Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Windmill at Sea -- January 27, 2011

From the 06-February-1895 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image for a larger view. I found a report that Dashing Wave was sailing to Alaska in 1918, when she was 65 years old. Captain Morehouse killed himself in 1900.


Novel Motor Employed on the Dashing Wave.


Utilizing the Breeze on the Ship's Bilge Pump.


Setting the "Studding Sails" in Lighter Airs — Future Possibilities for the Old Ship.

The old packet ship Dashing Wave, whose white sails have swelled to the breeze in every quarter of the globe and whose voyages have been made with chronometer-like regularity for almost half a century, carries an unnautical kind of motor on her quarter deck.

It is not an ultra modern contrivance, intricate and wondrous, baffling the non-mechanical mind by the mystery of its hidden source of power, but a plain, every-day windmill.

"And that windmill," said Captain Morehouse, from whose ingenious brain the idea sprang full armed and canvased, "is so sound and sturdy in its work that it should be rated A-1 at Lloyds like the old Wave herself.

"The ship has been in use continuously ever since her launching in 1853 at Portsmouth. N. H., and, after bumping through the billows of four oceans, it is not strange that her seams open when she labors and lets the ocean in. We carry eight men before the mast, when she used to have twenty-two, so I cast about for some other force outside of sailor power for pumping purposes."

The novel contrivance for keeping the old leaky ship out of Davy Jones' locker is rigged with six arms, upon which are spread canvas sails, each having a surface of about one square yard. In a light breeze additional wings or "studding-sails," as Mate Wilson calls them, can be attached, and in the further dying out of the wind the sail area can be increased to startling proportions. It is said that the awful spectacle of these monster wings of canvas whirling between the main and mizzen masts of the Dashing Wave has driven many a good, though superstitious, sailor-man to drink.

First Officer Wilson, a truthful but tarry man of the sea, spoke feelingly and loyally of the captain's windmill and dwelt for several columns of space upon its further possibilities.

"With a beam or quarter wind," said he, "and the lee tack of the mill hauled well aboard, the machine not only buzzes around about a million revolutions a minute, but it takes the place of all the sails on the mizzen ; in fact we seldom bend those sails during the voyage.

"But when we clap all the canvas on the mill, cast off the stops and turn her loose, the thing draws strongly on your admiration. The long arms sweeping up among the rigging and down athwart the deck from starboard to port, make the bilge pumps suck emptily in a short time. That windmill, sir, would pump out the ocean from its basin in a dog-watch. However, it is a source of danger also, for we lost our pet goat and half of the cook's head one night last trip. They ran into the wake of the mill in the dark -— didn't see it -— and were struck by the sail swinging silently through the air.

"We stop the machine by bracing it sharp up on the wind and when the motion is checked throw a bowline over one of the arms. This part of the business isn't down very fine, as it was built to go and only a dead calm can really knock it out. The captain is thinking of getting a dynamo and having our own electric lights, and possibly we can use a propeller with the power generated from the windmill. The Dashing Wave is known as the 'lucky ship' because she never had an accident or wreck, and she never failed to meet expectations in any form or in any kind of weather, and water can't run into her faster than our windmill can run it out again."

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