Maritime History of the Great Lakes

Marine Record (Cleveland, OH), July 4, 1895, p. 8

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If destructive collisions continue as iweyueny ve wie Great Lakes as they have been so far this season, there will have to be more rigorous legislation governing the speed of lake vessels in fogs. The losses sustained by the insurance companies will drive them out of business or compel them to insist upon more caution, as the only alternative to an advance in rates which would cost ves- * gel owners more than the loss of time implied in very _ slow movements when nothing can be seen a length or _ two away. The question of human life also enters into the problem, and it seems that the general government can hardly refrain from adopting stringent measures to _ lessen the danger of collisions in the crowded lake high- "ways. It is not so much that the number of vessels is increas- _ ing as that the average rate of speed is constantly rising - which makes fogs more dangerous than they ever were before. The temptation and tendency to run steamers through thick fogs at a good rate of speed is very strong, in these days of low freights and necessary quick work- ing, but it must be checked in some way. Already this _ Season the losses caused by collisions in foggy weather must have amounted to at least a million dollars, and the season has hardly begun. If the destruction of prop- erty should continue at the same rate until winter the ‘losses would be enough to ruin some of the marine in- surance companies and make low charges next year im- possible. Bee 4E MARINE RECORD. THE MERCATOR PROJECTION. » aim of the Hydrographic Office, U. S. Navy; ‘a publication of its charts and sailing directions, iited to meeting the needs of nautical people. Ablishing the sailing directions of the Great 5, it has adopted for those charts the Merca- \rojection which is commonly used for nautical pur- © It is impossible to represent, with great precision, »lane surface like that of a chart, any large part of arth’s surface. There will be distortions of one w another of the different kinds of projections or ypments that may be used for charts, each has its itages and disadvantages. In. choosing, reference be had to the special purpose for which the chart is ded. Independently of the most important property ) Mereator projection to be described herein, it has “s commended itself to seamen, for the reason that eridians and parallels are represented by straight ‘and do not therefore, suggest confusion. svery kind of chart that has commended itself to iers in modern times, the straight line represents ack to be followed from place to place, and the pe- ‘ excellence for purposes of navigation of the Mer- projection, upon which the new charts of Lake oand Lake Superior are constructed, lies in the ‘rty that any straight line that may be drawn to sent a track crosses every meridian at the same , 80 that a vessel navigated by this chart maintains sme true course throughout her passage along any ‘htline. This condition, namely, keeping the course ant, is the most convenient in practice, and besides, ices in all the calculations in which the place of the s concerned the utmost simplicity of which they ‘apable; and the seaman, in making passages of duration, such as are required on the Great Lakes, s rid of all resort to astronomical navigation which y consists in finding his geographical position from vations of the heavenly bodies and from time carried conometers. : 2very other kind of nautical chart, the straight line, unless it coincides with the meridian, crosses .ecessive meridian lines at varying angles, and in to follow the course that is laid out, it is necessary ar the true course from time to time as the ship 3dsupon her voyage. To make the required altera- athe course, itis necessary to know the latitude omngitude of the position of the ship, and for the ‘g of these elements vessels navigating the waters lakes are not generally equipped. s chart will provide the maximum facility for navi- zx under the conditions that prevail on the waters t covers, for in finding the direction in which the ‘is to be steered, it is only necessary to drawa ‘ht line from the place of departure to the place of iation, transfer the direction of this line to the r of the nearest compass-rose by means of a parallel and read.upon the outer row of subdivisions of the ass-rose the angle that this line makes with the lian lines engraved upon the chart. This is the true e, and it remains the same throughout the passage; but, due allowance must be made, in steeringiby compass on board a vessel, for the variation of the compass and the deviation of the compass, in the accustomed manner which is now so generally and thoroughly understood by navigators on the lakes. In this connection we note that the last issue of the N. Pacific Pilot chart contained particulars of the great circle course from Brito to Hong Kong and Yokohama, which, by the way, is a most valuable computation for the commerce of the N. Pacific Ocean and will doubtless be duly appreciated as the work of the Hydrographic Office. rrr 0 0 YACHT SAILING. A good sail, like a good suit of clothes, must fit at the start, and the nearer asail comes to perfection in the be- ginning, the better it will last. Tight places can be stretched out and loose clothes taken up, but when you begin to re-cut a sail or to stretch and strain one part more than another, you are remedying the faults perhaps for the time, but in the long run the sail will get back into its original badshape. A skillful hand can nurse and coax a seemingly hopeless sheet of duck into a toler- able sail, but for a racing boat it could-only provea han- dicap. Nowadays when so many small boats are designed practically on the same lines, the question of superiority leech: Now, even if such a sail well made in the ~which had been attained from the west by previous ex- rests often on either the handling or the canvas, though it may be claimed that the man who handles his boat well will know enough to look out for his sails. It is generally accepted in this country that the perfect gail is one with a little fullness in the luff, and a flat, even first place, as a contemporary observes, and well put on the spars, can be ruined by careless setting. The first idea of every amateur yachtsman is to sway up the throat halyards as hard as he can. The throat. hal- yards havea great purchase, and stretch the sail by the straight pull up the luff. With the peak, the amateur is more careful. He is warned to make fast when the wrinkles begin to show at the throat of the sail. Let this course be followed for a few weeks, and what will be the result ? The luff of the sail, even though it is well roped, has been strained to death, while the peak has been set only hand taut. The fullness has all been stretched out of the forward part, and more than likely — the after cloths have become too slack by not being kept in their places. It may be said that all the strain of trimming the main sheet comes on the after part of the sail. This is true, and the weight of the boom also must tend to stretch out the leech and after part, but these do not seem to make up for the dead pull that comes on the inboard end. Get the throat well up, but don’t stretch it too far, and always keep the peak as high as it will go. The peak halyards are longer than the throat, there is more rope to stretch, and it needs more looking after if you want to keep the sail in its original shape. ; Another favorite way of spoiling good sails is to have — spars that are not stiff enough to stand the strain that will be put upon them. A weak gaff will stretch the sail too much at the points where the peak halyards are made. fast to it, making atight cloth at first, and then,if the halyard is moved, a slack cloth. All yachtsmen know that a gaff that. buckles sideways throws a sail out of shape quicker than almost anything else. x rrr 0 cg THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE, A dispatch to the Boston Herald refers to a revival of interest in whaling in Hudson Bay, two barks having made good catches there last year. These vessels have sailed again for the same region, and they will be followed by athird. The dispatch goes on to say: “The belief is almost a certainty that a Northwest Passage exists, and that whales which have been hunted in the vicinity of the mouth of Mackenzie River and be- come shy have come through into Hudson’s Bay and been found on-the coast cf Greenland. Irons have been found in whale killed on one side which were struck in previous years on the other side.” The Buffalo Courier pertinently observes that it seems odd that anyone should at this time seek to prove the existence of a Northwest Passage in sucha manner as this, as if there were any doubt about it. It has been known for almost half a century that there were - several Northwest passages. In 1846 the lost expedition of Sir John Franklin, having entered the Artic Ocean from the East, reached a point within a few miles of that plorers, so that he is now accredited with the honor of having been the discoverer. of the Northwest Passage. What he had accomplished was not, of course, known until long afterward, as all the members of his two ships’ companies perished by starvation or in some other mang ner. The expeditions sent in search of Sir John Franklin explored so thorougly the entire region that severa routes are now completely mapped between Davis Strait, the Atlantic gate to the Artic Ocean, and Bering Strait, the Pacific gate. One of these search parties under Collinson and McClure entered Bering Strait in 1850, and McClure’s Ship, the Investigator,reached a point 60 miles’ west of Barrow Strait, where she was beset in the ice and where she may remain yet, for all anybody knows to the contrary. McClure and his people were rescued by a sledge expedition from Sir Edward Belcher’s ship, the Resolute, which had entered the Artic Ocean from the East, and McClure and his companions returned to Eng- land by way of the Atlantic in 1854, having actually traversed the Northwest Passage from ocean to ocean. on account of which feat he was knighted, and Parliamen J voted £10,000 to him and his crew. The Resolute, whose company rescued McClure, was herself abandoned in th ice, but she afterwards drifted out into the Atlantic, was” picked up by a Yankee whaler, and was refitted and presented by the United States Government to the Q uee

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