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

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On accidents to the helm.

Should the tiller break, the rudder should immediately be chocked, and the ship hove-to, until the tiller is replaced. As in all vessels of war there is a place for shipping the spare tiller on the deck above, it would be better at once to ship the spare tiller on that deck, and not to lose time in getting out the stump of the broken tiller. The pare tiller being always kept on the main-deck, proves how much the general opinion is in favour of steering the ship in the main-deck, until you have fine weather to ship it in its proper place. Whatever serious accident may happen to the helm, it will be advisable to heave the ship to as soon as possible, as these accidents to the helm are most likely to take place in blowing weather. If scudding, it will require the most skilful management of the sails to bring the ship gradually to the wind, for, if you broach-to suddenly, you are in danger of losing your masts, and stand a chance of a clean sweep of the sea: but once hove-to the ship will be more easy than in any other position. As ships are now generally supplied with the material for making a spare rudder, much of the facility for making and shipping it will depend on the ship being well hove-to. It has often occurred to me, that a sea-anchor might be used with great advantage while shipping a new rudder, from the men being enabled to work more securely over the stern; and if the ship were found to pitch too much from lying head to wind, some head-sails flat aback, or a spring on the cable from the stern, would easily place her in a more favorable position.
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.