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to enable me to pronounce against it for cutters as absolutely as I do for it in gigs and whale boats.
As for dingbies, I suppose a sprit sail is as good as any, provided the mast be stepped so as to permit the sail to be used on a wind. Ordinarily the mast is so far forward as to forbid the sails being spread, except with a quartering vind.
Passing to the largest boats, the launches, why adhere to the cumbersome, complicated sloop rig? Even with the Selfridge step, it is very difficult to step the mast, except in smooth water, and the gear is desperately complex when one is in a hurry. Add a topmast, and the misery of the boat's crew is complete. I do not mean to say that our launches sail badly, but, in a boat's rig, something is demanded in addition to good sailing. The sail must be at the instant service of the men in the boat, and the spars readily handled without fear of damage. An average launch's crew would rather pull three miles than make sail. I have pointed out my preference for cutters. I am ready to be convinced that there are good reasons for not adopting it for launches as well. Steam launches and cutters are scarcely to be considered, as they would only be fitted with sails and spars on special occasions, when the best would be done for them which the circumstances permitted.
MARCH 31, 1880.
Naval Constructor S. H. Pook, U.S. N., in the Chair.
THE CHAIRMAN. In the hope that they may lead to discussion I would like the permission of the meeting to make a few general remarks concerning the rigs of boats.
Men-of-war boats, with the exception of steam launches, have experienced but little alteration during the last forty years, their latest dimensions being in accordance with the following order from the Bureau of Construction and Repair, dated April 1, 1870:
“With a view of establishing a uniformity in the size of boats, the Department directs that hereafter all boats shall be built of the dimen
sions herein inclosed, and that for whatever purpose a boat may be wanted, it shall be of the dimensions of the classes herein given.
The length of the boat is from the fore side of the rabbet of the stem to the after side of the stern, at the height of the top of the gunwale. The breadth is the extreme breadth; and the depth is from the top of the gunwale amidships to the lower edge of the rabbet of the keel. In addition to the ring bolts in the stem and stern, there will be one through the fore end of the keel, and another at an equal distance from aft, to be used, if necessary, in hoisting the boats.”
MEMORANDUM OF DIMENSIONS FOR BOATS, APRIL 1, 1870. Launches,
readth=Length x.282; Depth=Breadth x.40 Steam Cutters,
X.37 X.39 X.37
34 feet. | 34 feet. 32 feet. 32 feet. 30 feet. 28 feet. Steam Cutters, 33
33 1st Cutters, 30
26 2d Cutters, 28
24 3d Cutters,
24 4th Cutters,
28 Dinghies, 20 20
18 Although the shapes have been slightly modified by succeeding constructors, about the same proportionate scantling has been used for boats for many years. I think the number of boats allowed in our navy is in excess of that of other services. In some instances the boats have been built of iron and steel, especially the steam cutters. It has been the experience of our officers that wooden steam cutters give th most satisfaction, being kept in repair on shipboard at less expense; although if iron boats, especially launches, were properly cared for, they would last much the longer.
18 18 18
An iron steam cutter built for the Richmond was the means of sav. ing the lives of all on board, as she was run into by a ferry boat and struck amidships. If she had been a wooden boat she would have been crushed to atoms, but being made of iron she was simply bent out of shape. The shape was readily restored, and the boat was fit for duty again in two days—although the bad performance of the steam machinery of the boat caused her to be left ashore, the iron hull was still perfect.
An iron launch has been in constant use at the Navy Yard, New York, for eight years, and she is good for three or four years more, whereas wooden launches last on the average but two cruises, when they have to be rebuilt.
Wood or steel, I would increase the motive power of our steam cutters, and make them useful as torpedo launches. I would make use of the designs of these boats to demonstrate the various experiments which it would seem desirable to make use of. It would not greatly increase the cost if the Herresboff boiler was applied to the hulls of steam cutters, and the speed of piston increased so as to give four or five hundred revolutions to the screw per minute.
Throrneycroft boats have a speed of piston of six hundred in a minute. While they have only about eight miles per hour at the same number of revolutions, one hundred and fifty, that we have, they have nineteen miles per hour at a speed of piston of six hundred revolutions and the boat seems to rise in the water and leave the following wave far in the rear.
Do we need a working launch often for carrying an anchor? How often is it used for this purpose in a cruise, and when used is it effective? It would seem desirable that the working launch should be a very able boat, as she carries a gun forward, as well as the first cutter. The latter is generally too shoal for the work, under the present form and dimensions. I think if we are ever driven into war, that both these boats will be allowed steam power.
Second, third and fourth cutters are good boats generally, and in good proportions. The new barges, double hanked, seem to give satisfaction. The gigs are generally racing boats, and are built more with that end in view than any other, light scantling long and low-for comfort they should be deeper boats. Our whale boats, being modelled after the New Bedford whale boat, give perfect satisfaction, so far as I know, both as row and sail boats,--they are generally fitted with centre boards.
The dinghies, I think, are all wrong; being market boats, they should be deep enough to take a barrel under the thwarts and made more with reference to the work they have to do than for a pretty appearance.
I think that if they were built deeper and made stronger generally, and of a somewhat fuller model they would give more satisfaction.
Although my preference, as regards the rigs of boats, is for sliding gunters, I should prefer to learn something on this point from the other members present.
The Hon. R. B. FORBES :--- Permit me to present a few remarks on boats and boat fittings. Although I do not claim to be an expert in strictly naval affairs, I think I may claim some consideration from the fact that I began my nautical education at the early age of six and a half years; was captured three times by the English before I attained the age of nine years; began my sea life as a sailor at the age of thirteen ; commanded a ship before twenty, and at the age of twenty-eight retired from the sea with a competency. When I say that I retired I ought to say that the retirement was rather nominal, as I continued as a merchant and a ship owner to go and to come until my last trip across the Atlantic in 1870. Since that date niy sailings have been confined to short excursions in yachts and steamers. You will thus see that if I am not an expert I ought to be. I have always advocated progress, improvement, in all things. In 1823 I introduced the double top sail and the fidding of masts abaft. The original double top sail first introduced in the steam schooner Midas and soon after in the steam bark Edith and the propeller ship Massachusetts was improved by captain Howes--when I say improved I would not be understood as admitting that his rig was an improvement in appearance and in its adaptation to men-of-war, but it met the public want which called for something very cheap; something which could be put upon ships already built. My original rig required a long lower mast-head which in fact did duty as the topmast-Captain Howes hung his top sail or lower top sail yard to or near to the lower cap, and so the lower top sail was reduced to the size, or about the size of the common close reefed top sail. The rig could be applied, at a small expense, to any ship whose masts were in place; his old style top gallant sail and his royal remained the same; the only alteration consisted in putting another yard upon the top mast and accommodating the sails called upper and lower top sails thereto. He procured a patent for his modification of my rig, and many ship owners adopted it and it has proved a great boon to seamen as well as to insurers, owners and masters. I hold that very little strictly original comes into the heads of thinking men-I remember that in my early voyages to the north of Europe I had seen many top sail schooners, and galliots, where the top sail hoisted upon the head of a lower mast; a head elong. ated so as to afford some hoist; I remember also, seeing the top gallant masts of one of our steam frigates, I think it was the Mississippi, fidded abaft; and I remember a small model of a ship given to me by Capt. Thomas Pierce, of Providence, which had top masts and top gallant masts fidded abaft. All I can claim of originality is the fitting of vessels with masts fidded abaft, in combination with double top sails and auxiliary steam power. One good feature of my rig as applied to the Massachutetts and Edith- one which I think a good deal of is to be found in the fact that many of my spars and sails were convertible; that is to say, my fore yard was of the same general dimensions as the main top sail yard; my fore top sail yard the same as the main top gallant yard, and the fore top gallant the same as the main royal yard; and these relative proportions applied as well to the mizzen, so that fewer spare spars and sails were necessary, and on a pinch my main top sail could be made useful as a fore sail. On the first voyage of the Massachusetts the usefulness of this convertibility was well illustrated, as shown in the picture of the ship in the Lyceum. Most of the sails then set were badly split; some of them were so torn that not enough was left to make a cover for the main hatch, and it was on that occasion that we found our spare sails come into play. I saw then what I could not have credited unless I had seen it: namely, canvas in strips and knots as hard as bullets; wound up and knotted so that nothing but fire could disentangle the snarls.
But I am wandering very far from my text. I began on boats, and I have gone off on rigs. The truth is that I wanted you to know-I wanted the young navy cadets to know that what I propose to write about boats comes from one who has given much thought to the fitting of ships and boats.
When a new thing, however simple, is brought to the notice of seamen,—and especially old salts who have been running all their lives in one narrow groove, – the first inquiry is, “Has it been tried ?" We will suppose that this inquiry is made in reference to the boat rigs and boat hoisting gear on page 10 of the pamphlet* I have presented to you. I answer that I have often fitted ships' boats and life boats like Nos. 2 and 3. The rig is simple, easily managed, and
* "The R. B. Forbes Rigs for Fore and Aft Vessels, Steamers, Ships, Barks, Yachts, and Boats."