Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

requires very little movement, which I consider very important in boat sailing. Rig No. 4 I always gave to the launches of my ships. I usually built and rigged the launch before the ship, and sailed her to and from the ship yard with one man. When I built the Antelope, in 1843–4, I rigged her launch in that way, and I well remember inviting several naval officers to go from South Boston to East Boston to see the little clipper Antelope. It was a squally spring day, and when my naval friends stepped into the launch, manned by myself and my ship keeper, they inquired if I was going to sail that craft in squally weather with only one man and a half. I said, “Certainly,” and we shoved off. It was blowing fresh from the west or south-west, and as we ran under the lee of the Ohio, lying in the stream, I said, “Stand by, gentlemen, to keep her on her legs as we get under the lee.” Any Duxbury boy would have understood that he was to get amidships when becalmed, and over to windward the moment she caught the breeze. I will not go further into details than to say we landed at East Boston in the midst of a hard squall, and I permitted no one to touch a rope or to give an order, save myself and my one man. My general impression is that if any of that crew are alive, they will date their first gray hair to that sail to East Boston with the split-lug-jib rig. Although I had been much at sea and had often sailed in very badly rigged ship's boats, I may say that my education as a boat sailer began with the merchants at Canton and ended in yachting at home. All I learned about boat sailing while a sailor was not worth knowing. Ship masters, unless they happen to have learned how to sail a boat when a boy, somewhere on the coast, are, as a rule, very poor boat sailers; and sometimes men who were born on board of a boat, or brought up at Nantucket,_men supposed to know all about boats, make the most ludicrous mistakes in boat sailing when anything new is to be tried. I will recite a case in point: I sent to Nantucket a life boat rigged with two sprit sails like Nos. 2 and 3, with orders to try her under sail in a rough time, and report on the rig, a drawing of which was sent with the boat. The trial came off, and the crew said “all worked firstrate”; but there was some comment made on the difficulty of unshipping the sprit quickly. This led to inquiry, and I found that they had unshipped the sprits and doubled in the large lot of loose sail, which, close hauled, must have operated like a back sail. When I explained that they had only to sit still, slack the sheets, and brail-up the sprit, in order to reef, they did not hesitate to say that they had found the rig good under very unfavorable circumstances.

In rig No. 5, page 11, it will be seen that the sail which I call a jib hoists on a running rope fastened to the end of the yard, so that it can be taken in and set without lowering the main sail. In No. 4, page 10, the jib has grommets on the head, so that it can be bent and unbent with only one seizing; the other earing being a grommet which shoves over a small pin in the yard near the head of the main sail. The foot of the jib should have on it a small stick or yard, so that with the tack fast to the stem when going in stays on rough waters, it may be manipulated by the sheet, so as to insure tacking. The sheet should be made fast to the middle of the stick on the foot of the sail, so that in going large, the tack being slacked and the weather sheet hauled in, the jib becomes a studding-sail, taking a position parallel to the main boom. Nos. 1, 2, and 6, page 11, are excellent rigs for pleasure craft; but the spars are too long to stow in ship's boats.

In fitting four launches carrying Dahlgren navy howitzers, during the war, I gave them the rig No. 4, page 10, and in thoroughly trying them in competition, during several cruises with the “coast guard,” I found them to work well; and all things were so proportioned as to stow Snug and leave room for the guns and fittings, as well as for the officers in the stern sheets.

Every naval man must fully realize that economy of space and ability to work the sails with the least possible movement of the crew are very important. The boats of vessels of war are—or used to be— fitted with false keels or shoes, contrived to be screwed on and removed easily. I consider this, as compared to a center-board, a very poor contrivance to keep a boat from making leeway when sailing closehauled ; a thing very much in the way in landing, and in slewing a boat on a beach, or in the water by the oars. A center-board boat has no keel to stand in the way of stowing, and the box affords a good shifting-board to keep the ballast steady; it enables the boat to hold a good wind and with it she will be sure in stays. The only possible objection that can be made to it is in the fact that a centre board box, as usually fitted, prevents the stowage of another boat inside of her; but even this may be overcome by fitting the box to ship and unship without much more expense than the fitting on and taking off of the false keel. In consulting one of our naval men, now a commodore or an admiral, about centre boards, his chief objection seemed to be that as exercise at the oars is good for muscular development and full occupation a blessing, he preferred to pull to windward and so did not care specially for a weatherly craft. I thought this a very weak argument against centre boards, because we are not compelled to pull to windward instead of beating, and when necessary to warm up the men we can pull just as well in a centre board as in a keel boat. Every one who has been much away in boats, especially in time of war, must admit that a boat which can beat well is the best for the comfort and health of the men. As a general rule the sails of boats in vessels of war are kept in their bags and very seldom used. Their constant use would tend much to give rest to the crew, to say nothing of valuable experiences. I have seen boats coming and going under oars in a hot sun from ships in such places as Macao roads, Montevideo, and Hampton roads, when sails would do the work in half the time and with much less exposure. The men in a ship of war get exercise enough for their muscular health, in carrying on the daily duties, and under hot suns every precaution should be taken to prevent unnecessary exposure. I am therefore a strong advocate for centre boards and for rigs that can be managed without dipping and with the least possible movement of the crew. The fine boats of the Navy usually known as whale boats, although very different from whale boats in model, should be rigged with the brailing sprit and they should be supplied with steering oars, so that on going through a surf they can be managed better than with a rudder. They are not, however, to be considered as good surf boats; they have centre boards Ibelieve, and when properly rigged must be very fast under sail as well as with oars. - Finally, I desire to say a word on the hanging of boats: In war ships they should be hung so as to be very handy to swing out and in, and should be as far as possible out of the way of being swept off by a collision—a contingency very apt to happen in war times. Is this ever done? I mean on regularly rigged and fitted steam frigates? Is it not usual to see boats permanently hanging far out from the side of the ship, ready to lower away, and ready to be swept away by daily occur. ences? Instead of being hung abreast of the shrouds where they cannot be swung in, they should be placed between the shrouds, so that they can be swung in, and for sea use be kept much more out of the way. It has been said that the reason for hanging boats abreast of the shrouds is that the davits, can be supported by topping lifts: this does not seem to me a very strong argument against placing them elsewhere. Davits should be strong enough to support the boats of them. selves. The small illustration of my plan for hanging boats on page 10 of the pamphlet will give a very fair idea of my mode of control. ing the hanging of boats. If I were called on to fit a combined steam and sailing ship I would have her so fitted as to permit of running along side of an enemy, grappling, and boarding her without losing a boat, without carrying away a shroud or an anchor. I would have a strong guard all round her, wide enough to protect the muzzles of the guns, and the lanyards of the shrouds. In a ship large enough to have this guard well out of water I would place it just below the port sills; in smaller vessels above the ports; in the first case, I would fill in after the manner of a “sponson,” so as to break the shock of seas. I do not know how far the muzzles of modern guns project, but I assume that a sponson of two and a half feet tapered off to about one foot at each end would permit of scraping alongside of a vessel without any catching of the usual projections. I can see no objections to the sponson of two and a half feet on a big ship, except its general appearance and the possibility of its interfering with depressing the guns where the sponson or guard is below, and of elevating greatly where it is above the guns. But I assume that gatlins, musketry, and howitzers are to look out for boats, and that a near approach to an enemy high out of water requires only point-blank range. When certain long, sharp steamers were devised and built early in the rebellion, it was originally designed to set up the shrouds and back stays to the plankshire inside the bulwarks, and to have little or nothing outside to prevent running alongside a vessel. I rebelled against this idea, first because the long masts could not be supported by so small an angle of shrouding; secondly, because in running alongside of a ship, we could not well afford to run the guns in, and if we left the muzzles sticking out two feet or more they would be entirely demoralized by the shock, unless indeed every one was discharged at the moment of contact. I called the attention of the Naval authorities to the very great danger of so rigging valuable ships and I went so far as to print a lot of pamphlets illustrating the folly of setting up shrouds at the plankshire inside the bulwarks. I went to Charlestown not long after to see one of these “Canoe Ships” launched and there I met Chief Constructor Isaiah Hanscom, and seeing channels on the ship I remarked upon the fact, and he replied “we are indebted to you for that improvement.” Some of you will naturally ask “In running alongside a ship what is to become of your longest yards, projecting as they do beyond the line of protection?” My answer would be brace up sharp, and if you find that does not protect your lower yards you must come to the new rig illustrated on page 7 of the pamphlet. Gentlemen, you must consider that much of what I have said applies principally to the type of ships which we knew before the days of iron-clads and other monsters. One word more about the Navy we ought to have; one word about coast defences and I have done. To my notion this country can never carry out the idea of competition with European first class maritime powers; we can never want to send a Bellerophon or any first class armored hulk to the other side of the Atlantic. I would, therefore, have floating batteries for coast and harbor defence, and revolving turrets in casemate at prominent points wherever we need large, long range rifled guns; a few of these would do more good than a big fort kept up at great cost. For the annoyance of the commerce of the enemy I would have very fast full rigged ships, mounting a few long range guns. I should calculate on running away from any ironclad, and on being fast enough to overhaul the average merchantman. These ships would cost far less than monitors and iron-clads and would make far more prizes. I would have all local military organizations on the land large enough and able enough to drive into the sea any invaders who might get into our ports, and I would so fill up all channels with torpedoes that there would be great risk in coming into any harbor. We would make peace much faster by my processes than by building any number of iron clads to be pierced by modern projectiles. A large lot of fast cruisers and floating “gun carriages,” in the shape of single gun ram gun-boats would do our business at small cost and our gallant “eleves” of the Annapolis Academy would have some prize money to jingle in their pockets, instead of being smothered in an iron clad. Of course I shall expect that Naval men will remark that I am only a merchant-man and had best say nothing of war matters. Comdr. SICARD. I regard speed under sail as rather a secondary consideration in Naval boats, and am not in favor of sacrificing anything of importance to carrying a great spread. If at any time a long run is to be made it is easy to improvise auxiliary sails to suit the case. The masts and sails should fit readily in the boat without projecting into the stern sheets, and should be of a simple design easily handled in bad weather. I like the sliding gunter rig best for all boats except launches and these I think may as well be fitted with the simple sloop rig without gaff topsail. The present lines of launches and large cutters are rather too fine toward the extremities for carrying the gun comfortably, and it must be considered that in the future a shield will probably be necessary with the boat gun, and thus will be entailed

« EdellinenJatka »