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

[Page 219]

Stopping in running gear, foot-ropes, &c.

The practice of stopping in running gear, foot ropes, &c., has its advocates. Some very good officers are of the opinion that it gives a ship a neat man-of-war like appearance, to shew as few ropes as possible. Others are of opinion that a ship never looks so well as she does with all her ropes taut and in their proper places. Other officers again like the appearance of the gear stopped in, but admit that it should never be done excepting when the ship is moored, thereby implying a want of readiness when the gear is stopped in. The sails must be exercised whether moored or at single anchor, if you wish to keep ships in a state of efficiency. If stopping the gear in, or having every rope taut in its proper place, could be treated as a matter of taste or fancy, it would then be of little of no consequence, but let two ships of equal size and smartness be required to make all sail together, one ship having all her gear stopped in, and the other one having everything taut in its proper place. There can be little doubt amongst seamen which ship would be under sail first. Let the same ships shorten, and then furl sails together, and the ship which stops her gear in will require more men aloft, and generally have her men last down out of the tops, besides which, the men on the yards often have their lives endangered by sheets and reef-tackles getting under their chins, by the men on deck hauling them taut while they are loosing the sails. If the sail-loosers have only their sails to attend to with their ropes in their proper places, it simplifies the duty for the men aloft, and prevents much unnecessary hauling taut of ropes on deck. In ships that stop their gear in, it is no uncommon thing to see many rope-yarns flying away from the different running-ropes, whenever sail is made on the ship. The vessels which I have generally seen most admired for efficiency and warlike appearance, have been those vessels which always have their ropes in their proper places, taut, with the fewest stops on them. I have known this to be carried so far in some ships, that the courses were always furled without starting the clew-garnets; in this way, the clews of the courses were kept like the clews of the topsails, therefore always perfectly clear. Newt to the beauty of a ship under sail, comes her appearance just before sailing with all the studding-sails in their places, ropes taut and clear, masts, tyes, parrels, and standing parts of the sheets on the yards, &c., nicely greased, all looking invitingly to insure the quick spreading of the sails.
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.