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

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Spars sending on deck, and striking guns, or other weights below, during blowing weather.

As I believe no fixed rule can be laid down for sending spars on deck, and striking guns below, with the view to ease the ship at sea during blowing weather, as the various forms of ships require for each a different treatment: sharp bottomed ships, with great beam, require more steadying than others, therefore, in such ships, it should be well considered before sending spars on deck, or lowering weights, as a ship's over stability is very often the chief cause of her being uneasy, and tearing herself to pieces. When a ship sails, with six or seven months' provision, and stores on board, if she meet with bad weather, she generally suffers more from it, than if she were to meet with the same weather some three months afterwards, when her provisions and water have been reduced, and this is, in a great measure, occasioned by the weight being decreased below the water-line; for as a ship is thrown from her equilibrium by every heavy sea, she will then return with decreased violence in proportion to her decreased over stability: consequently, in sharp bottomed ships, with great beam, it does not appear desirable to lower their weights, as it would only add to heavy lurching motion, and perhaps endanger their masts, much more than if they had their spars aloft. I was in a frigate where we always found it ease her by housing the top-gallant masts, instead of sending them on deck, excepting when it blew very hard. In narrow full-bottomed vessels, it often becomes absolutely necessary to get what weights you can even below the water-line, and make everything as snug aloft as possible. According to my humble opinion, over stability is not desirable to make an easy ship in blowing weather, but while the wind is moderate, and the sea not very rough, sharp bottomed ships, with great beam, while sailing on their fine lines, will have a decided advantage over most other ships. I was in a frigate, some thirty years since, when on the Banks of Newfoundland, we fell in with an English merchant brig, with her ensign hoisted, union downwards; we immediately sent a boat on board of her, and found that she was laden with salt, and had experienced much blowing weather, during which time, from her cargo being so low, and so heavy, she had in a great measure, separated her upper works from her lower, which obliged us to take out her crew and abandon the brig.
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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