Eight Years' Wanderings in Ceylon by Samuel White Baker




















































 -   At
the extremity of these two rods, there is a tapering log of light
wood, which very much resembles the - Page 330
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At The Extremity Of These Two Rods, There Is A Tapering Log Of Light Wood, Which Very Much Resembles The Bottom Log Of The Canoe In Miniature.

This, floating on the water, balances the canoe in an upright position; it cannot be upset until some force

Is exerted upon the mast of the canoe which is either sufficient to lift the outrigger out of the water, or on the other hand to sink it altogether; either accident being prevented by the great leverage required. Thus, when a heavy breeze sends the little vessel flying like a swallow over the waves, and the outrigger to windward shows symptoms of lifting, a man rims out upon the connecting rod, and, squatting upon the outrigger, adds his weight to the leverage. Two long bamboos, spreading like a letter V from the bottom of the canoe, form the masts, and support a single square sail, which is immensely large in proportion to the size and weight of the vessel.

The motion of these canoes under a stiff breeze is most delightful; there is a total absence of rolling, which is prevented by the outrigger, and the steadiness of their course under a press of sail is very remarkable. I have been in these boats in a considerable surf, which they fly through like a fish; and if the beach is sandy and the inclination favorable, their own impetus will carry them high and dry.

Sewing the portions of a boat together appears ill adapted to purposes of strength; but all the Cingalese vessels are constructed upon this principle:

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