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

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Every ship should be her own dock-yard, as much as possible.

There are many officers who so manage the resources under their command while at sea, that on the arrival of their ships in port (excepting they have met with accidents from gales of wind, &c.,) seldom require anything from the dock-yard beyond their stores to complete, or perhaps a spar, or something in the small way, which they make themselves, therefore, after have completed their provisions, water, &c., they are ready for sea, if required immediately. Perhaps two vessels may have been cruising together, and gone as near as possible over the same ground, and encountered the same weather, still, one ship will have a long string of defects, and the other will have almost nothing to be done by the dockyard; and this arises in a great measure from every little defect being made good as it occurs, in one ship, and in the other, being left to be done by the dock-yard. If a ship of war do not meet with serious casualties, her artificers are generally sufficiently to keep her in a complete state of efficiency, without having recourse to the dock-yard beyond completing her stores at stated periods. On many foreign stations, the vessels employed on those stations have nothing but a store-house to supply their wants from, still, generally speaking, those vessels do nearly as well as if they continually had a dock-yard under their lee; yet many of those ships which manage very well without continually having recourse to a dock-yard, would soon be full of wants if they had one at hand. When it is generally known how much vessels do for themselves on stations where there are no dock-yards -- and when it is considered that stations wanting this accommodation are generally the most distant ones, and in consequence of this increased distance, that they are generally much longer from England, or any dock-yard, it shows plainly what can be done with the resources of a ship-of-war. If the carpenter is on the alert, a ship will seldom require a general caulking, as he will continually be on the look out for soft seams, &c. If the defects about the ships and boats are many good as soon as they occur, much valuable time will be saved; as, if this is not done, the carpenters are too often employed about trifles, or even sometimes, things not connected with the ship. From care and attention in some ships during bad weather, hardly a rope will be cafed, while in other ships, where the same care and precaution have not been taken, much injury will often be done to the standing and running rigging for the want of attention to chafes, &c.; and these chafes will frequently extend themselves to the sails, more particularly to the courses when reefed or furled, from pressing against the lower stays. When a suit of sails have been much worn, endeavour, if possible, to finish wearing them out during the fine-weather season. Sails should be repaired immediately after any accident, as upon the principal sails of a ship, in blowing weather, depends her very safety: and it is generally very bad management to begin to repair sails when they are actually wanted. These cannot be a doubt that the seamanlike way of furling topsails in harbour is, first to take in two good reefs, and then furl the sails; this gives you snug canvass to make sail from at once, and divides the sails more equally on the yards when furled; but when you have much exercise of sail-furling, it would be well to overhaul the topsails before going to sea, as between the second and third reefs the topsails are often much worn than any other part, from this practice, and consequently often split about that part of the sail. Some good seamen are of opinion, that if the topsails were made of stouter canvass from a little above the fourth reef, throughout the lower part of the sails, that it would make them better able to encounter gales of wind. What I wish to express by every ship being her own dock-yard is, that nothing can require more continual attention than a ship, and where that attention is paid, general repairs of every kind are very much diminished.
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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