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

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On making alterations in masts, yards, sails, &c.

Most alterations in a ship involve so many others, that it is difficult to know where they will end. I have formerly seen several ships, in which they shifted the main top-gallant-yard for a fore top-gallant-yard; the fore top-gallant-yard for a mizen top-gallant-yard; then the main top-gallant-yard was obliged to be made out of a spar, I believe generally sufficiently large to make a mizen top-sail-yard, then the main top-gallant-sail was made larger to correspond with the rest of the top-gallant-sails; the main top-gallant-sail was made larger in the head, with very little alteration in the foot; the fore and mizen were both reduced in the foot, but kept the same in the head, or that would have involved larger top-sail-yards. In some ships it did not finish here; in the next place it was thought right to give the top-gallant-masts a little more diameter; in giving the top-gallant-masts more diameter the top-gallant-caps were weakened; still the same caps had larger masts and yards to support. Next came the royals to be altered, and many other things, such as larger ropes, &c.: after all these alterations, the sails could not be carried so long as before, and never looked as well. This plan looks very much like making a man weak, but still expecting him to carry a larger head on his shoulders. Then came the sending up and down of such monster yards, that in exercising with other ships, if men under such circumstances were beaten, I for one, should consider it no discredit to them. I merely take notice of these extreme cases, to point out the necessity of considering well, previous to making any great alterations in a ship's spars, rigging, or sails. I have heard several of our best officers say, in their opinion, that the masts, rigging, and sails of the present day came nearer perfection that they had ever known them.
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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