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The GOSSIP

Number 203 / October 2008

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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copper wire, tape, with stout needles and a thread, are necessary; a few brushes, some varnish, putty, lard, turpentine, and a small tin of mixed paint are all useful.

To temporarily repair damage to hull when on a voyage, putty is often of use; it will stop up cracks and holes when a canoe leaks, owing to slight separation of the planks; this may be due merely to the dryness of the wood, and a few hours in the water, or a bucketful or two in the boat, will cause it to take up. Should the canoe still leak appreciably, it should be allowed to dry thoroughly ashore, and then have a good coat of varnish inside and out. For larger leaks a mixture of rosin and lard, melted together and put on hot, may suffice. For a fair sized hole a patch of canvas, tacked over the place and painted, is a good makeshift; or a piece of oilcloth, fastened on with marine cement, will last until the cruiser reaches skilled labour.

The canoeist will be wise to always have a small tin or pot of lard in one of his lockers; its uses are numerous on a canoe. If the mast has an occasional rub, the traveller or jaws will hoist or lower readily without sticking or jamming. Any part of the spars or hull that has been knocked, or scraped, or is chafed from friction may have a little lard rubbed on it to keep out the wet and diminish friction. Any block that is stiff or rusty will become active again under the persuasion of a little lard inserted with a penknife. A little rubbed on the canoeist's keys, knife, tools or other metal belongings, will prevent them rusting.

If the centreboard sticks, the sliding seat, the drop-rudder, or the tabernacle will not work, or any other tackle be refractory, lard is the agent to induce facility. If a locker lid or slide is too stiff, a little lard will remedy it; if it does not fit tight enough, but allows rain and sea-water to leak in, lard will stop this. Any line or fair-lead that sticks will allow of easy running if greased with a little lard. Any leather fittings, gear, or camping materials will keep soft, and not get stiff and mouldy, if treated with lard. Lard will stop a small leak whether in the centreboard case, the stuffing-box, or the canoe planking. The uses of lard are indeed too many to enumerate. The canoeist can also use it on his sore and bruised hands, on his sunburnt face, neck and arms; to keep his boots watertight; and lastly, should he catch cold, a little rubbed on his nose, throat or chest may cause relief and ensure a night's repose. Therefore, always have lard aboard.

From: "Canoeing with Sail and Paddle" by J. D. Hayward, Mersey Canoe Club.
Pub: George Bell & Sons, York St., Covent Garden. 1893

 

Telltales (DaveP)

We seem to spend most of our time sailing to windward. It's not surprising, we generally sail on long narrow lakes and, whatever the forecast says it is doing, the wind tends to blow along the lake valley. Even the best sailors get to windward much slower than they sail downwind so an average day out consists of setting off from the downwind end of the lake, sailing upwind for a few hours and then a quick run back to the car.

Sailing to windward is difficult but totally absorbing if you do it reasonably well, but not any fun for anybody if you do not. When you are sailing to windward everything that is stuck up in the air and is not a properly set sail is catching the wind and pushing you backwards.

A sail can be in three states. It can be blowing down wind like a flag (feathered or undersheeted), it can be sheeted just right or it can be oversheeted (stalled). When it is undersheeted it is not doing too much harm but it is not doing any good either. When it is just right it is driving the boat as well as possible and when it is oversheeted it is driving the boat somewhat but there is also a lot of drag, which is tending to overturn the boat and/or push it backwards.

The easiest way to tell what your sails are doing is by means of telltales. These are small strips of material fastened to the surface of the sail and they tell you what the airflow is doing on the surface of the sail. Most or all of the better sailors in the group use them.

It is the airflow on the leeward side of the sail that really matters most. (Think of an aeroplane wing; the leeside is the topside and

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