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

Page 182:

On standing rigging in tropical climates.

It is a well known fact on the properties of rope, that in hot and dry weather, rope lessens in diameter, and increases in length; and that in wet or cold weather, it increases in diameter, and consequently shortens in length, therefore, as ships in a tropical climate are subject to the extremes of heat and wet, it requires great care in hot dry weather not to set up the rigging over taut, for if it be succeeded by a continuance of rain, you greatly punish your rigging, and endanger your masts, more particularly when ships are detained in port during the rainy season, or hurricane months. If you should have set up your rigging over taut, and it is evident that you will have set up your rigging over taunt, and it is evident that you will have a continuance of rainy weather, it will be advisable to come up the laniards of the shrouds. I was first lieutenant of H.M.S. Jaseur, during two hurricane seasons, at the Isle of France, and saw several vessels suffer considerably in the standing rigging, tops, and spars, from the want of this precaution. While on the subject of rigging, I wish to mention a practice not uncommon when setting up topmast-rigging at sea, which is, getting the weather topmast-rigging too taut, with the intention of getting the topmast-head over to windward; this is called supporting the mast well for a good breeze. This is done without reflecting, that if the mast-head is much over to windward, there must be a curve or belly somewhere to leeward in the mast, and that place will most likely be in the way of the second reef, consequently, when carrying on double-reefed topsails, your topmast will be more likely to be carried away than if your masts were upright, and should you tack with your masts in this state, it would still be in a very unsafe position. It has always appeared to me, that keeping the masts as upright as possible is the best position for carrying sail. I have seen top-gallant masts carried away several times, from bringing the mast-head too much over to windward, when carrying sail. The jib-boom is another instance of the kind I have stated. You now generally see the jib-boom curved from the bowsprit-cap to the boom-end; I must confess, I like it much, because I think it adds to the appearance of a vessel, if not too much curved; and while the weather will admit of the jib being carried at the boom-end, perhaps it may be equally strong, but of you ease the jib any distance in, or even though you may have a travelling martingale and guys, it will not be equally strong with a jib-boom, more straight, and equally supported. The curved jib-boom, and the topmast head being much over to windward are pretty nearly alike, the topmast when the topsail is double-reefed, and the jib when set, eased in on the boom.
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

Sjöhistoriska Samfundet | The Maritime History Virtual Archives.

Copyright © 1998 Lars Bruzelius.