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  Topic Review (Newest First)
02-26-2012 08:10 AM
kcbillb2 Only a couple of things to add...

1) The Aubrey–Maturin series of novels by Patrick O'Brian.

2) Just remember that people have been sailing boats (and stopping them) for thousands of years without a motor...

02-25-2012 06:08 PM
jimrafford Not sure where your located but if your a near the north east you should visit Mystic Seaport in Mystic Conn.
02-25-2012 11:18 AM
TQA There has been a positive plethora of square riggers out in the eastern Caribbean recently and on at least one I have seen crew out on the yards furling sails the old fashoined way by pulling up the bunt and tieing it to the yard.

Here is a pic of the Stad Amsterdam coming into a tight anchorage in the Saintes under sail. After rounding up and furling everything she spoilt the effect with the use of engines and a bow thruster. Still it was pretty impressive.

02-25-2012 10:56 AM
Boasun And there are still a few but rare "Watch Officer's Guide" for that time period that explained in detail on ship's evolutions while she is maneuvering. Midshipmen of those days practically had to memorized that particular book.
02-25-2012 10:56 AM
HUGOSALT A good first hand read of sailing ship handling and plenty
of authentic insight read...
Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana Jr.
02-25-2012 10:29 AM
klem Regarding docking a traditional ship, it was rare to actually sail into a dock. They tended to reduce sail as they got close to their destination and anchor off. Once they were anchored, they would warp over to the dock by rowing across large lines. In later years, tugs were use to help docking which sometimes meant that anchoring could be done away with.

Yes, they could furl or reef a sail with the yard braced so that is should be drawing. They would let go the sheets to take the pressure out of the sail and do it that way.

There are many square riggers out there sailing today and you can even sail aboard some of them (Europa, Picton Castle, etc). If accuracy is important, I recommend going sailing on one of these vessels. Nowadays, they dock using their engines but otherwise, they are sailed the same way that they always have been. Also, you might check out Irving Johnson's video Around Cape Horn which is available from Mystic Seaport. I am sure that there are many other good videos out there as well.
02-25-2012 12:53 AM
rgscpat Wouldn't there be a big difference between the handling required for square-rigged men of war versus the much more lightly manned commercial ships in terms of how far ahead the captain and mates would have to plan their maneuvers and allocate their crew? A warship might have topmen swarming over every mast at once and dozens of waisters hauling away below, whereas a merchant crew be so small as to only handle maybe one sail at a time. Other special cases might be warping buoys, towing boats, sweep oars on small ships, kedging, etc. And always the tide.
02-24-2012 11:06 PM
Faster Another excellent reference for life and sailing aboard these types of ships is "Voyage", one of a few books written by the actor Sterling Hayden.. this story takes place in the swan song years of the clippers..

These guys made maximum use of the tides when drifting/sailing in and out of harbours; tugs were used, they rowed their own ships' boats if needed and then threw messenger lines with 'monkey fists', pulled the hawsers across and were warped to the dock by shore crews.

Awe inspiring stuff.. I often imagine Cook or Vancouver, Shackleton, or John Paul Jones et al suddenly dropped on a modern yacht in modern times and wonder how they would react...
02-24-2012 10:36 PM
Sabreman 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.
02-24-2012 10:13 PM
ggray 2) Yes, in all kinds of wind. They had a lot of(dispensable) men.I've read that it was harder on the crew in the last years of sail because the cost per man had become much higher, so they sailed short handed.
1) They undoubtedly first slowed down by furling more and more sails. I'm guessing now, but they may have been towed by row boats to the wharf if the wind was not favorable, or perhaps a line was taken ashore and the capstan used to pull the ship over. Time meant less back then. They could have waited at anchor until the wind was more favorable. After the steam tugboat was developed, it would have been different.
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