Keeled Buoy




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By Dan Beard

Keeled Buoys Towed by Kites near New York City.

Boys! Keep your eyes on Bayonne, New Jersey. There appears to be a nest of inveterate kite-flier, there. First we hear of one thing and then of another in the kite line, and each time some man from Bayonne is mixed up in it, or at least he is at one end of the line.

Lately Mr. Eddy has been experimenting with Professor J. Woodbridge Davis's keeled kite buoy. The buoy here referred to is a float, not a boy, as the old song has it:

"Meaning a buoy for the ship what sails, And not a boy of the juvenile males."

The kites used in the experiment were from the "stables" of Mr. Eddy. The five-foot tailless kite that Commodore Vermilyc and Mr. Eddy first sent up on this occasion had a perforated center, which allowed some of the wind to escape through the hole or holes in the kite, and made it less liable to pull hard suddenly, when struck by a squall or wind puff. In other words, the perforation answered for, and was the kite's safety-valve.

The First Experiment.

The buoy was sent out from the Port Richmond side, while the kites went up from the Bergen Point side, for the reason that the wind was southerly, southwesterly, and westerly, often carrying the kites inland, beyond the Bergen Point shore.

The keel buoy was put in a rowboat and rowed to Port Richmond. A six-foot kite was flying, attached to about four hundred feet of cord which was fastened to the buoy in the boat rowed by John A. Weaver, with Mr. Eddy holding the kite cord.

The buoy was dropped overboard and cut loose at 4:20 PM, the wind having shifted to westerly, and although the kite pulled eastward, the buoy moved northward, the adjustment being such that the buoy tacked under the side pull like a yacht. Its speed was very unequal, owing to the irregular pull of the kite, but the buoy reached the marsh above the Port Johnson coal docks at 4:29, making the distance of a mile in nine minutes. 

Mr. Weaver rowed for the Port Richmond side at 4:35, Mr. Eddy holding the string, the kite maintaining its position as long as the boat moved westward against the wind. But when Port Richmond was reached the westerly wind died out and dropped the kite into the water at 4:45 PM.

The kite was recovered, but the experiment was abandoned because a fog settled over the water, the wind completely reversing and suddenly setting in from the coast. Much was learned of the management of kites on the water in calms. There are indications that the buoy can tack against the wind when the kite pull is adjusted at different angles.

Of what interest is all this to the boys? Of great interest; on account of the weather the most satisfactory results were not obtained, but enough was learned to suggest the possibilities of a new sport to the boys, that of using Kites for Sails for Small Boats.

Outdoor Handy Book






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.