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

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Taking in foresail in blowing weather.

In carrying on sail, the topsails and foresail are generally the last sails taken in; the mainsail being in squally or insettled blowing weather, considered by most good sailors as a dangerous sail in every way, but more particularly in case of being taken aback; this sail, from its central position, tends to press the ship right astern, then comes the tenfold difficulty of hauling this sail up from its pressing in between and round the main rigging and topmast back-stays, but if the ship should be taken abacft under topsails and foresail only, the foresail being so far forward would soon bring the ship round with the wind on the other beam, consequently out of danger -- now to the subject of taking in a foresail. It blows very hard, you cast your eyes to windward and see nothing but the chance of the squall increasing. If you are not absolutely obliged to run the risk of carrying on through all, of course you will take the foresail in, at this doubtful moment observe the fore-yardarms, more particularly the weather one, and you will find they will have rather a downward tendency, but watch while you are taking in the foresail and you will soon see the yardarms, particularly the weather one, buckle up to that degree that it will make you extremely anxious for the safety of the yard. Many times I have had a perfect fright when the fore tack has been eased away in running up the weather gear, to see the weather yard-arm spring up as if nothing could possibly prevent its being carried away -- in thinking on this subject it occurred to me how frequently you can carry a fore-topmast studding sail much longer by making a martingale of the lower studding sail halliards. Upon this principle I have tried a burton from the weather fore yard-arm to a ring bolt on the deck, or fast to the chains, directly under the fore yard and well boused taut as a martingale previous to taking in the foresail, and found it to answer beyond my expectations. I mention the fore yard for the reasons before stated, but of course it could be applied with equal good effect to the main yard.
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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