Observations and Instructions


Of Making and Shortening Sail.

To make all sail, from being closed hauled (with reefs in) before the wind; square the yards by the lifts and braces; bowse taught the trusses; send the people up to let the reefs out; and send down the studding-sail geer; the people on deck getting the studding-sails ready, whilst the men aloft are letting out the reefs. The reefs being let out, hoist the top sails; when hoisted up, loose, and set the top-gallant-sails; get the royals on the top-gallant-yards; bowse taught the top-sail-lifts, burtons, and rolling tackles; settle a foot or two of the hallyyards, to let them all bear an equal strain, which will add both to the security, and appearance of the yard. The studding-sails being ready to send up, and the booms to rig out, man the boom-tackle-falls, top mast, and top-gallant-studding-sail-hallyards. Rig out, and hoist away together, get the studding sails on the yards, cut the stops, and then man the lower and top-mast studding sail hallyards on deck, and the top-gallant-studding-sail-hallyards in the tops; when ready, hoist away all together. This evolution might certainly be performed much quicker if the sail was set as it becomes ready, but the beauty of appearance, and regularity in the movement would be sacrificed, which if time will allow, seems better avoided, as a ship of war should, if possible, always be systematical in her manoeuvres, as it gives a dignity (if I may use the expression) to her rank, and marks the distinction between herself and a merchant vessel.

In making sail upon a wind, whilst the top-men are letting out the reefs, haul on board the tacks, and set all the saty-sails, which, with dispatch, may be completed by the time the reefs are let out. Men should be ready [1] to loose the top-gallant-sails, as soon as the [p 20] top-sails are up; this may be performed in three movements as follows. 1st. Set the courses and hoist the stay-sails together; 2nd. Hoist the top-sails; 3rd. Loose and set the top-gallant-sails.

Shortening sail.

When every sail in a ship is set, the room will not permit all to be reduced at the same time; some part must be neglected. On this account it appears best to make two movements, that the whole may be performed with promptitude and regularity. In the first instance, therefore, haul down the studding-sails, [2] take in the royals, and rig in the booms; when this is finished, haul up the courses,take in the top-gallant-sails, haul down the jib and stay-sails, and brail up the spanker. If the ship is to be brought to the wind, the backstays should be set well up; if it is necessary to reef, as the ship is brought to the wind, and the sails begin to lift, lower away the top-sails. If the ship is to lie-to [3] keep in the main-yard square. In bringing the ship to the wind, be careful that it is done by degrees, for if the helm is put hard down at once, she will, if it is smooth water, come quite round. If it blows strong whilst lying-to, settle some of the top-sail-hallyards, that the top brim may neither cut nor chafe the sail.
  1. A top-gallant-sail should never be loosed till the top-sail yard is hoisted up, as it looks slovenly &sic, and hurts that symmetry and regularity so essential to good order; the men should cast off the gaskets, and hold up the sail in their arms. [Back]
  2. As soon as the studding sails are down, the burtons should be taken off the yards, and the jiggers off the lifts. [Back]
  3. Whilst lying-to, be careful that the main-yard is squared by the lifts as well as the braces; the top-gallant-yrads the same, and not too high off the cap. [Back]

anon.: Observations and instructions for the use of the commissioned, the junior and other officers of the Royal Navy, on all the material Points of Professional Duty. Including also, forms of general and particular orders for the better government and discipline of His Majesty's Ships: Together with a variety of new and useful tables; among which are, General Tables for Watching Ship's Companies in all Rates; -- For shewing the Stations of the different Officers at Quarters; -- For the General Appropriation of Men at Quarters, in Ships of every Class; -- For Furling Sails; -- Mooring and Unmooring; -- Making and Shortening Sail; -- Tacking Ship, &c. &c. With an Appendix; being a complete set of forms for watch, station, and quarter bills for ships of war. By a Captain in the Royal Navy.
P. Steel, London, 1804 (1st). 8vo, 17.5x9 cm, (2), iv, (2), 80 pp, 7 fold. plates.
The second edition in 1807 and the third in 1841.
Ref.: MaB*; Witt 111;
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

Sjöhistoriska Samfundet | The Maritime History Virtual Archives | Seamanship | Search.

Copyright © 1998 1996 Lars Bruzelius.