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Steering by the Wind

boat, sailed and art

STEERING BY THE WIND In sailing by the wind the great object is to make the boat go as fast as possible through the water in a direction as near to the wind as possi ble ; now if the sheets are hauled very flat aft and the boat sailed close to the wind (" jammed " as it is called) she may " look ". higher than another boat which is being properly sailed, but she will go slower through the water, and make a lot of leeway ; and if on the other hand the sheets are not flat enough aft, and the boat sailed. too much " off," she will go through the water faster, but she will not go sufficiently to wind ward, the art therefore consists in striking a happy medium between these two extremes, watching every puff of wind, and taking every opportunity of luffing up to windward, at the same time keeping the boat " going " and never allowing her to lose her weigh through jamming her in the wind and shaking the sails.

When a boat is properly sailed " by the wind," the lull of one of the sails should be kept, just " touching" as the term is, but never shaking, thus sailed, and with the sheets and the boat her self properly trimmed, she will be doing her best to windward, or to speak more accurately, she will be doing " well," for the art of sailing by the wind is one which admits of the display of so much skill and judgment, that it is scarcely possible to imagine a boat or ship so well steered but that she might be sailed still better, and thus the most clever and experienced helmsman will occasionally meet his match, but this ought to make the young aspirant for naval honours all the more anxious and determined to learn an art which is the groundwork of seamanship, and which affords so fine a field for the development of skill, judgment, and perseverance.