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Boat Drill: 1899

Boat Drill: 1899
Drill No. 1: "The Difference Between Oars and Sails."

1899. "Boat drill -- U.S.S. New York." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Edward H. Hart, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.


Why Only 13 Stars?

There were 45 states in 1899...

[Wikipedia: "During the 19th century, for its smaller-sized ensigns, the U.S. Navy used a 13-star flag which became known as "boat flag" due to its predominant use on boats (i.e., launches, gigs and tenders)... The reason for the lesser number of stars was so that the stars in a smaller size flag would have greater visibility at a distance." -tterrace]

Thanks tterrace.

Different Oars Explanation

Oars of different sizes are more common than not in rowing craft with more than 2 rowing positions. They provide a means of adjusting the leverage of the oarsman as the side of the boat tapers to bow or stern. There's a rule of thumb for estimating where the pivot point should be on the oar, depending, among other things, on whether sliding seats are used -- I'm remembering 4:1 but that might be for sliding seats.

Galleys with oars all the same size certainly existed (still do) but they require an oar-box -- a rectangular structure that provides mountings for the oarlocks all the same distance off centerline -- or the outriggers racing shells have. If the entire crew is equally large and muscular, it's an advantage in performance to have the oars all the same size.

"Toss Oars"

No, they are at "Toss Oars" a salute. "Oars" is oars horizontal with blades flat.

Different oars

I never noticed they used smaller oars at for and aft. Must be to lessen cavitation for the central power. Anyone know?

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