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Boy's Manual of Seamanship and Gunnery

Sail Instruction

Part IV

Reefing and Furling Sails.

How do you reef a course ?

A. For this purpose the sails are either taken in altogether, or the clew-garnets and buntlines well raised, the reef-tackles hauled close out.

When the sail is properly laid for reefing, the hands go aloft and lay out.

The earring is passed outside the rigging, on the yard-arm, which answers the same purpose as a reef-cleat on a topsail-yard, and through the reef-cringle, from aft forward, taking as many turns as possible, passing it through the reef-cringle each time ; as the whole strain of the tack comes on the reef-earring, sufficient number of turns should be taken to be equal to the same amount of strain as the leech-rope. The second reef is taken in in a similar way.

The second reef is seldom, if ever, taken in in the mainsail.

As soon as the earrings are secured, toggle the reef-beckets, overhaul the reef-tackles, and lay in, when the sail can be again set.

Should the sail be hauled close up, see the leechlines and slablines are overhauled sufficiently to admit of the earring being hauled out.

Q. How do you reef a topsail ?

A. If on a wind, the weather braces are rounded-in, so as to spill the sail ; if running free the yards are braced forward for the same purpose; the topsails are then lowered on the cap, and the reef-tackle hauled out, so as to leave a slack leech for the men at the yard-arms to haul the earrings out.

In taking the third or fourth reef in, the clews of the topsails are raised, and the buntlines steadied well taut.

The yards are always laid with the braces well taut, and the reef-tackles hauled out, before the order is given to the men to lay out. The second reef-tackle, in large ships, is generally used in taking the first and second reefs in.

Q. In reefing topsails, after the word " lay out " is given, what ought the men on the yard to do ?

A. Get hold of the spilling-lines and gather up, and get hold of the reef-line as quickly as possible, the men at the yard-arms see their earring clear, and ready for passing, when the hands have hold of the reef line, all face to leeward, and light the sail out to windward, so as to assist the man at the weather yard-arm in hauling the weather-earring out. When out to windward, all face to windward, and light the sail over to leeward, when the lee-earring is out, toggle away ; when the earrings are out, the men at the yard-arms will make a signal by holding up (the man at the starboard yard-arm his right hand, and the man at the port yard-arm his left hand) as a signal, so as to prevent any singing out, which should always be avoided, more especially aloft. At night, when the signal cannot be seen, the man at the weather yard-arm, when the weather-earring is out, will give the order " haul out to leeward, " and when out to leeward, the man at the lee yardarm will give the order " toggle away:'

No other man should speak on the yard.

Q. How many turns would you take with the first reef-earring ?

A. One outer, and two inner.

Q. How many turns would you take with the second reef-earring ?

A. One outer, and three inner.

Q. How many turns would you take with the third reef-earring ?

A. Two outer, and three inner.

Q. How many turns would you take with the fourth reef-earring ?

A. As many outer turns as I could get.

Q. Explain what you mean by an outer and inner turn ?

A. Outside the lift, a reef-cleat is nailed on to the yardarm, fitted with notches or stops, over which notches the reef-earrings are passed, so as to keep the head of the sail taut out. The first reef-earring over the first notch, and the second over the second, and so on ; these are the outer turns. The inner turns are passed round the yard-arm, in a similar way to a head-earring, each turn passing through the reef-cringle, the ends of the earrings are secured round the topsail-lift with a clove-hitch.

Q. What gear ought to be hauled well taut before the hands lay out on the topsails and lower yards?

A. Braces, lifts, trusses, and rolling -tackles ; as the courses are never reefed but in bad weather, there is certain to be considerable motion on ; therefore, for the safety of the hands going aloft, the yard should be well secured and kept as steady as possible.

Q. How are reef-pendants to a boom-mainsail fitted ?

A. They have a stopper-knot fitted at one end, and the other end is pointed with a becket in it.

Q. How is the reef-tackle hooked to it ?

A. A bowline-knot is formed in the end of the pendant to which the reef-tackle is hooked.

Q. How is a reef-pendant rove in the sail ?

A. The pendant is rove through an eyebolt at the boom-end through the thimble of the reef-cringle to which it belongs, down through a cheek fitted with a sheave on the other side of the boom, the end brought in and stopped round the boom ready for use.

The eyebolts and cheeks for the reef-pendants on the boom-end are fitted on alternate sides so that the pendants work clear of each other.

Q. How do you reef a boom-mainsail ?

A. Haul in the sheet, lower the peak and throat halyards to slack the after-leech and luff of the sail sufficiently to haul the reef-pendant down, and to secure the luff of the sail. Hook the reef-tackle, which is always kept hooked under the boom, to a bowline-knot in the end of the first reef-pendant, and bouse it well down, and belay the reef-tackles to a cleat under the boom, secure the thimble in the tack to the thimble in the first reef-cringle, by passing a tyer through each thimble three or four times, tie the reef-points over the foot, shift the tack-tricing line block up to the first reef-cringle, ease the sheet and hoist the sail again.

This also applies to a cutter's mainsail, or a spanker, when the after-clew is shackled to the boom end ; when the second reef is to be taken in, the first reef-pendant is stoppered and hitched round the boom, and the reef-tackle unhooked, ready to hook to the second reel pendant.

The first and second reef-pendants are always kept rove.

Q. How do you reef a spanker or trysail?

A. Brail the sail up, easing away the outhaul for a spanker, and the sheet for a trysail, lower the throat and peak halyards to the required distance, so as to insure slack-sail enough to enable you to take the reef in ; steady taut the vangs, and if a spanker, the boom-sheets ; if the first reef, secure the thimble in the clew, and the tack-thimble to the thimbles in the first reef-cringle in the after-leech and luff of the sail with a tyer ; a regular earring is generally fitted to the after-leech, then tie the points over the foot. Shift the outhaul, if a spanker, to the thimble in the first reef-cringle in the after-leech, and the tack tricing-line to the first reef-thimble in the luff.

If a trysail, hook the sheet to the first reef-cringle in the after-leech, hitch the tack-lashing to the first reef cringle, when complete, ease the vangs, and sway the gaff up in place, ease down the brails, and haul on the outhaul or sheet.

The other reefs are taken in in a similar way.

Q. How do you furl a course ?

A. When all the gear is hauled taut up, the sail is laid in the right position for furling, the leechlines bring the leeches taut along the head of the sail, and the clew-garnets carry the clews of the sail up to the bunt of the yard.

At the order " lay out, " the outer hands on the yard get hold of the leech as quickly as possible, and pass it in towards the bunt, taking care to form a skin in doing so.

The hands on the quarter and bunt of the yard gather the foot of the sail on top of the yard in the bunt, and then they work all the slack-sail in between the clews and the yard, towards the bunt on both sides, equalizing as much as possible the sail on each quarter of the yard ; by doing this the sail will be light at the yard-arms, and a good bunt will be formed ; as soon as the bunt-becket can be reached, hook the bunt-whip, and pull up on it, let go the buntlines, and foot the sail well down in the bunt skin.

All hands on the yard look towards the bunt, and give one good skin up together, pass your gaskets and clew-hangers, and lay in, and down from aloft smartly.

Q. How do you furl a topsail ?

A. As soon as the yards are lowered on the cap, the clews are hauled close up, and the buntlines carry the foot of the sail to a certain distance above the yard, for which purpose they are marked, both buntlines being kept square.

It is a general practice in the Navy to haul the second reef-earring out in furling, this is done to give sufficient skin to stow the sail in (hence the order which is usually given, " the second reef earring in a furl ").

In furling sails it is the duty of the captain of tops to be in the bunt, as everything depends how the sail is stowed there, whether it will be a sightly furl or not. A bulky, mis-shaped bunt to a sail, denotes a slovenly set of topmen.

As soon as the order " trice up, lay out second reef-earring and furl," is given, the men at the yard-arms should at once get hold of the second reef-earring and haul it out, bringing the second reef-cringle out square with the head-earring cringle, and the leech-rope of the second reef inside the leech-rope between the first reef-earring and head-earring ; it is not supposed to be secured, only steadied taut and kept in place by hand, or by the man at the yard-arm putting his foot on it, the second reef-cringle is gathered in towards the bunt ; when the second reef-earring is stowed inside the skin thus formed, care should always be taken that this is really done, for some hands, with a mistaken idea of smartness, neglect hauling the earring out at all, but commence to pass the leech in at once, the consequence is, all the sail is gathered into the bunt, the buntlines are let go, the foot of the sail comes down on the already over-filled bunt ; the bunt jigger for a topsail, and the bunt-whip for a course is hauled on, and the men in the bunt of the yard endeavour to foot the sail in the skin without success, in all probability, during this time the officer carrying on is hurrying them, the consequence is, the bunt-gaskets are passed, and the boom lowered on a badly furled sail, which, in nine cases out of ten, ends in extra drill ; whereas, if the second reef-earring had really been hauled out, and the leech of the sail passed in from the second reef, it would equalize the sail and give ample room for properly stowing the bunt ; therefore, it should be borne in mind by young beginners, that the cause of badly-furled topsails commences at the yard-arm, and is generally the cause of a badly-formed bunt.

As soon as the second reef-earrings are out, the man next the yard-arm man should get hold of the leech of the sail under the second reef-earring, and hand it in towards the bunt, then commence to gather all the slack sail into the skin, formed by the second reef, the hands in towards the bunt gathering the foot and all the slack sail up in their hands, in between the clews and the yard towards the bunt on both sides, making it as light as possible at the yard-arms ; when all the slack sail has been gathered in, and the bunt. jigger is hooked, pull up on the bunt jigger, and lower the buntlines, footing the sail well into the bunt as it comes down, and taking care there is an equal quantity of sail on each quarter. All hands look towards the bunt, and give one good final heave up together ; as soon as the sail is fairly in the skin, pass the gaskets and clew-hangers, and lay in as quickly as possible ; no hand should linger on the yard after his work is done.

Q. How do you furl a topgallantsail or royal ?

A. At the order " lay out, " get hold of the leeches and hand them taut in from the yard-arms, gather the foot of the sail on top of the yard, in the bunt, working all the slack sail in between the clews and the yards, shake the sail down into the skin, equalize the bunt, having as much sail on ono quarter as on the other, then skin the sail well up, and pass the gaskets.

Q. How is a jib stowed at sea ?

A. The hands on the jib-boom get hold of the foot of the sail and lay it taut along the jib-boom to form a skin, keeping it under their breast, they then gather up all the slack sail into the skin thus formed, and pass the stops.

A footline should be fitted to all jibs in large ships, to assist the men on the boom to get the foot of the sail taut along, and keep it in place : it is most useful in bad weather.

Q. How is a jib furled in harbour ?

A. The second or third cloth from the after-leech is taken for a skin, according to the size of the jib, for this purpose ; the seam of the cloth, be it the second or third, whichever is to be your skin, is stopped to the jibstay above the lacing, and brought taut in along the jib-boom ; if it is the third cloth, the first and second will hang down between the furlers and the jib-boom ; all the slack sail is then picked up, and laid under the third cloth, the first or second on one side, and the fourth and fifth on the others, are then tucked under the slack sail, thus the third cloth forms a complete cover for the sail ; the gaskets are then passed.

Q. How do yon furl a boom-mainsail ?

A. After the boom is crutched, lower the gaff down, so as when the hands stand on the boom they will be able to reach over the gaff to pick the sail up, the boom acting as a footrope.

Steady the gaff taut by the vangs, and a rope's-end round it as well.

Man the Boom

First the hands will get hold of the slack sail, about 4 ft. from the head, the same side of the gaff as they are standing, and lay it on top of the gaff under their breast, so as to keep it in place for a skin, then pass the after-leech taut in towards the jaws, leaving little or no sail at the peak. Gather up all the slack sail from the foot, then lean well over the gaff and get hold of the slack sail kept for the skin shake the sail well down in the skin thus formed, toss it well up together so as to have no wrinkles in the skin, and pass the gaskets.

Q. How do you furl a spanker or trysail ?

A. Haul the lee-brails close up, or if laying head to wind, haul the starboard or port-brails up as convenient, steady through the slack of the other, form a skin with the after-cloth, gather all the slack sail in, pass the gaskets ; when furled this way they are fitted with covers.

Q. How do you furl a trysail with the gaff lowered down ?

A. When the gaff is lowered down, steady it well taut with the vangs, and, if necessary, by passing a rope's-end round it. Make a rope fast to the peak and jaws, to act as a foot-rope ; where a gaff-topsail is fitted, the gaff-topsail sheet will answer this purpose.

Take the clew up to the jaws, gathering the after-leech along the head of the sail, then gather all the slack sail up from the foot, forming a skin, with the sail near the head, when skinned well up, pass the gaskets, and cover the sail.

When a spanker or trysail is fitted with covers, they are secured by one long gasket being passed with roundabout turns round the sail and gaff.

Q. How do you furl a gaff-topsail ?

A. Bring the sheet and tack in square with the head, roll it up taut, so as to form a good skin. It is generally secured with centipede gaskets round the yard ; in a cutter it is usually fitted with a cover, and stowed on the main boom.

Q. How do you furl a studdingsail?

A. Studdingsails are furled square on their heads, tack sheet and downhaul cringles being left out, the sail being secured with centipede gaskets.

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