페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

In gales from seaward, and even from N.E. to S.W. by the eastward, the current takes a mean direction of S.E., and attains a rate of a mile and a half an hour. Therefore, in crossing the gulf in these gales from sea, allowance should be made for the set of the current, which is dangerous, as it drifts vessels directly towards the shore.

II. Winds.—The winds of the gulf are very variable at all times, and indeed without exception remarkably so. Westerly and easterly winds have been known to continue for whole months, that is, winds from those quarters, northward and southward of them as cardinal points. The westerly winds certainly prevail more than easterly, and the N.W. (so well known by the name of the Mistral) during winter and spring; and those from the eastward in autumn, although S.W. winds are also common in this season.

In the fine weather of summer winds from seaward are common, and in the fine weather of winter it blows frequently from the northward. In winter the S.W. wind proper sometimes blows, and, lastly, in this season a wind which clings between North and N.N.E. blows hard, but yet seldom: it is very deceptive, and the fishermen call it the Orsure.

On the coast of Catalonia the gales from N.E. to S.W., passing by the North, in the gulf commonly change in squalls from N.E.

The gales from S.E. to West, passing round by South, are generally S.W. on the coast of Catalonia.

S.W. gales often drop at the entrance of the gulf, there they change to South; half way into the gulf they become S.E., and on the coast of Provence they are East.

The gales of the Orsure, the most trying on account of their violence, are accompanied by the very worst weather, generally with a sudden change of wind: but happily this wind does not often blow.

The sudden changes from East to West are less rare, especially in the middle of the gulf, for in fine weather the winds change gradually and not to a directly opposite point. For instance, with fine weather from the S.E., even in winter, on the coast of Catalonia the wind hangs to the South; half way into the gulf it is from East, and on the coast of Provence from N.E.

The Mistral, however, is the wind which persists most in blowing severely.

In the fine season, although gales come from East as well as West, they are not of long duration, and the navigation of the gulf has no very serious difficulties. We may also apply the same remark to winter. As for the gales of wind so common at this season, it is well known that they attain a degree of strength which no human power can withstand. But a vessel may always avoid being caught in a scrape by attending to the two following rules.

First, avoid the gulf in bad weather or with the appearance of bad weather and a low barometer, even when you have a fair. wind.

Second, never beat to windward in the gulf, unless absolutely necessary, and therefore get across it as quickly as possible.

III. Points from which to leave or enter the Gulf.—We may first observe, that whatever may be the position of a vessel, there are fonr points by which the gulf may be left or entered, and which are:—1, the coast of Catalonia; 2, the coast of Provence; 3, Isle Minorca; 4, the South coast of Sardinia. But a word about these points.

The coast of Catalonia provides a refuge from on shore winds; as we have already observed, the gales are generally from N.E. and S.W. S.E. winds always, although they do not often blow, when they do come degenerate into a furious tempest. This is a great evil no doubt, but it is one to which all navigation is liable. We will merely add, that the coast being very clean and S.E. winds blowing very seldom, it is better to meet a gale of wind there than in the gulf of Lyons. In all cases we recommend the bay of Rosas, an excellent anchorage affording shelter from all winds and in a position for profiting by the first fine weather. If Rosas cannot be gained, and the vessel cannot keep the sea, let her then run down as far to the West as Cape St. Sebastian, and there wait for fine weather.

The coast of Provence is remarkable for good anchorages in abundance. The principal of these are Marseilles, Le Bruse, Toulon, the roads of Hyeres, Aguay, and the gulf of <Jouan. Therefore on this coast, excepting in an Orsure gale, a vessel will always have a place to run to when she is unable to gain her port. But in all cases, if possible, the roads of Hyeres should be preferred, and if she cannot go there, the gulf of Jouan.

Coming from the eastward, a vessel would make the land of the Hyeres Isles; but wherever she may be from, when she has the coast of Provence at hand, it should not be abandoned in winter.

The island of Minorca is the place of refuge from gales of the Orsure, besides which a vessel may lay by all round it, and there is the anchorage of Port Mahon in case of accidents.

The South coast of Sardinia is the retreat from the Mistral, and ships requiring repair from its effects. But there are instances of ships having run from the Mistral as far as Palermo, in Sicily, and others even to Malta.

In conclusion, then, a ship is not obliged to take the gulf in bad weather or when the weather is threatening with a low barometer; and, in fact, there is no necessity for beating in the gulf excepting in one case, and that is, when she is caught by a gale from seaward in such a position that on the starboard tack she cannot make Marseilles, and on the port tack she cannot weather Cape de Creux. This position, the most critical of any in bad weather, shall be the subject of special consideration.

IV. Points of Departure.—Before going further, let us consider the navigator has the book of directions on board for the Western part of the Mediterranean. We do not here give the description of coast, for a captain bound to any particular anchorage refers to his manual. A vessel would also have on board a good chart of the gulf, with a description of the lights and places above mentioned, as well as a good barometer. In fact, the captain would possess the means of laying down the position of the ship at any time. This being premised, as Marseilles is the principal commercial port, we shall consider it as the place bound to by a vessel coming from the westward. From our reasoning it will then be easy to infer what should be done in any other case. And this done, we shall not occupy ourselves with starting from any particular port of the coast of Provence from which to cross the gulf, and it will be easier also not to take any particular port for arrival. Again, we shall consider ourselves at perfect liberty to choose the time, to consult the pilots, and I shall offer their advice as applying to any particular case rather than anything that I could say. Moreover, when coming from the East, it is not necessary actually to cross the gulf, but always in this case it is so to choose the time. Coming from the South of Sardinia, a vessel has only to profit by fine weather to gain as quickly as possible the coast of Provence, and to proceed as hereafter recommended.

In coming from the West, Cape Creux is generally made, and a departure taken from it: even with the wind from seaward vessels pass in sight always of the coast of Catalonia, but then the departure is taken from Cape San Sebastian. For the rest, if the vessel has an offing with the wind from seaward, she should keep it whatever may be her point of departure: but with any other wind one of the above capes should be used for it. We will now consider the mode of crossing the gulf with different winds.

V. To cross the Gulf with a Northerly Wind.—In the fine weather of winter, as we have observed, northerly winds are frequent: and although they may be somewhat unfavourable, they must still be turned to account for navigation; and be dealt with in bad weather.

The signs of fine weather are: the barometer at lowest 29-9 in.; the atmosphere clear and the gulf quiet; the cold according to the season. It should not blow harder than would admit of two reefs in the topsails, and the courses to be carried. It may happen that even in fine weather it may blow hard for a time; but it will be short, and a ship may profit by it. The most favourable time and position will be in the evening off' Cape Creux.

In the above case a vessel will cross without hesitation. She will go and make the Hyeres Isles; she will then steer for the coast of Provence, and will manage so as to keep it and the land generally as long as possible with the view of getting to the westward in the night. The northerly wind will moreover assist her by slight changes.

But if signs of fine weather should be uncertain, and others seem to appear, then there should be no hesitation, even if the wind is moderate, of stopping on the coast of Catalonia for it or until the wind changes.

Then with fine weather and a moderate northerly wind the vessel will gain the coast of Provence; with too much wind or doubtful weather she should make the coast of Catalonia; and even so if the weather should be doubtful, because in winter westerly winds prevail, and for this reason a vessel will be better on the coast of Catalonia than on that of Provence. It will be better for her to be at anchor in the gulf of Rosas than at the Hyeres Isles, a consideration which should always hold in coming to a decision: but at the same time fine weather should never be lost sight of.

Now, should a vessel be surprised in the gulf or driven from the coast of Provence by a northerly gale, she should make for the coast of Catalonia, and if she cannot do that she should get under the lee of Minorca.

We have advanced as a principle that a vessel should never attempt to work to windward in the gulf nor lie to, and this must not be forgotten, especially if the wind heads or freshens. If it heads her, and the coast of Provence cannot be fetched, she should wear off, and beware of getting into the middle of the gulf. In this case, the wind will haul to N.E., and she can do nothing else but return to the coast of Catalonia. Even also if the wind freshens, although it may not be a time to run, she must also return there, and by no means lay to.

When the northerly wind begins to be wavering, the nature of it should be considered more than its direction, whether there is to be a gale of the Orsure or the Mistral; if the former, it will be North or to the right of it; if the latter, to the left of it.

VI. Crossing the Gulf with a N. W. Wind.—The signs of fine weather with a N.W. wind, varying westerly, are the same: nevertheless, if the barometer is not below 29'5 in., if the weather is clear and the gulf smooth and a moderate wind, the gulf may also be crossed.

In all cases, even on departing from Cape Creux, a vessel should make as much of a northerly course as possible, even to North true, so as to get into the latitude of Planier as soon as possible. If this latitude is attained in a longitude less than 4° 36' E., the vessel will steer for Faraman (the light of Tignes); from thence for Cape Couronne; and from this last for Marseilles. If the vessels gains the parallel of Planier to the eastward of 4° 20' E., she may steer for Cape Couronne and thence for M&rseilles. .

This route may seem to be opposed to the principle we laid down of crossing the gulf as rapidly as possible. But it is not so. In tbis route attention must be given to what the wind allows and what it will not,—or indeed what it compels a vessel to do. It is of no use then to think of measuring distance, but to make it good somehow. The sails, moreover, should be kept clean up full, {and crossing the gulf as rapidly as possible should imply special attention io such particulars.

When the vessel has attained the parallel of 43°, she has only to stand on, gaining to windward as she can at all times; and in this case she cannot fail to make Hyeres Roads. If she does not reach the parallel of 43°, and in a less longitude than 4° 20' E., she must return to the coast of Catalonia. In fact, should she not have attained the parallel of 43° and a longitude greater than 4° 20' E., it will be evident from the position of the ship and the direction of the wind what is the easiest coast to make, and that quickly. We are supposing that the vessel can still carry her foresail and close reefed topsails; but if she cannot, there is nothing to be done but to get to the southward as soon as possible. But we shall return to this case again.

VII. Crossing the Gulf with a Westerly Wind.— With the wind at West free, it is evident that the state of the weather is of more importance than the strength of the wind. Nevertheless, as the vessel must get to the latitude of Isle Planier, in 4° 20/ E. long., some trouble must be taken to do so. Therefore, if the weather looks well, that is, if the wind should not have a hankering for the S.W., although it may blow fresh, she will make for that position. From thence (the latitude of Planier in 4° 20' E. long.^ she will make for Cape Couronne: and on gaining the gulf of Foz, if the wind admit, she may run direct for Marseilles.

Even with the wind at W.S.W., provided the weather is trustworthy, a vessel should adopt the above route, because it must be expected that the wind will become scant as she proceeds, a state of things indeed certain to occur in winter.

VIII. A Word on the Foregoing Routes.—The winds from W.S.W. to North are, without doubt, the most favourable for crossing the gulf. At North it may be scant, and it may freshen; but in general the weather is clear, and that is a great thing. In fact, when a vessel is once on her way, there are excellent anchorages on the coast of Provence, unless it becomes stormy, in which case the vessel may bear up. But these safeguards permit a vessel to start, which she might not do with the wind from seaward: and in winter it should be preferred, as we have said, to the West rather than East of her destination. If, therefore, the weather should not be particularly fine, a vessel at this season may leave something to chance to attain this destination.

The wind being from one of the points we have mentioned in the gulf, will undergo frequent changes, all generally tending to the northward. Its mean direction in winter is N.N.W.; in summer, N.W.: and these are the true Mistrals. Sometimes it will become West, especially in summer.

But here is a fact proved by experience: leaving Cape Creux with it bearing N.W. (true), and the wind from the same direction; if the vessel is obliged to take in her courses, she will not reach Marseilles, unless she may have previously attained the latitude of Planier.

This will explain the determination with which we have insisted on the latitudo of Planier being gained in crossing with the wind off shore; and it is easy to see that all reasoning is io favour of the route we have recommended. In fact, we have chosen the parallel of 43°, to show what there is to be done; but besides the route attaining this parallel as soon as possible, the same benefit will follow by adopting instead the latitude of Planier.

If the wind admits of a vessel taking the route we have given in No. VI., which unfortunately does not often happen, there will be the advantage of not being far from the shore, and also not very far from it but for a few hours; and the wind will not be so strong as it is inshore, excepting off the mouths of rivers, a matter of little moment.

NO. 11.—VOl. xxxII. 4 F

« 이전계속 »