The most convenient method of Blacking Rigging is with Top-gallant Masts on deck, but Royal and Top-gallant Rigging placed at Mast-heads; for the men who ride down and black the Topmast Stays, can then at the same time black the Topgallant and Royal Stays handily; or, what is handier still, men at the Mast-head haul over and black these small Stays, and pay them down forward when done; the men, also, who black down the Topmast Backstays, can carry on at the same time with Topgallant and Royal Backstays. In addition to all which, the Mats are kept clean.
If on the other hand, Top-gallant Masts be kept up when Blacking, the Small Stays and Backstays must be let go, in [p 47] order that they may be got at by the men on the Topmast Stays and Backstays; consequently, the Masts must be adrift, and exhibit a specimen of slovenliness [sic] unbecoming a Man-of-War. The Masts will, moreover, be daubed over with Blacking; and if it come on to blow so as to render it necessary to get Top-gallant Masts on deck before the Rigging be dry, much injury must result to the Blacking.
Previous to commencing, the Decks should be well sanded, and the paint-work and Figure-head carefully covered with old Canvas and Hammocks. The Quarter Tackle should be clapped on one side of Main Yard, and a Burton on the other, ready for Provisioning and Clearing Boats.
The hammocks should also be covered, and the Quarter Boats lowered out of the way.
The finer and warmer the day, the better. The Blacking will lay on so much the smoother and thinner; but commencement should be delayed till the dew is well dried off.
Topsail and Lower-lifts should be blacked first; the men having to stand upon the Yards to do them.
A smooth, calm day is required for the Bends; for the Backing will not take effect, unless the surface it is laid on be dry.
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius
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Copyright © 1998 Lars Bruzelius.