Boy's Manual of Seamanship and Gunnery

Sail Instruction

Part III

Bending and Shifting Sails

Q. How do you bend a course?

A. Supposing the course to have been stowed away, furled ready far bending, with the bending strop seized in place.

The sail is brought on deck and laid athwartships under its respective yard, roping of the head next the deck.

The stay-tackle is then hooked to the bending strop, and having ascertained the sail is clear of turns (if necessary it should be swayed up and down for this purpose, and lowered again), bend the gear, hook the reef-Burton blocks, either to the first or second reef-cringle, as directed, taking care it is over the tacks and sheets, bend the leechlines and buntlines ; the head rope of the course is marked in the wake of the leechline blocks, to these marks the leechlines are stopped either with a roband or a yarn, care being taken that the leechlines are clear of each other, the inner one being stopped inside the outer one. The tack and sheet-shackle is now fitted with a ring on the shoulder, to which the clew-garnets are shackled, instead of being lashed to the clew, so in shifting courses, one shackle answers the purpose of all three.

Shackle the tackle and sheets, and lash or shackle the clew-garnets in place.

Hang the clews to the strop of the stay-tackle block.

When all is ready, man all the gear and stay-tackle, over hauling the tacks and sheets well. At the order " sway away, " take down the slack of clew-garnets, and walk all the gear up together ; see if the leechlines have been stopped with care, so as to come up taut to each leechline-block ; the head of the sail will haul taut along the yard, and a few hands will be able to bring the sail to the jackstay ; when the head-earrings are secured, the robands passed, slablines bent, and the bunt-whip hooked to the bunt becket, and hauled well taut, cut the seizing of the bending strop and leechlines if stopped with yarns. Hook the reef-tackle blocks to the reef-tackle cringles, toss the sail well up, and pass the lanyards of the gaskets round the jackstay, round the clew-garnets, taut up to the quarter blocks, and steady taut the tacks and sheets. Pass the clew-hangers.

Q. How do you bend a course made up not furled ?

A. The sail is laid athwartships, under the yard to which it belongs, cast adrift on deck, and the gear bent. The leechlines and buntlines are stopped to the head of the sail. The reef-tackles are hooked to the first reef-cringles. Tacks and sheets are shackled, and the clew-garnets are lashed to the clews ; when ready, man the reef-tackles, leechlines, and buntlines, and clew-garnets, and walk all the gear up together.

As soon as the head-earrings are fast and the robands secured, shift the reef-tackles to their own cringles and bend the slablines. The sail is then ready for either setting or furling.

Q. How do you bend a topsail ?

A. Supposing the topsails to be all ready made up, furled for bending, the bending strop seized in place, they are laid athwartships, abreast their respective yards, the roping of the head next the deck, and the sails clear of turns.

NOTE:- A double whip, kept rove at the topmast-head, will be found most useful in unbending and shifting sails, shifting topsail yards, &c. This tackle is named the centre burton.

The sail-tackle is overhauled down, and hooked to the after part of the bending strop. When the sail-tackle is worked on the main deck, a bowline, bent to the strop of the sail-tackle block, will keep the sail in going up clear of the top rim. Man the sail-tackles, and walk it up until the clews of the sail are above the top.

Bend the reef-tackles, and second reef-tackles, if fitted, buntlines and topsail-clewlines, so as to have command of the sail in case the lanyards of the gaskets should get loose, and the sail blow adrift.

NOTE.-Second reef-tackles are only bent to heavy topsails.

As soon as the topsail is up, the captain of the top, who is in the bunt of the topsail yards, sees it is clear of turns, and secures the midship roband as quick as possible, and hooks the bunt jigger, the reef-tackles being bent, the yard-arm men get hold of the head-earrings, and lay out with them in hand, the hands on deck clapping on the reef-tackles at the same time, which lights the sail out to the yard-arms, assisted by the men on the yard ; the outer turns of the head-earrings are passed as quickly as possible, the hands on each side of the yard facing towards the bunt, and lighting the head of the sail taut along the yard-arms ; the midship roband having been previously well secured, prevents the head of the sail being hauled more out to one yard-arm than the other ; as soon as the two outer turns of the head-earrings are passed, the four inner turns are passed, and the robands secured round the jackstay. The sheets, if chain, are either hooked with clip-hooks or shackled ; if rope, the topsail sheet block is fitted with a thimble and shackled, and the clewline-block is lashed abaft the clew. Bowlines are bent. The seizing of the bending-strop is cut as soon as the bunt jigger is hooked, and hauled well taut. When all the gear is bent, the hands on the yards cast off the lanyards of the gaskets, which are secured to the sail, toss the said well up, taking care to have a good skin, and pass the lanyards of the gaskets round the jackstays, always remembering to reeve the first and second reef-earrings, and tuck them into the sail. It should ever be borne in mind the longer the clews are, the easier it will be to bend the sheets and clewlines. In shifting courses and topsails for exercise, it is a common practice to send the sails down by the buntlines, but now it is the custom to keep the bending-strop in place, and shift sails furled, they are sent down equally as quick by the sail tackle ; it is, however, a wise precaution, in shifting heavy topsails, to use the topsail buntlines as well as the sail-tackle, as if anything happens to the sail-tackles or bending strop, the buntlines will save the sail from falling on deck.

Q. How is a topsail bent, made up, not furled ?

A. The sail-tackle is hooked to the bending-strop, in the same way as it is when being bent or shifted furled. If the sail is secured with ropeyarn stops, they are cut as the sail is swayed about the top ; if secured with gaskets, the lanyards are cast off by the men in the top. When the clews are above the top, and it is ascertained the topsail is clear of turns, and on the right slue, the head of the sail is lowered level with the yard, and the midship robands secured. The gear is bent as before explained. When the men at the yardarms have the outer turns of the head-earring passed, and the hands on the yard have hold of the head of the sail ready for passing the robands, and the fore part of the top is clear of men, cut the seizing of the bending-strop, and let the sail fall,

Q. How are topgallantsails and royals bent ?

A. They are always bent on deck, and brought to the yard with head-earrings, and robands, the same as a topsail.

How do you bend a jib ?

A. To bend a jib. Reeve the stay through all parts of the lacing, from head to tack, and then bend the reeving-line to the becket of the stay ; reeve the downhaul up through the lacing, from tack to head, and bend it with a sheet-bend to the head of the sail ; hook the halyards to the head-cringle, pass the bight of them round under the foot, and all parts of the sail, and stop the bight to its own part, bend the clew-rope, pull up on the halyards, when high enough haul out on the reeving-line and downhaul, easing the halyards as required. Pass the tack-lashing, bend the jib-pendants, cast off the clew rope, put on jib-purchase, and set the stay up ; cast off the bight of the halyards from round the jib, and hoist the sail.

Q. How are staysails bent ?

A. A fore topmast staysail is passed out on the bowsprit, the holes in the luff of the sail are usually seized to hanks on the port or lower fore topmast stay. The halyards are hooked to the head of the sail, and the downhaul is rove up from tack to head, through the three upper hanks, and bent to the head of the sail, the tack-lashing is secured in place, and the sheets or pendants are toggled to the clew, the sail is then ready for setting or stowing.

When a fore topmast staysail is brought to the stay with a lacing, it is passed through every alternate hole only, in the tuff of the sail, and round the stay, the lacing being seized to the holes it does not pass through.

Main topmast and topgallant staysails are generally bent in the foretop, they are brought to their respective stays with lacings. The topgallant staysail stay is generally marked, and the head of the sail is seized to it when the stay and halyards are in one. Halyards, downhaul, and sheets are bent in the usual way.

The storm staysails are laid abreast their respective stays, they are brought to the stays with beckets. Luff-tackles are used for sheets. Halyards, downhaul, and tack-lashings are bent and secured in the usual way.

Q. How are storm trysails bent ?

9. They are brought to smaller gaffs than those used for the regular trysails, beckets being used instead of a lacing ; all the other gear is bent in the usual way.

How to Bend a Boom-Mainsail, Spanker, or Trysail.

All gaffsails are brought to the gaff in a similar way.

The gaff is lowered down low enough for the hands to work conveniently, and steadied in place by the vangs, over to the side of the deck the sail is lying. A score is made under the gaff abaft the jaws, with an eyebolt on either side of it. The head-earring thimble or hook of the sail is placed between the two eyebolts, and a bolt passed through the three, with a head at one end, and secured with a forelock at the other. It is, however, sometimes, shackled. The head of the sail is brought to the starboard side of the gaff or the roping next the gaff, and laced in a similar way to a studdingsail, or in roundabout turns round the gaff, and through two holes in the head of the sail from the throat towards the peak. The peak-earring is secured with two outer turns, two thumb-cleats being nailed to the gaff end to keep them out in place, or a hole for the purpose bored through, and with four up and down or inner turns. If a new sail, the lacing should be passed slack, and the head on no account stretched in hauling the peak-earring out. In bending a spanker or trysail dip the head of the sail through the brails ; as soon as the head is secured, sway the gaff up, seizing the hoops on above the reefs as the sail rises, splice the lacing in below the hoops, selecting a soft, greasy piece of rope for this purpose, reeving the end through the cringles before the mast, from side to side, as the sail rises.

If a boom-mainsail or spanker, bend the tack-tricing line, and if required hook the tack-tackles. If a trysail, secure the tack-lashing.

The after-clew of a boom-mainsail is secured to the boom end by an earring, or shackled before the sail is hoisted.

The outhaul-block is hooked to the after-clew of a spanker, and steadied out in place. A piece of rope, called a lazy sheet, is spliced in the clew of a trysail, to secure it until the sheet is hooked.

Q. How do you bend a gaff-topsail ?

A. The gaff-topsail is bent to the gaff-topsail yard on deck, in a similar way that a studdingsail is to a studdingsail yard.

Q. How are studdingsails bent ?

A. There are holes in the yard-arms for hauling the earring out to ; the head of the sail is secured to the yard with hitching turns, sometimes a grommet is fitted in one of the head-earring cringles of the sail, which goes over the yardarm, two thumb-cleats being nailed on the yard to keep the grommet from slipping in. The other earring is hauled out in the usual way. Tyers are also substituted instead of a lacing.

Q. How are boatsails bent?

A. In a similar way to all fore and aft sails, being roped on the port side ; they are brought-to on the starboard side of the gaff or yards ; never stretch the head of a new boat-sail in bending it, as it will ruin its set for ever after.

Shifting Courses Furled.

The men on the lower yards stop the leechlines and buntlines to the head of the sail, unhook the bent-whip, cast off the clew-hangers, the lanyards of the gaskets from the jackstays, and secure them round the sail, also the lanyards of the bunt-gaskets round the bunt, cast off the robands and inner turns of the head-earrings, keeping fast the outer turns until the order is given to " ease in ;" the earrings are then let go, and the sail is lowered by the buntlines and reef-tackles, the gear unbent and bent to the other course, as already explained in bending courses, the stay-tackle is then hooked to the bending strop, when all is again ready for swaying the sail up.

Shifting Topsails Furled.

In shifting topsails, as soon as the men are at their respective stations aloft, the lanyards of the bunt-gaskets are cast off from abaft the mast, and well secured round the bunt of the sail ; great care should be taken in doing this well, so as to keep the bent together as the sail goes down; nothing looks worse than a sail blown adrift and falling on the deck in an unshapely lump ; equal care should be taken in casting the lanyards of the other gaskets off the jack-stay and securing them taut round the sail. When the sail is landed on deck it ought to be ready to stow away ; this will not be the case if care is not taken in securing all the lanyards of the gaskets taut round the sail. The clew-hangers, robands, and inner turns of the head-earrings are cast off, all the gear is unbent with the exception of the buntlines, the bights of which are hitched round each side of the bending strop. In shifting topsails for exercise, they are generally sent down by the buntlines. The outer turns of the head-earrings are let go at the order to "ease in ". In sending the other topsail up, proceed as explained in bending topsails.

To Shift a Jib.

Stopper the jib-stays, off jib-purchase, and bend the reeving line. If the jib is set, haul the sail down, bend the clew-rope, stop the bight of the halyards round the sail, cast the tack-lashing off, unbend the jib-pendant, sway on the halyards, ease away the downhaul, and clap on the clew-rope and haul the sail in on the forecastle, easing away the reeving line at the same time, unbend the gear and unreeve the jib-stay. The sail can either he made up for stowing away or for re-bending.

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