Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Yeocomico River, VA
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As good as we consider ourselves in the modern age, full rigged ship captains were amazing sailors, even the bad ones using the standards of the day.
The variety of yards and masts, fore, main, and mizzen allowed the crew to balance the wind such that a ship could be stopped, rotated, maintain position and even go in reverse. The sails were backwinded and filled, upper and lower yards systematically reduced sail to slow the ship or go in reverse. And as others have said, ships were sometimes rowed pierside or waited for wind. However, contrary to what another poster said, time did matter but manpower was cheap so they rowed a lot.
Patrick O'Brien and C.S. Forester have some detailed descriptions of ship maneuvers in their books. I might have some additional references in my library and will post them if I can find them.
Sabre 38 "Victoria"