R. T. Pritchett, The Marquis of Dufferin and Ava, James Mcferran, Rev. G. L. Blake, T. B. Middleton, Edward Walter Castle, Robert Castle, G. Christopher Davies, Lewis Herreshoff, The Earl of Onslow, H. Horn and Sir George Leach Date Published:
2013/07 Page Count:
408 Softcover ISBN-13:
978-1-78282-119-9 Hardcover ISBN-13:
The gentleman yachtsman's companion—in two volumes
Towards the end of the 19th century a series of books was published by the Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes covering a variety of leisure activities in considerable depth. Many of the volumes consisted of essays, each written by a specialist contributor, covering different aspects of the sport or pastime. Many of these authors were members of the British oligarchy and aristocracy who were well placed, by experience, knowledge and the capacity to devote time and resources to these activities, to become acknowledged experts able to provide unmatched expertise and anecdotal information to their readers. The series was of sufficient value to warrant the approval of the Prince of Wales at the time. One of the best of these comprehensive guides is a substantial two volume edition which considers all aspects of yachting both technically, in terms of the construction and performance of the vessels, and as a sport and pastime. Leonaur has reproduced this superb guide to yachting for the modern reader. Each volume contains a substantial and interesting collection of data, diagrams, design drawings and a host of other illustrations. Volume two covers royal yachts, English, Scottish and Irish yacht clubs, the Thames Clubs, Windermere, yachting on the Norfolk Broads, yachting in America and New Zealand, foreign and colonial yachting, the American yachting season of 1893, the America Cup Races, 1893 and much, much more. There is something in these volumes to fascinate every yachting enthusiast as well as those interested in the history of yachts and sailing.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.
A light-displacement boat is a necessity upon Norfolk waters. It is not only that the depth is small and that the draught of a boat should not exceed 4 ft. 6 in. if she is to get about comfortably, but the water displaced by her movement has but little room to disperse in the narrower channels. It is sufficient to watch the light-displacement sailing wherry going fast through the water with scarcely a ripple, and making but slight difference in the level of the water at the grassy margins, and then to see a heavy-displacement steam wherry going not so fast, yet piling up the water in front of her, filling and emptying the dykes and runlets as she passes, to understand that the one thing essential for speed is light displacement. Again, in a heavy-displacement craft of my own which is sometimes brought upon the rivers, whenever the waterway is constricted she moves slowly and the river craft gain upon her. When the channel suddenly broadens she seems to leap forward and away in a striking manner.<br>
Many yachts have come to try their speed with the Norfolk boats, but generally having greater displacement have come off second-best, although possibly better craft in more open waters. The old type is a flat-bottomed boat with a deep keel spiked on to it; the angle between the keel and the hull is filled in with more or less graceful curves, but the principle is the same in the most successful of the modern racing yachts, as it was in the older craft: a beamy, flat hull and a comparatively deep keel. Practically there is no change in the midship sections other than that which more skilled workmanship and more artistic design have evolved. The principle is only the same, however, so far as the midship section is concerned. Great advances, or at all events alterations, have gradually been made in the longitudinal design of the boats<br>
Quick turning has always been a necessity with the yachts of the Broads, and this has been attained by the help of three peculiarities—a keel short for the length of the boat, a rudder so large as to be in reality a movable keel or leeboard, and an enormous jib, which is the only head-sail. The size of the jib is also influenced by the fact that it has to balance the equally enormous mainsail. In order partly to carry as much sail as is required for these smooth waters the mast is always well forward, and with a large mainsail and boom projecting far over the counter great head-sail is a necessity.<br>
The old measurement of racing craft used simply to be length on the ‘ram’ or keel, which as long as all boats were of the same type in other respects was fair enough. But a boat, say, 20 ft. over all would have a counter of 9 ft. or 9 ft. 6 in.; practically half her length would be counter. I do not think this great counter was altogether the result of an attempt to cheat the tonnage measurement, although no doubt this may have had some influence. It was more the result of circumstances; the yacht with a short keel, well forward, and great rudder, turned more quickly than a boat of similar size with longer keel and smaller rudder. About half this great counter was permanently immersed, and when a boat laid over, almost the whole of it came into bearing.<br>
It was popularly supposed that the broad, flat counter peculiar to the old boats bore the weight of the boom; the yachts, though very quick and handy, carried tremendous weather helm and were very hard to steer, sometimes taking the strength of two men to prevent them shooting into the wind. When the helm is let go, the little vessel shoots so quickly into the wind that she might be put about on the other tack by backing the jib, without further touch of the tiller. In fact, so powerful is the great overhang of mainsail and jib in controlling the balance pivoted on the short keel that I have many times tacked a 4-ton boat up a narrow reach without touching the tiller at all, simply by manipulating the sheets, and this, too, while sailing single-handed. This was by way of experiment only.<br>
The usual way of sailing a 4-ton, or, for the matter of that, a 10-ton yacht single-handed, is while going to windward to make the mainsheet fast, steer with your back, and work the jibsheet with your hands. Reaching or going free you work the mainsheet and jibsheet alternately as best you can. All the boats have large open wells, the jibsheets lead aft through a couple of blocks shackled to the clew of the sail, with the standing part fast to eyes on each plankway, and leading blocks further aft. Thus there is just sufficient purchase to enable a strong man to control the jibsheet of a 10-ton boat. In sailing these boats there is no making the jibsheet fast if you wish to get the best speed out of the vessel. They are trimmed to an inch, and every bend of the river means a careful and anxious adjustment of the jibsheet. The same remarks apply to the mainsheet, and where two or three equally capable amateurs are engaged in sailing there will be keen differences of opinion as to the proper quantity of sheet to be allowed out, and hot arguments as to the advisability of an inch more or less, when to the man accustomed to sailing in more open water the difference would appear immaterial.<br>
In tacking, the stern of the boat swings upon the pivot of the forefoot, and it frequently happens that in sailing close to the bank of the river before putting about, although the bowsprit bends the grasses, and the stem is clear of the bank, yet the counter cannons against the bank or shaves the mud.<br>
Whether it was found that advantage was taken of the keel measurement to get larger boats by means of immersed counters, or whether it was simply to give more scope to designers, is a matter of controversy; but it was ordained that half the length of the counter had to be added to the length of keel to form the factor of length, the rest of the measurement being according to the Thames rule. This rule of measurement prevailed for many years without any particular alteration in the type of boat supervening. Then, and only recently, length on the load-water-line was taken, and presently the Y.R.A. rules of measurement and rating were adopted.<br>
The effect of the alteration has been to lengthen the keel, and perhaps to round up the forefoot a little. It has been suggested that it would be as easy to attain the quick turning by rounding the forefoot and having the greatest draught aft as it is by the present method of keeping the draught well forward and shortening the keel; but there is this objection—the shores next the banks are frequently shoal and muddy. When the boat swings round on her deep forefoot, if that is free from mud the lighter draught stern is sure to follow; but when a light draught forefoot is still free from the mud, the deeper draught stern swings on to it and is caught, and the boat’s head pays off to leeward before she releases herself.<br>
Experience goes to show that in the larger classes the boat with much drag aft is not suitable for these shallow-margined rivers, and that to succeed in racing it is necessary to be able to perform the feat of waltzing a boat round and round in little more than her own extreme length, as the writer has done by way of experiment. A boat which will only handle when she has steerage way does not stand much chance.