Forbes' Rig. -- Extract from Capt. A.G. Fletcher's letter of March 3d, after a voyage to Liverpool in the C. Grinell.

"In answer to your letter of the 1st, I assure you that nothing would induce me to have the rig changed. I had the heaviest weather coming to the westward that I have ever experienced in the Atlantic, and had a chance to test it well; my best canvas was, all my topsails reefed and set, making five topsails, and when this was too much we had no trouble in taking in the upper topsails, as any five men could stow them.

"My topgallant sails can be furled by three men at any time, and generally by two.

As proof of the satisfaction given by the rig to my owners, Mr. Cornelius Grinell has contracted for a ship of 1700 tons, to have this new rig.

I proved the advantage of the new rig in hauling off from Sandy Hook, in a snow storm, which I did under five reefed topsails, my fore and aft stormsails, courses furled; at midnight, a heavy gale furled the upper topsails with comparatively no trouble. Had the ship been of the old rig I should have hauled off under reefed topsails, and during the night, should have lost them, as my comrades did, who hauled off at the same time. It was the worst night I ever saw. My pilot fell in love with the rig, and so did the Captains of the wrecked ships brought home by me; one of them, who saw the C. Grinell fitting out and then laughed at the rig, now says that he will never have anything else if he can avoid it. It will not do to alter the Forbes rig and spoil it, and then condemn the principle.

I have no doubt but that the underwriters of New York and Boston would have saved many large losses if the ships had been fitted with the new rig, and that many cases of suffering among their crews might have been avoided. The great scarcity of seamen renders it more necessary to have the new rig than ever before.


Boston Daily Atlas, 1854, March 8.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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