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

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For a ship to ride out a gale under the lee of a spanned spar.

It is astonishing the few attempts that have yet been made by seamen generally to save their vessels by riding out gales under the lee of spars. We continually hear of boats being saved by these means; and if a ship get on her beam ends, stop-waters are advised to be veered from her quarters to get her before the wind by the best professional writers, and seamen generally. But let a vessel have her sails blown away; let her be partially dismasted, or even wholly so; rolling about in the through of the sea, tearing herself to pieces, unmanageable, and washing everything away; still you seldom hear of the same resources being tried to ride the ship by, so frequently is this most desirable object neglected, when it is so evidently of importance to her ease and safety. The stream-cable, or one of the strongest hawsers bent on to the wreck, or to any part of the wreck previous to cutting it away, would make a capital sea-anchor; however, should you not be able to make a hawser fast to the wreck, it takes very little to keep a ship head to wind; a few spars from the booms, a quarter, or stern boat might be so slung, as when sunk, to ride the ship well; even a small anchor and cable veered to about fifty or sixty fathoms, would be found most useful; whatever you put over the bows will tend to make the sea strike the ship in a better position for her safety. The less resistance a ship makes against the sea the better for her safety; consequently, the exposure of the whole broadside to the trough of the sea must be the most dangerous situation a ship can possibly be placed in; the next most dangerous position must be that of the sea striking her stern, this part being much weaker than the bows, and not shaped like the latter for throwing off the sea. We are strongly of opinion that if more attention were paid to having a stop-water of some kind from the head of the ship to make her ride head to wind, when from the loss of masts, rudder, or sail, you cannot keep the ship out of the trough of the sea, it would tend to lessen the number of those melancholy shipwrecks that we so generally read of.
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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