner plank over the fore runners, which is as
fair for one boat as another. Twenty-five years ago,
when the mast was stepped over the runner plank and
the boats were equipped with side bars in place of the
wire rope runner plank stays of to-day, a man was sta-
tioned on the windwaid side of the runner plank and
held fast to the shrouds for dear life, traveling across
the board that held the side bars and backbone in place
as the boat came about. It was ticklish work for the
man, I can certify, as I have been there many a time.
In those d^ys an ice-yacht was not under the control it
is to-day. If they decided to bolt or skid around, they



/





TKe TomaKawK. StocKHolm Ice-YacHt Club, S-weden



Dreadnaxi^Kt. of Kalamazoo Ice-YacHt Clxib, Formerlx
in tKe Red BanK Fleet

did it, and there was no stopping them. Scientific de-
signing has removed this obstacle, as those craft, even
the cream of the fleet, were rule-of-the-thumb boats. I
had occasion to handte a boat of this type recently. I
was called upon to see what was the matter with her.
She must have been at least forty years old, of the side-
bar type, beautifully made and finished in black walnut
with a main boom out over her stern about 12 feet.
There was a stiflF, puflFy wind blowing when I tried her,
and as it struck her she would swing completely around,
sometimes twice, and start oflF as if she had the blind
staggers. It was dangerous for the other boats sailing
in the vicinity, and they promptly took to cover. I cut
her down to half her original size, and made her into
a 250-square- footer, with wire side stays, short, cut-down
runner plank and iiew sails. In this rig she won races
in her class. The backbone, when cut over,, was one
of the finest sticks I ever saw, clear white pine, with
hardly a knot of the smallest size, 30 feet long, without
a check, and seasoned for forty years. The plank was
butternut, perfect, its equal I never saw duplicated, ex-
cept perhaps in the big Icicle, which craft won the
world's pennant many years ago. Perhaps some of the
old guards in the ice-yacht ranks will remember, in 1876.
Mr. Irving Grenneil, then commodore of the New Ham-
burg Ice- Yacht Club of the Hudson River, exhibited in
Machinery Hall at the Philadelphia Centennial, an ice-
yacht, at that time the perfection of the type. She wa;^
designed and built by the late Jacob Buckhout of Pough-
keepsie, N. Y., the dean of ice-yacht builders. Well do
I remember her with her silver-plated iron work, inlaid
steering box of ash and black walnut, a two-piece back-
bone with a beautifully carved griffin placed under her
bowsprit, the mast set plumb over the runner plank, and
with a big jib and a low-cut, squatty mainsail with com-
paratively little peak to her mainsail, short gaff wnth
boom extending far over the stern. She had side bars,
and at the stern built between them was a cockpit with
room nough for a card party. Her name was Wizz, and
at her truck hung the champion silk pennant of the
world. She was the finest ice-yacht I had ever seen as a
youngster, and I have never met her equal yet for elabo-
rate finish.

In an up-to-date ice-yacht for racing the essentials



Digitized by



Google



288



THE RUDDER



are lightness, combined with strength, a certain amount
of give or limberness, perfect handling under sail, the
center of sail balance to exactly balance center of hull
resistance and the proper spring to the runner plank.
The runners alone are a work of art. Many make them,
but few know how to bring them to perfection, or as
near to it as has yet been obtained. It is an art, and
requires experience and long practice. I would just as
soon think of equipping an ice-yacht without sails as
without a perfect set of runners, and much of the speed
depends on them. All angles have been tried for the
runner shoes, but 45 degrees for the midship section and
a downward curve of y^ inch fore and aft for a s-ft.
3-inch runner (including wood) has produced the great-
est speed. The late Com. H. C. Higginson, with whom I
was connected, spent years and a large amount experi-
menting with runner shoes with the above results.

The cat rig has great speed for an ice-yacht, but
cannot be depended on, as no matter how far you step
the mast forward of the runner plank they will throw
themselves in the wind's eye in a hard puff, and are dan-
gerous neighbors in a race, especially as a bunch of boats
are rounding a turning flag. The lateen rig is a thing
of the past, as there is too much leeward curve to the
long leach, which prevents them from making good wind-
ward work.

The largest and most influential club on the Hudson
River is the Hyde Park Ice-Yaeht Club, situated at
Hyde Park, a few miles above Pou^hkeepsie, with a
membership of ninety and a fleet of thirty-eight ice-
yachts, as follows:

The officers of the Hyde Park Ice- Yacht Club are:
Edward H. Wales, Commodore; Theodore H. Briggs,
Vice-Commodore; Harry T. Briggs, Secretary; George
E. Bilyou, Treasurer; Dr. Fred. B. Weaver, Measurer;
Regatta Committee, George R. Stroutenburg, Chairman;
Frank Cleary and George L. Williams. There are a
goodly number of prizes put up this winter for racing
in 4th, 5th, and 6th class, and free-for-all class.

Ice-boating at Orange Lake has not the vim since
the death of Cbui. Henry C. Higginson, and except
for the unfinished race for the championship pennant of
Orange Lake, the Shrewsbury Ice- Yacht Club and the
Orange Lake Ice-Yacht Club having won one heat. It
is with sorrow that we realize that the days of Snow-
drift, Dragon, Windward, Cold wave, Arctic, and a
dozen other fine ones, are over.

The only radical change in design in the last few
years is that of the "heavy-weather" model, so called
because the center of gravities are brought closer to-
gether, it making the boat have greater stability, result-
ing in a less weight of boat fot a certain amount of sail
boat will carry, a high sail, and the tendency to "flicker"
or spin around is reduced. Dr. Steinburgh, the designer
of the "heavy-wenther," has several ideas that may re-
sult in the greater enjoyment of the sport. At the com-
ing annual meeting of the Orange Lake Ice-Yacht Club
the matter of getting up a boat to bring back the Van
Nostrum Cup, now in the possession of the Red Bank
Ice-Yacht Club, will be discussed. It is a fine challenge
trophy, and has been held by the Red Bank Club for a
number of years, and deserves to be raced for. It was
won by Scud, of the Red Bank Club, Dragon, the Orange
Lake boat, parting the outhaul on boom, when over half
a mile ahead. The latest addition to the fleet at Orange
Lake is a 250 square-footer, designed and built by Dr.
Steinburgh, of entirely new ideas on a scientific basis.
I looked her over well while building, and was more



than favorably impressed. She has a two-piece solid
backbone of bass wood measuring 24 feet over all. The
cockpit is egg-shaped, and of the bowel style, and is
placed two-thirds between aft of the runner blank. This
places the cockpit one-third forward of the runner post,
and the cockpit acts as a leverage on the runner plank,
thus to a certain extent acting as a weighted plank and
keeping the boat from rearing under a puff. The rudder
post being so far aft of the cockpit a sprocket wheel is
placed on the rudder post just above the crutch that
holds the rudder runner. The tiller post is at the aft
end of the cockpit, and pierces the backbone. At this
point on the under side is another sprocket wheel the
same dimensions as at the rudder post. The two are
connected with a sprocket chain, the slack of which is
taken up with a nickel, steel, or bronze turnbuckle, with
a shackle on each end, attached to the links at opposite
ends of the chain. The mainsail is narrow, and with
the center of effort placed higher than usual, and is
balanced by a sprit-fire jib, whose center of effort is
low, making the combined effort rather high. It is
claimed that this high effort is counteracted by the cock-



\



CracKer JacK. Kalamazoo Ice-VacKt Clxib

pit being placed nearer the runner plank. This may be
so, but with a set of sails whose effort is high a good
heavy plate of lead securely strapped over each fore-
runner, and an extra man in the cockpit, has made some
mighty fast time. 1 am looking forward with interest to
the performance of the Doctor's new boat in a stiff and
puffy breeze, and am sure she will give more than a
good account of herself. She has an unusually narrow
spread of cut between the fore runners, which will help
greatly at the turns, as in the Orange Lake course there
are four turns to a lap, sailed five times, making a total
of twenty turning flags in the diamond course.

At the North Shrewsbury Club, at Red Bank, N.
J., the first race of the season was sailed on January
loth, 1910. Breeze strong from Northwest, boats reefed,
and weights on runner planks, triangular course of ten
miles, for the Power's Cup. Starters: Edward Asay's
Daisy, Wm. White's Silver Heels, and George Gillig's
Wizard. Daisy took the lead and won by a head of
}i of a mile; time 21 min. 28 sec. Wizard and Silver
Heels finished close together. January nth two races
were sailed, at noon, for champion pennant of North
America, it being the unfinished contest of two years ago,



Digitized by



Google



THE RUDIDER



289



in which Imp and Tyro of North Shrewsbury Ice-Yacht
Club sailed against Drub and Isabella of the Shrews-
bury Club. The race called for a triangular course of
20 miles, time limit i hour, 15 minutes. Charley Burt
sailed Imp and Garret Morford sailed Tyro. Frank
Van Bront was the Skipper of Drub, and Capt. Lashe
Price was at the tiller of Isabella. From the start Imp
led with Isabella in second place; Tyro and Drub ex-
changed position several times. Imp finished first; time
I hour, 3 minutes. Isabella's time, i hour, 7 minutes,
20 seconds ; Drub, 1 hour, 7 minutes, 20 seconds ; Tyro,
I hour, 10 minutes, 10 seconds.

The officers of the North Shrewsbury Ice-Yacht Club
are as follow^s: Commodore, Thos. H. Grant; Vice-
Commodore, James B. Weaver; Secretary, I. Hance;
Treasurer, Henry N. Supp. Regatta Committee, Capt.
C. E. Throckmorton, Chas. Minton, Henry N. Supp, E.
E. Morris, Augustus Haverland ; and Measurer, Geo. B.
McClellan Taylor.

The South Shrewsbury Ice-Yacht Club, whose pa-
latial clubhouse is situated at Shallow Point on Pleasure
Bay, N. J., has one of the best racing fleets in the East,
mostly of the 350-square-f9ot class. Unfortunately the
ice last winter was rather soft and rough, thus account-
ing for the slow time made. The prospects for the
coming season are very bright, and a good list of valu-
able trophies and cups will be raced for. Henry H.
Munroe's two new boats are completed, being designed
and built by Capt. Asher Wardell, the creator of the
speedy Princeton. Com. Gibbens has a new boat built by
Capt. Riddle. Leroy has been rebuilt and tuned up to
concert pitch. An ice-yacht is being shipped to Canada



Online LibraryThomas Fleming DayRudder → online text (page 37 of 50)