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    Re: Heath Hezzanith question
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2007 Oct 24, 12:29 +1000

    Frank wrote:

    In maritime circles, this [self-steering ability of the Spray] was considered the real miracle of his voyage. On
    November 20, 1896, the New York Times re-published a rather lengthy article
    from the San Francisco Bulletin reporting on the voyage up until then. He
    had already been in Australia for some time when these reports reached the
    US. The article described some of his adventures and also noted the amazing
    fact that the Spray could steer itself.
    Along the way Slocum converted his sloop to a yawl by adding a small mast and sail aft of the rudder. I forget what Joshua had to say about why he did this, but it seems likely that one planned benefit was to improve, not just the sail balance, but also the (related) boat's ability to hold its course (plus other possible advantages).
    I should point out that while it is not rare for sailing boats to hold a course while sailing up-wind, it is usually more problematic down-wind, although using twin headsails boomed out on either side, with their sheets attached to the rudder, can create a primitive (while effective) self-steering system.
    True mechanical self-steering systems are fairly modern. I understand Blondie Hasler may have created the first only about 50-odd years ago, for a trans-Atlantic solo trip (a race?).

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