The Sea-Man's Vade-mecum

Sailing Instructions for the better keeping Company with Her Majesty's Ship, the Sun Prize, under my Command, viz.

To Weigh.

If I weigh in the Day, I'll [s]hall home my Fore Topsail Sheets, and fire a Gun; if in the Night, a Light in the Main Top Mast Shrouds, and a Gun.

To Anchor.

If I Anchor in the Night, I'll fire 2 Guns distinctly, and you are to answer by shewing 2 Lights.

To Tack

If I Tack in the Night, 2 Lights on the Ensign Staff one above another, and a Gun; and you are to answer, by hanging out a Light, which is to be kept out till I take in mine.

To lay by and make Sail in the Night.

If I [l]ye by in the Night, I'll hang out 4 Lights of equal height in the Main Shrouds, and fire 2 Guns. VVhen I make Sail again, I'll put out 3 Lights in the Main Shrouds one over the other, and fire 2 Guns.

To alter Course.

If I alter my Course in the Night, I'll fire one Gun without Alteration of Lights.

Springing a Leak.

In case you Spring a Leak by Day, or any other Disaster happens, that disables you from keeping Company, hall up your Courses, and fire 2 Guns; if by Night, fire Guns and hang out Lights till you are relieved.

In a Fog.

If it prove Foggy, I will make the same Sail I had before the Fog came on; and fire a Gun every Hour, and you are every Glass to ring Bells, fire Musquets, &c.

To make Sail in a Fog.

If necessited to make Sail, I'll fire a Gun every Glass, and keep ringing my Bell.

To Tack in a Fog.

If I Tack, I'll fire four Guns.

To lay by.

If I lay by in a Fog with the Starboard, tack 6 Guns, with the Larboard Eight.

Loosing Company and meeting in the Night.

If we lose Company and meet again in the Night, he who hails first, shall ask what Ship is that? He who is hailed shall reply, Queen Anne: He that hails shall answer, God Preserve her.

To speak with the Masters.

To speak with the Masters under my Convoy, an Ensign in the Mizen Shrouds, and fire a Gun.

You are to observe and give way one to each other in Tacking and Sailing, that no Prejudice happen by that Means to any of the Fleet, and you are not to go a Head of Me, Night or Day.

Dated on Board of Her Majesty's Ship.

To Captain John L. Commander of the Success.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.