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

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On topmasts being struck for a lengthened period.

We have often seen ships undergoing repairs, caulking, clearing out holds, &c., with their topmasts struck, even for months, with all their running rigging rove, and topmasts rigging stowed away in the tops. Experience has shewn, that this bent position in which you are obliged to keep rigging in the tops, when the masts are struck for any length of time, is very injurious, more particularly to the standing rigging. As ships so situated are not generally expected to follow the Admiral's motions, it would be well if they were always to unreeve their running rigging and stow it away below. The laniards of the topmast rigging should be unrove from the dead-eyes, and set up moderately taut to a sheer pole, previously secured to the lower rigging, sufficiently down to bring the topmast rigging hand-taut; the shrouds and backstays should all be well parcelled with tarry parcelling in the way of the tops. The backstays should be snaked from side to side down the lower rigging, giving as much curve as possible to the bends. Attention should be paid to see that there are no sharp bends in the topmast-stays, or any other part of the rigging. The heels of topmasts should be well lashed, having previously parcelled the lower masts in the way of the lashing. Few things destroy standing rigging more than sharp bends, and exposure, for any length of time, to the weather. For this reason, sheep-shanking the backstays, or shortening the rigging by sharp bends in any way, should be discontinued as much as possible.
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.