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"Starboard" should be altered to please the uninitiated, when
I am, Sir, yours truly,
Commander P. & 0. S. S. Pekin, 3,777 tons. March 19th, 1879.
PROPOSED REVERSAL OF STEERING WHEEL.
To the Editor of the “ Nautical Magazine.” SIR,—In the course of no mean length of service I do not remember to have heard any of the great seamen of the day recommend an innovation on the present method of reeving wheel ropes, and the consequent action of the wheel; I say wheel, because it is no more incumbent on the helmsman to be familiar with the action of the rudder than with the principles which regulate the latent heat of steam. Such being the case, the sole element to be considered is the movement of the ship’s head and steering wheel, and why the former should not move without the latter, as it now does, in lieu of the opposite direction, is difficult to infer. It reminds one of that charitable old lady, who said, when the topsails were being mastheaded, “Who can be surprised at the poor dear sailors swearing so, when the harder they pull at the strings the higher the sheets go up.”
The only case quoted which by any means can be brought to bear on it is that of the Grosser Kurfürst. Unfortunately for the cause the German sailors, who were steering a German ship in charge of German officers, are, in their own country, used to the reversed motion of the wheel, but so far as the evidence goes there is nothing to show that a different result would have ensued however the power might have been applied. Seamen are well aware that, on occasions of great emergency, men at the wheel are apt to “lose their heads ;” and in this particular instance, as there were many acting, it is possible that such was the case. The true cause of the loss of that ship, and the gallant men who
formed her crew, is not far to seek; but, we may rest assured, that to whatever it may be due, a reversed wheel motion did not make one of the factors. Of all places in the world the navigation on the Thames is most difficult, requiring the most perfect com. mand over a vessel at all times. Such being the case, we should naturally seek for collisions amongst the fleets of long steamers which are constantly plying on all the reaches of the river, but it is scarcely too much to say that there is no instance on record of an accident from this cause.
Of course, the eye and the hand can be educated to adopt any particular action, but when once learned, it would introduce un. certainty everywhere to attempt to make a radical change. If it were possible to bring all the seamen of the world together, and lay down an universal law, it is certain that accidents would increase for a considerable time afterwards, and probably not decrease at all. Of all peoples the English are naturally the most opposed to change, even when its necessity is obvious, and certainly the men who may attempt to alter the existing steering rules, have a task before them which will tax alike their professional and their persuasive powers.
Yours faithfully, W.
APPARENT AND TRUE DIRECTION OF WIND WHEN SAILING.
To the Editor of the “ Nautical Magazine." SIR,—In your Jaly number for 1878, you kindly answered my question on “ Apparent and True Direction of Wind when Sailing." I purposed to have followed it up with another, but sailed before I saw the first answered. My next question is
Can a ship, which can only sail when close-hauled 66° from apparent direction of wind, whose apparent velocity is 28 miles an hour, beat to windward ; and how near to the apparent direction of wind (velocity the same) must a ship lie in order that her gain should be 47 per cent. (supposing her to make no leeway)?
SHIPMASTER. [We regret that our correspondent's inquiry is not sufficiently clear to enable us to give a definite answer. If he still desires
the question to be answered we shall be glad if he will state what he means in the expression “in order that her gain should be 47 per cent.”—47 per cent. on what ? Also will he explain what his views are about beating to windward ? Opinions vary very much on this point.—ED. N. M.]
Quarterly Weather Report of the Meteorological Office ; Part IV.,
October-December, 1875. London: J. D. Potter, 31, Poultry;
E. Stanford, Charing Cross. 1879. The usual tables of barometrical pressure, temperature, rainfall, &c., for the period indicated are given in this report, with fall analysis of the general meteorological character of the three months. There is a large increase in the number and variety of the Appendices, and some of these are exceedingly valuable. The monthly summaries are given in accordance with the forms recommended for international adoption by the Permanent Committee of the Vienna Congress on Meteorology. Annuaire des Courants de Marée de la Manche pour l'An 1879,
par M. Gaussin, Ingénieur-Hydrographe de 1re classe, publié sous le Ministère de son Exc. M. le Vice-Admiral Pothuan, Ministre
Secrétaire d'Etat de la Marine et des Colonies. Paris.
ten square miles of latitude and longitude in the Channel. Thus, from this work, the seaman, knowing the part of the Channel where his ship is, can, at any moment of flood or ebb, determine the direction and velocity of the stream, and ascertain other important data by which to check his soundings and set his course.
Tables for Rapid Calculations of Latitude and Longitude in various
ways; also Methods of Finding Time of High Water and Variations of Compass, dc. Prepared by John M. Beverly, United
States Coast Pilot. Boston: Rand, Avery & Co. TABLES similar to these have frequently come under our notice, but they cannot be recommended. Breusing, when he first published his “ Steuermannskunst," issued a set of tables to four places of decimals in the logs. ; but this was found to be a great detriment to an otherwise excellent work on navigation, and he speedily published tables to five places—the least that can be adopted for precision. It cannot be considered otherwise than indiscreet to use logs. which often differ only by 1 or 2 for 5 seconds of the hour angle. Our readers already know our objections to “ finding longitude by equal altitndes of the sun.” On an inquiry before the Wreck Commissioner into the loss of a vessel, the master's certificate would be in jeopardy, if the position had been determined by no better method than this. Finally, the method of " finding the time of high water by the moon's age" is a very old method, and, at best, only a very rough estimate ; the time may be in error from one to two hours.
Dizionario Nautico e Tecnico di Marina : Nautischtechnisches
Wörterbuch der Marine. Compilato da P. E. Dabovich, F. R.
Tecnico Navale. Pola. This is not a Dictionary explanatory of the technical terms used in connection with shipping, but a Dictionary (or rather Wordbook) of equivalent nautical terms in four languages, viz., Italian, German, French, and English. Its scope is wide, extending beyond navigation, nautical astronomy, and seamanship, so as to include hydrography, shipbuilding, naval tactics, trade and commerce, &c. We have carefully looked through the part to hand, and while the Italian, German, and French equivalents appear to be unexceptionable, the English will require some revision in a new edition. There is at present no really good work of the kind, and if this be compiled with judgment, it will be of considerable service to a large circle of students and general readers.
Entscheidungen des Oberseeamts und der Seeämter des Deutschen
Reichs : herausgegeben im Reichskanzler-Amt. Hamburg: L.
Friederichsen & Co. 1879. It appears that the decisions arrived at, and judgments delivered, in the Marine Courts of the German Empire, respecting maritime disasters, are published from time to time; and the book before us is the second part of the first volume. A collection of such judgments may not be pleasant reading, but we have no doubt that if masters of British vessels, when at sea, spent some of their time in the perusal of the various cases of disaster and collision that occur, and studied the decisions of the Wreck Commissioner's Court respecting them, they would do so to their benefit, and the suspension of fewer certificates might be the result. We think the Germans are right in collecting and arranging the decisions that are given in the Maritime and Consular Courts of the Empire. In our own columns month by month we publish a summary of the official inquiries held with respect to casualties to British vessels, but we think that the official publication of the full text of the decisions in a book form might be of great service to many, and full of warning to those who are liable to be called upon to answer for maritime disasters. Technological Dictionary. English-German-French. Third
edition, completely revised and corrected. Wiesbaden: J. F.
Bergmann. London: Trübner and Co. 1878. The first edition of this really valuable work was brought out in 1853, the idea of publishing a technological dictionary in the three principal languages of Europe having originated with Mr. J. A. Beil, of Hanover. In 1870, a second edition was published, and now we have before us a copy of the third edition, dated 1878.
The merits of this great work cannot be sufficiently dealt with in the limited space at our command, but we may inform our readers that the work has been conscientiously and ably prepared, that it comprehends the technicology of all branches of science, art, and industry, and that it is without doubt a most useful dictionary for reference.
In the present edition it appears that some special attention has