Avoid the selvage edge of the cloth when making squaresails; and, when cutting out staysails, get the selvage on the fore edge of the sail and turn it in as a hem, just as you have done with the other edges. This gives a stiff fore edge; and when the sail is pulled tightly by the halyard, this edge keeps the stayeail reasonably flat. Three times round with the sewing machine, as before.
The head and leeches of a squaresail should be absolutely straight when cutting out; the foot of the sail may curve gently down, just as the foot of a staysail does. When cutting squaresails, go with the material, square across the sail cloth. The sail will then machine up very nicely.
Staysails and jibs seem to give the best fits when they are cut with a slight bulge outward on every side. When such a sail is then strongly hemmed it lies as flat as a board after setting.
As windjammers' sails take some making and fitting, it is well to make them of strong material in the first place. If you ean get the experience and assistance of the Lady of the House on this point, it is well. It is better still if you make your own ship from keel to truck. Every yachtsman should be as handy as the sailor himself, with a needle. I cut out, machine, stitch on hooks, and bend onto the yards, all sails. It is a tedious job, of course; but the delight of getting a good fitting suit of twenty or thirty sails on a windjammer is something worth taking a little trouble to have.
Each squaresail must be sewn to her own yard permanently, for hard sailing. A sort of marline-hitch-threading, with stout waxed button thread, seems to work well, and gives the roband effect of the real ship. You had best take a browse among the books on Seamanship in your local library. You will pick up a good many useful hints and ideas on rigging and knotting there. You will also get a fair idea of the style of a windjammer, from photograpbs of the real thing. One of the best books I have seen was by an American, Reisenburg, I believe, "Standard Seamanship." That book gives one of the clearest descriptions I have ever read of the tacking of a windjammer.
But, of oourse, you have to make hay of all that. The original grass wi11 be very different from the hay you have to make for your own purposes. There will be no Flemish horses, foot-ropes, yardlifts and clew lines on your ship, for the very simple reason that you do not need them. What is not needed is discarded by the sailor. Your clew lines should be mere loops sewn onto each clew of a squaresail. These loops fit over the ends of the yard below.
I do not fit halyards to the yards. They are unnecessary. The yards hang quite well on their slings and trusses, in other words, on the screw eyes previously described. When you do not want the squaresails, you simply take off the loops at the olews, unhook the braces, and lift the yard out of the truss.
A race between Mr. D.J. Boyle's two Barques "Naomi De Lacey" and "Cicely Fairfax."
The mention of the braces brings me to the working of these many yards.
Let it be understood at once that is absolutely hopeless to attempt to manage the model as the real ship is managed. You are sailing a great ship without a single man on board. All thoughts of the proceedure on a windjammer therefore; -- "Fore bowlines! Raise tacks and sheets! Weather main, lee crojick braces! Mainsail Haul! Board! Fore braces! Ease the spanker! Board tacks and sheets! Steady!" will have to be forgotten. The prinoiple to be held in mind on the model is this; that your sguaresails, be they six or twenty, must work as one sail! There are but two squaresail tacks on your ship viz. -- the port fore-boom tack; and the starboard fore-boom tack. The forward lower corner of each of the lower courses is pulled forward by what is the brace of the boom ahead of it. A tack pulls forward, a sheet pulls aft, and it is possible to argue that this brace is a sheet.
It will now be advisable to explain that all the yards are hooked by bowsie lines together, and the booms of the lower courses also.
They are braces only in the sense that they brace one another together. Your real braces are all on the mizzen yards, for they run down to the channels on deck, thus holding the whole set of yards in place that is -- when you care to use them. They are seldom needed!
In like manner, for working to windward, your bowlines, holding the yards forward on the weather side of the ship, communicate their action from the fore yards to the after yards and unlike the bowlines of the real ship, they are all attached to the foreyards, and not to the leeches of foresail and of fore topsail only.
It must be clearly understood that it is not always necessary to fasten down onto the deck any of the real braces or bowlines. The yards on the three masts being strapped together, fore to main, main main to mizzen, all the way up the mast, each by port and starboard braces hooked on at equal distances from the cranes, they all move round together, and, if there be a wind abeam, you can sail for hours without ever once fastening a brace down onto the poop, or a bowline down onto the bowsprit, the wind itself jamminq the yards onto the backstay, and holding them there; In these circumstances, a windjammer is easier to sail than a yacht. All you have to attend to is the flicking round of the yards with your walking stick, at the end of a run, and the setting of steering gear, or of the spanker.
That is the state of affairs when reaching -- the ideal point of sailing, for a model windjammer, far more so than running before.
When running, of course, it is advisable to square the yards a little, but not dead square. I have not seen a ship yet that will run dead before the wind. Very far from the run being the windjammer's favourite point of sailing, it is just about her worst, if acouracy on a target be anything to go by! Of course, a nice quartering wind is another matter. A wind on the quarter is the windjammer's joy; but entailing as it does a close-haul back again, on the return journey, it is not such a care-free business for the yachtsman as the plain reach. You must get your bowlines on, forrard, to come back again, though you can run down without fastening any braces at all.
When beating to windward, you will need to fasten forward all the fore mast yards on the weather side. To do this, you reach down the fore tack first, which is hung on a screw eye on the fore yard. The hook of this tack you fasten into a screw eye on the bowsprit. All bowlines and braces having bowsie tightening arrangement it is easy enough to get the yards set to the angle necessary.
Then fasten foreward the fore bowline, likewise to a screweye on the bowsprit. This bowline is attached to the fore yard; and when not in use, it is hung up somewhere, say on an eye in the topsail yard.
Your topsail yard will likewise have its own bowline on each end of it port and starboard. That is fastened into a sliding ring, like a bowsie, on the fore skysail pole stay, which runs down to the end of the jibboom, in this case. This stay is very handy indeed for the holding of the upper bowlines for the fore topgallant, the fore royal, and the fore skysail -- bowlines are all hooked onto similar rings placed higher up the stay, at, roughly, their own level. This keeps your yards close-hauled, and firm in a jerky wind; and, even in a steady wind, if the yards were not so held, they would all fly aback directly you got rather close to the wind.
It is not necessary to hook on all the bowlines, even on a stiffish close-haul. For moderate slants it is quite sufficient to use only the fore bowline (the fore-yard bowline), and the fore tack, (which holds the fore-boom forward). These, of course, communicate their motion to the yards and booms on the main mast and tile mizzen mast, through the braces which connect them all together.
You need seldom use your real braces on the after side of the mizzen yards. You often run before the wind most accurately if you run with yards in the moderately close-hauled position, the squaring of your yards apparently leading to a good deal of yawing about from side to side, in a fresh wind. The fore bowline will do for that manoevre. It merely holds the yards steady; which is all you want. Your fore bowline is the maid of all work on the model windjammer.. You may be able to sail for days using no other bowline, and no mizzen braces whatever. You can, of oourse, quite safely run before the wind with your yards swinging loose, held together in one compact body by the intermediate braces which run between foreyards, mainyards and mizzen yards. There is little danger of you going aback; and the yards adjust themselves to a balance with the steering gear, squaring off, or close-hauling as the wind-pressure decides. The head of the ship being off the wind, and the rudder keeping the vessel down-wind, you oan gallop away to your heart's content without a single fastening to the deck, or to the bowsprit.
It might be as well to remember that the more sail you carry the more you yaw about when running down-wind; and, conversely, the more sail you carry, the better you can sail to windward; that is, of course, if the strength of the wind allows you to crack on sail. If you are running with a pile of sail up, it would seem best to close-haul your yards, and put your helm hard up. You then get a balance of forces between the tendency of the ship to broach to, by swinging to windward, and the tendency of the rudder to pull the the ship off the wind, thus bringing her by the lee, as the sailor would say. The resultant course is a beautiful steady hard gallop down-wind, with the wind coming over your weather quarter. I am afraid the attempt to make a square-rigged ship run dead before the wind is doomed to failure, if you have stepped your masts for good beating to windward. In a light wind you can run before. In a hard wind, it is very difficult, though of course, it is quite easy to sail down-wind with the wind, say, two or three points off your tail. You oan sail a beautifully straight and steady course then.
And that brings me to the question of the steering. The Iversen wind-vane steering-gear has been recommended for use on model windjammers. Frankly, I cannot see that gear working well on a hard-sailed windjammer; and furthermore, it would give me the blues to see a wind-vane on the poop of a sailing ship.
In very light airs, and in gales, the wind-vane steering would be hopelessly impotent. It stands to reason that, if the gear is used when following a yacht in a rowing boat, it is evidently only used in quite moderate weather, since a canoe or rowing boat, cannot be of much use in a gale.
Further, the windjammer being fitted with a long keel, to keep her steady when beating to windward, it oannot possibly be as easy to steer as a light and pivoted Class racing-yacht. Considerable power is wanted on the helm; and a wind-vane of sufficient size would be an utter absurdity on a sailing ship.
I can imagine the Braine steering working fairly well, though it must be remembered that the spanker of a ship will have comparatively small power to put into the quadrant, being a small sail, when compared to the total sail area. It might be possible to work your quadrant from the mizzen yard, however, and thus tap the power of all the sails on all the yards: but I have never tried it.
I have always used my own steering gear, vastly preparing it. It may seem homely; but it works. That is all you want.
I have found it best to use a weighted rudder, a variant of the old-fashioned swing-rudder. A rudder shaft is fitted; and it comes through the counter to the poop deck. The blade of the rudder is, of course, permanently fixed to the rudder shaft.
A pin passes through the rudder shaft and this rests easily on the top of the rudder tube through the ship. Thus, when no power is applied onto that pin by any steering apparatus, the rudder is free to swing, being purposely made to fit very easily.
Now there is no rudder in the world which works better than a swing-rudder when correctly weighted. It has an easy, gentle action. It strokes the water, and gives graciously. For hard galloping and straight running, there is nothing to beat it, for it does not bite the water, it works naturally, and it seems to get your ship to the same place every time, provided the wind remains steady in force and in direction.
On a windjammer, this rudder must have sufficient lead put into the blade to keep the ship running well down-wind without bringing her by the lee, that is to say, without pulling her right off her course, to turn her tail to the wind, and bring it onto the other quarter. This experiment must be made in a fresh wind with a nice pile of sail up. When you have got the rudder-lead filed down to the correet weight for keeping the ship running straight, well down-wind, stop; and treasure that rudder as if it were made of gold. You have the secret and instrument of good sailing on nine-tenths of running courses.
You must then find out what the ship wants for all courses up to a stiff close-haul, using, of oourse, the same rudder.
For moderate runs, and reaching, you will have to lighten the pull of that rudder. I use elastic for running large and for reaching, the tension on which is capable of variation. For beating to windward I use a metal spring, the curtain rod stuff. These are hooked onto a tiller bar, which is secured to the pin through the rudder shaft. The great beauty of this system of steering is the handiness of it. To run, you simply cast your rudder loose; to beat yoU hook on the spring; which keeps the rudder reasonably central. A better device would be a locking-screw through the rudder-tube, to jam the rudder shaft in the central position. I have never used such a device; but it would be very useful on a windjammer.
By fixing two tillers, one forward, and one aft, of the rudder shafthead, vou get a balanced flywheel effect; and inorease the easy swinging qualities of your rudder.
If, then, you wish to try out further experiments in steering gadgets, it is quite easy to do so by means of these two tiller bars. You may try out something on the Braine steering lines; or you may haply attach your spanker sheet directly to the tiller bars, to one, or to both; in such a way that the angle at whioh your spanker-boom is set bears some sort of constant relation to the angle at which the rudder is to lie. In other words, your spanker can be your wind-vane.
You may thus have the advantage both of the old swing-rudder steering, and of the modern boomline gears too, since your tiller bars form a kind of quadrant, and, again I repeat, no sailing is so delightful as that whioh comes with the use of the swing-rudder. The balanced rudder idea may be old-fashioned, and worked out, on racing yachts but its period of usefulness on model windjammers is only just beginning; for it is eminently suitable for them.
It is easy to handle in bitter weather, on wild days and on calm days; and it suits the long-bodied windjammer to the nines. As there is plenty to do with the bowlines when sailing, you do not want to be troubled with a tricky and complioated steering gear. It is a grand thing to feel that you have only to whip the ship round, cast off the bowlines, cast off the rudder spring and then be sure of the vessel galloping hard down-wind again, without any fear of broaching to or of bringing by the lee. The windjammer loves the swing-rudder and seems to put on another half-knot because of it.