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

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Using an anchor on a dark night, with conflicting currents or tides, in narrow channels.

It has often occurred to me that ships are frequently lost in narrow waters, from conflicting currents, which render it almost impossible to know the situation of the vessel. The Bahama Channel is one of the places such as I allude to. My proposition is merely for light winds or calms, a time when vessels are driven about in such places at the mercy of currents or tides. I suppose the water to be deep at the time. I should think the following plan would be found useful. Furl all sails, then ease the stream anchor down with the chain cable to about forty or fifty fathoms; this will be a better tell-tale than the lead, for the moment the anchor touches the ground, the whole watch will feel it immediately. This will give you a much better opportunity of coming-to with your bower anchor, when you think it right to do so. The stream cable should be taken through the spare hawse-hole, and the bower anchor should be let go on the opposite to the stream anchor, if possible. We have heard of several vessels being lost in a similar situation, that we have every reason to believe might have been saved, had they taken the precaution here proposed.
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.