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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: 5

and jumped lightly into the small cockpit. “Come on board, skipper, and we’ll start your first sailing lesson by showing you around and telling you the names of things. It’s not half as complicated as it looks. In fact, this sloop rig is just about the simplest there is. As soon as you learn what to call things, you’ll have the hardest part of the lesson over with.”

Sandy followed Jerry into the cockpit, then paused to turn and face his uncle, who was still standing on the dock. “How about you, Uncle Russ?” he asked. “Will you stick around for a little while and take the first sail with us?”

“Thanks for asking, Sandy,” Russell Steele answered, “but much as I’d like to come along with you, I can’t manage it. I have to be back in my office this afternoon for an important conference. In fact, I’ll just about make it if I get started now. But before I get under way, and before you get carried away with the fine art of sailing, there are a few things that you’ll need to know.”

He talked rapidly and uninterruptedly for about five minutes and, when he had finished, Sandy appreciated for the first time how thoroughly well-organized his Uncle Russ was. His preparations for the boys’ trip had been complete in every last detail. Russell Steele’s practiced military mind had reviewed the situation and had missed nothing that might be needed.

The sailboat had been fully provisioned for more than a week of sailing, and had been equipped for every possible emergency as well as for a routine and pleasant cruise. The small cabin contained an alcohol cookstove and a good supply of canned food. Every locker and storage place was full, and everything put on board had been chosen with care and an eye for both comfort and necessity.

A complete tool chest was stowed in its cubby with several boxes of spare hardware, ship fittings, nuts and bolts, wire and odd tackle. A drawer under one of the bunks contained a whole assortment of fishing equipment. Another carried an odd mixture of things that the boys might want, even including clothespins for drying garments, and a sewing kit. A specially made bag contained another sewing kit, this one for sails and canvas repair.

In a narrow, hanging locker in the forward part of the cabin were two complete foul-weather suits consisting of waterproof pants and jackets with hoods. Below them were two pairs of sea boots.

Opposite this was the small enclosed “head,” sailor’s word for bathroom. No bigger than a telephone booth, it still managed to contain a toilet and a sink, plus a cabinet for medicines and first-aid supplies and another for towels, soap, toothbrushes and the like.

“The only things that you won’t find on board yet,” Russell Steele concluded, “are your sleeping bags and your air mattresses. I’ve ordered special ones that the local store didn’t have in stock, and they’re not due to arrive until tomorrow. For tonight, you’ll have to plan on sleeping ashore, but I’ve taken care of that for you, too. I’ve got a room reserved for you at the Cliffport Hotel. After tomorrow, you can sleep on board, like sailors.”

He scowled at his pipe for several seconds, as if he hoped to see in it some hint of anything that he might have forgotten to take care of, and he mentally checked each item again. Sails okay? Charts and navigating instruments in place? Food? Tools? Spare lines? Life jackets? Oars for the dinghy? Cleaning equipment? Sea anchor? Everything checked out. At last, satisfied that all was in good order, he smiled and clamped the pipe in his teeth again.

“I think,” he said, “the only thing I’ve forgotten is the seagoing way to say goodbye!”

He settled for “Ahoy!” and “Smooth sailing!” and, brushing off Sandy’s thanks, walked briskly up the gangway without turning back.

The boys watched him as he turned the corner of the main shed and walked out of sight, then they gave all their attention to a close survey of their new floating home.

Shakedown Cruise

“Well, Jerry, what do you think of it?” Sandy asked his friend, as he cast a proud eye along the sleekly shaped length of the little sloop.

“Not ‘it,’” Jerry said. “You should say ‘her.’ You always call boats ‘she’ or ‘her,’ though I’ve never met a sailor who could tell you why.”

Jerry looked critically down the twenty-four-foot length of the sloop. “She looks really seaworthy,” he said, “and she looks pretty fast, too. Of course, this is not a racing boat, you know. They use this kind mostly for day sailing and for short cruises. Even so, she looks as if she’ll go. Of course, we can’t really tell until we’ve tried her, and I don’t think we’ll be ready to try anything fast for a little while yet.”

Noticing the flicker of disappointment that crossed Sandy’s face, Jerry added, “I’d rather have a boat like this than any racing machine ever built. And I’m not saying that just to make you feel better about not having a racer. There’s not much difference in actual speed between a really fast boat and an ordinary good boat of the same size. But there sure is a lot of difference in comfort. And I like my comfort when I go for a cruise.”

“Why should a racing boat be uncomfortable?” Sandy asked.

“It’s not uncomfortable for racing, or for day sailing,” Jerry answered, “but a racing boat of this size wouldn’t be fitted out for cruising at all. You see, to get the most speed out of a boat, designers make sure that the hull is kept as light as possible and as streamlined as possible, too. A light hull will ride with less of its surface in the water, and that cuts down on the amount of friction. You remember what I told you about friction before?”

Sandy nodded, and Jerry went on. “Streamlining the hull shape helps it to cut through the water without making a lot of waves at the bow to hold it back. Not only that, but to make the boat really as fast as possible, most designers want to streamline the decks, too. That way, even the air resistance is lowered. Well, when you streamline the hull, you make less cabin space below. Then when you streamline the decks, you have to lower the cabin roof so that it’s level with the decks. You can see that in a small boat like this, you wind up with no cabin at all.”

“I see,” Sandy said. “But how does the lightness of the hull affect comfort? I’m not so sure I understand that.”

“When you have a light hull,” Jerry replied, “it’s a good idea to keep it light. If you overload it, you lose the advantage you built into it in the first place. That means that you can’t carry all the stuff we have on board to make for comfortable, safe cruising. Our bunks, the galley, the head, the spare anchor, all the tools and supplies—it adds up to a lot of weight. If you want a really fast boat, you have to leave all that stuff behind.”

“Then if this were a racing boat,” Sandy said, “we wouldn’t have anything more than a small cockpit and a lot of deck, with a little storage space! No wonder you said you’d rather have a boat like this! But there’s one thing I’d still like to know. You said that there wasn’t much difference in real speed between a racing boat and an ordinary good boat. How much is ‘not much’?”

Jerry thought for a minute. “Well—” he said, at length—“I’d have to know a lot more about boat design than I know to give you an accurate answer, but I can give you a rough idea. This is a twenty-four-foot boat. If it were a racing