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

Page 237:

Painting ship.

Out of the catalogue of things which cause the detention of ships-of-war in port, perhaps painting ship would fill up a great space in that catalogue. We have known even such a serious thing as the setting up of the lower and other standing rigging deferred, in order to have the ship painted; and day by day deferring it until the paint was hardened, until at last the ship is ordered to sea in great haste, with her rigging very insecure, from not being sufficiently taut, in consequence of which, all the masts are in extreme danger, supposing her to be caught in a strong breeze on the first night after sailing. Provisions, water, coals, wood, and various other stores without which a ship cannot sail, are too often deferred until the last minute, in order to have the ship painted. In many places, if you do not complete a ship while the weather is fine, you cannot take in your provisions, &c., when it blows a strong breeze, and should it blow for some days, and your time of sailing have arrived, and though a fair wind is blowing, you cannot take advantage of it, as you must wait to complete provisions, &c. I mention this circumstance, as I know cases in point. Had the vessel I speak of completed their provisions first, they might perhaps have been several days on their passage. I do not for one moment wish to be thought to depreciate the improvements which paint makes in the appearance of a vessel of war. I am only anxious to point out, that her efficiency should be first attended to, in the fullest sense of the word, her beautiful painted inside and outside will avail nothing, if it has been obtained by the neglect of all other requisites, and she is found wanting in the hour of need; but if all other things are quite right, the paint can be sacrificed at any moment, and the ship off for sea. After a ship sails from her port on first commissioning, when she has any thing to do with her standing rigging, it should be done, and provisions, water, &c., taken in as soon as possible; if the paint, rigging, and provisions can go on together, all well and good, but if not, the paint should always give way to things of much more importance. When a ship is quite ready in every other respect, if you chance her painting, you will mostly be successful, as far relates to the sailing of the ship.
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.