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Original Issue


The classic shapes of the bronze fittings displayed at the big boat shows have developed from centuries of improvisation aboard the ships of the world

Amid the wonderful clutter of boats and accessories on the annual Boston-New York-Chicago-San Francisco boat show circuit, perhaps the most fascinating items are the bronze fittings like the wheel shown above. Each fitting was designed for one specific job, and for that job each fitting is perfect. So perfect, in fact, and so related to the sea that some have become singularly handsome symbols of watery adventure. The sextant, for example, or the binnacle could hardly be taken for anything but what it is, and could not sensibly be used for any other purpose. Among the few exceptions to this rule of single purpose, shown on page 35, are the belaying pin, used on old sailing ships for securing lines and cracking skulls, and the fid, used on modern sailing ships for splicing line and cracking cocktail ice.

Fog bell, rung at anchor as warning, varies in size with boat. Hence, bell's tone suggests dimensions of unseen vessel. Bell costs $22

Kerosene anchor light ($8.50), which must be hoisted above deck of ship anchored at night, is designed to keep burning in hurricane winds

Triple-sheave mainsheet block ($27-175) fits onto main boom of large boats, gives six-to-one mechanical advantage in hauling in sail

Bronze bitt, fastened firmly to deck by screws, is used to secure spring lines or stern lines leading from the ship to the dock, costs $5.75

Folding propeller for auxiliaries opens (above) when engine is turning, folds back to cut water resistance when motor is off. Price: $105-124

Kerosene gimbal lamp ($22), still useful in these days of electricity, is mounted on twin swivels and stays upright in roughest weather

Jib furling gear ($65-170), mounted at foot of jib, has wire leading aft. By pulling on wire, yachtsmen in cockpit can wrap jib around stay

Italian sextant, handmade by European craftsmen, is example of workmanship that goes into this traditional navigator's aid. Price: $250

Binnacle with glass and bronze housing and night light is marine classic that has been on ships for generations. Present-day cost: $187.50

Snatch block ($14-44 per pair) is popular as deck lead for genoa sheets. Hinged opening at top avoids necessity of reaving through entire line

Halyard headboard block ($25-82), nicknamed stormy weather block, fastens onto head of mainsail, gives extra boost in hoisting of sail

Fid (top) costs $6, is used to open strands of line for splicing. Belaying pin ($4) fits into wooden rail as securing point for running gear

Bronze searchlight is dressed-up yachtsmen's version of 1,000-watt light with one-mile beam used on many commercial boats. Price: $181

Two-speed genoa winch, nicknamed a coffee grinder, is mounted aft as an aid for hauling in large headsails in strong winds, costs $850

Roller-reefing gooseneck ($100-275) fits end of boom. Sail may be shortened by attaching and turning the handle, wrapping sail around boom

Five-bladed propeller ($70-114) reduces vibration and stern rumble of conventional two- or three-bladed props, may add two knots speed