Messrs. Colling and Pinkney, of Sunderland, are also inventors of a plan for self-reefing Topsails, &c., from the deck, without sending a man aloft to reef or furl. Their invention consists in the adaptation of a roller or Rolling spar to the foreside of the yard, in such a way that it gives additional strength, whilst, at the same time, adding little or nothing to the weight aloft over the old plan, where no reefing apparatus is used.
The sail can be wound up entirely on the rolling spar, like a "window-blind", by means of a parbuckle or reefing halyards, which leads from the topmast head to the yard-arms, and adds materially to the strength, insomuch that it will be next to impossible to carry the yards away with this arrangement. The whole construction is so very simple, that any seaman immediately understands it on once seeing it. This invention can easily be applied to ships having no reefing apparatus, as it is not necessary to alter the yards or sails — only the points are to be taken out and reef-cringles. The sails being reefed without straining or shaking, will wear much longer, and are much more simple in their construction, and cost less at the first cost, there being no reef-points, bands, or gasket.
A great number of ships having been fitted, and having been used in all climates and all weathers, has proved them to answer all that could be desired in a self-reefing sail.
This invention will be readily understood by reference to the accompanying sketches, and also enable any one to fit up the Apparatus.
The yard should be made straight on the foreside, so as to allow the roller to lie as close as possible, and the hounds of the yard should be about 9 inches outsides the topgallant-sheet sheave hole.
The crutches, DD, as per sketch (see p. 175), for supporting the middle of the roller, should be placed — say for a 30 feet roller — 3 feet from the sling hoop; and, for a 40 feet roller, 4 feet from the sling hoop, and so on in proportion to the length of the roller. Care should be taken in fixing the journals, carrying the ends of the roller, so that it will be directly in front of the yard: and, before the crutches are made securely fast, the roller should be allowed to bear its own weight upon the spindle; they should then be placed, so that the roller comes near to the topside, so that the roller will bear a great part of the weight before yielding to the crutches, and thus enable it to work much easier, and without friction to the sail. In all cases the stud in the sling hoop should be on the fore cant of the yard.
The battens to be left 6 inches short on each of the crutch, and one should be made of hard wood, to form a jack-stay, and in no case should they go without the leech-rope of the sail; they should be of the same thickness as the leech-rope is in diameter.
The roller should swell ½ or ¾ of an inch in the middle.
The sails should be made with nearly a straight leech, and it will be well to put holes in topsails for the close-reefs and earings. The topsail at the close-reef should be 12 inches short of the roller at each end.
On reeving the reefing halyards, first reeve the chain in the sisterblock marked B on the sketch (see p. 175), then take up both ends of the chain and reeve each end through the blocks AA at topmast-cap, and then through the blocks or bull's-eye on the standards CC on each yard-arm, and thence the ends are wound round the roller over the fore part, and as many turns on the ends of the roller as will be sufficient to reef or furl the sail, as the case may be, and each end is then shackled to the ends of the roller to an eye-bolt, observing to take about six turns for close-reefing, and about nine turns for furling, which will be found sufficient. The runner is rove through the sister-block B, and one end secured in the top, the other end leading to the starboard side of the deck with a tackle attached. A down-haul to be attached to the under part of the yard, to assist the yard down, as will be seen in the sketch.
To Reef. — Make fast the reefing halyards on deck, then ease away the topsail halyards, and as the yard descends, the roller revolves, and the sail will be reefed down to the cap.
To Unfurl. — Let go the reefing halyards and haul the sheets home, then pull on the topsail halyards, and as the yard ascends, the chains are wound round the roller again,  and the whole sail set as required.
It will be observed that when the sail is furled the chains are unwound, except about half a turn round the roller.
From Robert Kipping: Elementary Treatise on Sails and Sailmaking
with Draughting, and the Centre of Effort of the Sail . . .
Together with an Appendix, Comprising the Inventions of
Self-Reefing Topsails of Captain Cunningham &etc. and Captain
Howe; and Also a Cutting Board or Table, by Mr. Pittard.
5th ed., enl. and greatly improved.
C. Wilson, London, 1860-61 (5th). pp 168-169 [?].
Weale's Rudimentary Series, No. 149. First published in 1847.
Transcribed by by Lars Bruzelius.
The Maritime History Virtual Archives | Rigging.
Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.