The Scooter Canoe.
[Illustration: Fig. 195. Runners of Scooter Canoe.]
[Illustration: Fig. 196. The Scooter Canoe.]
Naturally we were very much elated at our success, and straightway made for the barn, where we began operations on the scooter canoe. The sleigh was an old-fashioned affair, with rather broad wooden runners. First we removed the body of the sleigh, and then the runners were cut down to a height of about 15 inches. We spaced them apart about 28 inches, and connected them with four crosspieces at the top. The runners were now placed over our larger canoe, with forward ends about on a line with the mast, and the crosspieces were fastened with screws to the gunwales. As an additional security, a pair of crosspieces were now run under the canoe at each end and fastened with screws to the keel. At the bow the keel was shod with a strip of brass. The rudder was taken off the boat, and an oar lock was fastened to the stern to hold the steering oar. In place of lee boards we nailed a couple of thin boards over each runner, as shown in the drawing. We were in a hurry to finish this, as our vacation was short, so we used on the scooter canoe the sails that we had made for our ice boat. This required a bowsprit, but as we had little time to spare we used the jib-boom of the ice boat, nailing it to the deck beam of the canoe. We decided that the jib-sail could be used without a boom, as we had done with the scow. The mast was braced by stays attached to the ends of the runners and bowsprit. This spread of canvas was far greater than that originally provided for sailing the canoe, but the heavy runners on each side helped to keep the boat on even keel, and then to further balance the sail a board was nailed across the aft end of the boat. This overhung the runners about 18 inches each side, and in a strong wind we could sit out on the windward end of this board, thus preventing the scooter from heeling over too far.
AN ARCTIC EXPEDITION.
As soon as our scooter canoe was completed we prepared for the long-planned winter expedition to Willow Clump Island. The weather conditions were ideal. We had had ten days of steady cold weather, which had followed a heavy fall of snow, so that we could tramp up the island on snow shoes, or we could use our scooter canoe and scooter scow on the river. It was out of the question to use our skate sails or the ice boat on the river, and the canal would be serviceable only in case the wind should blow from a southerly quarter. But we stowed them on the sledge for use on Lake Placid.
On the Tuesday morning following Christmas we made the start. Bill in the scooter canoe and Dutchy in the scooter scow sailed up the river, and the rest of us, on snow shoes, took the tow path of the canal, hauling the sledge along. We carried provisions for a week and a good supply of blankets. The island was reached without mishap, except that Dutchy had to be helped several times in dragging the heavy scow around the rapids. Bill reached the island long before we did, and after unloading the canoe came racing back under a stiff breeze for a second load. Then he took his turn at hauling the sledge, while Reddy sailed the reloaded scooter canoe up to the island.