A Little Fleet
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The following account of the Fleet, and of the various histories of the voyages of the vessels which compose it, has been written out by me at the request of the owners. I have also made for them the drawings and the chart which illustrate the account.
The owners of this small merchant fleet had nowhere else handy to float their vessels in than the small and winding Gara river and a very small pond; the vessels when upon the river drove along with the stream, their sails, when they had any, only being of use to get them out of bad places, except occasionally when the current ran slowly; then, with a fair wind, the “Pasear” and the “Monte,” at any rate, would walk along at a fine pace.
Long, light sticks were carried to steer the ships round dangerous corners, and through narrow and difficult channels like the Two Snags; and when I say she steered this way, or her skipper took such a course, you will understand it is just put that way because it sounds better.
The two longest voyages were those of the “Theodore” and the “Pasear,” both of which vessels travelled about a mile along the river. The owners think that any other little boys who live near a stream sufficiently deep to float ships drawing so little water might like to follow their example and build a fleet, therefore I am to tell you how each vessel was built, as well as the story of its voyage.
The chart shows the winding river down which the clippers voyaged, and on it are marked the various snags, rapids, and other dangers.