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LEAVING THE LAND TO SET SAIL ..................................................... 3
Taking to the water ................................................................................................. 4 Adding sails .......................................................................................................... 4 Building better boats ............................................................................................. 5
Rafts ...................................................................................................................... 6 Canoes .................................................................................................................. 7 Planked boats ........................................................................................................ 8
Rigging the sails ................................................................................................... 9
THE EVOLUTION OF SAILING .......................................................... 11
A Dutch treat ....................................................................................................... 12 Royal yachting .................................................................................................... 12 A genteel sport .................................................................................................... 13 Getting organized ................................................................................................. 13 Getting steamed up .............................................................................................. 14 Still cruising along .............................................................................................. 15 Sailing past 1900 ................................................................................................ 15
The Sloop Elia 11
Modern sailing .................................................................................................... 17
The 1920s ........................................................................................................... 16 The 1930s ........................................................................................................... 16 The 1940s ........................................................................................................... 17
SAILING & RACING THE WIND TODAY ........................................... 19
Boat basics ......................................................................................................... 20
The hull ............................................................................................................... 20 The centerboard or keel ........................................................................................ 21 Steering mechanisms ........................................................................................... 21 The mast and sails ............................................................................................... 21
Sailing basics ..................................................................................................... 23 Continuing tradition ............................................................................................ 24
The rules of the sea .............................................................................................. 25 The great races .................................................................................................... 27
Masts and sails
Key West Race Week
C H A P T E R
LEAVING THE LAND TO SET SAIL
Cleopatra sailing down the Nile, Greek and Roman ships exploring the ancient Mediterranean, Viking explorers menacing the seas of northern Europe, Christopher Columbus’ attempt to sail around the world, Britain’s epoch of naval superiority—from truths to legends, from courageous captains to one-eyed pirates singing “yo ho ho and a bottle of rum,” stories of the sailing and the seas permeate the history and cultures of the world. Millions of boats crafted thousands of ways have carried people afloat the earth’s waters. Starting from the simplest of floating logs, boat design has evolved over the centuries to complexly rigged, multiple-mast sailing ships. For years, those elegant sailing ships reigned over the oceans until the Industrial Age introduced steam and other power sources to propel water craft. But even with those faster alternatives, the wind still lures sailors around the world.
VOLUMINOUS SAILS MADE THIS 18TH-CENTURY WARSHIP EASY TO MANEUVER IN ALL WIND CONDITIONS
COURTESY SAN FRANCISCO MARITIME NHP, K10
COMPLEX RIGGING OF
Waves ripple across freshwater lakes fed by underground springs or replenished by rivers and other surface waters. So floating logs became the first boats. a person could not easily stow hunting equipment or other gear on the log. Bark and branch stubs chaffed the rider’s skin. Adding sails Imagine floating on a log or maybe a primitive raft of several logs lashed together. Water surrounds and sluices across countries and continents. But logs themselves were wet and uncomfortable. and some even floated. Whether anxious to retreat from danger or to look for new territory and a bigger food supply. supplementing the unreliable swimming skills of primitive peoples whose arms and legs didn’t instinctively splash in synchronized style. Eventually. The bigger the load. too. but offered more friction for staying aboard than debarked logs whose smooth surface proved slippery when wet. whether from more people or more gear. Living with water meant learning how to navigate it. Oceans and seas spray salty waves that relentlessly nibble coastlines. too. as well as motley fleets of inner tubes. and kayaks. these ancestors studied the water for a way to get across waters too deep for wading. Whether riding the log or swimming alongside using the log as a buoy. By watching others in your tribe. they recognized the phenomenon of buoyancy. rivers sinuously carve a wandering path that might run for hundreds or thousands of miles. flat-bottomed boats. seemingly mysterious forces kept the massive tree bobbing at the top of the water. sometimes wide. prehistoric peoples would remain geographically isolated by water and at the mercy of the natural elements. The logs rolled easily. Streams. Heavy objects felt lighter in water. A person could even cautiously straddle the tree and stay on top of the water. and brooks—some flowing fast. creeks. the more precarious and soggy the ride became. Sometimes narrow. A fallen tree that could only be lifted by many strong bodies on land would not sink to the bottom of the lake. others lazily drifting—beckon anglers equipped with poles and lures. Instead. Until then. The barely moving waters of ponds and bogs offer rich food stores and refuge to indigenous wildlife and migrating waterfowl. you’ve learned that pushing a branch against the sandy river bottom can help you move the craft 4 . you’re wearing a bear pelt draped over your shoulders.• S A I L I N G T H R O U G H T H E C E N T U R I E S • Taking to the water Salt and fresh water cover more than two-thirds of the earth’s surface. leaving some moist with abundant water and others arid. canoes. slowly eroding the edges of land masses. To keep yourself warm in the crisp breezes of a latefall morning.
eager to wrap its warmth around you again. In those moments. As the craft catches the current. But you’re getting cold. People started binding several logs together to make bigger. and eventually boats out of planks cut from trees. A gust of wind catches your bear pelt. You grab the edges. leaving your tribe behind on the shore. That’s how you pushed the raft into the river. But for a few moments. commerce. Now the water is deeper than the branch. Maybe the explorer fastened the pelt to a stick and held that combination aloft on the next trip. Variations included log canoes. rafts. watching the shore speed past. too.• L E A V I N G T H E L A N D T O S E T S A I L • in a particular direction. you face into the wind. Intrigued by the speed. sail power resulted in catamarans (rafts with sails) and outrigger canoes (with sails and wood floats attached parallel to the sides of the canoe) as precursors to more elaborate sailing boats. 5 . Propulsion improved. But the big innovation came with the addition of sails. you notice that the craft slows. from still-primitive designs typical of early boats to modern designs that reflect the latest technological refinements. Eventually. The results were rafts and dugout canoes—two basic types of craft still in use throughout the world. and the pelt’s weight is tiring your arms. From previous excursions. Others carved holes in the logs. ancient and modern civilizations have exploited the wind to power boats of all kinds— from logs. and exploration. from poling and paddling to rowing with oars. skin boats. flatter surfaces. So you extend your arms deliberately. feeling the speed increase as you open the pelt to the wind again. your extended arms brace the pelt against the wind. But since sailing’s origins thousands of years ago. spreading it open to the wind. a furry bundle pondering this discovery. Finally. you know that the river itself will determine which direction you go and how fast. How can you harness the wind to produce the same results without getting cold and tired? Nobody knows exactly when or how prehistoric ingenuity figured out how to rig the first sail. you sit down. making niches for sitting and storing gear. A good thing quickly became better as people figured out more and better ways to build water craft. you stand to look back at the huts and people dotting the shore. As you pull the pelt to your body. you fear the tugging wind will lift you into the sky like a bird—and you feel your craft glide even faster through the sluggish water. Building better boats Dissatisfied minds quickly figured out ways to improve on the discovery of basic buoyancy. and canoes to planked boats—for travel. bark canoes. basket boats.
Gondoliers in Venice use poles to quietly move their traditional craft. to capture the wind and supplement the speed of the current. soon supplemented by a person armed with a long pole. for thousands of years. technically creating what’s called a catamaran. trimmed. it still can be unstable. teak. tree bark. Rafts of all kinds started bobbing on the world’s waters. Propulsion initially came from the current. and not all tasks require the durability of a wooden raft. the person would easily push the pole against the bottom to propel the raft in a particular direction. Compared to its precursor single log. Variations included diamond-shaped rafts. Anyone who has gone “punting on the Cam” in Cambridge. Primitive raft builders experimented with other buoyant materials. the basic materials and building techniques stayed the same. or carrying the raft back on the land. Portaging. has used this technique. and the more easily it could be lifted in and out of the water or ported across land to another site. lashing together tight bundles of grass or reeds. was possible if enough people were available or the raft was lightweight. Attaching some sort of long rope to the raft meant that someone could walk along the shore. Some rafters added a mast with a sail. fir. In calm. however. the more buoyant the raft. That was the easy way—as long as the riders wanted to go downstream. Most rafts were square or rectangular. Traditionally. Proximity to the water also made a tree a candidate for being chopped. and bound with companion trees. oak. Not all areas have forests. bamboo. the current moved the raft in one direction: downstream. Poling worked well for shallow waters. too. pulling the raft. England. Once the raft reached deeper waters. mahogany. strong arms could pole the raft upstream. But early peoples also noticed that the lighter the wood. rafts have been assembled from indigenous trees: cedar. even the most elaborate boats relied on natural materials powered by the brute strength of the wind or people. Returning the raft to its starting point meant going against the current. Until the invention of the engine and industrial materials. So raft builders learned to choose the lightest-weight wood available.• S A I L I N G T H R O U G H T H E C E N T U R I E S • Then. wet. or whatever is available. which was no easy task. a raft offers a deluxe ride that might be drier and certainly more spacious for carrying other people and goods. with the longest logs in the center and the ad6 . shallow waters. or inflated animal skins. By moving to shallow waters. Rafts Whether a raft is flat or edged by raised sides. too. and uncomfortable.
Propulsion improved with the paddle. All this effort produced a craft that. and other South American countries. or rubber. proved superior to the floating log. Large rafts still are used along the coasts of Brazil. A large hole could mean some room for cargo. Using stone blades and picks. For example. Although rafts still have their utilitarian purposes. That broad blade’s resistance to the current propelled the canoe forward. After burning a larger hole. people would chip out a hole.• L E A V I N G T H E L A N D T O S E T S A I L • jacent logs increasingly shorter towards the outside edges of the raft. The process picked up speed once someone had the idea of setting a small fire inside the hole to burn away more of the surrounding wood. metal drums. Raft construction eventually incorporated manufactured materials. Peru. at first just a wide flat piece of wood affixed to one end of a slender pole. rafts also have become a popular vehicle for thrill-seeking adventurers who use rafts to “run” rivers barely navigable for their “white water” foaming with rapids and cataracts. and the recessed interior kept the rider(s) and cargo drier. Some materials were curved to bow the bottom of the raft slightly. Modern rafts favor lightweight materials and might incorporate canvas. in the 19th century. the canoe builder could again use the tools to further hack at the charred wood to finish the hole.” Early 7 . To keep the canoes from tipping. large rafts were popular along the Ohio River and Mississippi River in the United States to haul commercial cargoes such as of cotton and food crops from northern cities to New Orleans and other shipping ports. Dugout canoes became even faster with the addition of sails. This saved both time and energy—as long as the fire didn’t get out of control and incinerate the entire tree. Some Asian countries still use large rafts for fishing and sea transportation. But sails made the dugout canoes unstable. The dugout canoe was more stable. Because the paddle didn’t have to touch the bottom. Sometimes another row or two of logs (or other materials) edged the perimeter of the raft to protect and contain the passengers and contents. wood frames. Even those rafts based on primitive designs can be quite large. although still susceptible to rolling over and spilling its contents into the water. the person might remove branch stubs and round off the outside and ends of the canoe. people sat or knelt as they paddled. Canoes The earliest canoes were “dug out” of a single tree trunk. innovators attached one or two “outriggers. To finish the dugout canoe. even in its simplest form.
these early planked boats began venturing across the Mediterranean Sea for commerce and war. constructed of both traditional and modern materials such as aluminum and fiberglass. boat designs evolved into the sail-equipped long ships that the Vikings used to traverse the Atlantic Ocean to North America around 1000 AD By the 1400s. ships with massive hulls and sails began carrying bands of explorers beyond the edge of the world. Many variations of the dugout canoe and its relatives. In turn. followed by shiploads of colonists looking for freedom. they began milling trees into planks and building planked boats. opportunities. Relying on sail power and rowing for power.• S A I L I N G T H R O U G H T H E C E N T U R I E S • WITH A SPEAR TIP AT ONE END OF ITS SHAFT AND A BROAD BLADE AT THE OTHER. remain in use throughout the world today. and wealth.19. making more room for people and cargo. These boats featured frames constructed of multiple pieces of wood.” This versatile method of boat construction inspired builders to experiment with many designs of increasingly larger boats capable of hauling many people and sizable cargo. many narrow planks of wood attached to the frame formed the “skin. A7. and basket boats. The dugout canoe was the first of a wide variety of craft developed throughout the world. Some sailors used the spars as beams to support small platforms between the dugout and the floats. builders were developing galleys and other seaworthy ships. skin boats. Well before the ancient Greeks and Romans took turns conquering the known world by land and sea. A PADDLE COULD DOUBLE AS TOOLS FOR PROPULSION AND HUNTING outriggers consisted of wood floats parallel to and several feet from the canoe itself. 8 COURTESY SAN FRANCISCO MARITIME NHP. held in place by spars lashed to both the dugout and the floats. Planked boats As people developed new construction skills. 417n . Eventually. Related vessels include log and bark canoes.
Eventually. Soon. sailing was valued to quickly move people and cargo over water. going against the wind to eventually reach an upwind destination. Even without the directional control possible with tacking. to row. gear.• L E A V I N G T H E L A N D T O S E T S A I L • Ship builders eventually refined their designs to create many different ship designs. Over the centuries. if possible. and hulls so that the boats could sail windward. those early seafarers had developed rigs that could angle the sails slightly so the boats could actually move into the wind somewhat. Rigging became more sophisticated so that sailors had a range of control over direction and speed. they were forced to drift or.” Without a fair wind blowing in the direction the navigators wanted to go. magnificent clipper ships featured multiple masts and many sails to maximize speed and agility. 9 . By tacking. or paddle. by the earliest Egyptian times. That extra control only reinforced sailing’s dominance as the preferred mode of commercial transportation until the steam engine and combustion engines freed sailors of their dependence on the wind. boats could hold a course at an angle less than 90 degrees off the wind direction. sailors remained at the mercy of the wind. the sailboat’s crew can switch the sails from one side of the boat to the other so the sailboat zigzags back and forth. pole. Rigging the sails For centuries. taking advantage of the sails only when the wind was “sail-powered craft fair. navigators kept improving the sails. too. In fact.
• S A I L I N G T H R O U G H T H E C E N T U R I E S • 10 .
In fact.” 1600S. with the chance of being drowned. B7. EUROPEANS BEGAN SAILING SMALL SAIL-BOATS LIKE THIS SLOOP ON MAJOR RIVERS AND INLAND SEAS 11 COURTESY SAN FRANCISCO MARITIME NHP.. rather than horses or any other mode of transportation. But sailing for pleasure enjoyed far less favor than sailing for commerce. getting people and goods from one place to another usually involved sailing. Samuel Johnson supposedly expressed this harsh assessment of sailing in 1759. for being in a ship is being in a jail.C H A P T E R THE EVOLUTION OF SAILING Until the onslaught of steam boats and railroads in the 19th century..149n BEGINNING IN THE . the well-known and influential essayist Dr. “No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into jail.
He liked it so much that he sailed a yacht for part of the journey back to England and his coronation as Charles II in 1660. Living in the Netherlands after the execution of his father. In his honor. Only in the last 200 years or so have people—that is. the English quickly built two yachts: · Catherine. the Prince of Wales learned the Dutch custom of traveling by water. Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603) had a small boat called the Rat of Wight. this affluent group of Dutch fishing families enjoyed sailing the nation’s inland waters. Not to be outdone by the Dutch shipbuilders. and named after his wife. with the King betting 100 pounds that his Catherine could beat Anne sailing on the Thames River. In addition. the English royalty turned to sailing again. After 1648. 10 cannon. modifying the Dutch designs with fixed keels and other changes to better suit 12 . Charles I. the Duke of Windsor. the common people— turned to sailing for pleasure. which were sheltered from both bad weather and the pirates that threatened the rest of Europe until the 19th century. commerce. Netherlands reigned as one of the world’s maritime powers. and a crew of 20. the rich and the royal began sailing for pleasure. By then. England had crafted another 24 yachts. but his sentiment captured the popular attitude toward sailing—you did it to get to the other side. or pleasure. Royal yachting Inspired by the Dutch. built for Charles II and named after his future wife Catherine of Braganza. Their lives already dominated by the sea. A Dutch treat Almost 500 years ago. · The slightly longer and heavier Anne was built for the king’s brother. Johnson. rather than simply as a means of getting from one place to another.• S A I L I N G T H R O U G H T H E C E N T U R I E S • Not everyone agreed with Dr. But leisure sailing didn’t pick up momentum until the end of the 16th century. Those small boats also proved more comfortable transportation than carriage rides over rugged roads pocked with potholes. beautiful paintings and sculptures. By 1683. the same reason the chicken crossed the road. weighed in at 94 tons and measured 55 feet long. a flourishing herring industry had made many residents rich enough to afford small sailboats. For example. the Dutch East India Company gave Charles II a sloop named Mary featuring gilded cabins. This inspired the first recorded yacht race done strictly for sport. the Dutch were using the terms jaght (hunter) and jaght schip to describe a light and swift vessel used for war.
merchant George Crowninshield of Salem. A few people preferred smaller boats. For example. the ongoing threat of pirates. the safe territorial waters off the Hebrides particularly drew many leisure-time sailors. A genteel sport Others less royal but equally rich (the financial equivalent of a multimillionaire today) took up the sport. Americans began sailing more. In 1801. an open regatta for commoners established sailing as a sport for all. One of the earliest was Colonel Lewis Morris. who built a 35-foot sloop to sail around New York Harbor and other coastal waters. where the Water Club of Cork started holding sailing rallies about 1720. However. Getting organized Historians trace the world’s first yacht club to Cork. and the less predictable nature of the ocean.• L E A V I N G T H E L A N D T O S E T S A I L • the deeper and less protected British waters. (Today. and comfortable cabins definitely marked sailing as a pleasure sport. extended pleasure cruises became popular. The day of the small sailboat was yet to come. Cost was just one of the reasons why few people were yachting. Other factors were extended warfare between major European powers. Crowninshield replaced his 22-foot sloop with a much bigger 191ton.) Back in Britain. decorative finishes. when the organization may have ceased. the organization continues as the Royal Cork Yacht Club. 13 . so did the boat size. The yachts got heavier. But as the sport grew in popularity. not just royalty. In Britain. What had been streamlined sailing ships turned into what basically were floating houses with a sail or two. Streamlined contours. which he sailed to the Mediterranean in 1817. That same year. increasing from the 50 tons or so of Charles II’s yachts to more than 300 tons. In the United States. the Prince of Wales (later George III) sponsored yacht races as early as 1749. too. Massachusetts. such as the comparatively small 10-15 ton cutter that Roger North sailed on the Thames Estuary at the same time as Charles II. By the latter part of the 18th century. sailing vessels along the East Coast carried cargo and passengers. Many pleasure boats were so large that they required professional crews and armaments for protection. Ireland. most yachts of these ardent and wealthy British sailors lost the sporty touches of Charles II. These rallies continued for about 50 years. but few people pursued leisure sailing. added a 22-ton sloop—the first American yacht—to his fleet of ships both for his personal use and as a training ship for his business. too. 83-foot yacht. Big-boat cruising was definitely in.
the first organization to actually use “yacht” in its official name. That same year. Netherlands (1846). He followed that yacht with seven others. a wealthy British sailboat owner decided to switch from wind to steam in 1829. George III’s brother sponsored an annual race for smaller yachts. An era was ending even as sailing became more popular with the masses. British shipbuilders launched Royal George. the last royal yacht equipped with sails. commerce moved away from sail power. they were a far cry from today’s sleek designs). it became the Royal Yacht Club and made membership more exclusive by doubling the minimum weight for members’ boats to 20 tons (though still not as heavy as Charles II’s original yachts. The open seas were free of pirates and safe for offshore sailing. In 1820 when the Prince Regent became King George IV. the organization upgraded its membership. and boat designs continued evolving. too. ordered one for herself and Prince Albert. more like the earlier opportunities in the Netherlands. the industrial revolution increased prosperity. Canada (1852). But steam-powered yachts didn’t really catch on until 1843 when Queen Victoria. Britain formed The Yacht Club at Cowes. India (1846). A more elaborate yacht in 1855—300 feet long and weighing 2. France and Australia (1838). In 1817 when the Prince Regent decided to join. These steam yachts became status symbols. Wealthy people all over the world. began building bigger and better luxury yachts. from two to five tons. The glamorous clippers went into dry 14 . particularly the United States.• S A I L I N G T H R O U G H T H E C E N T U R I E S • From 1775 until 1782. Members had to be interested in salt water sailing and had to own vessels weighing at least 10 tons.342 tons— bestowed further glamour on steam-powered yachts. the first yacht club in England. and others. the places to see and be seen. Contestants eventually formed the Cumberland Sailing Society. tired of seeing steam-powered yachts pass her sailing barge. Belgium (1847). as did other innovators. 1820. The end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 meant better conditions for leisure sailing. United States and Bermuda (1844). Once freed from the fickleness of the wind. usually powered by steam. In 1815. Getting steamed up Bulk had left 18th-century yachts sluggish and barely capable of sailing. Yacht clubs began proliferating in Britain and then spread around the world: Sweden (the first yacht club outside the British Empire in 1830). building a 400-ton yacht powered by a steam engine. Belgium (1851). Yearning for speed.
resurrected decades later as maritime museums. and their followers became fascinated with steam yachts and conspicuous lifestyles on ship. the ultra-rich. In 1898. Slocum became an instant celebrity. Buckley and Nicolas Primoraz sailed a 20-foot converted lifeboat from Ireland to Massachusetts. then headed to Scandinavia in 1866. the first east-west crossing of the Atlantic. Massachusetts and completed the trip in 1898. As a result. he sailed a 32foot gaff cutter completely around Britain. a few people persisted in their love of sailboats. novelty accommodations. and Europe needed to develop common classes and rules for sailing. Sailing Alone Around the World. small sailboats offered an affordable escape for many people. still inspiring sailing fans today.• L E A V I N G T H E L A N D T O S E T S A I L • dock. formed in 1906. A 26-foot boat made the same trip in 1866 with William Hudson and Frank Fitch as the crew. In 1869. The International Yacht Racing Union. C.222 miles between the Thames and Land’s End with only one other crew member. Richard Turrell McMullen sailed a 3-ton. sailing has been an Olym15 . 20-foot cutter 8. John C. Sailing past 1900 By the turn of the century.S. He set sail in 1895 from Boston. That same year. In 1857. marked the start of standardized sailing guidelines. or tour sites. The 1904 Games in St. Edward Empsom Middleton sailed a 23-foot yawl around England. Sailors from around the world first competed in the Olympic Games held in Paris in 1900. Louis. His account of the journal. In 1863. restaurants. Compared to the impossible expense of the steam-powered yachts. But the first single-handed crossing didn’t happen until 1876 when Alfred Johnson sailed from Massachusetts to Wales in a 20-foot sailing dory. John Macgregor sailed a 15-foot sailboat in Europe’s inland waters. McMullen described his sailing experiences in Down Channel. Still cruising along While the royal. has become classic. The next year. Between 1850 and 1857. Missouri. Reported by the press each time he reached a new destination. a book that has become a classic book about cruising. In 1865. Webb sailed a 43-foot ketch from west to east across the Atlantic. Crossing the Atlantic become a popular challenge for smaller boats. did not include sailing because the location was too far inland and the U. sailing was popular enough to become a sport in the Olympic Games. Captain Joshua Slocum became the first person to sail solo around the world in a small 36-foot sailboat. cutting through the Clyde-Forth Canal in Scotland. R.
which still sponsors the annual Blue Water Medal “for the year’s most meritorious example of seamanship” among amateur sailors of the world. That book because the first manual of seamanship for the increasing numbers of men and women who were taking up sailing. This increased interest in sailing prompted several single-handed “firsts”: · In 1931. William Washburn “Typhoon Bill” Nutting popularized cruising in small sailboats. and began providing useful reference materials and activities for members. distilled his experience in Yacht Cruising.• S A I L I N G T H R O U G H T H E C E N T U R I E S • pic sport ever since the 1908 games in London. these trips were deliberately more leisurely. he helped establish the Cruising Club of America (CCA). between 1923 and 1925. Conor O’Brien and crew sailed a 42-foot gall ketch around the world. The 1920s After World War I. Ralph Stock. Claude Worth. Vita Dumas of Argentina sailed solo from France to Buenos Aires in a 25-foot racing boat. Alain Gerbault of France took even longer (1923-1929) to circumnavigate the globe in a 36-foot cutter. many more people set out to sail around the world or to the South Seas and other exotic shores far from the war scene. The 1930s When the Great Depression economically sunk the world. the Cruising Association opened its membership to anyone. In 1922. William Albert Robinson and a single crew member became the first two-person crew to sail around the world.” too. Unlike the long-distance sails of the 19th century. Sailors were still striving for around-the-world “firsts. · One year later. Sailing also welcomed the masses in Britain with the formation of two sailing organizations still active today: · In 1908. including detailed sailing directions for the west coast of Scotland. many young people literally took to the seas. who spent years converting and sailing both commercial vessels and leisure sailboats. the Clyde Cruising Club in Scotland was founded “to encourage cruising and foster the social side of sailing. For example. the first to go south of the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn. In the United States. · In 1933. 16 . Marin-Marie of France sailed alone from France to New York. unlike the Royal Cruising Club. with a solo return in 1936. his sister. in 1919. and a friend sailed from England to the Tonga Islands. Between 1928 and 1931. For example. George Mulhauser and his crew spent three years (19201923) sailing around the world in a 62-foot yawl.” It also sponsors sailing activities and produces reference materials.
MANY PEOPLE FOUND ECONOMICAL LIVING ON A SAILBOAT MORE APPEALING THAN LAND-LOCKED POVERTY In 1934. almost 20 years after Conor O’Brien made the same trip with a crew. Four years later. R. sailing’s popularity has continued to grow. more than 1. However. D. Graham sailed solo across the North Atlantic. SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY . Despite daunting sailing conditions. Modern sailing Since World War II.• L E A V I N G T H E L A N D T O S E T S A I L • DURING THE 1930S. he headed east to Cape Town. At any given moment. Starting at Buenos Aires. avoiding war zones.000 boats are probably sailing in deep water on extended voyages that take them far away from their own countries. 17 SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY ROOM. Dumas became the first person to sail solo around the world south of the great capes. he sailed alone from England to the Caribbean without auxiliary power. in 1942. The 1940s Off-shore leisure sailing declined throughout much of the world during World War II. Vita Dumas of Argentina headed back to sea alone in a 32-foot ketch.
between 1982 and 1984. ending a journey that started in 1965 when he was 16. the next frontier may be the Northeast Passage north of what was the USSR. For example. avid sailor and author Bill Robinson wrote. into achievable goals for today’s sailors. Some of these trips have been in extremely small sailboats. and some used no outboard motors to cover miles on windless days. Antarctic. and almost 1.300 sailors have sailed solo across the Atlantic. Other sailors have challenged themselves by making do with less. not even a compass. including one woman. more than 1. Marvin Creamer of the United States crossed the Atlantic Ocean twice and sailed around the world using no instruments. 18 .” In 1970.• S A I L I N G T H R O U G H T H E C E N T U R I E S • Modern instruments have made what used to be challenges. 14 sailors. And in 1988. and an arrival of a small boat after such a passage creates about as much stir as the docking of the Staten Island Ferry. including one less than 6 feet long and several others less than 12 feet long. By 1966. tackling the inclement weather and the icebergs with a variety of craft in the Arctic.000 sailors have made the solo journey across the Pacific. By 1988. had sailed around the world both solo and non-stop (no outside assistance and no harbor moorings). Adventurers seeking new frontiers have headed towards chilly waters. such as criss-crossing an ocean or sailing around the world. Sanders of Australia completed a solo journey in which he circled the world three times without stopping. “Certain routes have become so popular for small-boat passages that they are even called milk runs. Canada. Robin Lee Graham of the United States became the youngest person to circumnavigate the world by himself. Since the end of World War II. For new technical challenges. Jonathan W. and Greenland.
C H A P T E R SAILING & RACING THE WIND TODAY Sailboat design has changed only slightly from ancient times to the 1800s. he would recognize enough of the rigging and gear to pitch in and pass as part of the crew. With the number of people sailing for pleasure burgeoning. boat designers changed their focus from building on tradition to developing better designs. polyethylene. Only in the last 50 years have modern materials produced lighter boats that require less maintenance. and other durable. Contradictory though it seems. Most recreational sailboats are sloops or cutters. sailboats are fast and sleek. That means more time spent sailing. and materials. methods. Even so. yet lightweight materials. a few sailboats are made of concrete. polyurethane. If a sailor from the 19th century could travel back in time to an ancient Roman ship. Although some experts use the terms inter19 AN OPTIONAL ”PULPIT” ACTS AS A GUARDRAIL FOR ADDED SAFETY AT THE BOW OF THE SAILBOAT . built primarily of fiberglass. the early pleasure boats remained heavy because the primary construction material still was teak and other wood. aluminum alloy. for example. which has increased the sport’s appeal to both leisure sailors and racers. Today.
a head. with standingheight room for one or more sleeping areas. a fully equipped kitchen. Even a single-sailed sloop might use other sails according to wind conditions. below-deck space that is too short for standing. Its size and amenities depend on the size of the boat. and others. A skilled crew should be able to right the lightweight boat and resume sailing. For example. Should the boat capsize so the cabin fills with water. The outdoor seating area outside an indoor cabin is the cockpit. Today’s hulls are made from many natural and synthetic materials. Despite this diversity in design and sails. and a sheet secured by the crew). resin. the craft itself will still remain afloat. The hull The hull provides the basic shell. whereas a cutter has one mast but two or more headsails. and heads (bathrooms). for the boat. Between the bow and stern is the cabin. or frame. Most of the hull’s surface is smooth to minimize water resistance. and protection from the weather. blocks of polyurethane foam. the bow. or other buoyant materials. in strong winds. Slightly larger boats might have what’s called a cutty cabin. The smallest are only around six feet and the largest are 45 feet or longer. and more. sailboats have many common components. storage. 20 . the headsail might be replaced with a smaller jib sail (its three corners connect to the mast. The smallest boats have no under-deck room.• S A I L I N G T H R O U G H T H E C E N T U R I E S • changeably. and its rear is the stern. Boat basics Modern boats are available in a wide range of sizes. Large boats have a full-size under-deck cabin. lightweight spinnaker will be raised to balloon opposite the headsail and catch any puff of breeze. polyurethane. while at the other end of the scale are those equipped with ample sleeping accommodations and room for various forms of leisure recreation. Most hulls are molded to provide room for airtight tanks. a large. The deck (top) surface and other areas where the crew sit. The front of any boat is the bow. On an offwind course. a sloop technically has one mast and one headsail. fully-equipped kitchens. but handy for sleeping. acrylics. wood. making them more suitable for shorter or daytime sailing jaunts. singly or in combination: fiberglass. stand. or walk are molded with small ridges or non-slip patterns that increase traction. composites. The tiny flat-bottomed racers have cabins barely large enough for sitting.
• L E A V I N G T H E L A N D T O S E T S A I L • From the cabin (small boat) or cockpit (large boat). that connect the mast to the deck: a forestay wire to the bow. So the mast can withstand the incredible forces of sails buffeted in strong winds. flat-bottomed sailboat. the crew can influence direction. larger boats have a keel. By moving the centerboard up and down. Additional support comes from three wires that form a T. the crew pushes a removable centerboard through a slot in the boat’s floor. inoperable keel. Hinged vertically. either a centerboard or keel hangs below the hull to make the boat more stable and to prevent the boat from drifting sideways. Turning the wheel has the same effect as moving the tiller back and forth. Large boats have a fixed. some sailboats will have more than one mast to split up the sail 21 . To further distribute the load from the pulling sails and to position the shrouds for good alignment. the mast has one or more spreaders. Removing the centerboard leaves the hull bottom unobstructed so that the crew can deliberately sail the boat onto the shore. Moving the tiller moves the rudder from left to right on its hinge. the captain and crew do most of the work of sailing. The depth of the keel determines how deep the water must be for the sailboat to not run aground. speed. The direction of the rudder determines the direction of the boat. However. which is a large. giving the captain another way of controlling the rudder. The centerboard or keel Depending on the boat design and size. too. Larger boats sometimes have a steering wheel. Steering mechanisms The tiller is the long handle connected to the rudder. However. manipulating the centerboard. flat piece of wood or metal. The mast and sails At the front of the cabin stands a tall mast of either wood or aluminum alloy. and two shrouds to the sides. Special rigging between the mast and spreaders takes pressure off the mast itself. On a small. not a centerboard. the rudder hangs in the water from the transom (or back edge) of the boat. and other sailing operations. the taller the mast it can support. creating resistance to the water. the tiller. and the boom with the sail. A single spreader will be in the middle of the mast. The keel is a permanent part of the boat that extends below the boat like a fin. These horizontal bars are bolted along mast’s height. The larger the sailboat. special metal fixtures secure it to the deck. Sometimes a keel will be hinged so the crew can shorten it temporarily to take the boat into shallower waters. what’s called standing rigging.
which determines the angle of the sail. handling two sails on an 80-foot boat is easier than managing one enormous sail. the America’s Cup defender. Since the 1950s. 22 . Ranger. In 1937. extends perpendicularly from the bottom of the mast. also of aluminum alloy or wood.• S A I L I N G T H R O U G H T H E C E N T U R I E S • A HORIZONTAL SPREADER AND NUMEROUS SHROUDS EXTEND FROM THE MAST TO DISTRIBUTE THE WIND FORCE FROM THE SAIL area. For example. was the first boat to use sails with an artificial material. A free-moving boom. Lines (ropes) attach the bottom (and two corners) of the usually triangular sail to the boom so that the hoisted sail keeps its correct shape. Secured lines keep the boom from swinging wildly and give the crew the control needed to adjust the angle of the boom. a succession of artificial materials such as polyester and ripstop nylon have replaced the traditional natural materials. The sails themselves used to be made of canvas. flax. cotton. or silk.
The captain uses the tiller to determine the direction of the boat. you can determine wind direction by looking for ripples on the water or smoke from an onshore chimney.• L E A V I N G T H E L A N D T O S E T S A I L • Ropes. Sailing directly into the wind is impossible. and boat moves straight ahead. For example. The wind can’t blow through the sail. at the top of the mast. In strong winds with full sails. the crew routinely coils or bundles any length of line that collects in the cabin as a result of pulling in lines. At best. To maximize the forward drive and minimize the sideways drag. or beating. the crew adjusts the angle of the sail. the wind drives the boat forward. have special names and uses. unfurling the sail from the boom. On a close reach.” and the other side is “leeward. Otherwise. away from the wind. With the wind directly behind the sailboat. • Beating happens when keeping the course means going in such a direction that the sails. the boat sails obliquely towards the wind (the opposite of a broad reach). which is blowing at a right angle to the direction the boat is sailing. and the sail catches the wind. the rudder. Many sailboats have a pennant-like burgee or other wind indicator. Sailing basics So how does a sailboat work? The principle is easy: hoist the sail. Pulling other lines. the wind could drag the boat sideways (the keel minimizes this) or possibly tip the boat. pulling a line called the halyard hoists the third corner of the sail up the mast. These are called the points of sailing: • Running means sailing before the wind—that is. the boat sails directly across the wind. The side of the boat closest to the wind is “windward. and that resistance is what propels the boat. With respect to the wind. which can be faster than running. adjusts (or trims) the sails. however. Because lines can easily become tangled and dysfunctional. called sheets. even trimmed flat so they are almost paral23 . the boat sails obliquely away from the wind. If the wind is a little to either side of the stern. reaching. • Reaching involves sailing across the wind. the sailboat runs in an almost straight line. or lines. or astern. which the crew wraps around the boom and secures with other lines. A close reach can give the crew both the most control over the boat and the most speed (theoretically even faster than wind speed!). and—particularly in small boats—sometimes their own bodies (which shifts their weight) each time the boat changes direction.” Ideally. the sails catch all the wind. a boat can sail at an angle about 45 degrees either side of the wind direction. the crew makes the sailboat move ahead by any of three tactics: running. On a beam reach. Releasing the halyard drops the sail. On a broad reach.
A 24 . The park systems of many cities that have public lakes not only rent small sailboats. hoisting a sail to catch the wind. Anyone willing to spend more money for the thrill of sailing on a larger boat can ask a travel agent to locate an adventure outfitter who will provide the boat and either individual or group training while cruising the outfitter’s home waters. quickly becomes a complex set of operations for getting the sailboat from point A to point B. you have to adjust the sails constantly to keep them wrinkle-free and to keep the luff. the best way to learn is by doing. To keep moving ahead. So what initially sounds simple. of each sail just taut enough that it doesn’t shake or flap. Even if you’re sailing a steady course. or leading edge. can’t stay full of wind. SOME 100 YEARS OLD lel with the length of the boat. Other inexpensive options include adult education classes at community colleges and classes offered through boat dealers. the crew must tack.• S A I L I N G T H R O U G H T H E C E N T U R I E S • THE ANNUAL EGGEHMOGGIN RANCH RACE IN MAINE EVERY AUGUST ATTRACTS CLASSIC BOATS. Although many books describe how to sail. and Charles II brought the sport back to England when he successfully bet his Katherine would beat the Duke of York’s Anne. An experienced sailor who has a boat and patience can be an excellent teacher. sailing in a zigzag path rather than a straight line to the destination. Continuing tradition Yacht racing began in the Netherlands during the 16th century. but also offer short courses in their use.
• L E A V I N G T H E L A N D T O S E T S A I L • few years later. The rules of the sea A casual sailor can manage a small sailboat and have fun without perfecting the techniques of sailing. but leisure sailors who want to enjoy the thrill of competing will want to hone their skills and get familiar with rules. shallow boat designs. In 1854. Sailing enthusiasts realized that the Thames Tonnage rule penalized beam and favored narrow boats. class association. These and other early races were boat-to-boat competitions. Most races are limited to a particular design or class of boat. To keep racing sailboats from becoming unseaworthy. the competitions had developed into regattas between fleets of boats sailing for prizes. and strategy of racing. In turn. Unfortunately. The next standard was the International Offshore rule adopted in 1969. however. the newly formed International Yacht Racing Union introduced an international rating system in 1906 that classified boats by meters. Even the first recorded yacht race in the United States in 1835 was a boat-to-boat race. To discourage poor boat design. the first of a succession of rating systems to minimize inequality in racing. Boat designers quickly narrowed their craft. By the 1870s. reaching Dublin from Holyoke in 15 hours. Many designs. this yielded in the mid-1990s to the more complex International Measurement System. This international standard encouraged the design of full-bodied sailing yachts. became so narrow that they were unstable. In a handicap race. racing enthusiasts adopted the Thames Tonnage rule. the early yacht clubs began arranging races for its members. the racing community switched rating systems in 1886. based on wagers between the owners. and boats with similar tonnage raced each other. However. racing enthusiasts wanted more. all sailing races follow basic rules as set by the International Yacht Racing Union and applied on the open seas. competition is open to a mix of boats from different classes. or other group that sponsors sailing races. adopting a method developed by Dixon Kemp based on length and sail area. Then they need to get familiar with both the international rules and the rules of the individual race. giving their boats a competitive advantage. so they began developing ways to match groups of boats for racing. Anyone serious about racing needs to locate a sailing club. Although a local race might have its own subset of rules. and the finishing time of each boat is 25 . conventions. By the1720s. The Thames measurement calculated tonnage based on the beam length. Sir William Perry won the first recorded open-sea race. that system eventually led to wide. which encourages faster but still seaworthy boats.
which is posted before the race. All sailing races start from a line either set up between two moored buoys or marked by signs on the shore. the guilty party should volunteer to take the applicable penalty. Similarly. although some races may require the boat to retire from the competition. If a boat commits a foul. such as a collision. Instead. Sailing races don’t have referees to enforce the rules. the courses vary because sailing clubs set their own courses according to the local waters and wind conditions. requiring some markers to be rounded to port and others to starboard. Buoys or permanent navigation markers identify the course. 26 . To encourage self-policing actions. a boat that withdraws from the race always scores higher than one that is disqualified. However. the competitors enforce the rules themselves. the boat can raise a flag signaling a protest that will be resolved after the race by an independent committee. Any boat that fails to follow the course is automatically disqualified. Usually the course is triangular with several laps. although still lower than the last boat that actually finished the race. The goal is to test the competitors’ sailing skills.• S A I L I N G T H R O U G H T H E C E N T U R I E S • adjusted according to yardstick numbers determined for each class of boats. if one boat thinks another is at fault or has committed an infraction. Any boat that hits a marker has to go around the marker again.
requiring the best skills and equipment to win. one of the founders of the New York Yacht Club. racing clubs. the race has been the last in a series of other springtime ocean races called the Onion Patch. and Havana. 27 . Cuba. Some are local. Today. Schuyler and his cronies commissioned a new boat. T. The series consists of three short in-shore races marked by buoys. and a long race from Sydney. In the southern hemisphere. and other sponsors organize and conduct hundreds of sailboat races throughout the world. Since 1964.• L E A V I N G T H E L A N D T O S E T S A I L • The great races Today. the America won. The race repeated annually until 1910. Australia. others national. The unpredictability of the weather and the strength of the Gulf Stream make the Onion Patch races a challenge where winning depends on sailing skill as much as boat speed. Petersburg. The Southern Ocean Racing Conference (SORC) began in 1930 with a race between St. Day promoted the seaworthiness of small sailboats. usurping Britain’s racing supremacy on the seas. coupled with grueling winds. The oldest of these is the America’s Cup. to take on the challenge. and this race proved his point. which can reach speeds of six knots. America participated in the fair. sailing magazines. the SORC series is influenced by the Gulf Stream. That letter invited an American schooner between 80 and 100 feet to participate in a race celebrating the first “world fair” to be held in London in 1851. Several of the international races have gained professional stature. then stopped until 1923 when the newly formed Cruising Club of America (CCA) began sponsoring the race. As editor of Rudder magazine. Tasmania. the competition continues in what has become the most prestigious and most expensive racing event in the world. the SORC features a series of races in southern Florida and the Bahamas. the Southern Cross Series has dominated the ocean racing scene since it was launched by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania in 1945. More than 10 hours later. The unpredictability and variability of the weather conditions. Like the Onion Patch races. which evolved from a letter written in 1850 from Britain to George Schuyler. and a few attract racers from around the world. an intermediate 200-mile race. to Hobart. Florida. Today. In 1906. force many boats to retire during this rigorous series. but the actual race that became the America’s Cup took place almost a month later around the Isle of Wight. America. Fleming Day organized a sailing race from New York to Bermuda (635 miles). which is named after Bermuda where the last race ends.
strong tides. The Observer. The six-race series features four inshore races.000 miles with four mandatory two-day stops while circling all of Great Britain.• S A I L I N G T H R O U G H T H E C E N T U R I E S • Held every odd-numbered year since 1957. Sponsored by a British newspaper. began in 1966 under the sponsorship of The Observer and the Royal Western Yacht Club. England. Boats race almost 2. and held every four years. subject to variable winds. England. England. and Newport. Rhode Island. • The Round the World Race. the race gives hundreds of solo sailors a chance to a follow routes between Plymouth. and a 605-mile offshore race between from Cowes. launched in 1990. open to three boats from every country. Other well-known races include: • OSTAR (the Observer Single-handed Transatlantic Race) was started in 1960 by a sailing enthusiast who sailed alone to avoid the problems of finding crew.000mile route circumnavigating the globe. and a rugged coastline. Solo sailors who want to compete in a round-the-world race enter the Vendee Globe Challenge. • The Round Britain and Ireland Race. open to any boat with a two-person crew. to Fastnet Rock (off the coast of Ireland) and then back to Plymouth. fickle weather. the fiercely competitive international Admiral’s Cup Series takes place in British waters. a 230-mile race in the English Channel. challenges fully-crewed boats with a 32. started in 1973 by the Whitbread brewing company. 28 .
12–18 Buckley. Marvin 18 Crowninshield. 17 Dutch as early sailors 12 as shipbuilders 12 F Fitch. Richard Turrell 15 Middleton. Roger 13 Nutting. 15 buoyancy 5 importance of 4 in raft construction 6 K Kemp. Nicolas 15 propulsion paddling 5. Robin Lee 18 Q Queen Elizabeth I 12 Queen Victoria 14 R rafts 6–9 advantages of 6 catamarans 5. R. Lewis 13 Mulhauser. 6 construction of 6 design of 6 disadvantages of 6 origins of 5 H Hudson. See clubs P Perry. See synthetic materials J Johnson. 7 propulsion of 7–8 Charles I 12 Charles II 12. William Washburn “Typhoon Bill” 16 O O’Brien. 6 rowing 5. 28 Clyde Cruising Club 16 Creamer. Sir William 25 planked boats 8–9 design of 8. John C. Dixon 25 L logs as boats disadvantages 4 early improvements 5 origins of 4 M Macgregor. Frank 15 G George III 13 George IV 14 Gerbault. 9 propulsion of 8 Primoraz. D. Alain 16 Graham. George 16 C canoes 7–9 advantages of 7 construction of 7 dugout canoes 7 evolution of 8 origins of 5 outrigger canoes 5. 24 clubs 25. 27. Vita 16. William 15 I International Yacht Racing Union 25 formation of 15 29 . John 15 Marin-Marie 16 McMullen.INDEX A artificial materials. 6 propulsion of 5 British as shipbuilders 12 British royalty as early sailors 12. Samuel 11 B boats early designs 5. 8 D Dumas. 26. Dr. George 13 Cruising Association 16 Cruising Club of America 16 Cumberland Sailing Society 14 N navigation need for 4 North. 17 Graham. Conor 16 Olympic Games 15 organizations. 7 planked boats 8 poling 5. Alfred 15 Johnson. Edward Empsom 15 Morris.
Jonathan W. 15 Worth.propulsion of 6 uses of 7 rating system Thames Tonnage rule 25 Robinson. Captain Joshua 15 steam power 14–18 introduction of 3 success of 9 Stock. small appeal of 15. 18 trans-Atlantic crossings 15 sailing appeal of 3 as Olympic sport 15 dependence on wind 9 modern popularity 17–18 reasons for 12 sailing books Down Channel 15 Sailing Alone Around the World 15 Yacht Cruising 16 sailing.S.S. Claude 16 30 .A. 13 first American 13 large 13 last royal yacht 14 steam-powered 14 S sailboats. leisure 16 growth of 14 in Britain 12–18. 15 solo circumnavigation 15. commercial 9. 13 in U. C. 18 Slocum. 13 decline of 14 popularity of 11 sailing. R.A. William Albert 16 Royal Cork Yacht Club 13 Royal Yacht Club 14 Y yacht clubs Cumberland Sailing Society 14 first 13 first in England 14 proliferation of 14 Royal Cork Yacht Club 13 Royal Yacht Club 14 The Yacht Club at Cowes 14 Water Club of Cork 13 yacht racing early races 13–14 first recorded 12 racing boat to boat 25 yachting as sport of wealthy 13 yachts early designs 12. 18 solo "firsts" 16–18. 13 in Netherlands 12–18 in the U. 13 sailors 28 sails introduction of 5 on canoes 7 on planked boats 8 on rafts 6 origins of 4–9 rigging of 9 Sanders. Ralph 16 synthetic materials 20 T tacking 9 The Yacht Club at Cowes 14 W Water Club of Cork 13 Webb. 16 circumnavigation 16 cruising 16 early trips 13.