2008-02-22 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

Hey! Diddly! Dee! - A Sailor's Life For Me!
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev,Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

Ioften wonder how many saltwater sailors are left in the Rockaways? If you know what a jib is; or a yardarm; or an outrigger; or a spanker; or a mainsle; or a royal; or a flying jib; or the yards; or a capstan; or a marlin spike; or a bowsprit; a foremast; a mainmast; a spar; the rigging; the bow; the stern; the focsle; fore and aft; the poopdeck; the wheel; the tack; the gunnel; the gallants; the regals; a lanyard; the bilge; the beam; the keel; the mizzen mast; the boom; the topsle; then you know something about sailing.

Yours truly never traveled under sail, but my grandfather told me many stories as he sailed on three masted sailing ships. Some of the storm tales were hair raising.

My nautical term knowledge came from building models of four masted clipper ships named Cutty Sark and Thermopylae.

During the eighteenth century steam engines and power began to replace sails on vessels, and for a time some steams still had sails and masts. To conserve fuel on the high seas. Then came the naptha engines, gasoline engines, and then the popular diesel engine. Some early sailboats had engines installed for better and easier maneuvering in port. But no matter what, a boat or ship under sail had the right of way!

Pictured today is a scene at Rockaway Point during the late 1920's when sailing was still very popular. Only a few motorboats are seen, and it appears that everybody was coming in for lunch at Kennedy's or the Rockaway Point Inn. Can anyone give us the names of the types of sailboats visible?

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