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Mr. Davy has got his eight-oared shell almost finished. The wash-boards are on, the bracing partly in and one coat of varnish on. There are many original features in the bracing. The outriggers will be tied together by means of diagonal wooden stays fastened with brass joints to the out rigger timbers. In Blaikie's boats built last year there was a similar cross bracing tried, but it was made of steel strips laid across the seat bracers from one outrigger to the other. Since it is not so much tenacity that is needed but firmness, Mr. Davy thinks he will gain in lightness and lose nothing in utility by using wood instead of steel. The idea of this cross-bracing is simply this: a shell being made so extremely light it must depend mainly for its strength on the even balance of the strains to which it is subjected. The problem of making a sculling toat is simplified by the fact that the outriggers are exactly opposite each other and the strains equal. But in eight oars the outriggers are not opposite but alternate so that the strains put upon the stroke and bow oars are not balanced by any corresponding strains. As a consequence nearly every boat twists with use in such a manner that the port side near the stern and the starboard side near the bow are lowered, i. e. the boat assumes the shape of a screw. The cross bracing devised by the builders of the past year is simply a scheme to prevent this twisting. Mr. Davy's boat looks very well and if anything can be judged of its speed by the work put on it will probably be fast.
The boats for the Weld boat house are getting along finely. Mr. Davy has five lap-streaked four oars. This week he will have three singles finished. The four oars are nicely built and wellrigged in the modern manner. All five have exactly the same lines so that they can be used by crews to row against each other. The sliding seats are of the Kerns pattern and work splendidly while the outriggers are fitted with the Kerns pins. Mr. Blaikie has finished two singles and one double-scull of the kind called "compromise" boats. Of this pattern also are the three boats built by Davy. This kind of boat is just like a shell in appearance but is much broader and more buoyant so as to stand rough water. Although not so light as shells they are not very much less frail and men using them ought to take great care in handling them.
Besides these boats Mr. Blaikie is building a very light four-oar-almost a shell-without any coxswain's seat, to be used only by men of some skill. It is a boat twenty-two inches wide with two small laps. Another very heavy four-oar will carry a coxswain: it is thirty inches wide; and a lapsteak. Two lap-streak pair-oars are to be built by Blaikie and three wherries. These wherries are singles about two feet wide, lap-streaked and high enought to stand the roughest water ever seen on the Charles river. These boats though very heavy and clumsy are quite expensive and ought to be used more than any other boats at the house.
Few persons about college appreciate what a gift the new boat house is. It is perhaps the finest thing of its kind in America. The workmanship, conveniences and design are excellent. The two bath rooms are fully as good. if not better, than any others in Cambridge. The two piazzas will afford lounging room for hundreds of students. The large dressing room is heated with steam and furnished with two hundred large lockers which could easily be used by two persons each in case of need. The whole building is well lighted and may be well ventilated-by no means a trivial matter in a boat house. There is any amount of room for the storage of private boats besides those belonging to the club. In short the place can afford accommodations for at least three hundred men.
The float is in position and the bridges or gang-ways will be adjusted in a few days. Before the end of the week eleven boats in all will have been placed in the house. A janitor has been procured who has had experience at New York both as janitor and boat builder, and the indications are that the place will be ready for use in a little over a week. At the Harvard boat houses everything is in order to begin the season. The large float is adjusted and the bridges on, but the small float is still useless on account of damage to the gangways. All the class crews will now be out every afternoon, rain or shine, and the river will be animated by the presence and enthusiasm of some scores of student oarsmen. All the other boat clubs on the river are beginning to open up; the B. A. A. and Union Boat Club crews will soon be on the river and on a pleasant afternoon a row down to the basin need be anything but uninteresting or eventless. Never before has the Charles river given promise of a better boating session, and never before has it afforded so many facilities for pleasure and recreation.
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