AS this is a treatise on small craft, we will speak of the cutter, yawl, and ketch-rigged yachts only, for the schooner rig is only adapted to a larger style of vessel.
With the object of familiarizing the reader with the names of those portions of her rigging common to nearly all boats, we have already, in Chapter I, given a slight description of a cutter. We will now enter upon a more detailed explanation of this rig as applied to craft of under ten tons.
A cutter's bowsprit is not a fixture, as it is on the small boats we have so far described, but is made to slide in and out. It can be run in altogether when no jib is set; and when the large jib — for a cutter should be provided with two jibs at least — is shifted in a breeze for the smaller jib, the bowsprit can be partly run in. It is a great relief to a vessel plunging into a heavy sea thus to relieve her of this overhanging weight.
The bowsprit passes between strong wooden bits on the deck and through an iron ring covered with leather, bolted on the stem, called the gammon iron. When the bowsprit has been run in to the required distance it is kept in its place by the fid, an iron bolt which passes through the bowsprit and the bits.
It is essential that a bowsprit run in easily without jamming, so the gammon iron should be made large, and the fid should be a stout one, else the pressure of the bowsprit will soon bend it, and it will be impossible to draw it out.
When the bowsprit is reefed, the bobstay and the bowsprit shrouds have also to be shortened and tautened up with the tackle attached to them.
The tack of the jib hooks on to an iron traveller on the bowsprit which is hauled out to the required distance with the jib outhaul.
The backstays or runners (see Fig. 1), support the mast when the vessel is running before the wind. The lee runner must be always slacked out, so that the boom can run out sufficiently far.
Most of a cutter's halyards consist of systems of pulleys giving more or less mechanical advantage as the sail is large or small; but it must be remembered that the more powerful the purchase employed, the longer the time occupied in hoisting and lowering the sail and the greater the friction and chance of the halyard jamming, so a purchase that will just enable one hand to hoist a sail with moderate ease is all that is necessary. Small yachts are often over blocked.
For example, a cutter's throat halyards generally consist of a luff-tackle purchase, the double block on the mast and a single one on the throat; but in a very small cutter a gun-tackle purchase of two single blocks (see Fig 33) will suffice.
A gun-tackle purchase is also generally used for the jib halyards and fore halyards of a cutter under ten tons.
The tack tricing line serves to trice up or draw up the tack of the mainsail and so considerably reduce its size in a squall. It is convenient also to be able to trice up the tack so as to see ahead better while sailing into a crowded harbour. Where the sail is small, the tack tricing line is fastened on to the tack of the sail, passes through a single block on the gaff close to the jaws, and thence leads to the deck. Where the sail is large, a gun-tackle purchase is used.
In large cutters, the clew of the mainsail is hauled out on the boom with a traveller and tackle. In smaller boats, where the clew can be hauled out by hand, it is generally permanently lashed to the end of the boom. This plan is apt to pull the sail all out of shape, for if the clew has been hauled out sufficiently taut when the sail is dry, it will be stretched overmuch when the sail is shrunk with rain. Thus, even if no traveller be used, it is well to have the clew lashing so arranged that it can be easily cast off or slackened.
In America, the foot of a cutter's mainsail is invariably laced to the boom. There is some prejudice in this country against this method, so far as sea-going boats are concerned. There can be no doubt that a sail sets flatter when its foot is laced, and another great advantage gained is that a much lighter boom can be employed; for the lacing divides the strain throughout the whole length of the boom, instead of concentrating it at the two extremities. The buckling or bending of a boom is also much lessened by this method, and consequently the sail is flatter in a strong wind.
In our opinion, the sole objection of any importance to lacing the foot of the mainsail is that in doing so, that very handy rope the tack trice must be dispensed with.
The tack of a mainsail is generally hauled down by means of a maintack tackle, generally a luff tackle purchase, but in smaller cutters a short rope spliced into the tack of the sail is sufficient, which can be made fast to the boom or to a cleat on the mast.
The gaff travels up and down the mast on the jaws, which are generally of wood in small cutters. But as thenecessary strength is obtained by iron jaws of much less thickness, these are the best: they look neater, fit closer, and the halyards are not so liable to get jammed between them and the mast.
The jaws are prevented from slipping from the mast by the parrel, a line with beads of hard wood threaded on it, which passes round the mast from one horn of the jaws to the other.
The boom is sometimes fitted to the mast with wooden jaws like those of the gaff; but an iron gooseneck, a joint that gives play in every direction to the boom, is far preferable. We will remark here, once and for all, that whenever we mention iron work of any description, we speak of galvanized iron. No other should be allowed on board a yacht under any pretence.
The hoops by which the luff of the sail is kept to the mast are sometimes of iron covered with leather, but wooden hoops are perhaps preferable for a small yacht, and are less liable to jam.
The simplest arrangement for the foresheets is as follows. Two single blocks are fastened to the clews of the foresail (a double block may answer as well). One end of each sheet is spliced into an eye on deck, then the sheet is rove through one of the blocks, and back through a lead to its cleat aft. Fig 34 illustrates this method.
A horse for the,.foresheet is a great convenience on any boat which has decks large enough to work upon. The horse is an iron bar which crosses the deck just before the mast, with a traveller running on it to which the foresheet — only one sheet is necessary when a horse is used — is made fast.
The foresail thus works itself when the vessel is tacked, and there is no danger of its blowing away forward, as there is with the jib and also with a foresail when no horse is employed.
In order to haul the foresail to windward and flatten it in, two bowlines leading aft like fore or jib sheets are employed.
The sheets of the head sails of a small cutter should lead aft and belay to cleats within reach of the helmsman.
The jib has two sheets, one on either side of the mast, one of which is hauled in and the other slackened out, according to the tack the vessel is on.
When the jibs are small the sheets require no purchase, but each should lead either through a šN single block on the gunwale or a comb cleat (Fig. 35) on the deck. It is important that this fairlead be exactly in the right spot, for on this depends whether the jib stands flatly or becomes a loose bag. The right spot can only be determined by experiment.
Where the bulwarks are high, it is sometimes found advantageous for the jib sheets to pass through holes in them.
A knot should be tied at the end of each jib sheet, so that in case the sheet gets loose by accident it cannot escape through the fairlead.
The foresheets require a purchase, more especially when no horse is used.
There are several methods of fitting a mainsheet. It usually travels on a horse, and the advantage of a horse is, that in tacking the boom is hauled down directly into its right place, and cannot lift and so give a belly to the sail, as is the case where there is no horse. Fig. 36 represents the usual fitting of a mainsheet with horse and two double blocks. For a small cutter, one double and one single block — the single block on the horse — would be sufficient, and in a small yawl even two single blocks would do; for it must be remembered that though mechanical advantage is gained by a number of pulleys, friction is increased and time lost. Now it is very important at times that a mainsheet be rounded in or paid out smartly.
The cleat to which the mainsheet is belayed should be as nearly as possible in the middle of the deck or transom, else the boom will have more sheet on one tack than on the other.
It is in our opinion a mistake to put a topmast with its complication of gear into a small yacht, especially as a good-sized topsail can be set without a topmast at all. An inspection of Fig. 37 will show how this is done. In the first place the yard is laid on deck and the sail is laced to it. Then the end of the halyard is bent on to A, a position which has been ascertained by experiment, and which is marked, or better still, has a cleat on it to prevent the halyard from slipping. (See Fig. 18 for the topsail halyard bend.)
Then the sheet, which passes through a sheave hole on the peak and a block under the throat, is bent on to the clew of the sail. Next the downhaul, B, is bent on to the heel of the spar.
The sail is hoisted with the halyard till A is close up to the sheave hole on the mast, and while it is hoisting, a slight strain is kept on the downhaul to keep the spar perpendicular. The downhaul is next hauled down as taut as possible and belayed to a cleat on the mast. Lastly, the sheet is hauled in till the sail is quite flat.
A topmast slides through two iron caps on the foreside of the mast. It is hauled up by the heel rope, which is fastened to the heel of the spar and passes through a sheave hole at the masthead. The topmast, when hoisted, is kept in position by an iron fid. The topmast shrouds are spread out by the crosstrees, of iron or hard wood, projecting at right angles from the masthead. The topmast stay is carried from the head of the topmast to the end of the bowsprit. The topmast is also supported by preventer backstays leading aft. In jibing, the lee preventer stay must be slacked out as well as the lee runners.
Two sorts of topsails can be set on a topmast — a yard topsail, by which a large area of canvas is obtained, and a jib-headed topsail. In a good-sized yacht it is well to have both. The jib-header can be used in strong winds. When out at sea in really bad weather, it is often of great advantage to set the jib-header over a reefed mainsail, for the wind still fills it, and the steerage way is preserved while the reefed mainsail is becalmed in the trough of the sea. By means of a jackyard, which extends the foot of the sail beyond the end of the main gaff, the area of either a jibheader or a yard topsail can be increased.
When a cutter is running before the wind, a jib-headed sail, called a spinnaker, can be set on the opposite side to the mainsail. (See Fig. 38.)
The spinnaker boom is fitted to the fore-side of the mast by a gooseneck, and if the sail is intended for cruising purposes only, the boom should, when topped up along the mast with its topping-lift, be able to pass under the forestay.
The spinnaker halyard passes through a block on the mast, and the clew of the sail is hauled out to the end of the boom by an outhaul, while the tack can be made fast to a cleat on deck.
In order to prevent the spinnaker boom from swinging fore or aft, it is stayed or guyed with a fore guy leading to the stem, and an after guy leading to the stern. These guys also serve to trim the boom to the required angle.
Most of the blocks now used on yachts have iron strops to them; but it is still necessary that the amateur sailor should know how to strop a block.
If it be a tail block for which the strop is required, this can be done by making an eye splice in the piece of rope that is to serve as the tail. The common form of strop is a rope grommet coated with canvas.
The above strops are liable to stretch considerably, and for blocks, such as the mainsheet blocks, which have a tendency to slip out, the author has found that grommets of wire rope make serviceable strops. These, too, should be coated with canvas or leather and afterwards painted.
Selvagee strops are now much used for blocks, are very strong, look neat, and are easily made.
To make a selvagee strop, drive two spikes or nails into a board, their distance apart depending upon the size of the required strop. Then make fast one end of a ball of rope yarn to one of the nails, and wind the rope yarn round and round the two nails, hauling each turn very taut until the strop thus formed is stout enough. Tie the yarns together at intervals, and the strop will present the appearance shown in Fig. 39. Leather should always be wet when it is sewn on a strop, for it will shrink when dry and stretch tightly round the strop without showing any wrinkles.
The best form of block for yachting purposes is the patent iron-stropped block; the lignum vitę shell being fastened over the strop.
Iron blocks should never be used in a small yacht. They are only necessary on large craft, where chain halyards are employed.
Where a tackle is used, as in the backstay runners, it is advisable that one of the blocks should have a swivel hook. In this way, all turns will be taken out of the tackle, and jamming will be prevented.
The difference between a cutter and a yawl is that the latter has not so big a mainsail as the cutter . the main boom does not project over the stern, but is all inboard, thus permitting of a small mizzen-mast being stepped right aft. (Fig 40.)
A yacht rigged as a cutter will, under most circumstances, be faster than if she were yawl rigged; so, in racing, a yawl is granted a certain time allowance when competing with "single-stick" craft. But for cruising purposes, the yawl rig is undoubtedly the most comfortable, the most handy, and requires fewer hands to work it.
A yawl's mizzen is generally a standing lug, sometimes a leg of mutton sail; in either case working on a boom with a sheet leading through the end of a short wooden or iron outrigger or bumpkin projecting over the stern.
For single-handed sailing, the yawl is much to be preferred to the cutter, as the following examples will show.
Should it come on to blow, it is much easier to reef down on the short boom than on the overhanging boom of a cutter.
It is not so often necessary to reef a yawl's mainsail as a cutter's; for, instead of reefing, the mizzen can be stowed and smaller headsail set, or she can be made to sail under mainsail and foresail alone, or under mizzen and foresail alone.
If it is required to take a reef in the mainsail, the sail can be lowered on deck and reefed at leisure by one hand; while the vessel, hove to under foresail and mizzen. is allowed to take care of herself. When one is alone on board a cutter, and it becomes necessary to reef, the task is a difficult and often a dangerous one.
As the mizzen of a yawl is sometimes just before the rudder head, the tiller must have a curve or loop in it, so as to allow of its being put over to a sufficient angle. An iron tiller is therefore generally used. (See Fig. 41)
A yawl's mizzen is always a very small sail, and in a large majority of yachts of this rig it appears ridiculously small, and can have only an inappreciable effect on the vessel.
But in a ketch (Fig. 42), which differs from a yawl in having a still smaller mainsail and shorter boom, with a mizzen mast stepped further inboard, the mizzen is a much larger and more serviceable sail.
For real cruising on broad seas in all sorts of weather the ketch is the best of all fore-and-aft rigs. It is the rig of many of our coasters, and of nearly all of our deep sea fishing boats. A ninety-ton ketch-rigged fishing smack, such as one may see hundreds of, any day, tossing about on the steep seas of the Dogger Bank, is as fine a sea boat as any sailor's heart can desire.
No bumpkin is needed for a ketch's mizzen sheet, as the mast is so far inboard; the sheet works on a horse on the taffrail or merely through a block bolted into the deck as far aft as possible.
In coasters and fishing smacks, a topsail is set over the mizzen.
All those advantages which the yawl possesses over the cutter are magnified in the ketch, and in addition to this, the vessel can sail well under head sails and mizzen, and can turn to windward under these, a performance impossible for the average yawl, with its pocket-handkerchief of a mizzen.
Old Peninsular and Oriental and other large steamers' lifeboats can be purchased for a few pounds in the London Docks; for it is the custom to condemn them and sell them for what they will fetch after a certain number of years' service — or rather idle rest in their davits — whether they be sound or otherwise.
These boats, generally built of double skins of teak, are marvellously strong, and are perhaps the best sea boats of their size in the world.
The author once timbered and decked one of these boats — thirty feet long by eight feet beam — and converted her into a ketch yacht, in which he recently sailed to Copenhagen and back, encountering plenty of bad weather on the way.
After his experience, he can strongly recommend those who desire a cheap, strong cruising boat that will go through almost any sea, to do the same.
As these lifeboats are of shallow draught, it will be necessary either to fit a centre-board or false keel on the vessel. The author's craft has lee-boards; but he is aware that the amateur will seldom face the prejudice of his yachting friends, professional or amateur, and adopt this simple and very efficient method of stopping his vessel's leeway. But let us tell him that a little doubled-ended craft of polished teak, with neat, polished oak lee-boards is anything but unsightly, and is the very boat for the Zuyder Zee and shallow Dutch waterways, where no one will ridicule his lee-boards, provided they be properly made