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قراءة كتاب Troubled Waters Sandy Steele Adventures #6

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‏اللغة: English
Troubled Waters
Sandy Steele Adventures #6

Troubled Waters Sandy Steele Adventures #6

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 2

knows how to handle a boat, and who’ll be interested in making this trip with you.”

Wrinkling his forehead in thought, Sandy swung his gangling six-foot frame up on to the workbench next to his father. “How about you, Dad?” he asked. “Do you know anything about sailing a boat?”

His father shook his head. “Sailing is hardly a skill that a government field geologist needs to develop. My work is with rocks and minerals—the dryest kind of dry land. What I know about water, you could carve on granite and put in your watch pocket!”

“Geology didn’t make you into an inventor, a chemist, an electrical engineer, a carpenter and gosh knows what else,” Sandy answered, waving around him at the crowded workshop with its confusing mass of equipment. “I just thought you might have done some reading on this subject, too.”

John Steele smiled. “As the proud but confused owner of a new sailboat, one of the first things you’ll learn is that there’s a world of difference between theory and practice. I’ve been out on a boat a few times; years ago, though. I’ve also read some books on the subject, as you thought. But all I know is that I don’t know anything.” He put down the quartz crystal and moved away from the workbench. “No,” he said, “if you’re going to be able to accept your Uncle Russ’s offer of a sailboat as a gift, and if you’re going to sail it on a three-day trip down from Cliffport, you’ll have to find someone with practical knowledge to help you do it.”

Sandy frowned in concentration. “Finding a sailor in Valley View is going to be like finding a ski instructor in the Sahara Desert!” he said. “Why, this town is almost one hundred miles inland from the ocean!”

“That’s true,” John Steele said; “but it seems to me that I once heard you and one of your friends talking about sailing. If I’m not mistaken, it was Jerry James, and it sounded to me at the time as if he knew what he was talking about.”

“Of course!” Sandy said, slapping his forehead in exasperation. “I don’t know why I didn’t think of it! Jerry was a Sea Scout in Oceanhead before his family moved to Valley View. It’s just that he’s become so much a part of this town that I forget he didn’t grow up here with the rest of us. I think he was a Sea Scout for about three years, and he had been sailing before he ever joined up. I’m sure he can do it!”

“Well,” his father said, “you’d better hunt him up fast and find out whether he can and will. Your uncle expects us to call him back within a couple of hours to give him an answer, because he’s leaving the country in two days and he wants to get this settled before he goes.”

He had hardly finished his sentence before Sandy was out of the workshop, on his bike, and tearing down the tree-shaded street. He was sure that Jerry would be able to do it! He remembered their conversation well, now that his father had reminded him of it, and he recalled that Jerry had said that he practically grew up on boats, and that they were the only thing that he missed since moving to Valley View. In the close friendship that had grown up between them in the last couple of years, Sandy could not think of one time that Jerry had promised something that he did not deliver. If he said he could do something, he could do it! Sandy smiled, remembering Jerry’s early days in Valley View, his modest admission that he “could play a little baseball,” and his first day on the diamond. Jerry had immediately shown himself to be the best high school catcher in the county. With Sandy as pitcher, they had developed into an almost unbeatable battery.

As he pedaled toward the drugstore owned by Jerry’s father, Sandy hoped that they would be able to carry their teamwork on in this new venture. He could still hardly believe his Uncle Russ’s offer of a sailboat, provided he could find someone to teach him how to sail. Like most boys, he had read and enjoyed sea stories, although many of the words used were strange and meaningless to him. In his reading, he had often pictured himself at sea, steering a tall ship through white-capped seas. A confused series of sailing words went through his mind: bow, stern, helm, topgallant sails, mizzen, poop deck, quarter-deck, galley, batten the hatches, go aloft....

He was suddenly brought back to land as he narrowly missed running his bike into Pepper March, who refused to hurry for a mere bike. Putting the sea dreams firmly out of his mind, he continued more carefully until he pulled up in front of James’s Drugstore, where he put his bike in the rack under the green-and-white striped awning and hurried into the cool, vanilla-smelling store.

Jerry was behind the counter, making up a pineapple ice-cream soda for Quiz Taylor who, with two empty glasses in front of him, was impatiently waiting for the third.

Sandy climbed onto the stool next to the stubby Quiz and impatiently waited until Jerry was through making the soda. When the concoction was safely delivered into Quiz’s eager hands, Sandy said, “Jerry, I’ve got some real exciting news! In fact, it’s so exciting that I didn’t want to tell you while you still had that soda in your hands. I was afraid you’d toss the whole thing into the air!”

Having firmly secured both his friends’ attention, Sandy told them about the phone call from his Uncle Russ, the offer of the boat, the need for instruction and the whole story. When he had finished, Jerry’s lantern-jawed face was lit up with a 500-watt grin.

“It sounds as if this is going to be the best vacation of my life!” he said. “A boat! I can hardly wait to get going!”

Sandy sighed with relief. “Then you’re sure you can handle it?” he asked.

“That’s a good question,” Jerry said, running a hand over his close-cropped inky hair. “To tell you the truth, I don’t know because you haven’t told me yet what kind of a boat it is. There are plenty that I wouldn’t even say I could act as a decent crew member on. Do you know what kind it is?”

“Why ... why ... it’s a sailboat!” Sandy said. “I mean, that’s all I know about it. Does it make much difference?”

Jerry laughed. “There are almost as many different kinds of boats as there are people,” he said. “Nobody but a real Master Mariner would just answer that he could sail anything. It’s like being an airplane pilot. If you got your pilot’s license flying a Piper Cub, you wouldn’t be exactly ready to fly a four-engine jet bomber!”

“Still,” Quiz interrupted thoughtfully, “the principle remains the same in both. It’s simply a question of creating a high-speed airstream, so directed as to pass over and under an aerodynamically shaped surface which, because of the varying degree of arc and the cambered sections and angle of attack, produces a lift, drag and momentum proportional to the density of the air, the square of the speed and the area of the wing or airfoil. It’s simple! What’s more, a sailboat works the same way.” Looking pleased with himself, Quiz happily returned his attention to the pineapple soda.

“Why, Quiz!” Sandy said. “I didn’t know you could fly!”

“Fly!” Quiz looked up from his soda with a grimace. “The very thought of flying makes me sick. If I don’t hold on to the banister, I get dizzy when I go up to bed at night!”

All three boys laughed, for this side of Quiz’s personality was a standing joke with them. Quiz, formally known as Clyde Benson Taylor, was a virtual encyclopedia of obscure information. While he could tell you vast amounts about nearly every human activity, the very idea of