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

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Veering Cables in heavy squalls.

This evolution requires the greatest precaution, and should always be done previous to the approach of blowing weather, if possible; however, this cannot always be effected from the nature of the land; from mountains or ravines, sudden squalls arise, that give no sufficient warning. If you be caught under such circumstances at single anchor, and obliged to veer during the height of the squall, it would be advisable to let go the second bower anchor under foot, and veer them together, keeping hands by the sheet-anchor ready to let go, if required -- but should the vessel have sufficient cable out to enable her to hold on during the height of the squall, it is always best to veer between the squalls than during their continuance. My experience has taught me, that however many anchors you may have down when veering in blowing weather, that it will always be desirable to have the remaining anchor or anchors, ready for letting go, if requisite. In the above statement I have pre-supposed the officer making all snug aloft by sending top-gallant yards and masts on deck, and bracing the yards to the wind, or striking lower yards and topmasts, if required. I may be told, ships of war should be moored in such situations as I have described; as a general rule I admit it; but I have known several ships to be placed in the situation I have mentioned. I was First Lieutenant of a vessel at the Cape, in which we were so situated, from having been ordered to prepare for sea immediately. We have hove into as small a scope of cable as would well hold the ship with safety, but while we were waiting for Commodore Schomberg's despatches, it came on to blow in sudden heavy squalls, and we were soon with two anchors ahead, and lower yards and topmasts struck, in less than three quarters of an hour from the commencement of the heavy squall. Many good seamen advocate the following method of veering when blowing very hard. If the cable you wish to veer from is on the starboard side, brace your yards for casting to port, have the fore topmast staysail ready, in case it should be required, with the starboard sheet aft; have plenty of hands with several hookropes well manned, ready to run the cable up as fast as possible. The quarter-master should be desired to put the helm hard a-port, for the moment she starts, her first movement will be right astern; when she gets the wind a little on the starboard bow, veer as fast as possible. The moment the fore-topmast staysail will take aback hoist it; by the time you have thirty or forty fathoms of cable out, you will be drifting broadside to the wind, consequently very slowly. When you have given her as much cable as you think requisite, begin to snub her gradually, and you will find she will come head to wind easy to herself, and without sudden jerking upon the cable. The moment she is head to wind, down fore topmast staysail, have the head-yards in the position of their least resistance, and put the helm in midships.
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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