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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 179 pages of information about The Scientific American Boy.
next shorter one.  This done, the sail was cut to the dimensions given, allowing 1-1/2 inches all around for the hem.  The hem was turned over a light rope, forming a strong corded edge.  At the clew, tack and head loops were formed in the rope which projected from the canvas, and at intervals along the foot the canvas was cut away, exposing the rope so that the sail could be laced to the boom, as illustrated.  The boom was a pole 11 feet long attached to the mast by means of a screw hook threaded into the end of the boom and hooked into a screw eye on the mast, after which the screw hook was hammered so it would close over the screw eye to keep it from slipping off.  The sail was raised by a halyard passing over a block at the top of the mast.  The sheet was fastened near the end of the boom, passed through a block on the backbone, back of the tiller, and through another block on the boom, and was led to a cleat within easy reach of the chair seat.

[Illustration:  Fig. 223.  The Sailor’s Stitch.]

[Illustration:  Fig. 224.  Laying Out the Sail.]

A Sail through the Country.

[Illustration:  Fig. 225.  A Sail on the Land Yacht.]

Our land yacht proved to be quite a successful craft in the flat country around the school.  Of course, we could not sail everywhere; a country road is too narrow for any tacking when it comes to sailing against the wind.  We hadn’t thought of that when we made our trial trip.  A strong east wind was blowing and so we ventured forth on a road that led due west from our school.  Off we sped before the wind for two miles, until we came to a sharp turn in the road.  Then we began to think of turning homeward.  But this was a very different proposition.  The wind was dead against us and to try to tack from side to side of the road was useless, because we would hardly get under way on one tack before we had to swing around on the other tack, losing all our momentum.  It ended up by our lowering sail and ignominiously trundling the yacht back to school.  After that we carefully selected our course, and never sailed away from home before the wind unless we knew of a roundabout way that would lead us back to port on a couple of reaches (long tacks).

CHAPTER XX.

EASTER VACATION.

Just before Easter that year Bill’s Aunt Dorothy invited him to spend Eastertide with her and bring along his roommate.  I accepted the invitation with alacrity.  Bill had once spent a whole summer at his aunt’s home, and when we arrived there he had many old haunts to visit.  We spent the first day rambling through the woods, in the hills and back of the house.

Bill’s Cave.

He introduced me to a cave which he believed was known to only two other boys, both of whom had since moved to New York city.  The mouth of the cave was almost closed by a large boulder that had lodged in front of it.  We had to climb to the top of this rock, and then letting ourselves down with a rope we slid down the sloping rear face of the boulder into a crevice in the rocks.  Then after squirming under a ledge we emerged into a large chamber, which appeared to be as dark as night after our sudden entrance from the outer light.

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