Cape Vincent Rig




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By Dan Beard

The Cape Vincent Rig is on something of the same principle as the English Rig, which consists of a long spar and a sprit, the spar being in some cases twelve or fifteen feet in length; one seven feet long will make a sail large enough for a boy.  The sprit is fastened at the bottom securely to the sail, and fits on to the main spar with a crotch, fork, or jaw.  

The sail being cut in the right shape and proper proportions, and made fast to the long spar and to the end of the sprit, as soon as the latter is forced into place it will stretch the sail out flat, as in Fig. 195.  A boy with one of these rigs on his shoulder makes a very rakish-looking craft. 

The spar is carried as a soldier carries his rifle, on the shoulder.  The sprit, or small cross spar, is allowed to rest against the crew's back. 

According to one writer, who is supposed to have had experience, this rakish craft will not in the least belie its looks.  In speaking of it he says : " I should say that on good, smooth ice, with a twenty-five or thirty-mile wind, they went at the rate of eighty or one hundred miles an hour." 

This sounds like an exaggeration, but when we remember that a good ice-yacht, well handled, can make a mile a minute or more, traveling much faster than the wind itself, the statement of the enthusiastic advocate of the Cape Vincent rig does not appear so improbable. 

In speaking of the speed attained by regular ice-yachts, Mr. Norton says : " There is no apparent reason why a skate-sailor should not attain a like speed.  Other things being equal, he has certain advantages over the ice-yacht.  His steering gear is absolutely perfect, assuming, of course, that he is a thoroughly confident skater, and it is in intimate sympathy with the trim of his sail."

This nice adjustment between rudder and sails is an important point.  Again, there is no rigidity about the rig. Everything sways and gives under changing conditions of wind, and experience soon endows the skater with an instinct which teaches him to trim his sail so as to make every ounce of air-pressure tell to the best advantage."






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.