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

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Shifting, or taking out, a bowsprit.

In preparing to take a bowsprit out, the topmast had better be struck; the fore or main-topmast got up and down; the fore part of the foremast for a derrick, previous to bousing the fore-runners well taut, and securing the foremast. Rig, droop, and secure the derrick, having first shored the deck up on each side of the bowsprit. We believe the fore-yard is seldom, if ever, now used for taking out a bowsprit when other spars can be procured. We were induced to mention the subject of striking topmasts before taking out a bowsprit, from having seen a vessel do so, with her top-gallant masts only struck; her fore-topmast stays being secured to the bumpkin ends. Towards the afternoon a breeze came on; Sir Henry Blackwood was the Port-Admiral; the moment he saw it, he was much displeased, and ordered the fore-topmast to be struck immediately. All the support that you can possibly give to a foremast, with the bowsprit out, is really so much up and down, that it would be desirable to strike both topmasts for fear of a breeze, as the main-topmast, if left up, must bring an increased strain on the foremast head. But should the fore-topmast not have been struck previous to the preparation being made for getting the bowsprit out, great care should be taken that none of the derrick gear, runners, &c., are made fast so as to impede the striking of the fore-topmast; however, unless you have a bowsprit alongside ready to take in the moment the other is out, it will always be best to prepare the ship in a seamanlike manner, by striking the topmasts at once.
Francis Liardet: Professional Recollections on Points of Seamanship, Discipline, &c.
William Woodward, Portsea, 1849. pp 44-45.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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