Francis Liardet: Professional Recollections on Points of Seamanship, Discipline, &c., 1849.

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Warping along shore in chase

This is a scene of the greatest possible animation; you are in chase of a vessel nearly your own force; at any rate she is too great a force to attempt carrying her with the boats; you have every possible sail set, but just as you are within a few miles of the land the wind dies away, until at last it becomes a perfect calm. Suppose the chasing ship a frigate, the water from twelve to fifteen fathoms. Hoist out and lower down all boats, have two of your heaviest kedges ready for your boats to run out as guess warps, form them into two divisions for towing out the kedges (which should always be boated if possible), send the first division of boats away immediately in what you consider the best direction. Have everything quite ready on both sides of the main deck for warping ship, cabin bulkheads down, Sampson's posts close aft as you can, deck well sanded, fiddler and fifer all ready to strike up any favorite tune amongst the ship's company. The moment the end of each hawser enters the hawse-hole, away with it, strike up fiddler or fifer, and make a clear run for and aft the deck until you get in the slack; then proportion your force to insure the holding of the anchor: the second division of boats should start the moment the first hawser reaches the spot, and so continue working the kedges out and in. In the Belvidera, when the squadron under Sir Philip Broke, in the Shannon, chased the United States' frigate, Constitution, this chase was on soundings, and kedging was had recourse to by the squadron, and the American frigate also. This is a case in point, which clearly proves, that in calm weather, the sails should be furled, or as little exposed as possible, as the sails create a resistance in proportion to the ship's velocity through the water.*

*It will be desirable to have a fast-pulling boat, with a small coil of hawser in her, ready to start at a moment's notice, to meet either of the kedging-boats that may have guessed the warp short of the ship

Francis Liardet: Professional Recollections on Points of Seamanship, Discipline, &c.
William Woodward, Portsea, 1849. 8vo, frontisp., (6), x, 319 pp, 1 col. plate of signals.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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Copyright © 1998 Lars Bruzelius.