BLTC Press Titles

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Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley

Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely

Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Eliphas Levi

A yachtsman's holidays; or, Cruising in the west Highlands

by John Inglis


I Had long been possessed with the idea that it is possible to build a schooner which, with the allowance of tonnage for rig, shall be a match for cutters of her class; at all events, in breezes that are strong relatively to the size of the vessels.

It is evident that small vessels will meet with relatively strong winds more frequently than large ones, and, therefore, that schooners have the best chance of success against cutters in the smaller classes. It is undeniable that a schooner is heavily handicapped by her extra spars; at a moderate computation, the second mast and gear will affect her heeling over as much as seven or eight per cent, of additional canvas, and thus will prevent her availing herself of the means of propulsion to that extent. Against this may be set the extra length and weight of hull which may be expected to tell in her favour in a seaway.


On the Clyde it is permitted for schooners or yawls to enter in the classes limited by their reduced tonnages—that is to say, a schooner of sixty-four tons or a yawl of fifty tons may enter with forty-ton cutters, and so on, downwards, throughout the classes.

Although this privilege is not general, I am persuaded it ought to be, if racing with mixed rigs is to obtain at all; for if a schooner is no more than a match for a cutter of five-eighths her tonnage, why should she be prevented entering with her, or why should a yawl once-and-a-quarter the size of a given cutter, and thus fit to run her even, be barred from entering with her real colleagues, and be compelled to run against vessels virtually of the class above her which she has no reasonable chance of beating?

The rules which compel schooners and yawls to enter at their real instead of their effective tonnages operate, of course, only in classes under forty tons, and have the effect, where they exist, of totally extinguishing races for mixed rigs in all except the largest classes. This is a pity, as interesting problems might receive some elucidation by the extension of mixed races down to the very smallest classes.

Thinking favourably of the qualities of schooners of small tonnage as I did, I had the courage of my opinions, and built a little vessel of only eight tons, which was named the "Concordia."

(I may here mention, once for all, that yachts mentioned in this book are not named as in Hunt's " Universal Yacht List.")

As a racer she was only moderately successful, being twice first and five times second, out of eight starts—one race and no more took place in a strong breeze, when she made an example of the cutters. As a cruising boat, however, I have never seen anything of her tonnage that approached her, so comfortable was she, and so complete in her appointments. Having what was then thought the prodigious weight of two and a half tons of lead on her keel, she was extremely stiff, notwithstanding a mainmast 24 feet from deck to hounds, a foremast 22 feet, and other spars in proportion. Her dimensions were—length between perpendiculars, 34 feet; breadth, extreme, 7 feet 6 inches; depth from the rabbit of keel to the upper side of deck beam at centre, 6 feet 4 inches. The head-room under the flush deck was 4 feet 9 inches, and in way of the small skylight there was standing-room for one man 5 feet 10 inches high to dress or shave. No coachroof arrangements interfered with one of the principal beauties of a yacht—the greatest possible expanse of snowy deck plank; but as there was ample head-room for sitting on the low broad

cabin sofas, and we didn't want to perform country dances in the saloon, the height in 'tween decks was considered enough, and unsightly excrescences for the purpose of increasing it were dispensed with.

In addition to the cabin sofas there was a wide berth on each side of the companion ladder; behind the ladder, which was portable, were the washing arrangements, and abaft these again a capacious sail locker. The companion opened from the cockpit, and could be closed by a watertight sliding door travelling in brass guides. The cockpit was completely watertight, and the floor of it was considerably above the load-line, to admit of scuppers being fitted to take water into the sea, without fear of any coming back through them as the yacht lay over. This arrangement is one to be commended for adoption in small yachts, as with no communication between the cockpit and the interior they are quite safe in rough weather, though occasionally swept by a heavy sea. The forecastle gave tolerable accommodation for two men, and other conveniences, as pantry, &c, were not neglected.

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