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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: 6

hull, you might get eight and a half or maybe even nine knots out of it under ideal conditions. For practical purposes, you can figure eight or less. A knot, by the way, is a nautical mile, and it’s a little more than a regular mile. When you say eight knots, you mean eight nautical miles an hour.”

“But that’s not fast!” Sandy objected. “You said that’s what a fast racing boat would do!”

Jerry smiled. “Believe me, Sandy,” he said, “when your boat is heeling way over and your decks are awash and your sails are straining full of wind, it seems like an awful lot of speed! You’ll see when we get out today. Besides, speed is all relative. A really dangerous speed on a bike would seem like a slow crawl in a car.”

“I guess you’re right,” Sandy answered. “But you didn’t tell me how fast this boat will go, compared to a racer.”

“I think we’ll get five or six knots out of her,” Jerry replied thoughtfully. “That’s not fast, but it’s only a couple of knots slower than the fastest. You see now what I mean?”

Sandy nodded, then said, “I’m with you, Jerry. Now that I know a little bit about it, I sure think you’re right. I’d much rather have a boat we can sleep on and take on trips up and down the coast than a racer that doesn’t even go so fast! Besides, I’d be pretty foolish to think about any other kind of boat at all, wouldn’t I? I don’t even have the least idea of how to sail this one yet! Come on, Jerry, start showing me!”

As Jerry carefully explained the different parts of the rigging, the complicated-looking series of wires and ropes around the mast began to look a whole lot simpler to Sandy. The first thing he learned was that not much of the rigging moved or was used for actual sailing of the boat. The parts that didn’t move were called “standing rigging,” and if you eliminated them from your thoughts, it made the “running rigging” comparatively easy to understand.

“You have to learn about the rigging first,” Jerry said. “The idea is simple enough. The standing rigging is used to support the mast and keep it from bending to either side or to the front or back when the sails start to put pressure on it. The standing rigging is every line or cable you see that comes from the top of the mast or near it down to the outer edge of the deck or to the bow or stern.”

Sandy looked about the little sloop, and noticed that this seemed to take care of more than half of what he saw.

“The running rigging,” Jerry went on, “is used to raise and lower the sails and to control their position to catch the wind when you’re sailing. The lines that are used to raise and lower the sails on the mast are called halyards. They work just like the ropes on a flagpole. The other kind of running rigging—the lines used to control the way the sails set—are called sheets. You’d think that a sheet was a sail, wouldn’t you? It isn’t, though. It’s the line that controls a sail.”

“I think I understand so far,” Sandy said, “but don’t you think it would be easier for me to learn if we went out for a sail and I could see everything working?”

“Right,” Jerry said. “That’s just what I was going to say next. Telling you this way makes me feel too much like a schoolteacher!”

Jerry decided that it would not be a good idea to try to sail away from the dock, because the part of the harbor they were in was so crowded. There would be little room to maneuver with only the light morning winds to help them. The best thing to do, he concluded, was to move the boat to a less crowded part of the harbor. At the same time, he would teach Sandy the way to get away from a mooring. In order to do all this, Jerry explained, they would row out in the dinghy, towing the sloop behind them. Once out in open water, they would tie the dinghy behind them and pull it along as they sailed.

Together they unlashed the dinghy, which was resting on chocks on the cabin roof. Light and easy to handle, the dinghy was no trouble at all to launch, and in a minute it was floating alongside, looking like a cross between a canoe and a light-weight bathtub.

Getting into the dinghy carefully, so as not to upset its delicate balance, they untied the sloop from the dock. Then they fastened the bow line of the sloop to a ring on the stern of the dinghy, got out the stubby oars and started to row.

At first, it took some strong pulling at the oars to start the sailboat moving away from the dock, and Sandy feared that they would tip over the frail cockleshell of the dinghy. But once the sloop started to move, Sandy found that it took surprisingly little effort to tow it along. It glided easily behind them, its tall mast swaying overhead, as they rowed slowly out into the waters of Cliffport Bay.

“We’ll find an empty mooring, and tie up for a few minutes,” Jerry said. “I don’t think that anyone will mind. I want to show you the method we’ll use most of the time for getting under way.” He pointed to the anchorage area, or “holding ground,” as it was called, and Sandy noticed several blocks of painted wood floating about. They had numbers, and some had small flags on them. “Those are moorings,” Jerry explained. “They’re just permanent anchors, with floats to mark the spot and to hold up the end of the mooring line. Every boat owner has his own mooring to come in to. The people who own these empty moorings are probably out sailing for the day, and we won’t interfere if we use one for a while.”

Easing back on the oars, they let the sloop lose momentum and came to a natural stop near one of the moorings. They transferred the bow line from the dinghy to the mooring and made the sloop fast in its temporary berth. Then they climbed back on board and tied the dinghy behind them. Jerry explained that a long enough scope of line should be left for the dinghy so as to keep it from riding up and overtaking the sloop, as accidents of this sort have been known to damage the bow of a fragile dinghy.

This done, Jerry busied himself by unlashing the boom and the rudder to get them ready to use, while Sandy went below for the sail bags. These were neatly stacked in a forward locker, each one marked with the name of the type of sail it contained. He selected the ones marked “main” and “jib,” as Jerry had asked him to, and brought them out into the cockpit.

Making the mainsail ready to hoist, Sandy quickly got the knack of threading the sail slides onto the tracks on the mast and the boom. He worked at this while Jerry made the necessary adjustments to the halyards and fastened them to the heads of the sails. When this job was done, Sandy slid the foot of the sail aft along the boom, and Jerry made it fast with a block-and-tackle arrangement which was called the “clew outhaul.”

“Now,” Jerry said, when they had finished, “it’s time to hoist the mainsail!”

“What about the mooring?” Sandy asked. “Don’t you want me to untie the boat from it first?”

“Not yet,” Jerry answered. “We won’t do that until we’re ready to go.”

“But won’t we start going as soon as we pull up the mainsail?” said Sandy, puzzled.

“No,” Jerry said. “Nothing will happen when we hoist the sail. It’s like raising a flag. The flag doesn’t fill with wind and pull at the flagpole like a sail, does it? It just points into the wind and flutters. That’s just what the mainsail will do. You see, the boat is already pointing into the wind, because the wind has swung us around on the mooring. You look around and you’ll see that all the boats out here are heading in the exact same