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meant, and a nautical mile being the 21,600th part of the circumference of the earth, its length is about 2029 yards.
To find the depth of the water, which even in small yachts is a very important thing, upon occasions a lead line is used. The hand lead, which is sufficient for our purposes, is a plummet of lead, weighing 71b. or 91b., and having a hollow at the bottom (a capital one may be made by using a small wine bottle as a mould wrapped in several thicknesses of brown paper to prevent danger from the glass flying). The hollow is filled with a lump of tallow, which picks up a bit of the mud or sand where you are sounding, and shows you its nature, which, and the depth, you can compare with your chart. The hand lead line, 25 fathoms in length (a fathom being 6ft.), is marked as follows:
The marks are made of these odd materials in order that you may be able to distinguish them in the dark by the feel. Of course, the counting begins from the lead. The mode of using is to stand as far forward as you can, and swing the lead in advance of the boat as far as you can, so that it may reach the bottom with a straight line when the yacht is over it. The thud of the lead upon the bottom can be distinctly felt along the line if a slight tension is kept upon it.
For coasting purposes the lead is of great use. In entering estuaries and harbours where there are sandbanks and bars, and the channel is strange to you, the lead should be kept going, and a reference to the chart on which the depths of water are marked will show you whether you are going right or wrong.
FORCES OF WINDS.
Never sail anywhere along a strange coast without a chart. These are not at all expensive, and may be obtained of Wilson, or any shop on the quay of a seaport town where nautical things are sold.
Also procure a tide table, for it is often of importance to know the times of high and low water. Also ascertain the set or direction of the tide while flowing or ebbing, and any particulars you can pick up from the watermen of any place you may visit. A chat with some of the men who are always lounging over the sea walls or piers, and the gift of a little "baccy," will often provide you with useful information. All round the coast there are tide races, rips, or whirls which may cause you inconvenience or danger, unless you are acquainted with their peculiarities, which, of course, vary with the state of the tide and the wind. This is a convenient place to give a table of the different forces of winds as they are usually classified:
An open or half-decked boat had better make tracks before
No. 6 grows into No. 7. No. 9 will try the seagoing abilities of a five-tonner to the utmost, and a ten-tonner would be proud if she came well out of No. 10. When boating men talk of the gales they have been out in in their small craft, allow the necessary discount for the colouring given by their enthusiasm.
THE words "watches" and "bells" are familiar to all readers of voyages or sea literature, but a practical acquaintance with them is scarcely necessary to the yachtsman who does not aspire higher than a five or ten-tonner. It will be well, however,, that
we should say a little as to their uses, for some yachtsmen like to have strict discipline on board their tiny ships as far as the opportunities of their command allow.
Watches are only set when on a cruise which includes night sailing, and their object is that a proper number of the crew should be awake and ready for duty, for it is evident that a ship cannot sail herself while everybody goes to bed. In order that the work may be fairly divided among the men, they come on watch in relays. At eight o'clock in the evening the first watch is set, and during the next twenty-four hours there are seven watches, so arranged by means of an unequal division in time that the same watch does not come up again at the same hour. In large yachts, and also in small ones, if there is any apparent necessity, an anchor watch is set while at anchor or moorings, and one man is sufficient for this, as all he has to do is to call up the regular watch if any emergency should arise, such as dragging an anchor, or a boat or anything getting adrift.
Where you make a port at night or anchor, of course watches are not necessary, and when sailing through the night in a ten
tonner it will be a matter of arrangement as to who should do duty while the others turn in for a snooze.
"Bells" are to mark the passage of time, but we candidly admit that nobody has troubled himself to keep up the practice on the small yachts in which we have sailed. In default, therefore, of practical experience in the matter, we quote from Mr. Dixon Kemp's book:
As a rule, bells are only struck on board yachts between eight in the evening and eight in the morning, but on large yachts they are regularly struck all through the twenty-four hours, whether the yacht is at sea or in harbour. The bells are struck in this way: One stroke (or one bell) is half-past twelve; two strokes struck quickly (or two bells) one o'clock; two strokes struck quickly, followed by one (or three bells), half-past one; a double two (or four bells), two o'clock; a double two and one (or five bells), half-past two; a treble two (or six bells), three o'clock; a treble two and one (or seven bells), half-past three; four double strokes (or eight bells), four o'clock. Then commences one bell for half-past four, two bells for five o'clock, and so on ; eight bells being struck every four hours.
The number of the crew which a yacht should carry is an important consideration in large yachts, but in small ones it settles itself by the amount of accommodation there is for them. Thus a five tonner will take two men at least to work her, and the owner and a capable friend can do well by themselves. But it is well to have a man, if it were only to do the odd jobs and dirty work. He can sleep in the forecastle, where there will be just room for him, while the two gentlemen sleep in the cabin, which they can make a very tidy, and, indeed, luxurious abode.
A ten-tonner requires two men in addition to her amateur crew, and there will just be room for the two in her forecastle. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and ten and twenty tonners are not only manned but sailed long cruises by amateurs only. But amateurs frequently think, if one may judge by their actions," where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise," and they