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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: 3

taking part in an activity usually upset him.

“So much for theory,” Jerry said. “Now, to get back to the practical realities of sailing a boat—I’d have to know a few things about the kind of sailboat you have before I’d be willing to give an answer. There are all kinds of boats, of all different sizes. There are sloops, cats, cutters, yawls, ketches, schooners and a hundred variations. Did your Uncle Russ give you any idea of what he has for you?”

“I think he said it was a sloop,” Sandy said. “And he did say that while it was large enough to sleep on and take out on a cruise, it was a pretty small boat. He said that anyone who knew how to sail would know how to handle it.”

“That sounds right to me,” Jerry said. “I didn’t think that he’d want to start you off with a complicated rig or a big boat. If it’s the kind of thing I think it is, I’m sure I can sail it, and teach you too.”

“Will I have to learn all about yardarms and fore-topgallant sails and things like that?” Sandy asked, somewhat doubtfully.

“Not for quite a while,” Jerry laughed. “You’ve been reading too many books about pirates and whalers in the old days. You only find all those complicated sail and rigging names on the big square-rigged ships—the ones with three and four masts. If your boat is a sloop, it only has one mast, one mainsail, and a choice of maybe three other sails, flown one at a time with the mainsail. There’s nothing much to learn compared with the old full-rigged ships with up to four masts.”

“Five,” Quiz said.

“I never heard of one with more than four,” Jerry commented.

As if he were reading from a book buried deep in his pineapple soda, Quiz mumbled around the straws, “The steel ship Preussen was the only five-mast full-rigged ship ever built. It was 408 feet long, had masts 223 feet high, yardarms over 100 feet long and 47 sails totaling 50,000 square feet.”

Even though Sandy was used to this sort of thing from Quiz, he was more impressed than usual. “How would you like to come with us, Quiz?” he asked.

“Who, me?” Quiz looked shocked. “I don’t know the first thing about boats! No, thanks—I’ll stay safe ashore!”

The next half hour was spent in excitedly discussing the trip to come, the possibilities of sailing, the things Sandy would have to learn, and the equipment that he and Jerry would have to take along. Finally Sandy remembered that his Uncle Russ was expecting a phone call, and that Jerry still had to get his parents’ permission to make the trip. They agreed to go back to Sandy’s house and let John Steele make the call to Jerry’s father so that the adults could satisfy themselves about the wisdom of letting the boys take a three-day cruise for Sandy’s first trip.

Leaving Quiz in charge of the drugstore’s soda fountain, they quickly hiked to the Steele home, where Sandy’s father agreed to make the call.

Getting Jerry’s parents’ consent to the trip proved not to be a difficult task. Mr. and Mrs. James obviously had a good deal of confidence in Jerry’s ability to handle a sailboat, and both sets of parents felt that their level-headed sixteen-year-olds could take such a trip on their own. In short order, all of the details were worked out, and Sandy was once more on the long-distance phone to speak with his Uncle Russ in San Francisco.

“It’s okay!” he shouted, as soon as his uncle answered the telephone. “Jerry James, my best friend, used to be a Sea Scout and knows all about boats. His parents say he’s a good sailor. We’re ready to start any time you want!”

He listened for a minute to his uncle, then said, “Swell! We’ll be ready. And thanks a million for the boat!” Hanging up the phone, he turned to his father, mother and Jerry with a wide grin.

“Uncle Russ sure doesn’t waste any time,” he said. “He’s leaving now and expects to be down here tonight. He says that we’d better get all packed and ready, because he wants to take us up to Cliffport tomorrow morning, and we’ll have to leave here by six o’clock!”

Make Ready to Sail!

“There’s one good thing about riding in this little sports car,” Sandy said, and laughed as he eased his cramped six-foot length out of his Uncle Russ’s low-slung red racer. “It’s going to make the sailboat seem as roomy as a yacht in comparison!”

Sandy pushed his cowlick out of his eyes and stretched as his uncle and his friend Jerry followed him out of the little car.

“Don’t worry about the size of the boat,” Jerry said. “I’ll guarantee that it’s going to seem pretty big and complicated, no matter how small it actually is, until you’ve learned how to sail it. In fact, you’re going to find that a boat is a whole new world, full of all kinds of new things to get used to. And from what your uncle told us about this one, it’ll be more than big enough to keep us both busy for a couple of summers to come.”

“I feel as if we’re in a whole new world already,” Sandy replied, “and we’re not even on board yet!” He looked about him at the beehive of activity that was the Cliffport Boat Yard. “I’ve never seen anything like this before!”

From all sides came the sounds of hammering and sawing, and the thin whine of electric sanders. The brisk, salty smell of the sea was mingled with the sharp odors of paint, varnish and turpentine and the peculiar, half-sweet smell of marine engine fuel.

Boats of every size and description were ranged about them. Towering high above them, resting in specially built cradles, were long hulls with deep, weighted keels like giant fins under them. Heavy frames and timbers held these boats upright, and ladders leaned against them to where their decks joined their sides, high overhead. Men scrambled up and down the ladders with tools and equipment, or sat on the scaffolds and frames, painting.

Smaller craft without keels were braced in cradles or frames on the ground, or lay bottoms up on racks made of heavy beams that looked like railroad ties. Some of the boats were having their bottoms scraped, some were being sanded, others were in the process of painting.

At one nearby boat, Sandy saw men hammering on the bottom of the hull with big wooden mallets. Jerry explained that these were calking hammers, and that they were used to drive oakum into the seams between the planks to make the boats watertight for sailing. When the boats were put in the water later on, he added, the planks would swell and form waterproof joints where the planks met.

On both sides, lines of railroad tracks led from the boat yard and the big sheds straight down to the water’s edge and on into the water. Boats on wheeled flatcars stood on the rails here and there, ready to be eased down the tracks into the water for launching. Jerry explained how, when the flatcars with their cradles had gone down the slope and were under water, the boats simply floated away from them. Then the launching device would be hauled back up the tracks for use on another boat.

Sandy looked about him in bewilderment at the variety of boats in the yard. There were small boats with one mast, larger ones with two, cabin cruisers with no masts at all, and one sleek, beautiful, black-hulled boat with three tall masts. He was just beginning to think that he had found some relationship between the size of the boat and the number of masts when he spotted what appeared to be one of the largest hulls in the boat yard, with one immense mast. Next to it