Upon taking bad-sailing Vessels in Tow, with the least Detention.

In convoys, where it is found necessary to tow, it ought only to be practised when the wind is steady, and the water tolerably smooth, as the loss arising from taking in tow, breaking of hawsers, and probable mischief to each other, is more than will be otherwise compensated.

If the water be tolerably smooth, and the wind moderate, a vessel may be taken in tow without shortening sail or altering the course. For this purpose, let the tower situate herself half a cable, or more, a-head of the tow, adapting her sail to preserve that position; the tow at the same time just steering to windward of her wake. Thus situated, the tow is in readiness to receive under her lee either a buoy or boat, with a small rope to haul the hawser or tow-line on board. A boat is certainly preferable, if it can be hoisted in without detention; but should it blow fresh, the ships must haul the wind, and place themselves in the above position; thus they can reduce their head-way, and back and fill at pleasure. If the ship to be towed is disabled in her rigging, it may be found necessary to heave-to. If so, the tower [p 70] must heave-to upon the weather-bow of the tow, otherwise, the hauling the tow-line on board will cause both ships to fall off from the wind before it be properly fast. The size of the tow-line should be adapted to the weather; -- ships had better be asunder than tow with a heavy hawser in light winds. A small rope is sufficient at those times, being careful to haul or heave a larger on board as the breeze freshens, which can be done without detention.

Richard Hall Gower: A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Seamanship, together with A System of Naval Signals. The Whole Forming a Useful Compendium to the Offcer; to Instruct Him when Young, and to Remind Him when Old.
Wilkie and Robinson, et al., London, 1808. p 69-70.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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