Chapter IV.

LOSING A RUDDER.-- The first thing to be done on losing a rudder, is to bring the ship to the wind by bracing up the after yards. Meet her with the head yards, as she comes to. Take in sail forward and aft, and keep her hove-to by her sails. A vessel may be made to steer by herself for a long time, by carefully trimming the yards and slacking up the jib sheets or the spanker sheet a little, as may be required.

Having got the ship by the wind, get up a hawser, middle it, and take a slack clove-hitch at the centre. Get up a cable, reeve its end through this hitch, and pay the cable out over the taffrail. Having payed out about fifty fathoms, jam the hitch and rack it well, so that it cannot slip; pay out on the cable until the hitch takes the water; then lash the cable to the centre of the taffrail; lash a spare spar under it across the stern, with a block well secured at each end, through which reeve ends of the hawser, one on each quarter, and reeve them again through blocks at the sides, abreast of the wheel. By this, a ship may be steered until a temporary rudder can be constructed.

A rudder may be fitted by taking a spare topmast, or other large spar, and cutting it flat in the form of a stern-post. Bore holes at proper distances in that part which is to be the fore part of the preventer or additional stern-post; then take the thickest plank on board, and make it as near as possible into the form of a rudder; bore holes at proper distances in the fore part of it and in the after part of the preventer stern-post, to correspond with each other, and reeve rope grommets through those holes in the rudder and after part of the sternpost, for the rudder to play upon. Through the preventer stern-post, reeve guys, and at the fore part of them fix tackles, and then put the machine overboard. When it is in a proper position, or in a line with the ship's stern-post, lash the upper part of the preventer post to the upper part of the ship's stern-post; then hook tackles at or near the main chains, and bowse taut on the guys to confine it to the lower part of the preventer stern-post. Having holes bored through the preventer and proper stern-post, run an iron bolt through both, (taking care not to tough the rudder,) which will prevent the false stern-post from rising or falling. By the guys on the after part of the rudder and tackles affixed to them, the ship may be steered, taking care to bowse taut the tackles on the preventer stern-post, to keep it close to the proper stern-post.

Dana: The Seaman's Friend (1845), pp 82-83.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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