We have often had occasion to call attention of nautical men to the excellence of these stoppers. They are placed inside of the hawse-holes, and consist of an angular iron ridge on the deck, over which the chain passes, and above this ridge is a self-acting paul, which falls upon every link as it is hove in, and prevents the chain running out. It supersedes the use of a "devil's claw," when the chain is required to be fleeted on the windlass; and when the anchor is to be let go, the paul is triced up out of the way. We consider it one of the best inventions which has been introduced among our shipping for many years; and this is also the opinion of every shipmaster who has used it: The following letter upon this head is worthy of particular notice:
Ship Copia, (Honolulu,) Oct. 17, 1853.
Mr. D.F. Crane -- Sir: In requiral of the promise I was induced to leave you, prior to my sailing last October, relative to the observation which might come under my notice in the use of your chain stoppers, I here transmit you the following:
I have made use of them, in taking one or more anchors, thirty-one times, including twenty-eight times anchoring in the Arctic ocean, and they have never failed of answering their purpose upon any occasion. I have anchored in all depths, from five to sixty fathoms, though twenty-five fathoms was about an average depth; in deeper water they came into full play, never having to put a purchase on to back the chain, as, if it did slip in fleeting, it could only go outboard the length of one link of chain, therefore, not worth putting on a purchase for.
But the great climax of all the tests I put them to, developed their use to the utmost, and made me their advocate forever. It was in a gale last August, riding at single anchor, near in with the land, in as heavy a sea as I ever saw in the Straits, with another ship astern of me lying with a large whale alongside. Fearful of harm to my windlass, I put a riding purchase on my chain, threw up the pauls, and let the windlass roll with the chain -- riding much easier by these means, and with no harm to the windlass. In this position I broke ground and began to drag directly for the ship astern of me; and it being 10 o'clock at night I was afraid the other ship might not see us dragging until too late to leave her sufficient time to ship or break her cable, consequently I let a second and larger anchor go, and having the pauls out of the windlass, when about all of the second chain had run out, I let drop the paul of the stopper, and that anchor having time to catch, (being on muddy bottom,) took all the strain, when I brought up again and held on until the chain parted near the anchor; but not until some time after I had dropped it. Previous to which, the other ship had parted her chain, made storm sails, and stood off shore. The gale increased; my other chain parted also -- the which I mention to make manifest that it was no "cat's paw" we had. During the time the second anchor had the strain, I had some anxiety for the ship's bow, as she is in the decline of life; but no harm came of it whatever. So far as whaling ships are concerned, I must say your stoppers are invaluable, for in cutting in a wale at anchor I throw the chain off the windlass to the stopper, whereas I have had some trouble heretofore.
If any opinion of mine is asked, I shall give it with the same pleasure I do this.
In the meantime I remain your most obedient,
Commander of the Copia.
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius.
Sjöhistoriska Samfundet | The Maritime History Virtual Archives | The Boston Daily Atlas. Search.
Copyright © 1999 Lars Bruzelius.