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seems to be clearly proved by actual experience that torpedo boats should always be employed at least in pairs.
Lieut. INGERSOLL. I agree with most of the ideas already expressed, but I do not consider our boats well suited for passenger boats except as regards speed. I think that a great defect is our want of life boats. Every boat should be fitted with air-tight compartments either under the seats, along the sides, or in the bow and stern. In a large regatta which was held in the European squadron the sliding-gunter rigged boats of the Franklin were victorious in every race, and all the leading boats were of that rig. Subsequently, in a general boat exercise at Cadiz, the Plymouth's boats which had been rigged slidding-gunter on the station were the first along-side of the flag ship under sail, showing the convenience of the rig. Later a race took place in which four of the Plymouth's boats came in first with their new rig.
Lieut. ADAMS. I think that only the launches should be fitted for guns and that the cutters should carry only men and their equipments. Each class of boats should be as nearly as possible of the same size, as the old necessity of stowing boats in nests no longer exists. In place of the dinghies now supplied small fast whale boats of about equal size should be provided, to be used for boarding, carrying despatches and other light work, and each ship should have a small boat fitted for sculls which could be stowed inside of any of the other boats. The reason that a limber boat pulls more easily is that it is impossible for all the oarsmen to give their stroke at exactly the same instant, whereas in a steamer the movement of the propelling power is uniform. I prefer sliding-gunter rig with jib in large boats, but no bowsprit.
Lieut. GARVIN. I would suggest that the bowsprit should be fitted so as to be easily unshipped, to allow the use of a bow gun.
Lieut. YATES. I have found by experience that in manning and arming boats it is impossible to carry, with any chance of proper storage, the guns, equipment, stores and men, and when equipped I considered the boats unsafe in a sea way.
Lieut. KENNEDY. One great objection to our service boats is that the oarsmen are too much crowded, no roon being given to exert their strength in pulling, and while I advocate an increase in the size of boats, I do not advocate an increase in the number of oars.
We need only two sizes of large boats, the larger to carry a howitzer or gatling gun, and to have good carrying capacity for heavy loads, the other smaller, but still to be capable of carrying the men in case of having to leave the ship or to land the battalion. I think that a
twelve-oared cutter should be a much larger boat than at present, without increasing the number of oars. Mr. Yates has referred to the trouble in carrying howitzers etc. in the launches; I have found the same trouble in carrying men and their equipments in cutters. The steam boat of a ship should be a cutter and its whole capacity should be devoted to steaming purposes, no endeavor being made to reserve space for passengers or freight; the boat being used for towing, despatch carrying, and torpedo service.
THE CHAIRMAN. I think that we should not close the discussion without saying something in regard to balsas which approach very nearly, in the purposes for which they are intended, to the subject of boats.
A general discussion on this subject took place in which the following ideas were enlarged upon. That all ships should be funished with at least one large balsas or raft for life saving purposes, for landing men and guns, and if need be for carrying out anchors. That one or more small balsas should be provided, and kept inflated, and slung over the stern at sea ready to be lowered in case of man-overboard.
In accordance with the decision of Executive Committee, the foregoing Discussion was submitted for criticism to Rear-Admiral John Rodgers, the President, who returned it with the following remarks.
It will be conceded, without argument, that any boat for special service may be made better for that service than one designed for all work: the man-of-war's boats, except gigs and whale boats are eminently boats of all work. The gigs are made to carry the captain ; the whale boats I consider specially made for safety in a seaway, and for landing through surf. Incidentally whale boats are used for all work but specially they are surf and sea boats. The launches are boats for burthen: and so indeed are the first cutters, but these must have certain speed and nimbleness not exacted from launches. It is difficult to say how much our cutters should be modified in shape, so as to get more carrying capacity. Where opposing qualities are demanded, such as speed and great carrying capacity, light draft, and lateral resistance or weatherly qualities, a compromise must be made.
In war, successful generals have attained their success by celerity of movement, appearing where not expected, throwing all their force upon a part of their enemies, and winning the battle before the slower enemy could bring up his supports. In cutting out, in boarding, in landing a detachment under fire, the slower a boat moves the more loss will be incurred before the decisive moment arrives when the enemy is to be met on equal terms, and finally overpowered by force.
As to sea-going qualities, I think our boats with their crews would live as long as a fuller model. Some experiments have gone to establish that a boat with fine lines, when driven through the water at a good speed will make good weather longer than a bluffer bowed one. Foreign navies have deeper boats than ours. In sailing, this is an advantage, as it gives more lateral resistance, or makes them more weatherly; but all of us have felt the inconvenience of a deep boat in grounding far from a flat shore. The shallow boat is not less safe than a deep one, so far as the waves are concerned. The whalers make their boats very shallow and very light so as to get easily out of the way of the sea, and rise lightly out of the surf. Any model for general service must be a compromise, some qualities being left in a subordinate place, which on special occasions we shall wish had taken a more prominent one. In sailiug, one will wish his boat deeper, so that she might be more weatherly. Iu landing on a shoal shore, or in tracking his boat for miles in surveying over a shoal, he will wish she were flatter. Ordinary uses come in ten thousand times for a single fighting expedition. The man-of-war is a fighting machine; but also one in which the fighting crew must live and occupy themselves in all the pursuits of their calling, in which, unhappily for the advancement of the Navy, war is rarely resorted to. It scarcely seems good practice to make a use so seldom demanded the one governing consideration in boat-building for men-of-war.
The present model is a compromise arrived at from many years criticism and service, and, I think, a happy compromise. I think, however, centre-boards could be introduced to advantage in all our boats. The frame of the centre-board well to be composition metal, with the proper recesses for receiving the timbers. If the sides were of brass, soldered or riveted to the frame, it would not add greatly to the weight. The boats could then be made with less dead-rise, than now. The boats could also be made to advantage with more free board—having one, two, or three more strakes, according to size. In regard to the rigging of the boats, I have little to say. The masts should be so short as to be carried conveniently in the boat, without extending into the stern sheets more than a few inches. They should be easily stepped or taken down in something of a sea-way; the sail should be easily reduced and simple, and have its centre of effort low. It is a combination of these qualities which has made the lug so long a favorite.
On our coast it has been found that North river sloops are unfit for ocean service, because, in a sea-way, the mast is pitched overboard. To avoid this, our small vessels for sea use are schooners, with two or more masts. The schooners carry about the same amount of sail that a sloop does; but the masts have individually so much less weight and length that they can be properly supported, which has not been proved true of sloops.
The launch is a row-boat, furnished with a full crew for rowing. The desirableness of moving independently of sails, caused the old row galleys to be used for war. The launch is a row galley; she should also carry sails; but when she fights she will in all probability follow the precedent of ages, and fight under oars. I recommend therefore for launches, as for all other boats, masts easily managed by the crew when in the boat,--to be taken down or put up at pleasure,-cruising under sail or rowing without masts, as the officer in charge may choose. In England and in the English Navy, luggers are, I believe, preferred to other rigs. The smugglers formerly used luggers as fast and weatherly; but I recommend sliding gunter masts, rather from what I hear than from preference derived out of my owu experience. When a midshipman, I was officer of a gig with sliding-gunter masts, which I then thought very defective; and thus I became prejudiced; but the handiness of the rig must have improved since then. For a sail boat nothing can compare with the Chinese rig; but the masts are inconveniently long; the sails when stowed occupy too much space. In the Chinese rig, the act of lowering the sail reefs it; it has no points to tie; and making more sail is done by simply hoisting it, having no points to cast off.